As if Social Security isn’t already complicated enough…I regularly speak to audiences about the complexities of Social Security. Due to the usual limitations of time, I can only cover a handful of rules that most people should understand because they are most likely to be affected by them.
People often ask me how Social Security became so complicated. The answer is that it didn’t start as the simplest possible system to begin with; then over the decades it has morphed to ever-greater complexity due to legislation, regulatory orders, and court rulings. Let’s take a look at how just three of these changes came to be.
“What does the Trump administration—coupled with Republican control of Congress—mean for our Social Security benefits?”. That’s a question I’ve been getting a lot lately in one form or another.
Each year, the Trustees for the Social Security program peer out 75 years or more into the future to see how the program will fare. They compare projected income from taxes and interest on the Social Security Trust Fund with expenses—mostly benefit payments.
Did you know there is a little-known and legal strategy that can let you make tens of thousands more dollars in Social Security? This strategy, which most U.S. citizens don't know about, can dramatically increase your retirement income, letting you live a far more comfortable retirement at home or abroad.
If you are looking to maximize your cumulative potential lifetime benefits it almost always works best to claim your benefits at age 70. However, life is not just about maximizing potential income.
Those of us who work to educate the public about their Social Security benefits love to complain about how ridiculously complicated the rules are: more than any one person can comprehend entirely.
One of the pillars of wisdom in the retirement planning community is to argue that we’d be better off postponing retirement. Each year we postpone is one year less of retirement expense, and one year more for our savings to grow.
One of the least understood benefits of the Social Security system is the survivor benefit. To understand just how costly this can be, let’s look at an example. Consider two women, Lauren and Beth. They have much in common.
What is the most valuable financial asset that will support us in retirement? Most of us think that’s our retirement accounts (regular savings as well as tax-deferred ones). Others might think of the net equity in our homes.