AARP Social Security Calculator a "Step in the Right Direction"

  • Originally published July 19, 2011 , last updated January 4, 2016
  • Social Security
AARP Social Security Calculator a "Step in the Right Direction"

Last week, AARP launched a new Social Security calculator designed to help people estimate their Social Security benefits and determine the best time to claim. What makes the AARP calculator unique in comparison to other consumer-facing calculators is it actually takes into account the different benefits and claiming strategies available to married people, as opposed to singles.

Social Security Timing™, a Social Security planning tool aimed at helping advisors design a Social Security and retirement income plan for their clients, was the first such tool to look at every timing and claiming option available to a married couple and recommend the optimum choice.

Retirement benefits expert and 27-year Social Security Administration veteran Lloyd Watnik calls the AARP calculator a “step in the right direction because there are a lot of options that are available to married couples to improve their retirement income security by making good Social Security decisions. Unfortunately, most people simply are unaware of them.”

While the AARP tool will be great for raising awareness, it may not be the best tool to rely on to build a Social Security strategy that will act as the foundation of a retirement income plan. Because it is aimed at consumers, the AARP calculator is simple by design and misses several important levels of detail that can make a big difference to couples.

“Generally, a well-trained financial planner using the proper tools can help his or her clients make a much better decision than any self-service tool,” Watnik said.

To learn more about Social Security Timing, go to