Glaciers: A Foundation & A Future

Contributed by Vicki Thompson, Financial Advisor of Alaskan Ascent Financial Group

 (Portage Glacier, Photo By Vicki Thompson

(Portage Glacier, Photo By Vicki Thompson

Glaciers are formed over many years, with layer upon layer of snow compacting to form a solid ice base. Your financial base is like a glacier, made up of several layers. One important foundational layer for almost everyone is Social Security benefits. Ninety percent of Americans depend on Social Security income during their senior years. For many, this guaranteed monthly income makes up 34% of their support.

Like glaciers, your Social Security benefits appear solid and unchangeable. The foundation of both are determined by many influences. As seen in this photo of Portage Glacier, it is formed by several other glaciers flowing together. This is indicated by the moraines, dark lines running the length of the ice flow, where the glaciers merged together. The base of your Social Security monthly income is formed by your earnings prior to claiming and at what age you begin receiving payments. Your decisions make a firm impact on this foundation.

Referred to as “rivers of ice”, glaciers are constantly changing. Gravity pulls the glacier downhill, moving it forward. Various conditions determine the flow, which can be a few inches or several feet a day. This is called advancing. While the base amount of your Social Security payments remain the same, the monthly payment you receive can advance. This increase is influenced by various factors such as cost-of-living allowance increases and through claiming spousal, ex-spousal or survivor benefits.  

Glaciers also retreat by melting and calving. There is concern about the future of Social Security and whether its foundation is shrinking faster than can sustain the program at its current rate. What can be done to help prevent this reduction?

An interesting feature of glacial ice is the brilliant blue color you often see. This comes from light reflecting off the compacted base of the glacier. The dense ice absorbs all colors of the spectrum except blue, which bounces off for us to enjoy. It’s these vibrant blues that makes pictures of glaciers stand out in their surrounding mountains. The decisions you make can form a solid foundation for your future Social Security benefits. When fully informed on all factors of decision making, you can paint a brighter, bluer future for yourself and your family.  

A free, educational workshop, “Savvy Social Security Planning: What You Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income”, can help you make those important decisions.  This 1-1/2 hour presentation discusses the complex rules of Social Security and how you can impact your foundational base and your future.  

Please call Alaskan Ascent Financial Group at 907-350-2809 to register. Visit our website at for upcoming presentation dates.