Senior Living



Social Security and You: Mixing Apples, Oranges and Kumquats

Q: In a recent column, you said that someone's Social Security check might go down if they are still working while getting Social Security checks. You must be talking about taxes, because my husband is 69 and still working, and he gets an increase every year in his benefits. So, can you please clarify things for us?

A: You've probably heard the...Read more

Social Security and You: The Bad Old Days

My wife and I have been doing a little downsizing lately. One thing we decided we can live without is the rather large collection of books we've accumulated over the past 46 years. We are donating most of them to our local library. But as I looked through the old books, I reread one of them, and it struck a chord with me. It's an autobiography ...Read more

Social Security and You: Quick and Dirty Answers Lead to Confusion

As regular readers of this column know, every once in a while, I try to squeeze as many questions and answers as I can into one column. And several weeks ago, I did just that. But I knew ahead of time it would cause problems. Why? Because there can be so many "ifs ands or buts" associated with Social Security's rules. And when I try to keep my ...Read more

Social Security and You: The Social Security 'Goody Bag'

At least once a day, I get one or more emails that start out with some form of this phrase: "I'll tell you what's wrong with Social Security!" And then they go on from there to trot out time-worn arguments that have been bandied about for years and are usually groundless.

One of the more common gripes goes like this: "I'll tell you what's wrong...Read more

Social Security and You: The Social Security 'Retirement Test' Gets a Failing Grade

There is a provision of Social Security law that is rather archaically called the "annual earnings test." It is sometimes also called the "retirement test." (More about where those terms come from in a minute.) But I call it the Social Security earnings penalty. And I've never liked this law. Before I explain why, let me clarify what I am ...Read more

Social Security and You: My First Day on the Job

I've been writing this column and answering people's questions about Social Security for more than 20 years. And more often than not, I've been answering the same questions over and over again. And I really don't mind that because I understand there are always new people reading this column who haven't seen the answers before. Other people have ...Read more

Social Security and You: A Divorced Woman's Guide to Social Security

Q: You always seem to write about married women. But there are a lot of us divorced women out here. We need to know about Social Security, too. So, what can you tell us?

A: I can tell you several things. One: I've answered many questions from divorced women in this column. Maybe you just didn't see them. And two: With just a couple of ...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security Offsets Affect Some Public Employees

I am continually amazed by the number of emails I get with questions about Social Security from people who don't even pay into the system. Who are these folks? They are primarily teachers in some states and police officers and firefighters in other states. A lot of these employees are covered by other retirement plans and not by Social Security....Read more

Social Security and You: Let's Play 20 Questions

I'm going to assume you've all heard of the kids' game "20 Questions." Well, I'm going to do my own version of that today. I'm going to try to squeeze 20 questions into this column. To do that, my answers must be short and sweet.

Q: I just inherited some property that is worth $40,000. If I sell that property, will I lose my Social Security ...Read more

Social Security and You: Desperate Seniors

I get a lot of emails from confused and maybe lonely people who are writing to me mostly out of desperation. They are almost always from older senior citizens, folks in their 80s and beyond, who are looking for more money from Social Security. These emails are especially sad because there is usually nothing I can do for the questioners other ...Read more

Social Security and You: Virus Means More Work for Me!

Just ask me if I'm getting weary of the coronavirus! And I'm not coming at my dislike for the pandemic for any of the normal reasons: the social distancing, the masks, the confusing signals from Washington, etc. etc. What really makes me dislike the disease is that folks must be getting tired of watching "Tiger King" and "Ozark" and other ...Read more

Social Security and You: A 2-Tier Social Security System

In last week's column, I provided a very brief overview of the Australian Social Security system. (I got interested in the topic after my wife and I visited the Land Down Under and got to talking to some retirees there.)

Their Social Security program, which first started in 1907 (compared with 1935 in the U.S.), is a two-tier system. They have ...Read more

Social Security and You: Social Security in Australia

A couple of months ago, my wife and I returned from a six-week trip to Australia that also included a roundtrip cruise from Sydney to New Zealand. I had been planning that trip for about a year. And little did I know during that entire planning process that the dates I chose would work out so well. We went there after the worst of the bushfires ...Read more


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