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Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.62% 11.62% 11.53%
Business 12.85% 12.85% 12.85%
Student 13.14% 13.14% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.12% 14.12% 14.00%
Airline 15.10% 15.10% 15.15%
Reward 15.14% 15.14% 14.99%
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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

3 Ways a Spouse Can Boost Your Social Security Payments

iStockPhoto

As I previously reported on SmartMoney.com, the decision on when to start collecting Social Security benefits can have a huge impact on the size of your monthly benefit.

But married couples can boost their lifetime benefits further if they time their retirements carefully, analysts say.

These spousal benefits allow one spouse to receive half of the retirement amount awarded to their husband or wife. Benefits can be greater for both spouses if they can wait at least until full retirement age before they start collecting payments. But both spouses don‘t have to collect at the same time.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your marriage when it comes to Social Security:

Lower earner gets a boost. A married person could see their benefits grow thanks to spousal benefits if one person earned much more than the other. For example, even if the lower earning spouse worked and is eligible for their own retirement benefits, their minimum benefit should be equal to at least half of the benefits awarded to the higher earning spouse. So if their full benefits fall short of that, they could get a combination of benefits that add up to the higher amount.

One spouse delays benefits, the other collects. Individuals can boost their retirement benefits by up to 32% if they wait until age 70 to start collecting Social Security. But married couples don’t have to go without income while they wait: one spouse can start collecting spousal benefits, even while the other is holding off payments. Say a husband decides to put off collecting full retirement benefits until age 70. He can still apply for retirement benefits and then ask to have payments suspended. That way his wife can receive a benefit one she reaches full retirement age of up to half of his regular retirement benefit would be, not including the boost he should get for delaying retirement. When he reaches age 70, he can collect his bigger check, and she can keep collecting her spousal benefits.

Collect while you wait. In a similar scenario, a person who has reached full retirement age and is eligible for spousal benefits and his or her own retirement benefit can choose to collect spousal benefits and to delay receiving their own retirement benefits. When they decide to collect their own retirement benefits at a later date, they can receive larger benefits if they’ve waited beyond their full retirement age.  It doesn’t matter if the other spouse is collecting retirement benefits or also delaying payments past retirement age.

But readers should keep in mind that regular benefits as well as spousal benefits are reduced if you start collecting them early at age 62. And once you reach age 70, there is no added incentive to either spouse to keep putting off payments.

Use the SmartMoney Retirement Planner to see the effect of delayed social security collection as well as spousal benefits.

Comments

We welcome thoughtful comments from readers. Please comply with our guidelines. Our blogs do not require the use of your real name.

Comments (2 of 2)

View all Comments »
    • This why our social security system is going broke. to me, a spouse should never be able to receive spouse’s benefits without the worker getting his. This file and suspend is a way of manipulating the system and should be done away with.

    • I just viewed your interview on FOX and was disappointed by your response. While it is true that waiting until 70 will give you a larger payment from Social Security (SS)you didn’t discuss or mention that the individual will lose money by not taking the money from 62.

      If you do not take SS payments at 62, that is money not received. If you multiply by 96 (months of payments not received) and then divide that by the new SS payment at 70, you will find that it will take 9-12 years to get you back to even (the total amount you would have received assuming you took the lower payments from age 62).

      Furthermore, you must live longer.

      I would expect comments like yours if you were working for the Government and wanted to delay individuals from taking money now, thereby delaying when SS actually goes Bankrupt. Less participation means less payments by the Government.

      Offer all possibilities next time.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.

MarketWatch - Stock Market Quotes, Business News, Financial News
Bulletin
Investor Alert
need to know
Teco Energy jumps after Emera buyout offer
‘Transporter’ takes on ‘Straight Outta Compton’
U.S. details ‘flash crash’ case vs. U.K. trader
$46 million asking-price cut for megamansion
44 million tried Apple Music in its first month

When do markets close for Labor Day?

Has Robert Redford gotten it wrong on retirement?

What not to buy over Labor Day weekend

Labor Day traffic will be the U.S.’s worst since 2008

My father wanted to divide his estate, but my sister took it all
What to do when a parent dies and leaves no will
Money mistakes to avoid after a spouse’s death

speaks onstage during the 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert' panel discussion at the CBS portion of the 2015 Summer TCA Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 10, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California.  
What Colbert should ask Musk and Uber boss
Stephen Colbert’s ‘Late Show’: What to expect

Surf the 10 stories you shouldn’t have missed

Hey, Twitter, is Jack Dorsey your CEO or what?

Tennis’s U.S. Open trots out grown-up ball people

What it’s like to play tennis with a ‘smart’ racket

Chicago clout woven through Navistar complaints

Green Giant faces uphill battle for millennial market

Chinese Navy ships in U.S. territorial waters
Watch China’s 90-minute parade in 60 seconds
See photos of China's massive military parade
China markets close for war anniversary

Donald Trump stumbles during interview on foreign policy
Trump stumbles in interview on foreign policy
Trump signs Republican loyalty pledge
Carson and Trump: Their policy differences
Trump as president: Bound to be GREAT!
Businessmen have done poorly as presidents
Also
Oops — Rick Perry says broken clock right once a day

Six actors who were almost cast as James Bond

Obscure trading strategy draws Wall Street’s ire

Technical-vs.-fundamental matchups put to test

Germany at fault in Europe’s refugee crisis
Immigration to Germany at highest since 1992
Chaos in Budapest as migrants rush trains
Father of drowned Syrian boy describes voyage

5 cars that make Tesla’s Model X look like a deal
Musk: Tesla Model 3 preorders begin in March
Tesla Model X ‘Signature’ runs at least $132,000
Best time to buy a new car may be at hand

These are the college majors that are dying

They tangled with student debt all summer
College help for low-income families

/conga/frontpage.html 354231

Markets »

127.27MDow Volume:
Avg Vol: 114.07M
Unchanged
226
Decliners
4346
Advancers
2012
Price Chg %Chg 1 Day
Range: 1 Day
  • 1 Day
  • 5 Days
  • 1 Month
  • 3 Months
  • 6 Months
  • 1 Year
  • 2 Years
Dow
/quotes/zigman/627449/realtime 16,102 -272 1.66%
Nasdaq
/quotes/zigman/12633936/realtime 4,684 -50 1.05%
S&P 500
/quotes/zigman/3870025/realtime 1,921 -30 1.53%
GlobalDow
/quotes/zigman/629063/realtime 2,282 -41 1.77%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,122 -2 0.20%
Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 45.77 -0.98 2.10%
FTSE 100
/quotes/zigman/3173262/delayed 6,043 -151 2.44%
DAX
/quotes/zigman/2380246/delayed 10,038 -280 2.71%
CAC 40
/quotes/zigman/3173214/delayed 4,523 -131 2.81%
FTSE MIB
/quotes/zigman/1482176/delayed 21,473 -705 3.18%
IBEX 35
/quotes/zigman/2759620/delayed 9,822 -221 2.20%
Stoxx 600
/quotes/zigman/2380150/delayed 353 -9 2.52%
Asia Dow
/quotes/zigman/6959860/realtime 2,684 -29 1.06%
Nikkei 225
/quotes/zigman/5986735/delayed 17,792 -390 2.15%
Hang Seng
/quotes/zigman/2622475/delayed 20,841 -94 0.45%
Shanghai
/quotes/zigman/1859015/delayed 3,160 -6 0.20%
Sensex
/quotes/zigman/1652085/delayed 25,202 -563 2.18%
Singapore
/quotes/zigman/1709939/delayed 2,864 -43 1.47%
Euro
/quotes/zigman/16008136/realtime/sampled 1.12 +0.00 0.26%
Yen
/quotes/zigman/16008150/realtime/sampled 119.01 -1.06 0.88%
Pound
/quotes/zigman/16008140/realtime/sampled 1.52 -0.01 0.58%
Australia$
/quotes/zigman/16008115/realtime/sampled 0.69 -0.01 1.50%
DXY Index
/quotes/zigman/1652083/delayed 96.22 -0.18 0.19%
WSJ $ Idx
/quotes/zigman/41508961/realtime 88.96 +0.15 0.17%
U.S. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866666/realtime 2.13 -0.03 1.47%
German 10y
/quotes/zigman/15866409/realtime 0.67 -0.05 7.51%
Italy 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866497/realtime 1.88 -0.04 2.06%
Spain 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866444/realtime 2.08 -0.03 1.41%
U.K. 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866328/realtime 1.72 -0.08 4.31%
Japan 10yr
/quotes/zigman/15866525/realtime 0.37 -0.03 6.87%
Crude Oil
/quotes/zigman/2331095/delayed 46 -1 2.10%
Gold
/quotes/zigman/662444/delayed 1,122 -2 0.20%
Corn
/quotes/zigman/7599553/delayed 363 +1 0.28%
DJIA F
/quotes/zigman/38649152/delayed 16,090 -258 1.58%
S&P F
/quotes/zigman/30356461/delayed 1,918 -28 1.44%
Silver
/quotes/zigman/3134148/delayed 15 0 1.07%

Quotes

Symbol Price Change % Change
FB /quotes/zigman/9962609/composite 88.26 0.11 0.12%
AAPL /quotes/zigman/68270/composite 109.27 -1.10 -1.00%
GOOG /quotes/zigman/30194416/composite 600.70 -5.55 -0.92%
BAC /quotes/zigman/190927/composite 15.65 -0.29 -1.82%
C /quotes/zigman/5065548/composite 50.59 -1.20 -2.32%
F /quotes/zigman/264304/composite 13.56 -0.28 -2.02%
T /quotes/zigman/398198/composite 32.56 -0.48 -1.45%
BP /quotes/zigman/247026/composite 30.70 -1.71 -5.28%
GE /quotes/zigman/227468/composite 24.00 -0.51 -2.08%
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5 yr CD
1.4%
2 yr CD
0.8%
1 yr CD
0.6%
MMA $10K+
0.3%
MMA $50K+
0.4%

National averages from Bankrate.com

You Don’t Need Another Credit Card, You Need A Better One.
Avg. APR Last Week 6 Months
Low Interest 11.62% 11.62% 11.53%
Business 12.85% 12.85% 12.85%
Student 13.14% 13.14% 13.14%
Balance Transfer 14.12% 14.12% 14.00%
Airline 15.10% 15.10% 15.15%
Reward 15.14% 15.14% 14.99%
Cash Back 15.27% 15.27% 15.26%
Instant Approval 18.00% 18.00% 17.93%
Bad Credit 22.73% 22.73% 22.48%
Source:CreditCards.com

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