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Old 05-07-2011, 11:10 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
And don't forget that you also get kicked from MFJ to single filing status. In my mom's case, when my dad passed the higher taxes (on less income) was almost more of an impact than the loss of her SS check (she inherited his higher benefit when he died, but lost her own). Not only are the brackets much lower for single filers, but the threshold for SS being 85% taxable is much lower as well (and should be indexed for inflation but isn't, but that's a rant for another time).
This is a useful thing to keep reminding folks about. I know I've read it before (probably from you) but I didn't think about linking it to Roth conversions until now. The basic Roth conversion test is to compare conversion tax rate vs tax rate at distribution if not converted. I hadn't thought of the possibility that the non-converted rate could be much higher for an RMD w/ a single spouse.......which would tip the scale a bit more in favor of conversions.

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Old 05-08-2011, 11:00 AM   #22
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ESPlanner has a way to do contingency planning for the survivor.

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Old 05-08-2011, 11:08 AM   #23
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"Losing part of your social security when a spouse dies "

It wasen't mine to begin with. I never counted on it for my retirement required income plan.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:20 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Brat View Post
My brother is divorced, his former wife quite a bit younger than he but she has had substantial earnings. Does anyone know if she must be 62 before he can receive SS based on her her earnings?
I'm no authority, but this is from the SSA website

A person can receive benefits as a divorced spouse on a former spouse’s Social Security record if he or she:

Was married to the former spouse for at least 10 years;
Is at least age 62 years old;
Is unmarried; and
Is not entitled to a higher Social Security benefit on his or her own record.

In addition, the former spouse must be entitled to receive his or her own retirement or disability benefit. If the former spouse is eligible for a benefit, but has not yet applied for it, the divorced spouse can still receive a benefit if he or she meets the eligibility requirements above and has been divorced from the former spouse for at least two years.
Qualifying for divorced spouse benefits
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Old 05-08-2011, 06:11 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by glippy View Post
If your spouse is of the same sex the surviving spouse gets nothing from social security.

This can be particularly devasting if the deceased spouse's benefits were much higher or if the surviving spouse doesn't even qualify for benefits on their own.
I expect that to change within a few short years. Holden has already indicated that immigration needs to honor same sex marriage and deportations of same sex spouses are being put on hold.

I saw on CNN recently that there's a case in Mass. where a same sex couple is taking an inheritance case to the Supreme Court soon (she had to pay tax on the inheritance when her spouse died, which would not happen in a traditional marriage). I would be shocked if she failed to win her case. At that point, social security will be the next domino to fall. One couple we're friends with will get married at that point!
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:27 PM   #26
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Yes. However, I would prefer not to have to use that alternative.
If it is after 5:00 when I post I reserve the right to disavow anything I posted.
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Old 05-08-2011, 08:52 PM   #27
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Since SS is so far away (24 years) for me, I have 4 associated scenarios with SS on my planning spreasheet:

- no SS of any kind
- My SS only for me or my DW if I pass as high earner
- My SS for me & 1/2 my SS for DW (best case)
- DW's SS as the low income earner, before collecting mines, maybe at 67 or 70

For me, FI will mean no SS, anything else will be a bonus. Some say too conservative, but I don't want to be wrong on this.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:15 PM   #28
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I'm the spouse that would be in worse shape if my husband were to die early. My survivor benefit is one half. I might have a few gap years until I could take his full (and higher) SS but I'd plan to do that. We've got expense spreadsheets for both together and me alone (fewer baseball tickets and only one airline ticket for trips). We're looking into some term insurance to fill the gap.

I've also come to terms with the idea that I might have to make some slight adjustments for awhile - maybe a part time job, or a move to a smaller home. Since my husband is 8 years older than me I'm willing to take that chance so we can enjoy some active retirement years while it is still possible.
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Old 05-19-2011, 07:16 PM   #29
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The survivor benefit I'm referring to is for my husband's pension.
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Old 05-20-2011, 01:25 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I'd rather be worth more alive than dead. .
That is one of the reasons I did not elect survivor benefit packages on my pensions. Want DW to have a vested interest in keeping me alive for a long time. Don't want her to get any funny ideas.
Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. That's my story and I am sticking to it.
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Old 05-22-2011, 06:17 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by packrat44 View Post
That is one of the reasons I did not elect survivor benefit packages on my pensions. Want DW to have a vested interest in keeping me alive for a long time. Don't want her to get any funny ideas.
Seems like very good plan. No man wants his DW to slowly poison him to an early grave so she can have a fling with cabana-boy.

The time to take counsel of your fears is before you make an important battle decision. That’s the time to listen to every fear you can imagine! When you have collected all the facts and fears and made your decision, turn off all your fears and go ahead! – General George S. Patton
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