Q: I just utilized your Social Security Optimizer on the website and I have a question. In the recommended solution section it states that my spouse should file and then immediately suspend his benefit. My plan is to retire at age 70, which is in 2017. Do I need to file and suspend now or can I just wait and apply at age 70?
A: We do not have access to your specific recommendations, but here are some thoughts. Whether you file and suspend your Social Security benefit today or wait to apply at age 70, your Full Retirement Benefit will grow at 8% annually until you are required to take your benefit at 70. The benefit of the “file and suspend” strategy for individuals is flexibility. If at any time between when you file and suspend to when you take your benefit, you have the option to change your mind and receive a retroactive lump sum for the payments that were suspended. In that case you would receive a lump sum and start receiving monthly benefits immediately, but would lose out on the 8% growth accumulation. Otherwise, if you wait till you are 70, then the payments should be the same regardless of whether you file and suspend or wait to apply at 70.