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Subject:  Re: Social Security questions Date:  10/23/2012  12:47 PM
Author:  alstroemeria Number:  18000 of 22486

#1 Have you checked local taxes?

SC doesn't tax SS at all, and exempts the first $3,000 in pension income below age 65, and $15,000 at 65+. So we'd only be paying state taxes on asset income--we might fall below the bottom tax rung, at least at first.

#2 If either of you have health issues, choices can be different -- but for anybody who thinks you will live longer than the average 65 year person, delaying the start of SS will result in more money, when you need it the most -- later in life.

My crystal ball is cloudy. My husband and I both have health issues, but not I think ones that will kill us quickly. I doubt either of us will exceed the average age of death for people who are now 63 like us, but of course I could be mistaken.

#3 Call the folks at Social Security. They are very helpful and know more about the ins and outs than anybody else. They also are not trying to sell you anything. Be certain to ask about the combined situation for you and your spouse. There are privacy issues, so you will undoubtedly want to start the phone call with both you and your spouse so both can give permission to examine both records.

I'll make an in-person appointment so print-outs can be shared and I can get a better sense of whether the representative is knowledgeable or a trainee.

In today's low interest rate situation the magic age is 78.

Back when it was in the 80s, the decision seemed easier.

It's too late for us to postpone retirement, it is here. The only way to make it to a later age before collecting SS would be to spend down our savings. I am reluctant to do that for long. And I am afraid that Congress may change SS benefits on anyone who hasn't started collecting yet, not just people under 55. I expect they'll be cutting back on COLAs by changing the formula. This might not hurt most on this board, but SS represents 2/3 of our retirement income (that allows us to withdraw less than 2% of assets). I note that we are close in age and if we start to collect at the same time, my benefit is 70% of DH's (not the typical wifely scenario).

Thank you, TwoCybers.
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