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The death of a spouse is one of the most difficult experiences we will face in our lifetimes. The financial steps you take in the days and weeks that follow can have a major impact on your financial security as well as that of your family.
The best advice may be to simply do nothing right away.
Watch this 1-minute video for tips on what to do after your spouse passes away.
First Day of School
On Tuesday, September 4th , my kids got on the bus and went back to school after a summer break that went by way too fast. Just two short years from now we will mark my oldest daughter’s “last first day” as she starts her senior year of high school. Cue the tears.
Going to college, a vague idea that once seemed light years into the future, is now very real. Although she doesn’t think much beyond the next few months, where she will go to school, what it will cost and how it will get paid for rest top of mind for her parents.
Maybe you are in that place now.
To get on track with your college planning check out this 10 point back to school checklist for parents who want to pay less for college.
The adage “It’s not what you make, but what you keep” applies to your Social Security benefits in retirement as much as to your paycheck when you were working. How much of your Social Security benefit you actually put in your pocket depends on your income, when you start taking benefits and other factors.
The best way for many people to put more Social Security money in their pocket may be to delay benefits up to age 70. However, that may not be possible or even the best choice for everyone.
If that describes you, consider these 7 strategies to get more retirement income from Social Security.
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For the past 40 years or more you have paid into the Social Security system with the promise that someday when you retire, you will receive a guaranteed monthly income for the rest of your life. Along the way, your employer has kicked in a matching contribution equal to 100% of your contribution.
At the end of your working life there should be a giant pile of cash with your name on it. And there is (figuratively speaking anyway). But it comes with a giant string attached.
In this case, the catch is that up to 85% of your monthly benefit is considered taxable income once it’s paid out to you. What’s more, depending on the state you live in, you may owe state income tax on those benefits as well. (Bad news fellow Minnesotans. We live in one of those states).
The following post will explain how much of your benefit is taxable and what, if anything, you can do about it.
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My last post argued that you may be better off to delay the receipt of your Social Security benefits to age 70. Taking benefits earlier results in a lower monthly payment, and likely a lower total amount of benefits paid out over your lifetime.
Of course, that is not always the case. To determine your optimal beginning date, you will need to do some research. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration makes this easy to do on their website.
You will find their retirement benefits calculators here.