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SS: the experts don't agree
Old 11-15-2007, 12:43 PM   #1
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SS: the experts don't agree

Someone was just asking about SS, something he had heard at work, and people were chiding him about getting important info through hearsay from friends or message boards.

Well, it seems you can't even trust the "experts", either. I came across two posted articles today that each discuss what happens when you take SS early and continue to work.

Social Security: Don't sweat the payroll - Nov. 15, 2007
Despite what you typically read in the press, however, you don't actually "lose" the benefits you give up when you go over the earnings limit. Your monthly benefit will be increased in the future in one or, possibly, two ways.
First, the Social Security administration effectively gives you a credit for each month that you miss a check or receive a partial check because you exceed the earnings limit. When you reach your full retirement age, the Social Security administration then boosts your payments to reflect those credits.
I know this is the true info because I read it on the SS website. (It wasn't easy to find, but I did find it.)

Yet, the other "expert" says this:
5 priceless money-saving tips from Suze Orman - Today: Money -
(scroll down to "scenario #5")
if you cannot afford to retire early and must continue working full time past the age of 62, DO NOT start to collect Social Security, because the 2-for-1 penalty (SS is reduced by $1 dollar for every $2 you earn) virtually wipes out the benefit.
The "expert" seems unaware of the crediting of reduced benefits so she only knows to present you with an all or nothing draconian option.
if someone does want to go back to work full time and be able to receive the full benefit when they reach their retirement age instead of the reduced benefit they took for retiring early, you have the option to pay back the money you received from Social Security and withdraw your benefit application, and essentially take a retirement "do-over." By paying back the money and halting your benefit, you can go back to work and hold out for the full benefit once you hit your full retirement age.
This article was on the front page, and I was looking for a way to complain to them, but it seems like someone beat me to it, as it has now faded into the background on an inner page. It is still there, misleading whoever happens to find it, though. (This article [scenario #2] also includes her repeated inaccuracy about paying back 401k loans with double-taxed money)

I just though it was funny that both these articles posted on the same day. No wonder people have trouble planning for the future when they can't seem to get a straight answer in the present.
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Old 11-15-2007, 12:52 PM   #2
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Hey, the title of the Suze Orman article clearly identifies her money saving tips as "priceless". Once again, you get what you pay for...
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:14 PM   #3
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I don't see the quotes in first post as being contradictory. I see the second one as being short sighted and not helpful as much... but both quotes seemed accurate provided someone has the attention span to read the context before and after both quotes.
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:22 PM   #4
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I wouldn't take financial advice from either of these people, who may be unwittingly related to each other:
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:28 PM   #5
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quick threadjack: just got my "social security statement" in mail today. somehow my ex-employer sent in $21 in 2006 (i think that was some monies they didn't pay from 2005). anyway, based on my paying into the system $21/year from here on out, seems i misfigured my social security about $4,500/year to my favor. woohoo!
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Old 11-15-2007, 01:52 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jIMOh View Post
I don't see the quotes in first post as being contradictory. I see the second one as being short sighted and not helpful as much... but both quotes seemed accurate provided someone has the attention span to read the context before and after both quotes.
She leaves the reader with the impression that if you draw at 62, but have your payments docked due to earning over the limit, that you are left with permanently reduced age 62 payments and the only way to fix it is to do the "do over" option. When, in fact, any docked money is credited back later, so you don't need to do the "do over" and pay back what you have already received. You can simply wait and when the credited amount is recalculated, you may end up with the equivalent of age 63 or 64 payments for the rest of your life. She implies that you are stuck with age 62 payments forever unless you do the "do over" payback.

I guess it is possible that she knows the difference, but sloppy writing just does not convey her knowledge.
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Old 11-15-2007, 03:46 PM   #7
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The only "expert" on SS I know of or trust is the SSA. However the "do-over" is actually executed about 100,000 times a year according to "my" expert.
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