Senior Living


Health & Spirit

Social Security and You: Mailbag Miscellany

Today's column won't focus on a single topic. Instead, I'll just reach into the mailbag (well, really my email inbox) and pull out a hodgepodge of questions.

Q: I was a minister for many years. I never paid into Social Security while serving my church. But about eight years ago, I left the ministry, and I have since worked at a series of jobs ...Read more

Social Security and You: Always Insist on Filing a Claim

I'd like to think that when people email me questions, I give them correct answers with good advice. In fact, I'd guess I do that almost all the time. And when I don't, it's usually because the person writing to me didn't present me with all the facts. Here are a couple real-life examples. (I've changed the names to protect the anonymity of the ...Read more

Social Security and You: Divorced Couple Hits the Social Security Jackpot

Today's column illustrates yet another example of a situation I had never encountered in my 45-year career of working on Social Security issues. And this time it's the story of two very different Social Security rules intersecting and leading to a bizarre circumstance that allows some lucky people to milk the Social Security system out of ...Read more

Social Security and You: Bucking the Trend and Minimizing Our Social Security

Q: My wife and I are both 62. My wife hasn't worked outside the home in many years. I am still working but I'm thinking about retiring. However, our financial planner is advising me to keep working and for us to delay taking our Social Security as long as possible. He suggests we both wait until we are 70 years old to maximize our benefits. But ...Read more

Social Security and You: Working Seniors Pay Taxes and May See Benefit Increase

Q: I just turned 71 years old. I have been getting Social Security since I was 66. I was having trouble making ends meet and I recently took a job doing some consulting work. I just got my first paycheck, and I was surprised to learn they are taking Social Security taxes out of my paycheck. I thought once you are getting Social Security, you no ...Read more

Social Security and You: Gold-Digging Wives and Social Security

After I published a recent column discussing possible Social Security reforms, lots of people wrote to tell me that no changes would be needed to the system if benefits were paid only to people who "deserve" Social Security. I am always intrigued, and usually a little perturbed, by such allegations. They usually come from people who tell me that...Read more

Social Security and You: Retiree With a Child Makes Age 62 an Attractive Starting Date

Most people are correct to think that they will be ahead financially to wait until age 66, or maybe even until age 70, to claim their Social Security benefits. But for that small cadre of retired folks who still have minor children at home, the addition of those dependents to the Social Security account can make for a whole different perspective...Read more

Social Security and You: Retirement Benefits -- How They Are Figured

Q: I am about to turn age 64. I have been laid off and do not think I will be able to find another job. So I am thinking about starting my Social Security benefits. And it dawned on me that I have no idea how my benefit is figured. Is it based on my earnings? Is it based on my age? Please help!

A: It's based on both your earnings and your age. ...Read more

Social Security and You: Two Widows Present Unusual Cases

I am constantly amazed! I have either worked for the Social Security Administration, or been writing a column about Social Security issues, for about 44 years. And you would think that in all of that time, I have bumped up against almost every possible Social Security scenario one could imagine.

Yet, just recently, I received two emails from ...Read more

More Questions About the Earnings Penalty

In a recent column, I explained to readers who are under 66 and working how they could work with Social Security's complicated earnings penalty rules to avoid the oftentimes nightmarish bureaucratic hassles involved in dealing with the Social Security Administration on these antiquated laws. (Rather than rehash the whole story, I suggest that ...Read more

Social Security and You: Don't Worry. Be Happy! It's Nickels and Dimes.

I am always surprised at the number of people who are so darn intent on squeezing every last nickel they can out of their Social Security benefits. I get that people want to get all the benefits for which they are eligible. But some folks seem absolutely obsessed about the issue. I swear they must lie awake at night, worrying about decisions ...Read more

Social Security and You: My Advice is Don't Play by the Rules

Well, let's see if I get in trouble again! Today's question comes from a retiree who plans to return to work and is worried about how his earnings might jeopardize his eligibility for his Social Security benefits.

It's a question I'm often asked. And my usual answer doesn't exactly follow the Social Security Administration playbook. In the past...Read more

Social Security and You: Robbing the Cradle Has Its Drawbacks

Q: I am 76. I have a much younger wife. She is 51. She has never worked outside the home. What will she get when I die? How about Medicare?

A: I am sure there are some advantages to having a much younger spouse. But from a Social Security perspective, "robbing the cradle" has its drawbacks.

Your wife won't be due any benefits on your record ...Read more


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