The Importance of Tackling Social Security Together
To Have, to Hold...and to Collect
As you move from your 50s into your 60s, you will likely need to make a choice about when to collect Social Security retirement benefits. Many people you know will fall back on the old adage "collect as soon as you can for as long as you can" and grab their benefits at age 62. However, in an age of increasing longevity and disappearing pensions, this may not be the most optimal, or even the most prudent, choice.
Could you be short-changing your spouse by collecting too early?
You could in fact be short-changing your spouse if you collect your Social Security benefits early. By collecting your benefits at age 62, you leave survivor benefits that are almost 40% lower than if you had waited until age 70 to collect. It is for this very reason that married couples need to treat the decision of when to collect Social Security benefits as a joint and last survivor decision rather than two individual decisions.
If your spouse passes away, you may be eligible to collect survivor benefits that, if higher, would replace your other benefits. If you are at least Full Retirement Age when you start collecting survivor benefits, you are entitled to your spouse's benefit, or more. If your spouse collected before age 63½, your survivor benefits may be slightly higher than the benefits he/she was collecting.
You can start collecting survivor benefits earlier than any other Social Security retirement benefits -- at age 60. However, the survivor benefits you collect at age 60 may be up to 28.5% lower than if you had waited until Full Retirement Age to collect them. Please check with the Social Security Administration for the most accurate calculation of your survivor benefits, especially if you choose to collect before your Full Retirement Age.
This material is provided for educational purposes only and does not constitute investment advice. The information contained herein is based on current tax laws, which may change in the future. BlackRock cannot be held responsible for any direct or incidental loss resulting from applying any of the information provided herein or from any other source mentioned. The information provided in these materials does not constitute any legal, tax or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.
Prepared by BlackRock Investments, LLC, member FINRA.