Taking Social Security: Weigh These Factors to Make the Right Decision

Figuring out when to take Social Security is hard. Make it easier with these tips.

Mar 29, 2014 at 8:10AM

Figuring out when to take Social Security is one of the most important financial decisions you'll ever make. Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all advice for everyone. How can you decide what's right for you?

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, goes through the pros and cons of taking Social Security early or late. He notes that waiting gives you large monthly benefits, ensuring more money for you and for any survivors who are entitled to benefits on your work history. Yet Dan also points out that taking money early might have more utility for you, especially if you expect to have higher expenses early in your retirement and don't want to go through your investment reserves. Dan concludes that the decision isn't an easy one, but you can still figure out the choice that fits best with your overall financial plan.

How to get the absolute most out of your Social Security
For more insight into choosing when to take Social Security, get some extra help from our brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder For You." Inside, our retirement experts give their insight on making the key decisions that will help ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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