The new retirement planning mantra is: work longer, expect less.
If this is the retirement scenario that you're facing, here are two suggestions for improving your situation:
Dependent children can get Social Security, too. If you are a parent who had children late in life, don't overlook what some people call "the Viagra benefit."
If you are eligible for Social Security and have dependent children younger than age 18 (or 19 and still in high school), they can file and collect up to half your benefit monthly. Biological children, adopted children and dependent stepchildren can qualify. In some cases, grandchildren also are eligible -- for instance, if you've formally adopted them.
The household maximum -- if there are several children -- is 180 percent of the eligible parent's full benefit amount. Each child's benefit will be reduced proportionately.
File for spousal benefits. Filing for spousal benefits allows you to collect half of your spouse's benefit while allowing your own benefit to grow 8 percent a year until age 70. Try to get a return that good anywhere else.
Generally, you must be full retirement age to take advantage of this. Full retirement age is 66 for those born between 1943 and 1954. (This also works for people who are currently unmarried, but who have an ex-spouse to whom they were married for at least 10 years.)
For example, when I turn 66 in four years, I can file a "restricted application for a spousal benefit" allowing me to draw one-half of my husband's benefit while I continue to earn delayed retirement credits based on my own earnings record until age 70.
My accountant husband says I should put this money in our investment account. At age 70, I can then take my maximum Social Security benefit. This is just one of many strategies available to married couples. It's one way to make your Social Security benefit work harder if you plan to work longer.