Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are you at least age 66? Check out “free spousal” benefits

You’ve likely been caught in the quandary of when you should begin taking Social Security benefits. It’s a tough decision. Taking them now can mean extra money hitting your bank account each month. On the other hand, each year you delay can give you an 8% bigger check from Uncle Sam for the rest of your life.

What should you do?

Well, if you are married, there is a way to get both: Checks right now and bigger ones in the future ...

The Social Security Administration will let you claim spousal benefits without forcing you to claim your own benefits. In other words, you are "free" to take a spousal benefit while letting your own retirement benefit continue to grow. You will receive a full spousal benefit equal to 50% of his or her retirement benefit. Then you can switch over to your own retirement benefit at a later age

However, you must be full retirement age (66 for most Boomers) for this strategy to work. Because if you are under full retirement age when you take a spousal benefit, it’ll be based on your record … not your spouse’s. Therefore, you will be stuck with a permanently lower benefit as a result of taking it prior to your full retirement age.

For more information, here is a link to the Social Security’s Retirement Planner.

Best wishes,


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