Q & A

My husband is 60 and works as a professor at a state university. His plan is to retire from full-time work when he turns 66, draw his pension and only work part time for perhaps four more years. He wouldn’t need Social Security until he turns 70. He will have at least 31 years in full-time work (as he moved here from the Netherlands). I am 64, and my work has been sporadic and at a lower income. Social Security projects only about $300 per month for me. Should I apply for spousal benefit at 66 and just forget about my own Social Security? We both come from families with longevity into the 80s and 90s. I plan on living to be at least 100.

Answer: You can’t collect your spousal benefit — which sounds like it will exceed your own retirement benefit — until your husband files for his retirement benefit. If you can take it when you are 66, your spousal benefit will be at its highest possible value. That would require your husband to file for his own retirement benefit at 62. For a comprehensive understanding, let me first discuss a case that doesn’t directly apply to you. Say that your husband stops working at 62 and files for his retirement benefit at 62. If he does so, he’ll suffer a permanently reduced retirement benefit. Read more…

Source: Laurence Kotlikoff: a William Fairfield Warren Professor at Boston University, a Professor of Economics at Boston University, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, President of Economic Security Planning, Inc., a company specializing in financial planning software, and the Director of the Tax Analysis Center

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