retirement

Social Security strategy for new wife, exes

Don TaylorDear Dr. Don,
I am 64 years old. I have a new wife and two ex-wives. I was married to each of the ex-wives for more than 10 years. They are all two or more years younger than me. I do not need the income and have no other heirs. What is my best Social Security strategy?
-- Vincent Verity

Dear Vincent,
Assuming you're in good health and since you don't need the income, your best strategy is to wait until age 70 to collect your Social Security. Your full retirement age is 66. By waiting until age 70 to collect benefits, you earn delayed retirement credits, and your annual benefits will be 132 percent of the benefits you would have received at your full retirement age.

If your current spouse reaches her full retirement age before you turn 70, you can "file and suspend" your benefits, and she can receive a spousal benefit of 50 percent of your full retirement benefit. Her spousal benefits won't increase because of your delayed retirement credits. If she has a work record, then by just receiving a spousal benefit at her full retirement age, she can earn delayed retirement credits based on her work record. Her decision whether it makes more sense to take a spousal benefit or a benefit based on her work record will depend on her career earnings versus your career earnings. I wouldn't recommend she file for spousal or work-based benefits prior to her full retirement age.

Since you're older than 62, as long as they haven't remarried and if they've been divorced from you for more than two years, your ex-wives can choose to receive a spousal benefit based on your work record when they turn 62 -- even if you have yet to apply for retirement benefits. Because any benefits the ex-wives receive have no impact on yours or your wife's benefits, your ex-wives can be left to plot their own Social Security strategies. If one of your ex-wives remarried and that marriage ended either by death, divorce or annulment, she may still be able to claim benefits based on your work record.

Get more news, money-saving tips and expert advice by signing up for a free Bankrate newsletter.

Ask the adviser

To ask a question of Dr. Don, go to the "Ask the Experts" page and select one of these topics: "Financing a home," "Saving & Investing" or "Money." Read more Dr. Don columns for additional personal finance advice.

Bankrate's content, including the guidance of its advice-and-expert columns and this website, is intended only to assist you with financial decisions. The content is broad in scope and does not consider your personal financial situation. Bankrate recommends that you seek the advice of advisers who are fully aware of your individual circumstances before making any final decisions or implementing any financial strategy. Please remember that your use of this website is governed by Bankrate's Terms of Use.

advertisement

Show Bankrate's community sharing policy
          Connect with us
MORTGAGE HOME EQUITY AUTO CDs CREDIT CARDS
Product Rate Change Last week
30 year fixed 4.08%  0.04 4.12%
15 year fixed 3.23%  0.02 3.21%
5/1 ARM 3.46%  0.16 3.30%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
30K FICO-based HELOC 4.30%  0.01 4.29%
50K FICO-based HELOC 4.06%  0.02 4.04%
100K FICO-based HELOC 3.91%  0.02 3.89%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
60 month used car loan 2.82%  0.03 2.79%
48 month used car loan 3.01%  0.02 2.99%
60 month new car loan 3.25%  0.01 3.24%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
1 Year CD 0.97% --0.00 0.97%
2 Year CD 1.18%  0.01 1.17%
5 Year CD 1.81%  0.05 1.76%
 
View Rates in your area Next
Product Rate Change Last week
Balance Transfer Cards 15.75% --0.00 15.75%
Cash Back Cards 16.45% --0.00 16.45%
Low Interest Cards 10.96% --0.00 10.96%
 
Next
advertisement
CD & INVESTING NEWSLETTER

Learn the latest trends that will help grow your portfolio, plus tips on investing strategies. Delivered weekly.

Blog

Jennie Phipps

2015 COLA looks chintzy

It looks like the 2015 COLA will be about 1.7 percent -- bad news for Social Security recipients hoping for more.  ... Read more

advertisement
Partner Center
advertisement

Connect with us