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Old 02-10-2019, 07:59 AM   #41
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Thinking I understood SS Spousal benefits, after reading yet another thread on this board about "when to take SS", I learned that I was wrong and my wife's spousal benefit will be about $200/mo higher than I budgeted.

So while repetitive threads can be annoying, some of them still have value!
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:08 AM   #42
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Thinking I understood SS Spousal benefits, after reading yet another thread on this board about "when to take SS", I learned that I was wrong and my wife's spousal benefit will be about $200/mo higher than I budgeted.

So while repetitive threads can be annoying, some of them still have value!
That sure is a pleasant surprise. Nice!
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:22 AM   #43
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All during the accumulation phase we discounted SS, assuming it would not be there (yeah, we were conservative).

Now that we are getting close to collecting, I am realizing that SS will cover more than 60% of our projected expenses. FIRE'd 3 years ago at 60. Expect to take at FRA, but that could change, it just depends.

I am sure part of it is that we lived well below our means, so our spend is less than others in the former income level. We have always spent on a few luxuries (vacations, new cars every 5-7 years) and do not feel deprived by any means, just don't have any ultra expensive desires.

I just never expected SS to cover that level of our expenses, not that I am complaining.

And you?
We are of the same age, and if both of us delayed our SS till 70 we could live on it, assuming no future cuts. Life would be without frills, but comfortable. We will not be traveling much at 70, and care about "stuff" even less than we do now.

However, my wife has taken hers early at 62, as it is the common wisdom that a couple should take the lower SS early and delay the higher one. What she is getting is a fraction of what we currently spend, and we are not extravagant spendthrifts.

I guess SS is about what I expect.
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:51 AM   #44
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I was surprised to learn in my 50's about the "Family maximum"! I started collecting at 62 and am receiving something like 180% of my FRA. It covers all basic expenses except for travel and sexy lingerie for the young wife!
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Old 02-10-2019, 08:54 AM   #45
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I started collecting at 62 and am receiving something like 180% of my FRA.
You started at 62 and yet are receiving much more than your FRA?
How does that work?
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:16 AM   #46
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I was surprised to learn in my 50's about the "Family maximum"! I started collecting at 62 and am receiving something like 180% of my FRA. It covers all basic expenses except for travel and sexy lingerie for the young wife!
Can you explain "the family maximum"?
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:16 AM   #47
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SS has been a "monkey wrench" in our retirement planning. I had a progressively toxic work situation for the last 15 years (37-52). I wanted out ASAP. But I was not comfortable pulling the trigger until the numbers worked without SS. I knew that SS would be way off in the future, if at all. In retrospect, that may turn out to be a huge mistake.

I retired at 52 and we are now 57/58. As it stands now, our combined SS at FRA will cover 54% of spending. At 70, that goes up to 67%. We also have two pensions that cover 62%, plus some rental income. You get the picture. We also have a fairly sizable portfolio and even today (pre-SS), we make very few withdrawals beyond cash dividends.

I've never gone back to re-run the numbers. But I think it's pretty clear I could have retired in my mid-40s. 2008 was a scare (I was 47). As was having two kids in college on my nickel at the same time. So as a practical matter, it probably played out for the best. But another 5-7 years of freedom to detox from a crazy work situation and spend time with the kids sure would have been nice.

Fast-forward to today, and we are just now upping our spend to account for SS (along the lines of what RunningBum described... or more simply, just getting closer to the number FIRECalc/i-ORP says we can spend with SS plugged in at FRA). But even now, I'm still skeptical about SS. So we don't spend all of the 95% FIRECalc number. I have a feeling the kids are going to make out like bandits.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:34 AM   #48
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SS covers 75% of basic expenses (utilities, taxes, all insurance, gas and food).

I took it at 63.5, DW taking spousal until 70. After 7 years, it has returned 80% of both employee & employer contributions.

At age 25 I had just started my first real job at a leading research institute. I remember a very vocal group of older co-workers agitating to leave SS for fear it would disappear or be cut back when they retired. I thought it was crazy then and still do.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:37 AM   #49
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I was surprised to learn in my 50's about the "Family maximum"! I started collecting at 62 and am receiving something like 180% of my FRA. It covers all basic expenses except for travel and sexy lingerie for the young wife!

As I understand it Family Maximum applies only in the case of survivors or disabled beneficiaries.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:42 AM   #50
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Can you explain "the family maximum"?
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Originally Posted by joeea View Post
You started at 62 and yet are receiving much more than your FRA?
How does that work?
The "Family Maximum" ranges from 150%-180% of your FRA benefit. It is for beneficiaries who have a young family. Children under age 18 each receive a benefit as does a spouse until the youngest is age 16.

In my case when I started at age 62, My spouse was 34 and my sons were 10 and 7 mos old. Each of my sons gets a check equal to a little more than 1/2 my check. My spouse would also get a check, but has never lived in the USA and does not have a SS# (required). We will move to the USA this year and when my oldest son ages out, my spouse will qualify and receive benefits until my youngest turns 16 or if we have more children in the future, until the last born turns 16.
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Old 02-10-2019, 09:45 AM   #51
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As I understand it Family Maximum applies only in the case of survivors or disabled beneficiaries.
If's that's the case, I guess I am dead and do not know it? On the bright side, you will be happy to hear, Death is just like ER!
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Old 02-10-2019, 03:46 PM   #52
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The "Family Maximum" ranges from 150%-180% of your FRA benefit. It is for beneficiaries who have a young family. Children under age 18 each receive a benefit as does a spouse until the youngest is age 16.

In my case when I started at age 62, My spouse was 34 and my sons were 10 and 7 mos old. Each of my sons gets a check equal to a little more than 1/2 my check. My spouse would also get a check, but has never lived in the USA and does not have a SS# (required). We will move to the USA this year and when my oldest son ages out, my spouse will qualify and receive benefits until my youngest turns 16 or if we have more children in the future, until the last born turns 16.
Ah. So what you meant was that you started collecting at 62 and your family receives something like 180% of your FRA. That makes more sense.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:11 PM   #53
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Ah. So what you meant was that you started collecting at 62 and your family receives something like 180% of your FRA. That makes more sense.
Sorry, I guess I did not make that clear.
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Old 02-10-2019, 04:16 PM   #54
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Having retired 10 years ago at age 45, I have been living off only my taxable investments. SS, my frozen company pension, and unfettered access to my rollover IRA are what I call my "reinforcements" which begin arriving at various times starting at age ~60. That doesn't include access to Medicare which will reduce my health insurance costs compared to the expensive ACA.


Even without SS and the frozen pension, my WR is around 2%, so I am not in any way dependent on SS to provide me its full benefit. If SS takes a haircut at some point, it won't be a big deal because of the other reinforcements (and Medicare).
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:09 PM   #55
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At age 25 I had just started my first real job at a leading research institute. I remember a very vocal group of older co-workers agitating to leave SS for fear it would disappear or be cut back when they retired. I thought it was crazy then and still do.
Taxation of SS Benefits = Cutting back SS benefits.

I always had a rough idea of what I'd collect since I made over the max most of my career, so I can't say it was a surprise when I started collecting. I was part of the group that could File and Suspend but DH died 2 years ago, before I reached FRA. I ended up getting a higher check than he'd gotten because no Medicare B premiums were taken out; I had ACA coverage. I'll file for a benefit on my own record when I'm 70.

SS would pretty easily cover the essentials but my life is far better with income from investments and a couple of small pensions from my previous employers. Those extra sources of income mean I can travel, donate to charity and add money to my granddaughters' 529 accounts. If the time comes that I need LTC I should have many options.
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Old 02-10-2019, 06:30 PM   #56
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We were pretty happy when we added up our pension and SS benefits. In hindsight one of the benefits of living in a high cost of living area during our working years was higher income => higher end SS benefits. And our SS benefits stay the same now even if we moved to a lower cost of living area in retirement.
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Old 02-10-2019, 11:48 PM   #57
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Not being sure how much of my income I would need in retirement, as I made a lot more than I spent and banked it in various retirement vehicles, I figured I better plan for any one of the three sources of my retirement income to cover all my basic expenses; my pension, my investments and SS. I retired at 56 with the understanding I had enough in pension or investments to cover expenses with the rest for enjoyment of life. At 62 I started taking my ss and I started receiving checks for $2,100 a month from them, which covers almost half a month's expenses, but still is all gravy with my budget. I now bring in my pension at around $5K and my SS at a little more than $2K and don't touch my investments which are 100% equities in index funds for Dow and S&P. I won't need to touch that until forced to a RMD age 70 1/2 years old. It will fund a retirement/nursing home if I or DW ever needs that service.

I'm so happy with the extra dough from SS coming in at this age, affording me to hang on to my inheritable investments. I'm banking most of that SS as it is; around $15K a year. Next year I'll use it to build a barn / shop building as working in the shed these days is getting less fun without heat and air. Not much else in life I want out of money than I already have and use.
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:43 PM   #58
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was doing pretty good with SS until they decided to charge me $507/mo for medicare... the rest of it goes to other health care premiums and the monthly car/insurance payments for the Mercedes... Oh... and don't forget that you get to pay income tax on SS too... so its never how much they tell you that you will get...
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Old 02-16-2019, 06:20 AM   #59
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My Social Security

If we claim at 70 the SS site site shows will get $71,000 per year. That is $60k in today's dollars, or about 60% of our expenses. That's much more than I ever expected.
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:18 AM   #60
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Current plan is for me to collect at 65 and DW at 70. Most calculators say I should collect at 62, but I plan on several more years of Roth conversions before taking SS.

The combined SS should be somewhere around 50% of our annual spend. There's enough "fluff" in our spending that we could probably get by on only SS, but I didn't save for years to just "get by".
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