As a Veteran's Day gift, a coalition of financial organizations is offering active duty military personnel and veterans free access to a sophisticated Social Security retirement planning tool.
This tool, devised by Social Security Solutions, lets vets input basic information about their Social Security eligibility, and it will spit out the best strategies for maximizing benefits. It is particularly useful for couples, divorced people and those who are widowed, but even singles will come away with some enlightening information.
This database will be available at SocialSecurityForVeterans.com beginning at midnight Sunday Eastern time throughout Monday until midnight in the Hawaii-Aleutian time zone.
To access it, veterans will be asked some basic information about their service, including which branch and whether they are active or retired -- nothing complicated. "We are bringing a great service to veterans, and we don't want them to have to jump through a whole lot of hoops," says Melissa Smith, a vice president at Wells Fargo.
To participate, you'll need to know what your Social Security benefit is expected to be at full retirement age -- 66 or 67, depending on your age. The best way to find that information is to sign up for a Social Security account at SSA.gov/MyAccount.
With that information, the Social Security Solutions calculator will figure out five different claiming strategies for you and provide you with a 20-page report analyzing these personal recommendations. It is a report for which Social Security Solutions normally charges $50.
"Wells Fargo is offering this service because veterans need help with retirement planning. We are trying to raise awareness and help people understand that there are options," Smith says.