When Should I Take My Retirement Benefit?

Jul 4 2016 - 10:45pm

Hi Larry,

My husband's birthday is 5/1952 so he turned 62 before Jan.1, 2016. My birthday is 6/1954, so I did not turn 62 until after the Jan. 1, 2016 cutoff date. Our plan is for me to apply for my benefits, which will be much lower than my husband's, when I turn 66. At that time my husband will be 68 and he can collect half of my benefits, then when he turns 70 we switch. He will start collecting his own benefit and I will switch to half of his. Is this still legal under the new rules?

Thank you, Iona

Dear Iona,

This is legal under the new rules, but it may not be the best strategy for maximizing your lifetime benefits. Run our program to see what is best as you may be leaving tens of thousands of dollars on the table. If you own retirement benefit is low enough compared to your husband's, it may be best for you to take your retirement benefit right now or perhaps when your husband turns 66. This will maximize the spousal benefit he can collect on your work record. It will mean your own retirement benefit will be permanently reduced and that when he reaches 70 your total check will be smaller. (It will consist of your reduced retirement benefit and your unreduced excess spousal benefit.) But the loss to you could be outweighed by getting him spousal benefits for a longer period of time.

best, Larry