Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Sentenced" to 5-9 years before retirement

The Social Security Administration just sent me estimates of what I'd receive in monthly retirement benefit payments if I retired at the minimum age of 62, at the "full retirement" age of 66, and at 70, when I could receive the maximum permissible monthly benefit.

I don't suppose it's any news to anyone that there's a price to be paid for staying home with the kid instead of being employed.

Let me put it to you this way: If I retired in roughly a year, at 62 (my 61st birthday being this February), and my husband passed away before I did, my monthly Social Security payment wouldn't even cover my maintenance (or the rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Highland Park, NJ). I'd get substantially more money if I retired at 66, and almost twice what I'd get at 62 if I retired at 70.

It would be much more difficult for me to commute to Manhattan from the suburbs. Worse yet, my husband, who would like to work until I retire, would find the commute impossible, since he'd not only have to get to Manhattan, but travel from there to whichever outer borough(s) his classes were located in. Like it or not, we're stuck here for at least five more years. Looks like I'll be shopping by backpack for a good while longer. :(


Anonymous Miami Al said...

Just a thought, why look at this as an at-most once move? You only live once, and you should have 20-30 years left at this point, hopefully good ones.

My suggestion:

Plan a "next step" move to somewhere you like living that you can still work/commute. Plan to work until 70 if you can. This will not only get you your 6%-8%/year delayed retirement boost but if your problem if your SS being too low without your husbands, an extra 8 years of payment into the system should help with that. Each year working makes you less dependent on his earnings.

I mean, rather than 1-6 years miserable, why not find something you like for the next 9 years, then something you like for the 10 years after that? Perhaps you could work part time but still earn your social security "credits."

I don't pretend to understand how the SSA actually works, but that, in theory, should help?

Sat Dec 26, 08:46:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, I honestly don't know whether there's anything affordable that's within commuting distance. There's also no point in moving into yet another neighborhood with a dying synagogue. I'd have to do some major research. Of course, I may have some time for that, since I'll be stuck home sick for a few days anyway.

Sat Dec 26, 09:21:00 PM 2009  
Anonymous Miami Al said...

Shira, if you found something dying, that would be a step up, your current synagogue is dead! Something that lets you enjoy life a little better while you get ready for retirement, is a positive, and if it keeps you in the work force an extra 1-3 years, it might make a HUGE difference on your retirement income.

Mon Dec 28, 06:19:00 AM 2009  
Blogger Eliyahu said...

Shira, as Miami Al briefly mentioned, you do need to check to see if you can make a claim under your husband's earnings record. If you are less than full retirement age (likely=66), you can only currently earn about $1,000/month or your benefits are reduced.

Please, don't give up hope. Your husband has huge earnings potential as a CPA. He does need to embrace the "paperless office." This alone will help you get a bigger living space.


Mon Dec 28, 10:30:00 PM 2009  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Miami Al, I'll keep an open mind about a short-term move.

Eliyahu, I asked my husband about going "paperless." But he said that, since he's almost always had a full-time job and has run his practice as a second income source, he's never had a large enough practice to justify the cost of going paperless.

Wed Dec 30, 06:01:00 PM 2009  

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