Financial Retirement Planning: Social Security & Medicare
In this episode of the Science of Economic Freedom podcast, “What You MUST Know About Social Security,” I speak with one of the best minds in the business when it comes to all things Social Security and Medicare: David Haman, client advisor at Mercer Advisors, and adjunct faculty member at the Widener University’s Graduate School of Business.
In this broad discussion of Social Security, David tells us all about the program, including:
- Retirement benefits, spousal benefits, dependent children and disability benefits
- Qualification for Social Security, and the “credits” model for benefits
- When you should elect to begin receiving Social Security benefits
- The importance of knowing your “full retirement age”
- The financial challenges/looming crisis of the Social Security program
- The importance of finding out your benefits, and how to do so at SSA.gov
- The taxation of Social Security benefits
- Medicare benefits and the medical benefits included in this program
- Social Security action steps
Doug Fabian: What do you know about Social Security and Medicare? When should you begin taking your benefits? Are you aware of all of the benefits you and your family are entitled to? And what about the solvency of Social Security? Will it be there when you are eligible? All this and more on this episode of The Science of Economic Freedom.
Announcer: The Science of Economic Freedom is intended as an investor education resource. The views and opinions expressed on this program should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any specific security. Consult your investment advisor and read any investment perspectives carefully before making any changes to your investment portfolio.
This program is sponsored by Mercer Advisors. Mercer Global Advisors Inc is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delivers all investment-related services. Mercer Advisors Inc is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors Inc and is not involved with investment services.
Doug: Welcome to the Science of Economic Freedom. I’m your host, Doug Fabian. This podcast is all about helping you achieve your financial dreams. We call that economic freedom. This program is about your journey to achieve economic freedom for yourself and your loved ones. Today, we want to help you identify your next step on that journey.
This is Episode 24 and it’s part two in our Retirement Readiness series. This episode is all about Social Security benefits. What you need to know about your benefits before you begin receiving them and even if you’re already taking benefits, there are issues you need to know about. Now, books have been written on this subject, countless articles, opinion pieces, seminars, and workshops. This is a huge subject.
Today, I’m going to interview David Haman. David is an adjunct faculty member at Widener University, teaches financial planning, and teaches graduate students comprehensive financial planning, risk management, insurance, and Social Security. David is also a colleague of mine and is a client advisor with Mercer Advisors. David, welcome to The Science of Economic Freedom podcast.
David Haman: Thank you, Doug. Thank you for having me.
Doug Fabian: I am very excited about this subject. In the several interviews that you and I have done prior to the live show here, I’ve just learned so much from you, David, and I just appreciate your contribution and your knowledge and I know our audience is going to get a lot out of today’s program as well.
Now, this is a huge subject, as I said in the intro, and we’re not going to be able to cover everything, but we want to do is give people enough information today for them to be able to start reflecting on their own situation and getting themselves prepared.
Financial retirement planning, benefits of the Social Security program?
David Haman: Doug, Social Security has several benefits. When it was enacted in 1935, it was a law that had 10 titles. It’s expanded since then to encompass 21 titles within the Social Security Act. So, it’s huge. It’s got a lot of regulation and it’s got a lot of benefits.
The benefits, I’ll boil them down just generally to retirement benefits. So, you pay into the system, you earn a retirement benefit, and you take that at some point in time. It has benefits for your family if you’re the worker, spousal benefits, even benefits if you have dependent children when you retire, they can get benefits. It has disability benefits in it, if someone is a disabled worker or has a disabled family member, there are benefits for them. There are benefits for widows and there are benefits for divorcees. Now, in addition to that, in the retirement area, there’s also Medicare. Medicare is also a part of the Social Security Act and that was brought in in 1965. And so there are medical benefits also as part of Medicare.
How do you qualify for Social Security benefits?
Doug Fabian: Obviously, some people have been working their entire lifetimes here in the United States. Some people have joined our workforce during the middle of their working careers. So, talk about qualification for a few minutes for us.
David Haman: Social Security, and it’s important to understand, is an insurance program. It’s not as if you went out and bought a private annuity, put your money into it, and then took benefits out based upon what you paid in.
That’s not the way it works. It’s actually a government insurance program where you pay premiums through the FICA taxes, through your wage tax, and if you’re self-employed, you get to pay twice as much. But you pay into it during your working career and then when you’re eligible to collect those benefits, your benefit is determined and then you commence your benefit.
How the credits in Social Security work
So, the way that it works, it’s based upon what are called credits. And you earn for every calendar quarter that you work, based upon what you earned you earn a credit. You can get one credit per calendar quarter. And so the credits go into what is called your insured status. And for retirement, once you’ve earned 40 credits, you are considered to be fully insured and then you’re eligible for a retirement benefit. For disability, for example, there’s a disability benefit. Once you’ve earned 20 credits, you are then insured for disability. And that’s basically the way that it works.
Confusion with Social Security
Doug Fabian: Now, is it somewhat like a defined benefit plan in such that it does go back to how much you have been earning during your contribution period to the insurance program, if you will, and how much you’re actually going to get paid? Kind of help me understand that.
David Haman: It’s similar in that respect and that’s where the confusion can come in. It looks like a defined benefit pension, where you put money in, and based upon the money that you’ve put in, you then get a benefit. But it has significant differences. For example, in the retirement benefits, it is based upon what you earned, that is correct; however, there is a cap. The cap is $128,400 in 2018.
Once you earn more than that, you stop paying in to that OASI, or Old Age and Survivor’s Insurance. You stop paying into that and so your benefit is effectively capped based upon…that’s called the wage base. So, your benefit can only be based upon that cap. It is indexed up each year. What Social Security does, it looks back over the top 35 years of your work history to look at your wages and to calculate your benefit. So, it is, you’re right. It looks like a pension plan but it has some significant differences to it.
When can you access Social Security
Doug Fabian: Let’s talk about what most people do, David. And what I was surprised about is that most people, or almost half of the population, is taking a Social Security benefit at age 62. So, talk about this and give us some context around what most people do relative to taking their Social Security benefits.
David Haman: For eligible beneficiaries of Social Security, the general — and again, there’s all these exceptions to the rules, so forgive me for being simple — but it’s between age 62 and 70. Those are the ages in which you elect to commence your benefit, 62 is the earliest time you can commence your benefit, and age 70 is the longest you can delay.
The important age is what’s called your full retirement age and that is dependent on the year in which you were born. So, for example, for those of us who were born since January 1st, 1960, our full retirement age is 67 years old. For those who were born in the 1950s, it sort of indexes back to potentially age 66, depending on which year you were born.
So, the full retirement age that you fall under determines when you can collect what we call 100% of your primary insurance amount. That is your Social Security benefit that is based upon your earnings. And so the 100% of that benefit, you can through your choices either delay Social Security past your full retirement age up to age 70 and increase your benefit fully, or you can elect to take benefits prior to full retirement age and have your benefits permanently reduced, and the reduction is about 5/9 of 1% and if you take it age 62, it’s roughly a 28% permanent decrease in your lifetime Social Security benefit. So, that’s where it gets complicated in how best to make your Social Security election.
Data on Social Security and retirement
Doug Fabian. What percentage of people take Social Security at age 62, at full retirement age, and age 70? Do you have some numbers on that?
David Haman: I actually do. The good news is that percentage has been slowly decreasing. And I’m referencing a book by a Lawrence Kotlikoff, one of the foremost experts in Social Security. They tell us, and they split it up between men and women, but the average back, say, in 2009 was about 48% of beneficiaries would take their benefit at age 62. The good news, as I said, was that’s slowly declining and now, it’s around 40%. So, it’s come off about 10% in the last nine years and that’s really good news. And I think that’s because people really are starting to listen, they’re becoming more informed, and they’re making more informed decisions.
Doug Fabian: And what about full retirement age or age 70, what percentage of people are taking benefits?
David Haman: About three,about 3%. It’s a very small number.
Doug Fabian: Three percent at age 70?
David Haman: Yeah.
Doug Fabian: And then the difference between the 48 and… So, about 50% of people are taking it at full retirement age. Am I getting those numbers right?
David Haman: Roughly. Yeah, sure. You could extrapolate to that, yeah.
Why people take the money at age 62 versus age 66 to 70
Doug Fabian: So, let’s talk about how people who are taking it early, they are doing this for a reason in their own mind. Let’s go through why people might take Social Security early, even though as financial planners, there could be reasons that people don’t fully understand where that’s not in their best interest, but every circumstance is different. So,, full retirement age?
They are uninformed
David Haman: Yes, I’ve been an advisor for over 20 years and I think I’ve heard it all. So, based upon my experience, these are some of the reasons that people just run out and take Social Security. And I really believe that there’s two factors. One is just being uninformed, not understanding the sacrifice you’re making when you run out and just simply start taking it at age 62 without looking at the consequences.
The other factor is, really, I think it’s behavioral, it gets into behavioral finance. You talk about behavioral finance an awful lot in your podcast and I think Social Security is one of those excellent examples of behavioral finance, where people think that if they don’t take it right away and they die that they perceive that as a loss, “I didn’t get my Social Security,” and that’s a big reason.
That’s probably the most common reason. They calculate what they consider to be a break-even point with some software and say, “Wow. I might not live to 79 or 81, so I better collect now or I won’t get mine.” The big problem with that reason is they fail to consider the impact that it has on their other family members, their spouse in particular, if they have a spouse who hasn’t earned the way they had during their lifetime. So, that’s a big issue, we can talk more about that, I guess.
They cannot survive without it
Some of the good reasons is they just simply have to take Social Security in order to feed themselves, and that’s one of the good reasons. My father was one of those people. I mean, he had a $10,000 pension from the steel mill and he just couldn’t survive without Social Security, so that was a proper reason to take it at age 62.
Taking the money is interesting
Another reason that people take it, and this is interesting, is the good folks at Social Security — who by the way, it’s a very well-run organization, an agency with people who really mean well and want to help — however, they are trained in their procedures to get you signed up if you call up and you’re eligible. It’s to get you signed up. They don’t help you with analysis to determine whether one choice is better than another choice. And so people call Social Security to find out about their benefits, they’re 62 or older, and they’re encouraged to sign up. Other people think they can’t get Medicare if they’re not enrolled in Social Security and that’s certainly not true. So, those are some of the reasons that people go and make choices.
A wealthier person with Social Security
Doug Fabian: What about wealthier people, David? What’s the choice if someone really doesn’t need the money? Should they take it sooner or later? What’s the idea, what’s the thinking there from a planning perspective?
David Haman: Yeah, that’s a very good point, Doug. There are people, and we at Mercer Advisors, a lot of our high net worth clients, where Social Security, it’s not necessary to them. But they’ve earned it and they’ll take it and from my experience, they take it early, they take it at 62.
They say, “Look, that’ll pay for our vacation this year, or for gifts for the kids or the grandkids, so we might as well just enjoy it while we can.” And that’s actually, I believe, a very rational reason to take Social Security at 62. The problem I have, it’s with the people who don’t understand the financial sacrifice they’re making when they do that and they don’t take into account the sacrifice that a spouse might be making for their early decision.
I’ll give you an example. We have a person who, they worked all their lives, they hit the wage base so they’re getting the maximum, $2788 a month, a full retirement benefit, and they go and they take that discounted 28%. What happens here is that — and this is typically, and I’m going to pick on the men, this is typically the man, right, taking his Social Security benefit — and doesn’t realize that when he dies, when he predeceases his spouse, the spouse is going to step from…
In this case, I’ll just use a female. Her half of, when she’s getting half of his benefit as a spousal benefit, she’s going to step into his full benefit. So, what happens is by him taking that permanently reduced benefit, he permanently reduces her Social Security when she steps into his shoes after he predeceases. And without an analysis of the impact of that decision on someone’s finances, that could make things difficult for the surviving spouse.
Is there a reason to take Social Security early
Doug Fabian: And David, what about the people who just — and you and I have both had these conversations — people just don’t believe it’s going to be there in the future. Is that a reason to take Social Security early?
David Haman: Not for current beneficiaries, I don’t believe it is. Each year, the trustees of the trust funds, of the retirement trust fund and the disability trust fund, produce a report. And we have the 2018 report available to us that just came out in June.
The Retirement Trust Fund
Or what we call the Old Age Survivor’s Insurance. That is the retirement trust fund. That trust fund is expected to actually be depleted — now, people use the word “bankrupt” and I’m not sure that’s an appropriate term — the trust fund will be depleted by the year 2034.
So, we’re on the path to depletion. In fact, 2018 is what we call the tipping point. This year, Social Security is supposed to start… It’s running into a situation where the cost of benefits is going to exceed the revenues that it’s bringing in from employment taxes and that causes the trust fund to start to deplete. By the year 2034, the trust fund will be out of money.
However, that’s not the end of Social Security. Social Security will still be collecting taxes and Social Security will still be able to pay 76% of its obligations on an ongoing basis from the collection of those taxes. So, what we have here is a situation that will become a crisis, certainly. If you lose 24% of your Social Security benefits, that’s a crisis. But it’s something that’s very fixable and Congress just has to stand up and have the nerve to fix it and everything will be fine. So, if you’re in your 60s and you’re approaching a Social Security decision or you’re eligible right now, the idea that Social Security isn’t going to be there, I don’t believe is a rational conclusion, so it should not affect your decision on when to take benefits.
How to get information on your Social Security benefits
Doug Fabian: David, let’s talk about the people who are in the retirement window and this podcast is a part of my series on Retirement Readiness. So, let’s talk about those people who are maybe 55 to 65, in that window of age. Information is so important. How do we go about getting the information relative to us and our work history on our benefits and the benefits to our family?
David Haman: Social Security has made it very, very easy to collect the information that a person needs to make an informed decision. The website is www.ssa.gov. That’s ssa for Social Security Administration. When you navigate to that website, you will see a button that allows you to create your own personal login. It’s very easy to do and you can go into your account and you can download your Social Security Statement.
It will give you all of your earnings history that’s been reported to Social Security, it will estimate — and I say “estimate” because for anyone who’s still working or isn’t ready to collect, it is an estimate — estimate your benefits at full retirement age, discounted to age 62 and increased with the pertinent increases at age 70, so you get a really good idea of what your Social Security benefits are going to be. And it will also itemize for you the estimated benefits for your spouse, for family members, and survivors if something like that occurs.
Doug Fabian: And David, let’s talk about this report, because from our previous conversations, you motivated me to go out and look at my own report, so I signed on to ssa.gov and printed out my personal report. They’ve got it set up very simple and easy to do, you’re putting in your Social Security number, they’re sending a text message to your phone for security purposes, you have a personal login now. And I received my report and it just so happens that I started actually working in 1972, where I contributed $92 into the Social Security system that year as opposed to what I contributed into last year which was significantly more than $92.
But be that as it may, it does give my full work history over the past 40 years which I found interesting. It does summarize what I paid in, what my employers paid in, and also does the same thing for Medicare, what I paid into Medicare and what my employers have paid into Medicare. So, it’s a very interesting report and it also does list out the benefit in terms of disability, if I were to become disabled. It lists out survivor benefits for my spouse, it lists out benefits for my minor children. So, I found this report to be very comprehensive.
The information on your Social Security report
Now, as a financial planner, David, and you’re working with individual people all the time, and you receive a new client for Mercer Advisors, for example. You can’t get this report for them, they have to get it for themselves. But how do you go about using this report? Talk to me about the practice of how you use this information as a financial planner to make retirement decisions for a client.
David Haman: Sure. It’s really a four-step process and follows the financial planning process that we financial planners follow.
So, the first thing is that we need to talk to the client and to make sure that the client understands that this is an important decision, that it can have a very significant financial impact if they make the wrong decision.
So, once they agree that it’s a concern, we then move into the gathering the facts. Ask the client to provide us their Social Security report and their spouse’s Social Security report. Remember, your Social Security report, Doug, and you read it, would tell you all about your benefits and potential benefits your spouse could collect on your work history, but it doesn’t tell you anything about your spouse, right, or what you may benefit from her. And this gets into strategies that are available to you when you’re a married couple.
So, we gather those facts and then what I do is I analyze the facts. I go into my computer, I model the client and spouse’s situation quantitatively, and then I do some calculations and I present options to them, that show them what it would look like at age 62, at full retirement age, and age 70. If there’s options of one taking and the other waiting, for example, I can illustrate that also.
So, I create a report for the client and then from that, they can make what is a rational decision at that point. Whether if they look at the report and they choose to take it at age 62, that’s a rational decision. It may not be the best financial decision but I like to say that the best decision a person can make is not always the optimal financial decision. It’s the one that gives you peace of mind that you’re comfortable with.
And when you do it that way and you’ve based it upon analysis, you’ll never have a regret, that, “Oh, I made the wrong decision,” or, “I didn’t know.” You can never say that and that peace of mind is one of the things we look for and try to impart to our clients as being their advisors.
Tax on Social Security benefits
David Haman: Social Security benefits, it’s really a three-tiered taxation where it is based upon what’s called your provisional income. And provisional income is the income that you put onto the front of your tax return less Social Security, that’s the beginning of it, then if you have any tax-free income, let’s say through municipal bonds, something that you don’t report as taxable, you do add that into your income, and then you add 50% of your Social Security benefit. That equals what we call provisional income.
For a married couple in 2018 who have provisional income of less than $32,000 or single person with provisional income of less than $25,000, Social Security is not taxed. For a married couple who has provisional income of between $32,000 and $44,000, or a single person between 25,000 and 34,000, Social Security, 50% of your benefit becomes taxable. That means you move over into the right column and it gets added into your adjusted gross income. If you have more than $44,000 as a married couple or more than $34,000 as a single, then 85% of your Social Security benefit becomes taxable.
Now, that’s interesting because no matter how much money you make, no more than 85% of your Social Security benefit is taxable. That means you get 15% of it tax-free.
Doug Fabian: I just want to be clear with people when we say 50% is taxable, we’re not talking about 50% of the benefit is being taxed away, what we’re talking about is 50% of that income is going into the tax bracket that you’re reporting on your return. And then again, it’s not that 85% of the income is being taxed away, it’s just that 85% of the income is included in your overall income situation.
David Haman: That is exactly correct and it’s taxed at your marginal tax rate. That’s exactly right.
How does Medicare work
Doug Fabian: Okay. David, let’s jump forward to Medicare and talk a bit about Medicare because it is part of Social Security. We’re not going to be able to get into tremendous detail here, but I want to talk about just the basic qualifications of Medicare, some of the different — Medicare Part A and Part B and have you explain a little bit about that. So, let’s spend a few minutes on Medicare and give us some top-line discussion about Medicare benefits.
David Haman: Medicare qualification is very similar to Social Security where it’s based upon a work history and what it’s called is a significant earnings. Essentially, if you’ve worked for 10 years, you’re going to be fully insured for Medicare. Medicare is the health insurance program in the United States for persons of 65 years of age and older. That is where you go for your health care.
What are the different part of Medicare
David Haman: Medicare is comprised of parts and we call Parts A and B original Medicare. So, when Medicare was signed into law in 1965, it had Parts A and B where Part A is your facility coverage, it’s essentially your hospitalization coverage. Part B is your doctor’s coverage. So, it has hospital coverage, doctor’s coverage, it’s A and B. Those coverages are designed to provide on an actuarial basis about 80% of the cost of your care. That’s great except that 20% of the cost of your care can bankrupt you. So, something needs to be done, you need to do something to supplement that 20% potential out-of-pocket cost.
The way you do that is effectively two different ways. And when you age into Medicare and sign up for Parts A and B, original Medicare, you need to make a choice at that point in time about how you are going to cover that extra 20%. So, here’s your choice. There’s a program called Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage. That works like an HMO or a PPO, probably very similar to the insurance that you had with deductibles and copays and so on. You can buy a Medicare Advantage plan. The other option you have is the original Medicare supplement option that was also introduced in 1965. Medicare supplement plans are also called Medigap plans. They’re called Medigap because they’re designed to fill in the gap that covers that 20%.
So, those are the two different ways you can go and I think to go into those plans in any greater detail, that’s probably beyond the scope. But those are the decisions you make. And then the last decision that you have to make is how are you going to get your prescription drug coverage or your Part D Medicare. So, Medicare Part D is prescription drugs. You have to, because it is a requirement, it’s mandatory, that you have a qualified prescription drug coverage. So, you have Medicare A and B, original Medicare, you have an option of Medicare Part C or Medicare Advantage or a Medigap Supplement plan, and then to complete the plan, you add your drug coverage.
Doug Fabian: So, David, one of the things I’m fond about doing in my podcast is giving people some action steps. And so one of the things I did here was laid out some action steps for the audience relative to retirement planning and Social Security and the like. And so I’m going to go through these and then I’ll obviously have you comment on some of these things.
Get your Social Security benefit report
One of the very first steps that we want the audience doing, and this is if you’re in the retirement window age 50 plus, is to go to ssa.gov and get your Social Security benefit report. Get the data. Comments, David?
David Haman: Yes. That’s very, very important, Doug, because that report’s going to show what was reported in terms of your wage history and you may find mistakes on that report. The earlier you find the mistakes, the easier it is to get them corrected. Maybe you have two jobs and maybe only one of the jobs got reported or something. You can get back to Social Security and get that fixed.
Doug Fabian: And also even if you’re receiving Social Security benefits, should you get a current copy of your report and what will you learn on that report?
David Haman: Yeah, that’s very interesting too. Again, you want to make sure that you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled to and I may give you an anecdote. I was doing a Social Security seminar for a group of clients. After it was over, a gentleman who’s a doctor walked up to me and said… I had mentioned about family benefits and he said, “Wait a second. I’ve been collecting Social Security for years and I had kids, I had minor children when I started collecting. And you’re telling me that they were entitled to benefit?” And I said, “Yeah, they probably were. I mean, I don’t know you but they probably were.” He said, “Well, what do I do?” and I directed him back to Social Security and I found out later from him that Social Security found the error, they corrected the error, and they gave him a check for the amount of money that he was entitled to. So, check your benefits, make sure it’s correct, make sure, based upon your family situation, you are getting what is yours.
Put together a retirement plan
Doug Fabian: And fulfilling this idea against action steps and we’re in this Retirement Readiness series, you need to factor data into your retirement plan, your financial plan. So, how do we take this data and start to put together a real retirement plan for people, David?
David Haman: Social Security represents… It depends on what your income is. We look at it as it’s income replacement. When you transition from earning money where you have control over your income to retirement where you lose a lot of control over your income, you need to replace that income that you were generating from working. And Social Security is a big part of that. Unfortunately, the income replacement ratio of Social Security’s very, very high. It can run anywhere from, say, 30%. There are people who Social Security represents over 90% of their income and that’s just a very unfortunate situation.
So, what we do with our clients is we take the Social Security benefits, take the analysis, and then build those choices into a projected retirement income plan to give the client the peace of mind, and as the advisor, the peace of mind, that your client is going to achieve that financial freedom and understand the amount of the contribution to that financial freedom that Social Security represents.
Talk to a professional
Doug Fabian: And I would want to say as a third step for the audience that if you’re really in this retirement window and you haven’t made a decision yet on Social Security, you really should be talking to a professional. You should be talking to a certified financial planner who is going to be able to do some deep analysis, present some side-by-side options that we have talked about here today, so you make a choice, an informed decision. It doesn’t have to be based just purely on the numbers, it can be based on your circumstances and your family structure, but you do want to maximize the benefits that you have within Social Security and to be able to do this on your own is difficult.
As David mentioned, the folks at the Social Security Administration are very helpful. I’ve never heard a bad situation with somebody not getting the information they needed, but they are not trained to help you make the decision as to when you should be accessing your benefits for Social Security. So, step three in our three-step process here is getting professional help from a certified financial planner. Step one, we talked about, getting the report from ssa.gov. Step two is factoring in those benefits into your complete financial picture with all of your IRAs and 401(k)s and your spending plan and the like. And then step three is getting the advice from a financial planner as to when you should be accessing Social Security. So, David, anything else you want to add to that?
David Haman: No, I thought that was a great summary, Doug. Thank you very much for allowing me to participate in this with you.
Doug Fabian: Well, thank you for joining us today. David Haman, one of our client advisors at Mercer Advisors. David is a specialist. He teaches a number of courses on financial planning and it was a pleasure to have you on the program today. So, thank you very much, David.
David Haman: Thank you, Doug.
Doug Fabian: Ladies and gentlemen, I just want to always remind you, if you’d like to ask a question, send me a comment, suggest a show topic, you can send me an email. My email address is [email protected], [email protected] And this is Doug Fabian. Thank you very much for listening to The Science of Economic Freedom.
Announcer: The Science of Economic Freedom is intended as an investor education resource. The views and opinions expressed on this program should not be construed as a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any specific security. Consult your investment advisor and read any investment prospectus carefully before making any changes to your investment portfolio.
This program is sponsored by Mercer Advisors. Mercer Global Advisors, Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission and delivers all investment-related services. Mercer Advisors, Inc. is the parent company of Mercer Global Advisors, Inc., and is not involved with investment services.