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4 quirky rules you should know about benefits

It’s always what you don’t know that can trip you up when planning for retirement. And there’s a lot about Social Security you probably don’t know — but should.

Or at least you should if you want the largest possible benefit for you and your household. So, what then, are some the quirkiest rules to know?

Spouses and delayed benefits: Married couples are told by Social Security to plan for two lives. So, how might they go about that? Well, let’s say you’re the higher wage earner and you delay starting Social Security until age 70. That will result in you getting the highest monthly benefit for the rest of your life.

Why is this? It’s because Social Security retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if you delay your retirement beyond what’s called full retirement age or FRA. FRA is the age at which you could receive an unreduced benefit. But note that the benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

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