Thrivent Financial: Your Social Security Questions, Answered

Social Security Workshops Offered

Social Security is a complex subject. That’s why local Thrivent Financial professional Nate Heeg is here to help community members navigate this very important retirement benefit.

Nathan Heeg

Social Security benefits are earned after an individual has paid Social Security taxes for at least 10 years. When a person is eligible for benefits, however, they don’t simply get back what they paid in. Instead, the Social Security Administration evaluates lifetime earnings and makes an adjustment based on the national average wage index. Then, it uses a formula to determine a benefit amount based on that person’s highest 35 years of earnings. Higher earnings typically result in higher monthly benefits.

“Social Security is a big decision for people to make in retirement. People will sometimes take Social Security too early,” said Heeg. “They may opt to start taking benefits at 62 because they can but sometimes it may make more sense to delay their Social Security as long as possible. This depends on multiple factors and each situation is different.”

Typically, Americans begin taking benefits at some point between ages 62 and 70:

  • 62 years old: You can begin taking benefits but your monthly payments will be 75 percent of the amount they would be if you waited until full retirement age – the age at which you are eligible to receive your full monthly benefit.
  • 65 to 67 years old: Full retirement age falls within this range and is determined by the year you were born.
  • 70 years old: If you wait until age 70 to take benefits, you’ll receive a higher monthly payment than you would if you started taking payments at full retirement age.

Tom Hussian, team leader of advanced markets at Thrivent Financial, encourages people to begin thinking about when to take their benefits sometime in their 40s.

“With planning, you have more options,” he said. “Without planning, you’ve got to decide things in a shorter period of time.”

For example, someone may decide to keep working until age 67 and then rely on savings to support them until age 70 when they begin receiving Social Security benefits. As a result, they would receive larger monthly payments. Additionally, a spouse may opt to begin receiving benefits earlier, while their partner waits until age 69 or 70 – allowing their monthly benefit to grow.

The later a person begins taking benefits, the higher their monthly payments will be. Each year between age 62 and full retirement age, benefits grow about 6.5 percent. Between full retirement age and 70, benefits grow about 8 percent annually.

In other words, there’s an incentive to wait if it makes sense for someone financially. Savings, longevity and marital status also play a role in determining when to start taking benefits.

“These are the kinds of decisions people need to make as they approach retirement,” said Heeg. “People have to determine how much income they will need in retirement. Expenses are still going to be there. The bills still need to be paid. Social Security enables you to do that, but it needs to be part of a broader financial strategy.”

Contact Nate to learn about future Social Security workshop dates, where you’ll participate in a special presentation about the topic and how to make the most of your benefits. No products will be sold at these events. For more information follow this link: or call Eva Koopman at 715-898-2561.

About Thrivent

Thrivent is a not-for-profit financial services organization that helps Christians on the wise with money journey. As a mission-driven, membership-owned organization, it offers its more than 2 million members and customers a broad range of financial products, services and guidance to help them obtain a life of contentment, confidence and generosity. Thrivent and its subsidiary and affiliate companies offer insurance, investments, banking and advice over the phone, online as well as through financial representatives and independent agents nationwide. Thrivent is a FORTUNE 500 company with $136 billion in assets under management/advisement (as of 12/31/17). For more than a century it has helped Christians make wise money choices that reflect their values while providing them opportunities to demonstrate their generosity where they live, work and worship. For more information, visit You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

Registered representative of Thrivent Investment Management, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC.

Thrivent Financial representatives and employees cannot provide legal, accounting, or tax advice or services. Work with your Thrivent Financial representative, and as appropriate, your attorney and/or tax professional for additional information.

THRIVENT IS THE MARKETING NAME FOR THRIVENT FINANCIAL FOR LUTHERANS. Insurance products issued by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. Not available in all states. Securities and investment advisory services offered through Thrivent Investment Management Inc. A registered investment adviser, member FINRA and SIPC, and a subsidiary of Thrivent. Licensed agent/producer of Thrivent. Registered representative of Thrivent Investment Management, Inc.  Advisory services available through investment adviser representatives only.


News Desk
Author: News Desk