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Born in the 50s

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Comment by Maggie on Thursday

Bergen, I’m very familiar with John Pavlovitz and he is terrific. Such a decent rational sane  man. Thanks for the link.

Comment by flowergirl537 on Thursday

Thanks for this thread on Social Security, Pensions and Survivor Benefits. I've been so overwhelmed with all of it. CPA has been helpful as well as the local Area Council on Aging. Our State's "approved" Consumer Credit Counseling Center has a wonderful employee with MBA in Finance. Between all three of their expertise I'm starting to understand the confusing details of SS, Pensions and Survivor Benefits and the tax laws around all. With their help I've established a budget while living in home, budget for repairs of home to sell and estimated budget once home is sold. They're now moving onto educating me and recommending books on Tax Laws specific to retired population. 

I was a caregiver for 10 years and handled ALL finances. Did that well. Managed all the retirement funds, home, work, medical bills,etc but no time to focus on the now NEVER ENDING process of steps after spouse's recent death. 

ALL the information you're sharing is so helpful, validating and supportive. Thank you!!   

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on Thursday

I don't know how many of you read or follow John Pavlovitz.  He is a pastor here in NC whose commitment to social justice has made him a favorite to many of us here in the Triangle area of the state.  He shared today a blog post from 2015.  It's about the death of his father, but it's a wonderful acknowledgement of the "You, Me, Us" aspect of a relationship and how part of us does die when someone we love dies.

To me, the good news is that we ARE capable of growing a new part.  It doesn't replace that old one, but the experiences and things we learned in the old one help seed the new one.

Comment by Athena53 on Thursday

More comments on earlier posts on this subject:  when you're eligible for a pension they typically offer you $X per month with no survivor benefit, something less than $X per month with a 50% survivor benefit and something even less that that with an 85% survivor benefit.  There may be other options.  The spouse is required to sign off on any election less that either 50% or 85%- I forget which.  (In the Bad Old Days when this wasn't required, many widows found that their late husbands had elected the larger amount with no survivor benefit and the pension just stopped.)  So- the short answer- the money went to higher payments when your husband was alive.

As for "being taken care of"- Ron was a dear man but I didn't marry him for his money.  I made twice what he did when we married and he retired shortly after that when we moved for my job- I was 50 and he was 65.  He'd taken care of everyone else in his life (a stepdaughter with severe asthma and crazy-high medical bills, his elderly mother in her last years, etc.)  and had little in assets other than a nice chunk of equity in his house.  I'd been divorced for 7 years before that, so no man to provide for me- didn't even get CS.  Fortunately, I had a good job, Ron and I shared very similar financial priorities, and I like managing money.  

Comment by Athena53 on Thursday

Bergen, you may want to visit  I was referred there by someone on another Board when I retired at 61- not as early as some of the people on the Board, but I've still learned a lot.  There are many discussions on safe withdrawal rates.  I've been driven my entire adult life by a fear of being old and poor and it looks like that won't happen. The value of my investments has gone up in the 5 years since I retired (AFTER withdrawals), which is a good sign.

I'm not sure why your financial advisor's site won't tell you the max you can take out in a year, but look up "safe withdrawal Rate" and you'll get some good info.  Usually it's 3-4%.  I had a very expensive year when we downsized but my average is at 3.5%/year.

Sorry if this makes everyone's eyes glaze over.  I'm a numbers person and that's how my brain works!

Comment by NoLongerInBergenJC on Thursday

l was always the primary breadwinner and was always saving for retirement for two, so I am pretty well situated.  I still worry about money though.  I have my husband's survivor benefit (81% of his full benefit because I took at at 63) and what I have every month is the same as my take-home from when I was working.  BUT....out of that I now have to take estimated taxes and an ACA medical premium of nearly $800/month.  I am Medicare-eligible in 8 months so that will help.  But with regular expenses and home maintenance, I feel financially strapped all the time.  My driveway needs work which will be around $8000, I will need a new water heater soon, I had to get an implant on one tooth and a root canal on another and it all adds up.  So a big trip is out of the question.  But then I look at my investments and I think "Why can't I take more money out?"  I use the "play zone" on my financial adviser's site and taking even another $500/month puts me out of what they call the "confidence zone."  And of course they never tell you how much you can take out in a year.  I don't want to run out, but I have no children so I don't need to leave a big inheritance to anyone.  I just wish I knew how much I could take out safely without risking my future.  I've lived frugally my whole life and now I find I still have to even though I should be reaping the rewards of my frugality.

Comment by booktime (Susan) on Thursday

Jules, I think it is complicated. I hope you have a nice neutral financial advisor! Pensions can be affected by social security. It really doesn't seem fair but in my case, I chose NOT to get vested but retire 2 years earlier than the 10 required. Whatever pension I would have received would not only be that much but it and my social security would have been reduced. It's called the windfall elimination provision. I don't know if this is the case for you.

On the other hand, some pensions don't seem affected by the provision.

I find it very confusing! But what I chose to do was retire when I did, go on my husband's social security, and then file for mine when I turn 70.

Hope you have someone you can go to!

Comment by Jules on Thursday

So, I don’t exactly understand the pension piece. My husband started receiving his pension a few months ago. As his widow, I assumed it would then go to me but it appears I only get a portion of that. Where does the rest go? I’m thankful for whatever I get I just want to make sure this is how it’s done.

And yes, I watched Sorry For Your Loss too. While it’s more like a movie, it’s definitely relatable to what we are going through.

Comment by Tess on Thursday

Gary'swife (my husband was Gary too), I am going to look up that series. It sounds interesting. Thanks!

Comment by Tess on Thursday

Susan and Jules, I have concerns about spending money. I think part of it is my age and part is the finality of not working anymore. Although I am on my husband's disability survivor benefits, which isn't a lot, I have the ability to pull from our investments, though I am afraid to do that yet. We grew his settlement and that will be my income along with my own social security benefits when I turn 66.

I have a fearful view of money and think it is due to how I was raised. We didn't have a lot of money and my parents' voices echoing that we can't afford it still reverberate in my ear. They were dependent on my sister in their later years and I never want to be financially dependent on someone else. It is a fear of mine.



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