Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Three Reasons to Switch to Your Own Social Security

Q: I am about to turn 70, and I'm still working. When I was 66, I filed for widow's benefits on my husband's record. At the time, my own retirement benefit was less than my husband's rate. My plan was to let mine build up over time, hoping that by age 70, my rate would be higher than the widow's benefit I'm getting. But I checked with the Social...Read more

Social Security and You: Mailbag Miscellany

This week, instead of concentrating on just one topic, I'm going to dig into my mailbag and answer random questions. I will try to keep my answers short and sweet so I can squeeze in as many questions as my column space will permit.


Q: I took widow's benefits at 60, intending to switch to my own at 70. When I was about to turn 70, I ...Read more

Social Security and You: Maximizing Strategies Going, Going, Gone!

Congress and the president finally listened to me. With the budget bill agreement they reached a week or so ago, they killed the so-called Social Security maximizing strategies. And I say: good riddance! We will finally be getting Social Security back to its intended purpose: a social insurance system designed to provide a basic level of income ...Read more

Social Security and You: Medicare Mess Follow-Up

I should have kept my mouth shut. I just knew I never should have written last week's column in which I attempted to explain the Medicare Part B premium mess. And that's because almost before the ink was dry and your newspaper landed on your front door step, Congress changed the rules.

Regular readers of this column know that I don't like ...Read more

Social Security and You: Medicare Premium Confusion

Some of you may have heard that the Medicare Part B premium is going up in 2016 from the current $104 per month price tag to $159.30. But the increase will only impact a fraction of Medicare beneficiaries. Who is impacted and who is not involves understanding some background information I will provide. And alas, it involves a whole lot of ...Read more

Social Security Filing Tips

Q: I have been a casual reader of your column for years. But now that I am finally approaching Social Security age, I'm starting to pay closer attention to what you write. For reasons I'm not going to go into now, I've decided to buck the current trend of delaying benefits as long as possible. Instead, I plan to file when I turn 62, which will ...Read more

Social Security and You: Should You Jump on the Social Security Maximizing Bandwagon?

If you are like me, almost every week your mailbox has at least a couple advertising fliers -- usually from financial planners -- with misleading come-ons like this: "You could be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits!" Then they invite you to a seminar where they will fill your tummy with some rubber ...Read more

Social Security and You: When You Are Due Two Social Security Benefits

Just about anyone who has worked and who is married or who has ever been married is potentially due two Social Security benefits: his or her own Social Security benefit and possibly a dependent benefit on a spouse's Social Security record.

I've saved up some questions from people potentially due two benefits, and in today's column, I will use ...Read more

Social Security and You: Widow Should Switch to Her Own Retirement Benefits

Q: I started getting widow's benefits when I was 66 years old. At the time, the Social Security people checked and told me my widow's rate was higher than my own retirement benefit -- by several hundred dollars. I am now about to turn 70. I'm still working but some people have told me I should file for my own Social Security. I'd do this, but I'...Read more

Social Security and You: Full Retirement Age for Widows

About a month ago, I wrote a column in which I explained how "full retirement age" (the age at which a person can claim 100 percent of his or her Social Security retirement benefits) is going up.

To quickly recap, FRA is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1954. But if you were born in 1955, your FRA is 66 and 2 months. If you were born in 1956...Read more

Social Security and You: Strengthen the Government Pension Offset ... Don't Repeal It

I have written many past columns about provisions of Social Security law that impact people who spend the bulk of their careers working at jobs not covered by Social Security. (Since 94 percent of Americans work at jobs where they pay into Social Security, I sometimes think I devote way too much time to this topic that affects only a small ...Read more

Social Security and You: Legal Birthday Twist Impacts Some People

This column is being written on Sept. 2, a significant date to me because it happens to be my wife's birthday. I won't say how old she is, but let's just say she is 71. Gosh, I can't believe I'm married to a woman who is older than some of my socks and underwear!

But I'm not writing this column to poke fun at my wife or her age. I'm writing it ...Read more


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