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Get What's Yours - Revised & Updated: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (The Get What's Yours Series) Hardcover – May 3, 2016
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“Getting smart about Social Security can put tens of thousands of extra dollars in your pocket. With that in mind, start by reading, Get What’s Yours. . . . The book translates—into often-entertaining English—the many convoluted rules that make up the Social Security program. . . . [Does] a great job of helping you make sense of, and get the most from, Social Security. . . . Invaluable.” (Glenn Ruffenach The Wall Street Journal)
“An indispensable and surprisingly entertaining guide for anyone who is retiring or thinking of retiring with all of the Social Security benefits they’ve earned.” (Jane Pauley)
“Choosing when to take Social Security is one of the biggest decisions of your life. By doing it right, you can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to your lifetime income and leave more money for your spouse as well. This great book tells you how . . . and it’s funny, too!” (Jane Bryant Quinn, author of Making the Most of your Money NOW)
“Social Security is the biggest source of retirement income for many Americans . . . that just means that [Get What's Yours]'s tricks and tips will be ever more relevant. . . . Given that there are 2,728 core rules and thousands more supplements to them according to the authors, it pays, literally, to seek out a guide.” (Ron Leiber The New York Times)
“I love this book! Seriously! Who could ever guess that reading about Social Security could be this entertaining? And if you think you know enough about the subject, you would be wise to think again. Smartly written by an all-star, financial expert dream team, the engaging, down-to-earth prose makes Get What’s Yours the definitive guide to maximizing what is, for many, the most important retirement asset by far. From determining the best age to claim (hint: it’s not what you’ve been told) to figuring out the intricacies of spousal benefits to avoiding the ‘gotchas’ that can reduce your checks, this must-read guide is truly that. And don’t be surprised if you actually enjoy it!" (Beth Kobliner, author of Get a Financial Life)
About the Author
Laurence J. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc. His company websites are ESPlanner.com and MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com. To learn more, visit GetWhatsYours.org.
Journalist Philip Moeller writes about retirement for Money and authors the Ask Phil Medicare column for PBS. He also is a Research Fellow at the Center on Aging & Work at Boston College and the founder of Insure.com, a leading site for insurance information.
Paul Solman is the business and economics correspondent for the PBS NewsHour and is a Brady-Johnson Distinguished Practitioner in Grand Strategy at the International Security Studies department at Yale University.
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Top customer reviews
This book is necessary for three reasons: Social Security is not intuitive, and sometimes makes no sense at all. Two, Americans act against their best interests, leaving all kinds of money on the table. Three, there is usually a "however" with Social Security rules.
Worse, Social Security is now up to three million requests every week, but Congress keeps cutting back budget, staff, hours and whole offices. Combine that with the complexity factor, and the authors conclude you cannot trust what Social Security advises. Great.
The way we go after Social Security says two things: Americans are poorer than they pretend, and they don't know how much they're giving up. Only about 3% wait until age 70 to claim, where the figures show a dramatic, peak difference (76%) over claims at 62, when the biggest group files - for the least amount offered. As an aside, there is an annual survey that always says the same thing: nearly 50% of Americans couldn't raise an emergency $2500 in 30 days, not from savings or even from friends and family. Nearly half of Americans simply cannot postpone Social Security.
The most important tip is to wait until 70 before taking benefits. The next most important tip is to register at 66, but at the same time suspend benefits until 70. This not only allows your rate to grow 8% a year for four years, it also allows your spouse to claim spousal benefits (half of yours) when s/he reaches 66 and let her/his own benefits continue to grow until age 70. There are a lot of ifs ands and buts, so the book becomes a tremendous resource. The answers are clear and cogent.
As a consultant who works in different environments all the time, I developed a saying that I could play by anybody's rules, as long as I knew what they were. Get What's Yours tells you what they are.
Through simple charts, the authors point out that millions of Americans are making a BIG MISTAKE by claiming benefits too early. Although the system is supposed to be "neutral," that is not actually the case, the authors point out. A huge percentage of the populace is making the wrong decision. Probably, they point out, is that "lots of people need whatever money they can get as soon as they can get it."
So, it's important to understand the key rules that fit your situation.
I have always been confused about what the rules were for Social Security benefits. When should I file? How much will I get? Will I be taxed? I was especially confused about the spousal rules, and this book answered, in great detail, exactly what I needed to know. Besides explanation on spousal benefits, there are also chapters to cover special situations, such as parent benefits.
I found the most valuable chapters the "Secrets" chapters: Chapter 16, "50 Good News Secrets to Higher Lifetime Benefits," and Chapter 17, "25 Bad News Gotchas that can Reduce Your Benefits Forever." If there are just 2 parts of this book that you read--read these two chapters! They are really important.
The authors point out that Social Security employees are officially encouraged to sign you up and get your signature whenever you come in to an office and inquire about filing for benefits. In other words, they point out, the Social Security department itself is not really the right place to go for objective answers on how to get the most benefits.
There is one chart that is really excellent. It shows, by year of your birth, at what age you would get your full retirement benefit. This is obviously crucial, but it's confusing, because that year changes over time.
The authors can be pretty funny (or silly) at times. They include, for example, the Social Security rules on how to handle a "Missing Corpse." (Get statements from people who might know where the corpse went.)
√ All in all, GET WHAT'S YOURS is a very handy book--clearly written, and actually a pleasure to read. The three co-authors do an excellent job of explaining the rules in a simple fashion. The book includes an excellent glossary of terms. There is also a practical appendix called, "Actually Filing to Get What's Yours." They walk you through the process, step by step.
Most recent customer reviews
It was complicated and I did have to reread it several times, which is...Read more