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a lot of people in our society are obese, smoke, do not exercise, etc. All those things have an effect. You know your family history - if people life longer or shorter lives that matters.

I was the sickly member of my athletic family, who genrally tend to be long-lived on both sides, with some exceptions. Lots of cancer, even the skinny ones tend to get T2D, high blood pressure, and cholesterol problems. I never smoked, but am overweight and exercise average--I could do better. I used to have near-constant respiratory infections, but that is much better since (a) retiring, (b) taking supplements, (c) getting more medical care, (d) using alternative medicine.

You seem more informed than many asking these questions, but I trust you understand you cannot collect your SS and a spouses after the spouse dies. You can get either one, but not both.

Indeed I do. It's more of a problem for us than most because we'll get a bigger income cut when one of us dies. Unlike the typical wife collecting 50% of her husband's benefit off his record, I will collect 70% of his benefit off my own record. To prevent my also losing hubby's small pension, he;s taking a 15% cut to provide me with 100% survivor benefit. Not doing that with his teeny tiny corporate pension though.

The withdraw 2% is rather extreme.

I set aside 25% of savings as elder e-funds, car fund, travel fund, new roof and suchlike fund. We have no LTCI and presumably can't get it now, so most of it is set aside for elder care, hearing aids. I'm hitting on it for my upcoming cataract surgery, for example.

Vanguard's Wellington Mutual fund as an example.

Funny, I've been thinking of switching much $$ to Wellington, although I'm nervous about owning bonds now. Neither of us is into or good at investing. Is there a dividend ETF or Vanguard or Fidelity fund that people here recommend? Lat time I checked, they semeed to be heavy on financial companies, which put me off.

I don't know about your social security office, but I can tell you here in Atlanta, the folks are no where near as helpful as the folks on the phone. I think that is because the local office is covered up with people trying to get disability benefits and other non-retirement items.

Thank you--good to know. I'll try the phone thing first.

This is the crazy season of an election year. Politicians will say anything to get elected. But social security is not going away and neither are COLAs.

SC leg and Gov. Haley just capped SC state pension COLAs at 1% per year MAX last June. Nobody is grandfathered, including those already collecting pensions. It can happen wherever conservative/libertarian politicians predominate.

People think their personal cost increases should be covered by a COLA. Well that is not the idea. We see gasoline going up, but we don't balance that in our minds against price declines in computers and cars. We see medicare premiums going up, but we would not for a minute want to give up the newest cancer drug or or surgical technique. COLAs are designed to increase payments for the same stuff, not new or improved

I get it, and thanks for spelling it out so well.

One more question (a la Columbo ;-)

How soon do you receive SS after you apply? Some places say 3 months, some say 1 month or even the same month(!). I think 3 months might be relevant to applying at age 62, which isn't the case with us.
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