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Retirement benefits

Dramatically More Americans Plan To Delay Social Security Retirement Benefits

According to May, 2017 survey, only 28 percent of 61-year-old respondents said they would receive Social Security retirement benefits as soon as possible (age 62).

This is a big decline from 2008, when 45 percent of 61-year-olds said they would file as soon as possible.

There are probably two reasons for this.

One, in 2008, many seniors could not find worthwhile employment, so getting Social Security was perhaps the only option.

When to Take Social Security in Retirement - Think "MATH"

MATH translates to :

* Market
* Affordability
* Taxes
* Health

Health -> Take Social Security early if your life expectancy is limited

Affordability -> If you NEED the money now, maybe you need to start benefits

Taxes -> If you're still working, your up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxed

Market -> If the stock market is way down, maybe you need to start benefits soon

Five Social Security "Secrets"

Here are five Social Security "secrets" according to Motley Fool :

1. Your benefits increase each month you wait

2. Your benefits are taxable (at higher income levels)

3. You may be able to claim benefits based on ex-spouse's work history

4. You may be able to claim benefits despite no work history (ex. spousal, surviving child)

5. Social Security is not going "bankrupt" (but benefits may be cut)

US CFPB Cautions About Using Reverse Mortgage to Delay Social Security Benefits

Lately, some financial advisers have suggested that seniors delay taking Social Security retirement benefits. Instead of taking Social Security at age 62, for example, these advisers suggest using a reverse mortgage to "fund" your retirement and delay initiation of Social Security benefits until later. Delaying benefit initiation means a larger retirement benefit.

However, the US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) has cautioned that this strategy has drawbacks. The CFPB says the best way to increase future benefits is to keep working past age 62, if possible.

Can I Sign Up for Medicare Before Taking Social Security?

YES.

You can sign up for Medicare even though you haven't yet signed up for Social Security. In fact, delaying Social Security retirement benefits may work to your advantage.

However, you do not want to delay signing up for Medicare benefits. But, if you fail to sign up for Medicare during your initial enrollment period, you'll face a 10 percent increase in your Part B premiums that could raise your healthcare costs for life.

How to increase your Social Security retirement benefits after you started receiving them

This outlines an article which outlines how to rescind an earlier decision to take lower Social Security retirement benefits. By rescinding your decision to take early benefits, you can increase your retirement benefits -- but only after you pay back all your previous retirement benefits!

Note that we cover this same concept in this video.

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When to take Social Security Retirement Benefits - Wife early, Husband late

This video discusses when to take Social Security Retirement Benefits for the common case where a husband had higher earnings than the wife.

The strategy discussed here is to have the wife take reduced benefits early, while having the husband delay his receipt of retirement benefits.

The key here is that when the husband passes away first (a common occurrence), the wife will see a step up from her reduced benefits to her spouse's higher benefit level.

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Good Article on Social Security Benefits for Divorced People

This is a good article which outlines Social Security benefits for divorced people. The article refers to "divorced women", but it also applies to divorced men (especially if the woman had higher earnings).

Excerpt :

The law says a divorced woman, who was married to her ex-husband for a minimum of 10 years, is due essentially the same benefits as a woman who is currently married to her husband.

National Social Security Advisor Certification Available

If you're looking for advice on Social Security benefits, it may be useful to find someone with the "National Social Security Advisor" certification.

Although the NSSA appears to be a privately issued certificate, it seems to convey some level of knowledge about Social Security benefits. Finding a financial advisor with NSSA certification may be something worth exploring.


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