Maximize Your Social Security: Will Not Getting a Paycheck Reduce Social Security Benefits?

Whether you’re on the verge of retirement or starting young at your first job, questions about how to maximize your social security benefits may be on your mind.

There was a great question posted on AARP that highlights a few key factors of getting the most from your social security. A 50 year old is retired after 35 years of work and planning to begin social security retirement benefits at the age of 67, but wonders if not getting a paycheck for over 17 years will reduce his benefits.

Not working for those 17 years won’t hurt what he has already made, but it’s important to remember one key point: Higher earners generally get more in benefits than lower earners. This means that if 17 years of work could increase the average indexed monthly earnings, then he’ll be sitting better by the time he’s 67 years old and collecting social security.

As with any financial decision, the choice is personal. But it’s also your choice to figure out how much you could be missing out on. If you need help running this type of calculation, please feel free to contact me at for more information.

Have another question about maximizing your social security? Please share by commenting below.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona


How to Manage Your Healthcare in 2013

With the recent passing of the Health Reform Law, many people are wondering how their healthcare is going to change in 2013. There are two main changes for you to take note, but most of the big changes are being ironed out and will be in effect in 2014. The 2013 changes include,

  • There is now a cap set for flexible spending accounts at $2,500.
  • All health plans are required to use standard forms to explain costs so you can compare health plans easier and with no bias.

As I mentioned before, significant changes don’t take effect until 2014 and a lot of work is currently going on at the state and federal levels. Small businesses can then purchase their own health plans next year. In 2013, you’ll see the same trends as previous years, such as employees bearing the majority of their healthcare costs at an average of $1,100 per month.

Are you managing your healthcare and finances to ensure you receive the money that’s owed to you? If you doubt it and need an expert’s advice, please feel free to contact us at Integrated Insurance Concepts. We can make sure you stay financially free in 2013, from healthcare to taxes. Contact me at for more information.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

Why is Your Paycheck Smaller in 2013?

As you’re opening your first paychecks of 2013, you may think for a split second, ‘there’s been a mistake’. Unfortunately, it’s no mistake: Social Security tax has increased its withholding from 4.2% to 6.2% and this is making a dent in paychecks around the country.

According to this article on Yahoo, Roberton Williams, a tax economist and the Sol Price Fellow at the Tax Policy Center in Washington, said the expiration of the payroll-tax cut will leave the average American household with $18 to $20 less to spend each week, or $900 to $1,000 a year.

Although upsetting, placing the blame on the government won’t change anything for the time being. There are however, other ways to make this dent in pay bearable:

  1. Instead of eating out 1-2 a week, try to schedule and plan meals on Sundays. Eating out is that ‘go to’ vice when we’ve had a busy day and are just too tired to even think about what to make. A little planning go a long way and put more money in your pocketbook.
  2. Try cheaper brands for things like toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, and more. We all have things we prefer to splurge on, but it can make a big difference to plan ahead on what brands you can be flexible with.

If you need help making your money count with this recent payroll tax increase, feel free to contact us at Integrated Insurance Concepts. We can make sure you stay financially free in 2013, even if you have to cut corners in some areas. Contact me at for more information.


By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

How to Increase Your Social Security Monthly Income by 20%

Did you know that there are certain periods of time where retirees shouldn’t claim their social security benefits? An article on MarketWatch provides a good summary of a session given by William Meyer, author of “Social Security Strategies”.

In that summary, Meyer defines these periods of time as ‘rat holes’ of which all retirees should be aware of and avoid in order to receive better benefits and ultimately, more money.  For example, “Individuals born between 1943 and 1954 shImageould never claim benefits between the ages of 62 and one month through 63 and 11 months, nor should they claim benefits between 65 and five months through 67 and seven months.” Meyer also gave an example in his session where a person claimed benefits at 62 years of age, just before the ‘rat hole’ which resulted in 20% more in monthly income.

So as you can see, deciding on when to claim your social security benefits during retirement is a bit more complicated than “should I take them now or later?” In order to receive the most benefit, you’ll want to do you research.

At Integrated Insurance Concepts, we can help you with that research. We have the material and calculators needed to help you make informed decisions in dealing with Social Security. We can make sure you stay clear of those ‘rat holes’ and more. Contact me at for more information.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts in Arizona

Financial & Insurance Education, Consultation and Support

In addition to providing my clients with their insurance and financial needs, I’m dedicated to offering educational resources, consultation services, and personalized support. Through this blog, I hope to share educational tips pulling from my 40 years of experience in the industry to anyone out there seeking financial advice.

If you have any questions along the way, don’t hesitate to comment or contact me: I look forward to sharing and helping more people strategize their pathway to financial freedom.

By Doug McMurry, Owner of Integrated Insurance Concepts, LLC