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Financial Engines Announces Updates to its Social Security Planner to Reflect Changes in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015

Jan 13, 2016

SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 13, 2016-- Financial Engines (NASDAQ:FNGN), America’s largest independent registered investment advisor(1), today announced that its Social Security Planner now supports changes to Social Security regulations enacted by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.

The Financial Engines Social Security Planner, which enables users to consider different strategies to get the most out of their Social Security benefits, was first introduced to the public at no charge in June 2014. Since its launch, the Social Security Planner has identified more than $10 billion in additional Social Security benefits for users, with the median amount of additional benefits found for a typical married couple well over $100,000.(2)

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 introduced changes to Social Security regulations that limit households’ ability to use some lesser-known Social Security claiming strategies. These changes have been incorporated into the Social Security Planner to provide users with up-to-date guidance regarding benefit claiming strategies, to maximize their expected lifetime benefits and household income in retirement.

Despite Changes, It Generally Still Pays to Delay Claiming

The most significant Social Security regulations changes apply to individuals who will not have reached the earliest eligible claiming age of 62 by the end of 2015. These individuals will no longer be able to file restricted applications to receive only their spousal benefits.(3) Second, starting six months after the passage of the Act, when an individual suspends benefits(4), the associated benefits of their spouse, ex-spouse and dependents will also be stopped.(5)

“Despite these changes impacting Americans’ Social Security claiming decisions, the general rule that it pays to delay still applies for most Americans,” explained Wei-Yin Hu, vice president of financial research at Financial Engines. “For every year participants defer claiming Social Security, they still receive a 6-8 percent increase in lifetime benefits.”

Married couples, however, will have fewer claiming strategy options once the changes go into effect.

“Certain qualifying households(6) still have an opportunity to capitalize on these valuable and often overlooked strategies,” added Hu. “Couples using these sunsetted approaches could gain an additional $100,000 or more in lifetime Social Security benefits, so taking advantage of them could be incredibly worthwhile, if you qualify. Our Social Security Planner can help both couples and individuals make the most of their earned benefits.”

Despite the rule changes, knowing when to begin claiming Social Security benefits remains complicated. With Social Security continuing to be a significant source of income for most Americans in retirement, Financial Engines is committed to providing individuals with the best, up-to-date resources to make informed decisions and ultimately maximize their benefits.

For a more detailed explanation of the impact that these Social Security changes will have on Americans, please visit the Financial Engines blog, which includes an overview and detailed scenarios.

About Financial Engines

Financial Engines is America’s largest independent registered investment advisor. We help people make the most of their retirement assets by providing professional investment management and advice. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, CAFinancial Engines was co-founded in 1996 by Nobel Prize-winning economist William F. Sharpe. Today, we offer retirement help to more than nine million employees across over 650 companies nationwide (including 142 of the Fortune 500). Our investment methodology, combined with powerful online services, dedicated advisor center and personal attention allow us to help more Americans get on the path to a secure retirement.

For more information, please visit

All advisory services provided by Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C., a federally registered investment advisor and wholly-owned subsidiary of Financial Engines, Inc. Financial Engines does not guarantee future results.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the use of professional investment and financial planning help, which involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties are outlined in our SEC filings. You are cautioned not to unduly rely on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. Unless required by law, Financial Engines undertakes no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statement to reflect circumstances or events after the date of this press release or to report the occurrence of unanticipated events.

For independence methodology and ranking, see InvestmentNews RIA Data Center. (

Financial Engines uses information about the individual and his or her stated goals and applies our knowledge of the Social Security system, among other factors, in providing its claiming guidance, as further described in our white paper Amount identified is based on unique users of our social security claiming guidance since March 12, 2014. Estimates are based on the rules that were in effect at the time of the sessions, and are not guarantees of future benefit payments. The new rules may reduce the figure for some households.

This restriction is sometimes referred to as “deemed filing.” An individual may be entitled to two benefits: an earned benefit and a spousal benefit. Going forward, an application for benefits will be “deemed” to be an application for both benefits, and the individual would receive the higher of the two benefits.

An individual who starts claiming benefits can suspend them at or after their full retirement age in order to benefit from delayed retirement credits and resume benefits at a later point in time.

The affected individuals may still receive benefits based on their own earnings records.

To full take advantage of the old rules, there needs to be someone old enough to file and suspend by May 2016, while the other person needs to have reached age 62 in 2015.

Source: Financial Engines

Financial Engines
Mike Jurs, 408-498-6590
Alexandra Gardell Kreuter, 646-428-0618