RMF Releases Two Social Security Guides for Consumers, Financial Pros

Reverse Mortgage Funding, LLC (RMF) has announced the availability of two new, digital Social Security guides for 2020. One is designed to help consumers maximize retirement benefits, while the second aims to support planning professionals in better serving the long-term financial goals of their clients.

The guides cover a number of different topics related to the Social Security program, including major changes in recent years to its policies. These include novel benefit claiming strategies which were largely brought about by the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015. Both guides were edited by Kurt Czarnowski, former regional communications director for the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the New England region of the United States.

“As Baby Boomers reach retirement age, they are beginning to realize that Social Security is going to play a bigger part in their retirement than they had previously thought,” said Czarnowski in a press release announcing the guides. “But they are also starting to realize that they don’t know as much about the system as they should. That’s why I partnered with RMF to help publish these guides – they want to offer straightforward information on all important retirement planning topics.”

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One of the motivating factors for the release of these guides is because an overwhelming majority of older Americans simply aren’t aware of what affects the amount of Social Security benefits they can bring home, according to Jean Noble, CMO of RMF in an email to RMD.

“According to a study by the Nationwide Retirement Institute, 91% of older adults don’t know what factors, if any, affect the amount of their Social Security benefits,” Noble says. “That is one of the main reasons we wanted to build these guides – because public education is key. We are incredibly fortunate to have partnered with Kurt Czarnowski on these pieces. As an industry veteran and policy expert, Kurt knows how important it is for all eligible consumers (and their trusted advisors) to have access to this type of transparent, educational content.”

Both guides are designed with the goal of providing practical information for seniors related to the collection of their Social Security benefits, including advice on when to begin collecting and how to calculate them. They also include information related to working while collecting benefits, and the benefits afforded to both current and divorced spouses, and surviving heirs.

“Social Security has been and will continue to be a central building block in the structure of many Americans’ retirement funding,” said David Peskin, president of RMF in a press release announcing the guides’ availability. “Although RMF’s primary focus is to educate the public on the benefits of incorporating home equity into their holistic retirement planning, what we are most concerned with is providing a comprehensive toolkit with which current and future retirees can cultivate their financial futures.”

The creation and release of these guides provides reverse mortgage-eligible seniors and the financial professionals who serve them with a series of essential information related to the incorporation of Social Security into their retirement plans, and is primarily aimed with simplifying an incredibly complex topic, Noble says.

“Social Security is a very complex system and each consumer’s benefit planning is unique,” she says. “We tried to present the most pertinent information – how to maximize benefits based on age, working while collecting, spousal and family benefits, etc. – in a way that will help eligible seniors (and financial professionals) make the most informed decision when adding Social Security benefits into a retirement income plan.”

This is the third consecutive year that RMF has released education materials related to incorporating Social Security, which Noble describes as being some of the most-read and well-received pieces of educational material for both consumers and finance professionals produced by RMF. Since these materials are purely educational, they are not held to conventional performance metrics.

“Social Security remains an integral part of retirement income planning for most Americans, and yet many don’t understand the full complexity of the system or how to ensure that they receive their maximum benefits each year,” Noble says. “These guides are part of our general education platform for consumers and professionals and are not tied to specific performance metrics.”

Consumers can download the digital guide at reversefacts.com/ss2020, while financial professionals can download the guide that is oriented toward them at RMF’s educational platform for advisors, RetirementExpertsNetwork.com.

RMF is the third largest reverse mortgage lender in the country based on November 2019 retail and wholesale endorsement data.

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  • The problem with booklets like this is that the reader walks away either confused or feeling they can now plan the Social Security aspects of their retirement on their own; however, for most people neither is true. Booklet readers should get even more informed about Social Security but they should also walk away from reading it, calling a competent financial feeling less intimidated about discussing their Social Security benefit options.

    I have met many advisors who think they understand Social Security benefits. What is generally true is that they do not understand what types of income are subject to FICA and Self-Employment taxes before and after reaching age 62. Then that becomes confused with how much Social Security benefits are subject to income tax. The third point of confusion is the reduction in Social Security for earning too much while receiving Social Security benefits before age 70 but how those lost benefits are used in recalculating future Social Security benefits.

    High school students should be required to pass a course in personal finance which includes a segment that introduces the Social Security basics, after all many high schoolers are either paying FICA taxes in high school or shortly thereafter. In high school I was paying both FICA and the self-employment tax. Fortunately my dad was a Public Accountant who told me about them so I was prepared both for withholding and paying the self-employment tax as part of my income tax return. It was surprising, however, when I learned about the reporting of tip income in my first income tax course in college.

    The other day I was speaking with a senior I have known for years and he suggested I get disability Social Security. He did not realize that Social Security disability benefits (SSDI) are different than Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

    Many CPAs and attorneys subscribe to specific reporters that run several hundreds of dollars per year to keep current on the different aspects of Social Security as well as unemployment and state disability income programs. That is why I encourage all how are near 62 to find financial advisers who are competent in Social Security to work with them on planning their retirement and also to gain as much knowledge as they can about how Social Security determines their benefits, taxes them, in some cases reduces them, as well as understand who is eligible for disability income as well as Supplemental Security Income.

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