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Social Security secrets, reasonable and ridiculous

Posted by Phil Andrews on Dec 3, 2015 6:50:00 PM

The hits just keep on coming. In the past few weeks we’ve posted more than once about topics related to Social Security. The response has been impressive, especially considering that the subject matter – the impending closure of the “file-and-suspend” regulatory loophole – was obscure and rather technical. It’s nice to see that when it comes to maximizing their retirement money, readers aren’t afraid of a few technicalities.

Some have asked whether other, equally clever loopholes and strategies are still available. We’ve said before that as professionals, we can’t give financial advice in a blog post. We’re often tempted to do so, however. And we realize there’s a big difference between actual advice and general guidance.

In that spirit, we thought we’d pass along some Social Security “secrets” from highly respected economist Laurence Kotlikoff. While the webinar described here was intended for the professional crowd, we believe in demystifying the financial world whenever possible. Here are a few of the strategies that the experts believe are still legal and effective.

Check your birth certificate. If you’re married and both of you were born before certain dates, you can still use the file-and-suspend strategy.

Suspend anyway. You can still change your mind and hold out for a higher benefit. You just can’t trigger a benefit for your spouse.

Stalk your ex. Just kidding. But if you were married for at least 10 years before divorcing, you may be able to collect a full spousal benefit.

Split up and remarry. Seriously?! Kotlikoff estimates that a couple might make a cool $100,000 by divorcing, taking spousal benefits, then getting married again after two years. You have to wonder how much of it they’d spend on the wedding, though.

If you thought these would be quick and easy tips, well, we’re sorry. The obscure, even devious nature of some of these strategies should make it clear that professionals really do know more about these things than the average retiree. Or at least think about them more creatively.

There is one easy way to maximize your Social Security. As we’ve said before, simply wait as long as you can to claim a benefit. If you’re wondering whether you can keep working until you’re 70, consider this example. For some people at least, the best retirement isn’t really retirement at all.

Image courtesy tOrange.us via CreativeCommons

Topics: file and suspend, retirement planning, Social Security, social security loophole, social security strategy, Near or in Retirement, All, Uncategorized

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