Monday, October 18, 2010

Maxmimizing spousal social security benefits is complicated business

Liz Pullman Weston from MSN Money has a nice article “5 Ways to Wreck Your Retirement”, or maybe it’s not so nice, link here.  Seriously, the most important tip is #3, about failure of married couples to take advantage of social security spousal benefits properly. In general, the strategy involves using both spouse’s records (assuming they both worked) at different times, and letting at least one spouse wait until the maximum age 70-1/2 to start withdrawing. There’s also a file and hold strategy that she discusses which one spouse can use. The missing piece is of political importance: as of now, same-sex couples can't use this, even in states with gay marriage.

The other good advice is to look at non-monetary factors, such as what you really want to do with the rest of your life. Maybe it’s make your movie.

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