Retirement Planning/His or Mine?

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Question
I am 52, working full-time in a good-paying job and have been all my adult life.  My husband passed away ten years ago, at age 48. I get his pension ($ and ins.) in another five years, but am unclear how SS works for someone like me. When can I retire? :)  Seriousy though - he had been at his job 21 years before he passed away.  I've been at my current for 2 and don't expect to leave anytime soon.  How does SS when one is fully vested, but lost one's spouse? Whose kicks in first, and when? I can't have both? A friend thought I could take his at 62 and keep on working if I want to until I officially retire and switch to mine if it is higher. Thanks for the advice!

Answer
Richard E. Reyes, CFP
Richard E. Reyes, CFP  
Thanks for your question and I hope I can provide you with some info.

First and foremost you are eligible for widow benefits since your spouse passed away and you can begin attaining such benefits at age 60. If you were married to them at least ten years, and you did not remarry before you reached age 60, then you may also be eligible to collect a Social Security widow or widower's benefit on an deceased ex-spouse's record. If you remarry before the age of 60 it will not affect your eligibility. You as the widow is entitled to 100% of the deceased spouse’s PIA if they have reached their own FRA. Your widow benefit will be reduced if the survivor begins benefits prior to their own FRA.

However, you have some time to go before you are eligible and although the information is important for future planning, at age 52 you don't have to worry too much since you have to wait to at least 60 before you can begin to collect. But I would definitely visit a local Certified Financial Planner (who understands Social Security) who can put together a few different scenarios for you to understand how the benefits work and how the amount you will receive because there could be a big difference depending on what age and what scenario you use to collect your benefit.

Hope this helps.

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Richard E. Reyes, CFP

Expertise

I can provide answers to questions relating to retirement especially relating to; income distribution, tax efficiency, long-term care insurance, life insurance, estate planning, asset protection, variable and fixed annuities, alternative investments and prudent portfolio design.

Experience

Through the years Richard has built a reputation as one of Central Florida's expert on retirement income distribution by providing sound, unbiased wealth coaching. We believe that Financial Planning is the problem and Wealth Coaching is the solution. The Wealth Coaching process gives you Peace of Mind, so you can stop worrying about your future. It helps you find happiness as it guides you in the TRUTH of investing, by teaching you how to make wise choices as you journey through your life’s stages. It is all about your relationships and what you value, not your net worth.

Publications
Seminole Success Magazine “Retirement Planning” Seminole Success Magazine “Small Business Snapshot” The Orlando Sentinel – Ask the Expert Financial Section (Various) Greater Orlando Broker Agent Magazine “The New It” Senior Market Advisor “Random Reader, Random Questions”

Education/Credentials
B.S. University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
CFP Certificate, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

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