Retirement Planning/social security file and suspend?
QUESTION: My wife will turn 66 on April 8, 2016, I will turn 62 on May 6, 2016. We are both working as college professors, are in reasonable health, and intend to work as long as possible. Salaries for both of us are about $100K.
Is there any advantage for my wife to apply for social security and then suspend payment? I could then file for spouse payment until such time that I would collect SS on my own.
Are there any tax consequences by my working and collecting SS benefits at age of 62?
ANSWER: Thanks for your question. Social security could be very confusing especially with the upcoming changes that will take place within the next few months. I would run not walk to a Certified Financial Planner in your area that can help you better "marry" your social security benefits with your other assets so that you have a better plan in place.
One of the things that stuck me in your question is that you intend to continue working as long as possible. If that is the case, and your income is as high as you state, then it would make no sense to begin since your benefits would be basically taxed away due to your income. I would recommend that you let your social security ride as long as possible while continuing to contribute to your benefits as you work.
If anything, what could probably make some sense (although I would still not highly recommend it)is if your wife files a restricted application for her spousal benefit when she hits FRA (full retirement age). That would at least allow her to begin to claim a portion of your social security while allowing her benefit to continue to grow at 8% a year.
I hope this gives you at least a little roadmap for you options.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your very clear response.
Would my wife be able to claim a restricted spousal benefit even if I don't apply for my benefit?
Would her claim impact my benefit in the future?
Why do you not recommend my wife taking a restricted spousal benefit?
The only claiming strategy that would make sense if you just had to do it would be a restricted application by your wife when she hits her full retirement age. She would be able to collect her spousal benefit and let hers continue to grow through delayed credits. Since you are still working, your income will basically wipe all your social security away so you wouldn't receive any. Your wife on the other hand will have 80% of her benefits included as income on her tax return.
Please review this with a Certified Financial Planner in your area so that they can examine your entire financial picture.