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Old 08-14-2021, 02:18 PM   #41
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W2R If I remember correctly you were also getting a spousal SS which let you that the Sur SS at full retirement and also allowed your own benefit to continue to grow.


So that alone could be considered a no brainer. Might not apply to anyone reading here but you never know. Just had a dear friend sign for survivors benefit at her FRA... I realize spousal and survivor have different rules and the rules for spousal have tightened up since they applied in your case/
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Old 08-14-2021, 03:10 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by skyking1 View Post
that is not correct.
In a nutshell, if your wife draws X amount and you wait till 70 and your benefit is 1.2X, the both of you now have 2.2X.
If you pass first, she gets the larger of the two benefits as survivor, in this case 1.2X
The key is you have to survive to that 70 number and start drawing for that to work exactly as planned.

In this scenario, what happens if the person planning to defer SS till 70 dies before starting SS? Thanks.
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Old 08-14-2021, 03:25 PM   #43
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In this scenario, what happens if the person planning to defer SS till 70 dies before starting SS? Thanks.
The survivor benefit will be calculated using the date of the death of the spouse. So if spouse dies at 68, that is the amount that will apply.
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Old 08-14-2021, 03:43 PM   #44
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+1, the discount or premia for taking early or deferring haven't changed for a long time... since the early 1980s I think, but meanwhile longevity has improved dramatically since the early 1980s with medical advances.
I think the overall improvement in longevity is not because people are living longer, it is because younger people are not dying as early as in the past. Witness the recent change in longevity rates because of the opioid crisis.
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Old 08-14-2021, 04:34 PM   #45
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You don't "have to" take SS at 62, just because your pension is reduced by what SS would pay at 62.

The two events are actually separate.
You could have your pension reduced at 62 , and wait until 70 to collect SS.

However, if your Pension is reduced by whatever SS will pay each year, then possibly it does not matter when you take SS. If the pension is much greater than whatever SS would be at any age.
My level income pension remains constant from age 55 to 62. At age 62, they subtract the SS amount at age 62 and pay that amount for the rest of my life regardless if I choose to take SS at 62 or later or any COLA. I computed my break-even for deferring it to age 67 at age 81. Therefore I will start taking payments at age 62. My taxable and tax exempt accounts will continue to grow as I have no plans to withdraw for at least the next 10 years (if ever).
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Old 08-14-2021, 05:26 PM   #46
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The survivor benefit will be calculated using the date of the death of the spouse. So if spouse dies at 68, that is the amount that will apply.

Thanks. I have wondered about that scenario myself.
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Old 08-14-2021, 05:32 PM   #47
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I have run opensocialsecurity.org and it tells me to collect at 70 and my wife at 62. This is so she gets the higher check after I die.
But this leaves out the idea that we want to maximize Roth Conversions.
If we have to add in her SS, that will reduce the amount we can Roth Convert and stay in a lower ta bracket. So I question whether it might be better to delay her SS until 70 so we can keep maximizing Roth Conversions in a low tax bracket.
Someone needs to develop a calculator that will compare taking SS or not, taking vs delaying SS, Doing Roths in 12% and 22% brackets, Doing Roth Conversions or not and RMDs. And output taxable and non taxable networth.
Creating some way to get an answer.
There's waaay too many variables there for someone to do all the work for you, but there are tools out there that would let you do these kinds of studies yourself.

Where I recommend starting is i-orp.com (scroll down to Extended Input), its tax model has some gaps (last I checked it used the current year income instead of 2 years prior for IRMAA, no AMT, no NIIT), but it gives a whole life plan from some simple inputs. You would then run various cases with different SS claim ages and different inputs for Partial Roth conversions. It's designed to tell you how much you can spend each year and end up at zero at end of life, if you want to leave an estate, you enter your desired amount as Plan Surplus.

If you are spreadsheet savvy, you can use the Bogleheads Retiree Portfolio Model that is free at their wiki. It is more flexible in year by year entries, but everything is manual, so you would have work out your own plan. Personally, I find the input layout a little confusing and it still has some tax gaps like AMT (that can bite singles pretty easily), existing capital gains, HSAs, non-deductible contributions to t-IRAs. The new beta has a cool feature that allows you to see what happens if you put your bonds in your traditional IRA and your stocks in taxable and Roth - in general you don't need to convert as much to Roths when you do that.

Of the programs I've used, Pralana Gold ($99 1st year, $49 renewal, requires Excel, no substitutes) has the best tax model and flexibility. It has a huge amount of flexibilty, good menus and a good manual. Not as automated as i-orp, but much more automated than RPM. Some things are quite easy, for instance, you can set up your Roth conversions to a certain tax bracket/IRMAA tier and test different SS claim ages at the click of a button, or just scroll over the graph and see the percent of the optimum that different ages give you. You didn't mention ACA, but based on income and your Roth conversion inputs, it will decide if you should limit Roth conversions to get ACA subsidies. I feel like I've used it heavily and there are are still sections like withdrawal strategies, Rental Property and various Life Insurance options that I've never even clicked on.

So short of hiring an advisor, there are some workable options to give you the answers you want, though it will take effort.
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Old 08-14-2021, 05:42 PM   #48
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EVERY retirement calculator I use (Firecalc + 3 others) and our Financial Advisor tell me that either way, we are financially fine and, at some point, are splitting hairs. A simple spread sheet tells me that the difference between taking SS at 65 versus 66 is $38,000 over 30 years. I'll be honest, I like the idea of drawing less from our Nest egg each year and taking SS earlier accomplishes that....All advice is welcome! Major

We have many discussions on this forum on issues like when to take SS and whether to have a mortgage or not (as long as the mortgage amount is invested). The dollar amounts over 30 years are often not that much either way compared to other factors. Like checkbook.org had an article on how much people can save by shopping at discount stores vs supermarkets and the savings could be up to $3K a year. Over a 30 year retirement that is $90K in after tax money, not even counting reinvesting the savings each year. Yet the discussions on this forum on when to take SS far outnumber where to grocery shop. Go figure.
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Old 08-14-2021, 06:39 PM   #49
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Like checkbook.org had an article on how much people can save by shopping at discount stores vs supermarkets and the savings could be up to $3K a year.

Save $3K? That's more than my entire grocery expense for a year. lol
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Old 08-14-2021, 07:04 PM   #50
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Discount grocery stores?
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Old 08-14-2021, 07:14 PM   #51
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Discount grocery stores?
I am waiting for the I only spend a dollar a day on groceries comment.
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Old 08-14-2021, 07:25 PM   #52
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I have run opensocialsecurity.org and it tells me to collect at 70 and my wife at 62. This is so she gets the higher check after I die.
But this leaves out the idea that we want to maximize Roth Conversions.
If we have to add in her SS, that will reduce the amount we can Roth Convert and stay in a lower ta bracket. So I question whether it might be better to delay her SS until 70 so we can keep maximizing Roth Conversions in a low tax bracket.
Someone needs to develop a calculator that will compare taking SS or not, taking vs delaying SS, Doing Roths in 12% and 22% brackets, Doing Roth Conversions or not and RMDs. And output taxable and non taxable networth.
Creating some way to get an answer.
We are in that same boat there
We are delaying the DW's SS until we get most of the conversions done. I don't think a calculator is needed.
Our goals are most survivor cash tax-free, and delaying the SS gets that done.
I am assuming that we will never have the gift of the 12% bracket again, and I have not found anyone who would contradict that statement.
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Old 08-14-2021, 07:26 PM   #53
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Save $3K? That's more than my entire grocery expense for a year. lol
Okay, so the article said "families" could save: "Grocery Outlet, WinCo, Walmart, FoodsCo, Foodmaxx, and Target were the price winners—where many families could save $1,350 to more than $3,000 per year. [Sams's and Costco were covered in a separate article]."
The article on warehouse stores stated their prices tended to be 33% cheaper than supermarkets like Safeway.

Previous thread on this topic with additional excerpts here - https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2639185
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:26 AM   #54
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I chose to take mine at 62 after seeing my brother in law receive one check before death from cancer. He would have received two but he passed away three hours before midnight on the last day of the month. No regrets.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:41 AM   #55
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I think the overall improvement in longevity is not because people are living longer, it is because younger people are not dying as early as in the past. Witness the recent change in longevity rates because of the opioid crisis.
+1. People are not dying as young due to tobacco and/or cardiovascular, but there hasn't been evidence older people are living longer.

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In high-income countries, life expectancy at age 60 years has increased in recent decades. Falling tobacco use (for men only) and cardiovascular disease mortality (for both men and women) are the main factors contributing to this rise. In high-income countries, avoidable male mortality has fallen since 1980 because of decreases in avoidable cardiovascular deaths. For men in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, and central Asia, and for women in all regions, avoidable mortality has changed little or increased since 1980. As yet, no evidence exists that the rate of improvement in older age mortality (60 years and older) is slowing down or that older age deaths are being compressed into a narrow age band as they approach a hypothesised upper limit to longevity.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25468166/
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:42 AM   #56
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... I'll be honest, I like the idea of drawing less from our Nest egg each year and taking SS earlier accomplishes that. ...r
FWIW, we took SS at 62 for just this reason: To leave more money in our IRAs, expecting growth there. So far, so good, I think, though there is no way to really analyze such a decision unless one has a good crystal ball. Our decision was more gut than analytical.
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Old 08-15-2021, 09:49 AM   #57
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I appreciate everyone's input and advice on this matter. I DO think I'm over thinking it. My wife is likely to outlive me and that is a consideration for waiting, however, she is urging me to take SS at age 65. Based on all our financials, she says she's not worried. I'll sleep on it!
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Old 08-15-2021, 10:03 AM   #58
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As mentioned in other threads, I will wait at least until 66 y.o. due to management of MAGI for ACA purposes, plus lump sum pension at 65.
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Old 08-15-2021, 12:05 PM   #59
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I'll chime in from a different viewpoint. Like most on here, I've been very frugal my whole life and had a hard time blowing that dough (RobbieB) thanks! But once we started getting our SS check (we took one at 64 and letting the other grow) I've been able to loosen up on being so fretty about spending. We had the savings, so no worries on meeting our expenses as we had no debt. But I seem to have a clear mental distinction between withdrawing our hard saved funds and that big ole SS check that comes each month. We do a happy dance every third Weds, its like free money and I check Robbie B's posts to see how I can blow it each month. We've got one SS growing, so that's insurance for us. But each month, every month, we get play money. It's mental freedom, just like having no debt.
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Old 08-15-2021, 12:33 PM   #60
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Run your tax program, do a couple of what ifs.
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