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Old 12-07-2015, 07:35 AM   #141
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You need to evaluate your health, and determine if you are healthier than average, or maybe not quite as much. SS is actuarially neutral. BUT, you have insider knowledge about your own health, than can help you plan.

If you are a smoker, or a heavy drinker, take it at 62, you will not make it past the break even stage. There are a lot of other health issues that if you have them, you know you should take it as soon as possible.

There are still many unknowns. By taking your health into account, you can put the odds in your favor, similar to a card counter at a blackjack table. Or doubling down on a great blackjack hand. Just because you are holding a pair of aces, doesn't mean you always win.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:38 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Pbkmaine View Post
The fact that you will draw down your portfolio by 30% with an RV purchase is what concerns me. RVs are a quickly depreciating asset. Is there a less expensive way to do this?....
I'm no expert on RVs but I think they are similar to boats or timeshares... there is a robust used market and much better values in the used market. Like boats, people buy new ones with great intentions and then things don't work out as they planned/hoped and they get hosed when they sell or trade.

I've had many boats and a couple RVs (but the tent camper type) and have/would never buy new as the value proposition stinks.

The challenge is finding the sweet spot where you get the best value.
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Old 12-07-2015, 03:44 PM   #143
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That is the $64,000 question. We are in a very similar situation, with non-COLA pension, future SS estimates, and savings to fill the gaps. I've run several FIRECalc scenarios and found that looking at three basic strategies; we both take SS at 62, both at FRA, or both at 70 the best case appears to be both at FRA. In building spreadsheet models I sensed that spending down savings to delay SS would increase exposure to sequence of return risk, and I verified by plugging in the numbers for each and running the FIRECalc "Investigate" tab "Spending Level" searching for a 100% success rate. Claiming at FRA offered an increase in spending level over age 62 as expected (2.7%), but stretching that out to age 70 resulted in a reduced spending level even lower than age 62 (-6%). I'm sure it is very much a YMMV thing, as everyone's assets and future income sources are highly variable. Increasing future benefits by delaying makes sense, but decreasing savings makes one more vulnerable to future benefit changes. I'd rather try to keep three three legged stool somewhat in balance, at least as long as inflation doesn't eat up the non-COLA pensions too early we stand a better chance of that.
Regarding the bold: Many people here have an asset allocation built for a long retirement. They need significant equities for the long run.

But, the sort run says you should have more bonds. So, to me, deferring SS means changing the AA appropriately. I planned to have enough money in CDs and I-Bonds to provide the early SS-bridge money. That reduces sequence of returns risk. And, since I'll spend it in the short term, I'm not taking any long term risk.

Regarding Firecalc, I think it depends on the starting age I give it. If I say I'm 55 today, and I look at 62 vs. 66, it may lean toward starting earlier. But, it I say I'm 62 today, it may lean toward deferring. Of course, the "I'm 62 today" is the more relevant analysis.
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Old 12-08-2015, 09:48 AM   #144
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My understanding is that the spousal benefit is calculated as 50% of your FRA benefit, so there is no advantage there, of your waiting till 70.
That's true if I were talking about the benefit my wife could receive as my non-working spouse. The confusion is between "spousal benefit" (capped at 50% of other spouse's benefit at FRA - so, for example, non-working spouse gets 50% of working spouse's benefit if both wait until FRA) and "survivor's benefit" (not capped, so widow gets 100% of whatever benefit husband was receiving when he died or would have been eligible for when he died - i.e., she could get 100% of his delayed age 70 benefit if he delayed).

Since this can be a critical consideration in deciding whether to delay, I think it's important to get it right.

After weighing all the knowns and unknowns, I'm now leaning toward applying now (FRA).
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Old 12-08-2015, 10:36 AM   #145
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... so widow gets 100% of whatever benefit husband was receiving when he died or would have been eligible for when he died - i.e., she could get 100% of his delayed age 70 benefit if he delayed.
Another reason to delay, maybe... I believe the spouse can also collect the full age-70 survivor's benefit at 60, not at 62 or FRA. If you have at least 10 years difference in ages, that is a big difference in amount collected.

And you only have to be married for 9-10 month's for the survivor's benefit.
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Old 12-08-2015, 02:16 PM   #146
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Another reason to delay, maybe... I believe the spouse can also collect the full age-70 survivor's benefit at 60, not at 62 or FRA. If you have at least 10 years difference in ages, that is a big difference in amount collected.

And you only have to be married for 9-10 month's for the survivor's benefit.
The surviving spouse can take the survivor's benefit at 60, but there is a reduction if she takes it before her own FRA. The SS site shows the reduction for a survivor whose FRA is 66 as being .396% per month. ("Monthly reduction percentages are approximate due to rounding. The maximum benefit is limited to what the worker would receive if he or she were still alive. Survivors benefits that start at age 60 are always reduced by 28.50%.")
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Old 12-10-2015, 12:32 PM   #147
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I'm trying to delay collecting 'til 70 (or 'til my body gives out, doing my rather physical job)... I see it as accumulating an ever-larger income annuity which, if I can stand the next decade or so of working, will pay about 2/3rds of my monthly expenses; leaving me free to only take dividends from my balanced portfolio.
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:16 PM   #148
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After weighing all the pros and cons, I opted to apply for SS now (FRA). Many thanks to all who weighed in.
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Old 12-10-2015, 03:38 PM   #149
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my wife got a letter that if she was not collecting ss already her medicare premium would have jumped from, 104.50 to 389.00 per month .

the same would have happened to me if i was of medicare age and delaying .

the reason is back in 2014 we sold some commercial lease rights in Manhattan.

since we wouldn't be covered under hold harmless everything would be based on 2014 taxes since 2015 isn't filed yet and the high income would have killed us for medicare .

instead of 104.50 x 2 under hold harmless we would be paying 389 x 2 per month .

something to consider while delaying .

you can try to get a reduction with this form

https://www.ssa.gov/forms/ssa-44.pdf


so just a heads up , you may be in the lowest tax bracket with little taxable income delaying ss when you retire but if you earned big dollars prior and delay taking ss you can be in for a whopper of a medicare payment even though retired since they use the prior year actually FILED unless they modify you based on the form above . .
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Old 12-10-2015, 04:10 PM   #150
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Ha. My philosophy as well. Only the decision for me is either 62 or 66. So I will probably go with 64.
That's me LOL
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