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Old 01-29-2013, 06:27 PM   #1
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More good RE news

Hi everyone,
I guess I retired early in 2012 after being laid off in 2010 at age 56. I looked for a new job after 30 years in corporate marketing research, but frankly I had no desire to go back to work in a cubicle. It took me a while to figure out that with the money I had saved I could in fact retire early. Just needed to sell my place and rent. I live in the SF bay area so mortgage payments (and rents) run pretty high.

I had been so intimidated by the 80% "rule" for so long--that you needed to have 80% of your pre-retirement income to live on. In the back of my mind I was thinking "gee, wouldn't it depend on what your expenses are?" When I finally read Bob Clyatt's book and others, I realized that the 80% rule is an invention of the financial services industry to keep you sending them money.

I am 59 now and teaching parttime. My ex and I have pensions from good ol' AT&T so that helps.

And then yesterday I finally figured out that I was entitled to social security payments on top of my own from my ex, since he made more money than I did over the course of our 20 year marriage. I hope I'm right about that??

Aside from all the financial stuff, I am fascinated by the lifestyle issues in early retirement. People do wonder how you can quit the corporate world, and there still seems to be this view that you should work till you're 70. I'm ecstatic about being free.

Seems like a lot of great sharing here--so happy to have found you all.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:36 PM   #2
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Welcome to this excellent board!

Our stories sound a bit similar in that we are both Bay Area residents and also in that you realized you were retired a couple of years after you were laid off. It took me about 4 years to figure that out!

Just yesterday I told a former w*rk networking site to remove me from their email list because "I am now retired." That felt good, as did the "Congratulations!" I received in response.

That was a first for me, both in announcing it and in receiving congratulations.

At any rate, I look forward to hearing the reply to your Social Security question. I think you will get the higher of the two amounts, but not both.

Many here know way more than I do.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:39 PM   #3
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I think Accidental is correct - the higher of the two. But then I am frequently wrong.
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Old 01-29-2013, 08:45 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by gardenfun View Post
And then yesterday I finally figured out that I was entitled to social security payments on top of my own from my ex, since he made more money than I did over the course of our 20 year marriage. I hope I'm right about that??
Assuming your ex is still alive you look at what his PIA would be at full retirement age, versus yours at full retirement age. You either get yours or half of his as I understand it. So if your SS on your own record is more than half of his then you don't get any benefit from his (while he is living).

Example 1: Your PIA is $1200 a month. His PIA is $2000 a month. You would get nothing from that as you would be entitled to only $1000 based on his record.

Example: Your PIA is $1200 a month. His PIA is $3000 month. You would get $1200 from your record plus another $300 from his record.

If you take SS before full retirement age - in any event - your benefit would be reduced.

However - even if you get no benefit from Example 1 above while your ex-husband lives you would benefit if he dies. In that event you would get the higher benefit (assuming you qualify based upon length of marriage).

All of this is very general so you should probably look at the SS regs yourself and you might talk to SS about your specific situation.
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thanks for the info
Old 01-29-2013, 08:54 PM   #5
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thanks for the info

Thank you for the info on the calculations. I will definitely check it out. As I understand it, I wouldn't qualify for his benefits (if there are any in my situation) until I reach retirement age, so I have a few years to figure it out.
I'm happy with my financial situation in any case!
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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A brief search said the divorced spouse will not receive survivors benefits if he or you remarried. The couple had to be married for over 10 years , which you do qualify for.
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Old 01-30-2013, 12:00 AM   #7
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Welcome to the Early Retirement Forum.

I am divorced also, after 23 years. I am no expert, but the information I have found about the SS question agrees with what Katsmeow says.

My SS will be a little over half of his SS, so I can only claim my own. I am probably going to wait until 70 to claim it, in order to beef it up a little.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:40 AM   #8
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A brief search said the divorced spouse will not receive survivors benefits if he or you remarried. The couple had to be married for over 10 years , which you do qualify for.
There is an indication that even if their is a remarriage it may be possible to receive benefits if the second marriage ends whether due to death, divorce or annulment. So the details can be complicated:

Retirement Planner: • If You Are Divorced
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:49 AM   #9
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Welcome to the board, gardenfun.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:17 AM   #10
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My understanding is that at 67 you can take 1/2 of his and then delay taking yours until age 70 when it will be maxed out. So if your SS is more than half of his, this may be a good strategy.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:18 AM   #11
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Hi gardenfun, I used to live in the Bay Area and it really is fun to garden there--you can grow nearly anything. Welcome to E-R!
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Ask Larry: bad SS advice
Old 01-30-2013, 10:34 AM   #12
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Ask Larry: bad SS advice

Thanks again for responding to my post, everyone!

Here's the post on PBS's Paul Solman's business blog that got me going on the divorced spouse SS benefits:

Ask Larry: Has My Social Security Office Given Me Bad Advice? | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS

He regularly features "Social Security expert" Larry Kotlikoff, answering reader questions about SS.

Kinda hard to get a straight answer, it seems!
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:13 AM   #13
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Very confusing, I agree! I had not seen that blog before, so thanks.
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Old 01-30-2013, 11:57 AM   #14
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:27 AM   #15
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The remarriage thing is true. My stepmom didn't legally marry my dad for that reason. (They did have a domestic partnership agreement though and in all other aspects were married.)

My dad would have had his survivor benefits of my mom's pension reduced, my step mom would have lost the SS benefit from her deceased ex husband. It was a lot of retirement income to leave on the table just to have a piece of paper saying they were married.
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