When deciding when to claim Social Security benefits, it can be helpful to use a calculator that runs the math for each possible claiming age (or, if you’re married, each possible combination of claiming ages) and reports back, telling you which strategy is expected to provide the most total spendable dollars over your lifetime.
Maximize My Social Security and Social Security Solutions are the two best-known paid calculators in the field. For a few years though, there was a decent (basic) free option as well: “SSAnalyze,” hosted by an advisory firm called Bedrock Capital. Unfortunately, Bedrock Capital was bought by another financial firm late last year, and the buyer did not repost the calculator on their own site.
So, in April of this year I decided to make my own. It’s available now, and you can try it out it here:
I’m calling it “Open Social Security,” because I’m making it open-source, with three goals in mind:
- This way, anybody who is especially interested in the details can see for themselves how the calculator functions, rather than having to trust me or wonder about what assumptions I’m using.
- Possibly, somebody else will make use of the code in some other way — building some Social Security-related functionality into other financial planning software for instance.
- If something happens to me — or I simply stop updating the calculator — somebody else can take the code and put it up on their own website so people will still have access to a useful tool.
I’ve been testing the heck out of it, but it’s certainly possible that there are still bugs. If you see something that doesn’t make sense or isn’t working, please let me know.
FYI, it runs much faster in Chrome or Firefox than it does in Safari. And Safari is in turn several times faster than Edge or Internet Explorer. In other words, if you’re using the calculator as a married person (i.e., a situation that requires your computer to do a lot of calculations), you might not want to use Internet Explorer or Edge, especially if you have an older computer.
Also, I would encourage you to please read the About page, as it has some basic information about how the calculator works, and it notes some important caveats.
Finally, for anybody who’s interested, here’s the GitHub page, where you can view/download the source code.
What is the Best Age to Claim Social Security?
Read the answers to this question and several other Social Security questions in my latest book:
|Social Security Made Simple: Social Security Retirement Benefits and Related Planning Topics Explained in 100 Pages or Less|
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