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Old 02-06-2015, 12:59 PM
 
Location: R.I.
982 posts, read 607,771 times
Reputation: 4266

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I am a 58 year old widowed female and have been in a longterm live-in relationship in my paid for home with my 63 year old male partner which began a couple of years following my husband's death in 2001. No intentions to remarry as I do not want to close the window on being able to retire at 64 with collecting first on my late husband's SS which will be about $1300 at that time and defer taking mine. I am an R.N. with the VA and will have 20.5 years of service at age 64 which will give me a FERS pension of about $2000. Also will have about $400,000 in my TSP by that time, but aside from owning my home outright and two small IRAs I have no other investments. My partner does contribute to our living expenses, but having been widowed once and loosing very suddenly my husband's income I do not want to add my partner's contributions into my retirement calculations because that is not a guaranteed income stream.

Now the big question is what are your thoughts on when I should convert to my own SS which will be around $2250 at 66.5 and around $3000 at 70. If I wait until 70 I will probably have to tap into savings for about $8000 a year, or draw off 2% annually from my TSP utill I get the higher SS.

What makes the most sense ???
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Central IL
15,253 posts, read 8,556,682 times
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I'm considering the very same thing....I came up with some spreadsheets of my own to plug in my expected SS benefits at different retirement ages as well as my pension/investments.... In my case it made sense to collect on my ex hubby's benefits starting at either 62 or 65 and save my own SS by using my investments to fill the gap between my pension and expenses. My investments obviously take a bit more of a hit in those early years but the increase in SS you get from waiting to collect can make a big difference.

You may be able to find some more sophisticated calculators online but consider consulting a financial advisor - you could lose a lot of dollars making the wrong decision. Good luck!
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Old 02-06-2015, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Wisconsin
21,543 posts, read 44,068,928 times
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$750 permanent lifetime increase in monthly SS benefit plus attendant COLAs makes waiting until age 70 to collect a no-brainer, imo.

A $400k TSP is large enough to withstand withdrawals of 2% for four years especially since, thereafter, between SS & FERS you will have an annuitized income of $5000/mo. for life - with COLAs - and not need to rely on the TSP to bridge significant income shortfalls in your day-to-day fixed expenses. Further, depending on how it is invested, $32,000 in withdrawals may not make a dent in that balance whatsoever. If the TSP is performing well, depending on your cash reserves, you might consider taking the $8k/yr. from your savings which are probably earning very little.

lol - congratulations - you are in a wonderful place.

Last edited by Ariadne22; 02-06-2015 at 02:20 PM..
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:39 PM
 
Location: Las Vegas
13,893 posts, read 25,347,447 times
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When you decide to retire, you can take your widow's benefits and put off taking your own SS to 70.

But get some expert advice. All I can tell you for sure is that's what I am hoping to do.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:46 PM
 
4,004 posts, read 3,228,368 times
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I believe if you take your widow benefits at 64, you will be getting reduced benefits, since your full retirement age is a bit over 66. Maybe you were figuring that with the figure of $1300.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:11 PM
 
6,544 posts, read 3,099,024 times
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I think if you can wait for the larger benefit that is usually smarter.

In the meantime, can you accelerate current savings. Maybe start living more as if you were retired.

Have you looked at the annuity options for TSP either with part or all of your money.

I think it is smart if you haven't already to talk to someone at Social Security to make sure you are using the correct figures.

Also, a good idea to talk to a planner both about what you plan to do and how you have your money invested.

Don't forget to look at the tax consequences of whatever you do.

Look at the feasibility/desirability of any back up options you have. Picking up private duty nursing, HELOC, refinancing, reverse mortgage, etc.
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Old 02-06-2015, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Florida
4,375 posts, read 3,712,866 times
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Go for 70 and assume you will live forever.
Don't forget about inflation.
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Old 02-07-2015, 02:41 AM
 
Location: R.I.
982 posts, read 607,771 times
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Thank you all for your input. Yes I have talked to SS a number of times and as of today those calculations are pretty accurate. My salary will go up some between now and retirement as I will top out in my Title 38 grade next year plus whatever COLAs come along and the occasional nurse salary locality adjustment will help add some to my pension, TSP, and build my liquid cash reserves.
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:52 AM
 
71,771 posts, read 71,875,234 times
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was your husband collecting early ? if he was you only get his amount he was collecting as a survivor benefit and if you are filing before your fra for survivor benefits it gets cut again for a second time..

a husband that filed at 62 and a widow who files at 60 can see a reduction in what her husbands fra amount would have been by as much as 48%.

if he was not collecting yet than your survivor benefits are reduced by quite a bit just because you are filing early regardless.

you only get his amount if you wait until your own fra.

i am making sure you understand that fact.
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Old 02-08-2015, 03:14 AM
 
Location: R.I.
982 posts, read 607,771 times
Reputation: 4266
Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
was your husband collecting early ? if he was you only get his amount he was collecting as a survivor benefit and if you are filing before your fra for survivor benefits it gets cut again for a second time..

a husband that filed at 62 and a widow who files at 60 can see a reduction in what her husbands fra amount would have been by as much as 48%.

if he was not collecting yet than your survivor benefits are reduced by quite a bit just because you are filing early regardless.

you only get his amount if you wait until your own fra.

i am making sure you understand that fact.
Thank you for taking the time to respond. My husband was age 49 when he died and never collected a penny from SS. I spent a good deal of time on the phone with SS this past week, the rep pulled up all the data and as of today retiring at age 64 on my husband's benefit will be $1300 a month.
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