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Old 03-21-2015, 03:51 AM   #41
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once you figure in the fact if you retire early and delay and spend down money from your portfolio that could have been growing if you collected the differences are pretty small.

while i was going to delay to fra as i am retiring this year at 63 my plan is to see how the markets do.

if after we blow through cash if markets are down i will take ss rather than start liquidating stocks to raise more cash.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:45 AM   #42
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DW brought the book home from the library, and it sat on our coffee table unread for quite a while before needing to be returned, but I did take a glance at it before it went back. Found it to be pretty interesting and I'm sure there is something to be learned even for those who think they know it all

DW is now back on list to check it out again.

I'll be FRA in June and was planning to wait until next January to file, or possibly delay depending on the market. I'd be getting max SS, and DW is 5 yrs younger with much lower earnings, so I can see her taking hers at 62 and then bumping to spousal at 66.
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:51 AM   #43
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if your wife takes it at 62 she can never really switch to a spousal.

what she gets is a bump up in her own when you file.

it will work out to less than 1/2 your full since her early benefit is used as a base.

basically they take 1/2 your full and subtract her full had she waited. the difference is added to her own benefit.

spousal benefits for those with their own work records are only a fra thing.
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:08 AM   #44
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mathjak107. But even if the spouse takes it at 62, if you die can't your spouse, if over FRA, switch to the full value of your unclaimed SS at the time of death without reduction?
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:13 AM   #45
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no she gets survivor benefits. it is a different system with different calculations.

survivor benefits have two moving targets , what the husband actually collected less about 1/2% a month for every month under fra she is vs minimum floors off of his full benefit . she gets the higher of the 2 . . if she is fra herself she just gets what he got even if he filed early or x.81 off his full which ever is higher ..

they are the higher of what he is getting vs his full x.61 if she files at 60 or x.81% if 62. there is no additional benefit in waiting for survivor if you are at the min levels and file before fra..

in either case there is a penalty if the wife files early for survivor.

she could keep her own until 62 and then go to survivor benefits and see which is higher , her own , her husbands actual less 1/2% a month for every month under fra she is vs her husbands full x.81 if 62 .
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Old 03-21-2015, 08:51 AM   #46
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I plan to do the same. Kotlikof is also the author of ESPlanner retirement software which was the linchpin of my early retirement decision. Don't believe I would have made the leap of faith without it.

Wondering if anyone has used the Maximize My Social Security software and could provide some thoughts on it.
I had been reading the threads over on Bogleheads about Kotlikoff/new book/appearance on "Here and Now". I have been vexed for years - asking here, Bogleheads (ssacritic no less!) and looking at all the SSA calculators - to try and figure out the WEP/GPO impact on our SS benefit. DW is an educator but has some SS earnings (not a lot). So after learning of the $40 annual fee, I decided to give it a try.

I am pleased with my purchase. I had just been in the SSA.gov site looking at the earnings records for DW and I. The best thing to me is that you just go to your SSA earnings report, cut-and-paste the text out of the page on the SSA site and into your software, and it parses the text and creates your earning record into the data the software uses. You can also enter it manually, but that would be tedious.

I would not have guessed the optimum strategy:

DW files for benefits in Dec. of the year she turns 64.
I file for spousal benefits in that same Dec. after reaching FRA.
I file for my benefits the month I turn 70.
DW files for spousal benefits the same month.

There is a lot of explanation that comes with your optimized strategy report. I am still just learning how to simulate other what-if scenarios to compare to the "optimum".

In my case, this whole SS situation was driving me crazy, so I found the $40 well worth it.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:16 AM   #47
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It's funny that the user review says the most important thing is to wait until 70 while the back cover copy says few Americans can afford to wait until 70.

The book's pub date is today--probably more reviews will be posted soon.
It's not funny -- it's reality. My plan is age 70 at which payment would be 3,551 a month based on the current law but could change if the law changes or the health of SS deteriorates.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:26 AM   #48
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I would not have guessed the optimum strategy:

DW files for benefits in Dec. of the year she turns 64.
I file for spousal benefits in that same Dec. after reaching FRA.
I file for my benefits the month I turn 70.
DW files for spousal benefits the same month.
Will she file for benefits at age 70?
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:30 AM   #49
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I had been reading the threads over on Bogleheads about Kotlikoff/new book/appearance on "Here and Now". I have been vexed for years - asking here, Bogleheads (ssacritic no less!) and looking at all the SSA calculators - to try and figure out the WEP/GPO impact on our SS benefit. DW is an educator but has some SS earnings (not a lot). So after learning of the $40 annual fee, I decided to give it a try.

I am pleased with my purchase. I had just been in the SSA.gov site looking at the earnings records for DW and I. The best thing to me is that you just go to your SSA earnings report, cut-and-paste the text out of the page on the SSA site and into your software, and it parses the text and creates your earning record into the data the software uses. You can also enter it manually, but that would be tedious.

I would not have guessed the optimum strategy:

DW files for benefits in Dec. of the year she turns 64.
I file for spousal benefits in that same Dec. after reaching FRA.
I file for my benefits the month I turn 70.
DW files for spousal benefits the same month.

There is a lot of explanation that comes with your optimized strategy report. I am still just learning how to simulate other what-if scenarios to compare to the "optimum".

In my case, this whole SS situation was driving me crazy, so I found the $40 well worth it.
Does your DW have 40 quarters of social security earnings herself (I am assuming she must to be able to file for benefits at 64).

I ask because a dear friend who is a retired teacher with a WEP/GPO pension just told me yesterday that she is four quarters shy of qualifying for social security, which for her would be minimal (the 36 quarters she has are from long ago jobs) but might qualify her for spousal and survivor benefits against her DH's SS, which she doesn't think she is entitled to right now. She asked if I thought she go back to work for a year in some random job to get the quarters. I didn't give her an opinion but it sounds like she should?
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:34 AM   #50
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It's funny that the user review says the most important thing is to wait until 70 while the back cover copy says few Americans can afford to wait until 70.
I agree with Spanky- it's sad reality. Many people are planning on retiring with SS only, or SS plus small savings, so they start SS at age 62 to make the savings last.


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Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
while i was going to delay to fra as i am retiring this year at 63 my plan is to see how the markets do.

if after we blow through cash if markets are down i will take ss rather than start liquidating stocks to raise more cash.

That thought has occurred to me; I retired last year and turned 62 last month. No intention to file for SS till age 70. I've been through crappy markets and would really have to do some analyses to figure out whether it would make sense to file for SS before that in the event of a crash. Is liquidating under 4% of your portfolio for a few years in a down market something to be avoided by taking SS early? Is the reduction in SS for the rest of your life worth what you'll gain when your investments recover? I'd try to model something based on the last financial crisis ups and downs.
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Old 03-21-2015, 09:49 AM   #51
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It's not funny -- it's reality. My plan is age 70 at which payment would be 3,551 a month based on the current law but could change if the law changes or the health of SS deteriorates.
"Ironic" was the word I should have used vs "funny" (which I intended as ironic, not hah hah).
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Old 03-21-2015, 10:06 AM   #52
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I agree with Spanky- it's sad reality. Many people are planning on retiring with SS only, or SS plus small savings, so they start SS at age 62 to make the savings last.





That thought has occurred to me; I retired last year and turned 62 last month. No intention to file for SS till age 70. I've been through crappy markets and would really have to do some analyses to figure out whether it would make sense to file for SS before that in the event of a crash. Is liquidating under 4% of your portfolio for a few years in a down market something to be avoided by taking SS early? Is the reduction in SS for the rest of your life worth what you'll gain when your investments recover? I'd try to model something based on the last financial crisis ups and downs.

it may be worth taking it early in that case. just figuring the money you are giving up in the equation while waiting without even figuring in the fact you will be spending down equities may make the difference hardly worth waiting for .

the ole ss increases by 8% a year never figures the checks you are not getting or the gains you are giving up with your portfolio at max levels as part of it.

you also are not exempt from medicare increase that exceed the amount of ss increase as would be the case if you are collecting. .

assuming even age 85 all you need to beat is about 4% returns .

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Old 03-21-2015, 11:23 AM   #53
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if your wife takes it at 62 she can never really switch to a spousal.

what she gets is a bump up in her own when you file.

it will work out to less than 1/2 your full since her early benefit is used as a base.

basically they take 1/2 your full and subtract her full had she waited. the difference is added to her own benefit.

spousal benefits for those with their own work records are only a fra thing.
Right, thats why I used the term bumping in my post, as she would apply for her spousal at FRA which in essence bumps her benefit. What would be costly would be applying for both her own and spousal at 62 which is a mistake that some may make.
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:38 AM   #54
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there is no choice of spousal at 62 . you have no option to do that unless you have no work record of your own . so i am not sure what you mean ?

she only gets the boost up when you file for yours . it is automatic for a spouse i believe once you file. i don't believe she has to file for the bump , it just happens automatically i think .
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Old 03-21-2015, 11:53 AM   #55
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Right, thats why I used the term bumping in my post, as she would apply for her spousal at FRA which in essence bumps her benefit. What would be costly would be applying for both her own and spousal at 62 which is a mistake that some may make.
Pretty sure if she files at 62 she is locked in and cannot reapply later--Kotlikoff's discussion here: Social Security Q&A: After Filing Early, Can I Switch to Spousal Benefits at 66? - Forbes

Your situation seems to be similar to the "Larry and Pat" scenario at this link: Kiplinger & Social Security Solutions
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:00 PM   #56
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correct she can never get a true spousal. she always is stuck with her own once she files at 62 . she justs gets a bit added to it if 1/2 the husbands is more but it isn't a spousal benefit nor will she get 1/2 the husbands amount . it will be less added to her own.. .
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Old 03-21-2015, 12:22 PM   #57
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the ole ss increases by 8% a year never figures the checks you are not getting or the gains you are giving up with your portfolio at max levels as part of it.
The "how do I get the most dollars--in theory?" approach doesn't answer the question of greatest importance to me (and many retirees of all income levels): "Which approach results in the highest monthly government-backed, inflation-adjusted annuity that I cannot outlive?"
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Old 03-21-2015, 05:02 PM   #58
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there is no choice of spousal at 62 . you have no option to do that unless you have no work record of your own . so i am not sure what you mean ?

she only gets the boost up when you file for yours . it is automatic for a spouse i believe once you file. i don't believe she has to file for the bump , it just happens automatically i think .
Assuming I file first at my FRA, I erroneously thought my DW could file at 62 and then file for an adjustment once she turns 66 to something less than 1/2 of mine. Any how, for our situation we still need to compare her filing for benefits at 62 vs at her FRA and see what the break even would be for her filing early if she gets a positive spousal adjustment immediately at 62. I need to plug our situation into one of the software apps and see when the breakeven would occur and actually read that book
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:01 PM   #59
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Curious to know if the pay software suggests a different optimum claiming strategy than the one at bedrockcapital.com
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Old 03-21-2015, 07:40 PM   #60
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Does the author mention what the impact on these strategies will be when benefits are reduced by 25% in the next 15 or so years?
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