I'm sure most people reading this column have heard the term, "the three-legged stool." That refers to the platform upon which your retirement portfolio is to be built. One of those legs represents your Social Security benefit. The second leg is savings and investments. And the third leg propping you up in retirement is a company pension.
Q: The recent cost-of-living adjustment to our Social Security checks got me wondering about something. As you've always pointed out in your column, the checks come one month behind. So, for example, the check we got in January is actually the payment for December. But the 2018 COLA increase showed up in that January check. So did we get the ...Read more
The inspector general for the Social Security Administration recently released a report that was well-intentioned, but that has sewn confusion among millions of women collecting Social Security widow's benefits. What the report said was that a small percentage of widows were not informed by SSA clerks of a provision that could have resulted in ...Read more
There is a group of very old people out there who, for decades now, has been misled into believing that they are being cheated out of Social Security benefits. I'm talking about folks who are now pushing the century mark -- in their mid-to-late 90s and beyond. And that means that for 30 or 40 years now, they have been carrying a grudge against ...Read more
Q: I am 57 years old and getting Social Security disability benefits. I understand I can work and make $46,000 and still keep my disability checks. But how much can I make when I reach age 62?
A: I'm afraid you've really got things mixed up. The $46,000 figure you cite applies to retirees in the year they turn age 66. And nothing is going to ...Read more
I'Don't tell my wife, but if my inbox is any indication, I'm a big hit with the ladies! I have a hunch I get more emails from women around the country than any other old goat my age who isn't rich or famous. Alas, they are just asking boring old Social Security questions. Here's the latest batch.
Q: You write a very confusing column. You ...Read more
Q: I will be turning 70 in July 2018. I wanted to delay starting my Social Security benefits until then. When should I apply? And will I get any retroactive benefits?
A: You should sign up for Social Security benefits two to three months before you want your benefits to start. You said you wanted to wait until age 70, in other words, July, to ...Read more
As I am writing this, the government is in the middle of another of its silly shutdown soap operas. But my hunch is that by the time you read this, the shutdown will be over. The news seems to indicate that Congress will pass a temporary funding measure that will last until about Feb. 8, when we may very well go through this all over again.
If You Leave this Farm: The Dream Is DestroyedAmanda Farmer
A Memoir about courage, hope, and resilience. The story powerfully shows the internal struggle and conflict between personal desires, the crushing weight of constant submission to a father's misguided use of God-given authority, and the need to be accepted by one's ...
Q: My mother told me she remembers a time when women had to "live in sin" (those are her words) to avoid losing Social Security benefits. She couldn't elaborate, but she thinks some senior women still have to do that today. Do you know what she is talking about?
A: Yes, I know exactly what she is talking about. It has to do with the payment of ...Read more
About two months ago, I got a question from a reader that I had never received before. (And believe me, that is unusual. I thought there wasn't a single Social Security-related question I haven't been asked a hundred times before.)
The unique question had to do with how to answer a specific question on the online application form for Social ...Read more
I write a column similar to this one every January. But I don't mind plagiarizing myself because it contains a very important message for people planning to retire in 2018.
January is a critical month for the hundreds of thousands of potential Social Security beneficiaries who are reaching 66, their so-called full retirement age, in 2018. The ...Read more
It has been my custom for most of the past 20 years to write a year-end column that summarizes the Social Security changes and updates scheduled to take place the following year.
Almost all Social Security beneficiaries are familiar with the most popular and publicized upcoming change: the increase in monthly benefit checks for 2018 due to the ...Read more
I've been a good kid this year. Well, I've occasionally been naughty. For example, I was a bit of an impish bad boy when I penned last week's open letter to President Trump. But if the emails I get from readers telling me that they appreciate the information and advice I dispense in this column are any indication, I think I should ...Read more