Social Security

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Optimizing Social Security

Submitted by Harold Wong on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

Your retirement income hinges on a seeming paradox: People increase dependence on Social Security even as the long-term solvency of the government golden years’ program reportedly dwindles. What tricks of timing and finances can give your benefits checks the biggest boost?

Waiting to collect is the key. Examples may give you a good idea.

Survivor Benefits: 8 Questions

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Monday, October 27, 2014 - 12:00pm

Social Security survivor’s benefits become available when a Social Security recipient dies and leaves surviving dependents: a spouse, children and other dependent family members. For many, the benefits constitute a transfusion to diminished household budgets at a tough period of life. The devil’s in the details of these benefits, though, and here are some answers you and yours need ahead of time.

Q: What survivor benefits are available to my spouse?

Social Security Payout Shrinks

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 12:00pm

Calculating Social Security retirement benefits can be tricky. If you worked in a government job and did not pay Social Security taxes, part of your civil service pension gets deducted from your Social Security benefits, an offset called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). What you may not know is that the WEP’s effect goes beyond that – this provision also brings down your spouse’s and other dependents’ benefits.

How to Afford Retirement

Submitted by David Geracioti on Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 12:00pm

The methods of building a secure retirement income, which include wise use of Social Security and amassing sufficient savings, are complex. A smart financial planner can help you do it, according to a panel of advisors.

Social Security Do-Overs

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 - 3:00pm

Social Security benefits constitute a big part of many retirement plans. Advice abounds about how and when you need to file. What if you goof?

Generally, you can file for your Social Security retirement benefits when you reach age 62. Most financial advisors recommend you delay filing to better maximize your lifetime benefits.

Let’s say that’s the advice you followed when you first filed. After all, you paid into the system for your entire working life and you deserve to get the money back out, right? Plus, who knows when Social Security will go bankrupt?

Late Savers’ To-do List

Submitted by Cherice Chen on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 3:00pm

The youngest baby boomers are turning 50 this year. If you haven’t already, it’s about time to give retirement planning some serious thoughts. Advisors have a list of basic must-dos for people in this life stage.

“People who come to me in their 40s and 50s are really looking at maximizing everything they can do to prepare for retirement,” said Eve Kaplan, founder of Kaplan Financial Advisors during an advisor panel.

Protecting Special-Needs Kids

Submitted by Cherice Chen on Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 3:00pm

More than 56 million Americans have some type of disability, according to the Census Bureau. Autism, for example, affects one in 50 children. For parents of a child with a disability, the great fear is: “What happens when we’re gone?” One answer: Set up a trust for the child. Here is how.

To support a special-needs child during and beyond your lifetime requires truly special planning. Not only are there more costs and uncertainties but also heavier emotional weight.

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