I got to chatting with someone about 30 years younger than me the other day at our local library. We were sharing stories about our lives and careers and families. He expressed surprise at two elements of my life that I just thought of as sort of normal. I told him I had worked for the Social Security Administration for about 33 years. And I ...Read more
It's always fascinating to me how people can look at the same situation and see things totally differently. For example, I look in the mirror and see Brad Pitt's slightly older brother starting back at me. But my wife looks at me and sees a grizzled old Gabby Hayes look-alike!
But I digress. We've all heard of the proverbial "Is the glass half ...Read more
Q: In a recent column, you said that most people retiring today are waiting until 70 to start their Social Security. But I read an article in USA Today quoting Social Security Administration statistics stating the majority of retirees take their Social Security at 62. Where did you get your information?
A: Yes, you are right and so is USA Today...Read more
Q: I am 64 years old. I was married to a man who was 15 years younger than me. He was a lawyer and made really good money. I married him for love. I'm really not sure why he married me. Anyway, we got divorced a few years ago. And now that I'm pushing Social Security age, I realize what a big mistake I made. He told me he plans to work until he ...Read more
As my regular readers know, I sometimes worry that I am getting too repetitious -- giving the same answers to the same questions that I've been getting for the 20-plus years that I've been writing this column.
Several readers have told me to stop fretting. They point out that more often than not, new readers are learning a lot. And even long-...Read more
It may surprise some of my readers to learn that about 10 percent of Americans work at jobs that are not covered by Social Security. Usually these are state and local government jobs. Why is that? Because back when Social Security laws were enacted in the 1930s, Congress felt that they could not force a federal pension plan (Social Security) on ...Read more
I am always amazed by the emails I get from older senior citizens trying to help their children deal with Social Security issues. I am talking about parents in their late 80s and beyond who are asking Social Security-related questions on behalf of their 60-something "kids."
Gosh! I sometimes feel out of place offering advice to my 42-year-old ...Read more
I have to constantly remind myself that filing for Social Security benefits is a big deal for almost everyone. After all, it's something you usually do only once in your life. (Although there are some people who might file twice. For example, a woman who applies for retirement benefits in her 60s and then goes back to the Social Security office ...Read more
Q: I don't understand. I was getting Social Security disability benefits. But I found a job that I could do. It paid me not much more than minimum wage. But because I made about $18,000 last year, I ended up losing my disability. Yet I just read a story about someone who won $50,000 in our state lottery. This person was getting disability ...Read more
I have written many columns cautioning people to not play around too much with their Social Security benefits by trying to squeeze every last nickel out of their nest egg.
And I know where the compulsion to do this comes from. Senior citizens are barraged with messages in the mail, in media and online, telling them that they are missing out on ...Read more
You know how sometimes one thing can lead to another? The other day, I was watching Jay Leno's TV show, "Jay Leno's Garage." He was driving around in a car once owned by his "Tonight Show" predecessor, Johnny Carson. It was a car that Johnny grew up with -- his father's 1939 Chrysler. Jay mentioned that Johnny had once done a TV special in which...Read more
A few weeks ago, I wrote a column in which I casually mentioned the obscure common law (not a Social Security law) that says that you actually attain your age on the day before your birthdate. For example, I will celebrate my 70th birthday on June 22, 2019. But legally, I will turn age 70 on June 21.
I said that from a Social Security ...Read more
Q: I was getting my own Social Security. Then my husband died and they started paying me his Social Security and took away my own. But why did they do that? Aren't they two separate benefits and I deserve both?
A: The law says if you are due two different Social Security benefits, you don't get them both. You only get the one that pays the ...Read more