When one gets into their sixties, the idea of retiring becomes more and more attractive. But think long and hard, because the sooner you retire, the less social security your partner will get if you die.
Let’s say you are 63, retired, but not collecting Social Security. Your partner is turning 67 soon, but started collecting their Social Security at 62.
You plan to wait till you are 70 to start your collecting your benefit, which means you will be collecting more than your husband because you waited. What you have to ask yourself is that if your died before your partner, will they be able to collect your benefit instead of their own?
If you were collecting your social security already and died, your partner’s benefit would be the same as what you were receiving. But because you didn’t start early, your partner will get more.
If you were to die before the full retirement age of 66, without collecting benefits, they would receive a survivor benefit to the value of what you would have received at 66.
If you continue to not collect benefits past 66 years of age, your retirement, and your partner’s survivor benefit, would accrue "delayed retirement credits" that raise your Social Security check by 8 per cent per year between age 66 and age 70 when one’s benefit max out.
Put simply, if you die between 66 and 70 without starting benefits, your partner would get delayed retirement credits and a larger check as you would have earned credits even if your social security checks hadn't started.
So the take home is that delaying the start of benefits is a good way to maximize what your survivor receives, especially for the higher earner in a couple relationship.
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