Having reached full retirement age last month, I had the option of accepting social security payments now or deferring for 4 years until I reached age 70. Taking payments now would guarantee at least some return on my 50 years of contributions but deferring would allow my future payments to grow at a pretty good clip.
Hmmmmmm .... how would I decide which to do?
The answer became easy when Helen discovered the Spousal Benefit Rule. It goes something like this: if both spouses were born before 1954, the first spouse to reach age 66 (full retirement age) can take his social security payments PLUS the other spouse (upon reaching full retirement age) is entitled to receive half of her spouse's payment while allowing her benefits to continue to grow. In essence, this allows 150% of the benefits until age 70. In our case, it will allow us 150% of the benefit for almost 4 years.
Maybe everybody knows this stuff. I sure didn't. It's not that easy to understand. At least for me. I did the math several times. If I did it right, this works for us unless I live past age 89 ... or something like that.
Anyway, today is a big day for me as I received my very first social security payment.
PS. My apologies for posting something sooooo boring. It is embarrassing that my life now includes calculations of social security benefits. Please don't tell.