What Is Our Best Strategy?

Dec 24 2016 - 11:15am

Hi Larry,
I'm 64 and will quit working soon. My wife turns 64 in Jan. of 2017, I have checked a couple of different sources and one says I should retire 1st and age 66 and she should collect spousal benefits and not file for hers til she reaches age 70. Another source said she should retire first at 66 and I should file for spousal benefits and collect my full ss at age 70. If I wait til I'm 70, mine will be about 2k per mo. If she waits til 70 to file, hers would be about 3k per mo. I expect to live into my late 80's and she expects to live into to her early 80's. So which above scenario makes the most sense to you or is it close to a toss up?
Thank you for your service!
Sincerely, Ed

ps. We do have enough money to live off and neither one of us collect till age 70.

Hi Ed,

As you're aware, you have several strategies to choose from. Either you or your wife could start drawing when the other reaches age 66 so that they could then receive spousal benefits for 4 years before switching to their own record at age 70. Given that the surviving member of a couple generally receives the higher of their 2 benefits, it may be best for your wife to wait until age 70 to file on her own account, since her rate is higher. And, if you start drawing your benefits when she turns 66, she could receive 4 years of spousal benefits before switching to her own account. Or, you could both wait until age 70 to file on your own records, with your wife being able to draw spousal benefits for a short time when you start drawing your benefits.

What you should probably consider doing is running the maximization software available on this website. That will enable you to run various 'what if' scenarios based on your expectations, which should help you determine the best filing strategy for both you and your wife.

Best, Jerry