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Benefit bafflement? Here's how divorce or spousal death could affect your Social Security

WORRYING MANAs you approach your retirement years, you may think you understand everything about how Social Security works. But the timing of getting that first check can be tricky, especially if you've experienced a spousal death or divorce.

In general, you may start withdrawing your guaranteed payments starting at age 62; however, for each year those withdrawals are postponed through age 70, you will receive an additional 8 percent or so based on inflation. Unmarried widows, widowers and divorcees may receive the greater of their own benefits or half of their late or former spouse’s benefits, but either way the amount received will be reduced according to when withdrawals start.

That means the strategy you choose could make a big difference in your income throughout your golden years. As of May, 59.3 million Americans were receiving Social Security benefits, but only 45 million were 65 or older. And a survey this year found a full 74 percent of American women were taking such benefits before age 70.

“For many people, when to claim Social Security is one of the most significant choices they will ever make,” notes Stan Hinden on AARP.com. “The timing of the first check affects how much they'll get from Social Security and what benefits will be available for spouses, children and eventually survivors.”

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How the New Tax Laws Impact Your Dental Practice

The tax reform bill passed by Congress earlier this year was the first major overhaul of the tax code in three decades. If you're a dentist, you might be wondering how it could affect you and your practice. Here are some changes worth noting:

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HOW TAX REFORM EFFECTS YOUR RETIREMENT NEST EGG

TAX REFORMHow Tax Reform Effects Your Retirement Nest Egg

Wondering how the new tax laws will affect your retirement account? Some Americans will greatly benefit from the new tax laws, including those who see a reduction in their tax brackets. One group for whom the new tax laws are a mix of good and bad news is retirees.

Here are some of the ways the new tax laws will affect retirees and those saving for retirement.

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How will tax reform impact my divorce?


TAX REFORMDividing assets during a divorce is difficult and draining on many levels, but when you're going through it after sweeping changes to the tax code, like there were this year with the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, it gets a lot more complicated.

But, like everything when you're dealing with a divorce, forewarned is forearmed. Here are some of the things that might be impacted by the new tax laws.

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Busting financial myths about retirement savings

MYTHS BUSTEDWe all know we should be saving for retirement, but from that baseline, myriad variables exist. How much in savings is enough? What role does Social Security play in your overall financial picture? At what age should you retire?

What you don’t know about building wealth and saving for retirement might surprise you. There are a lot of misconceptions floating around out there. Here are some common myths about retirement strategies and the reality behind them.

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Five Financial Facts to be Aware of Before Your Divorce

DIVORCE GRAPHICThe costs of divorce are many. There's the emotional cost of the breakdown of a family, the pain of a failed marriage and the anger that can come with the reasons for the split. Divorce can take a physical toll, too, as the stress of it all wreaks havoc with your sleep, your blood pressure and your immune system.

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The Federal Reserve Raises Benchmark Interest Rate


Monetary policy is normalizing due to economic improvement.

On March 15, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.75-1.00%. The increase was widely expected, and it represented a vote of confidence in the economy. 1

This was the central bank's second rate hike in three months, and Wall Street took it in stride, with the S&P 500 rising nearly 15 points on the day. One reason for that may have been the Fed's latest dot-plot forecast, which remained as it was when the last interest rate adjustment was made in December. The Fed still projects a total of three hikes for 2017. 1,2

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On the Bright Side

Oregon State University researchers recently concluded that working just a year past 65 can be good for longevity. Analyzing 28 years of data from the National Institute on Aging-funded Healthy Retirement Study, they found that healthy 66-year-old retirees were found to have had an 11% lower risk of death than those retiring at 65. 4

4 - http://www.investopedia.com/articles/retirement/051216/why-working-after-retirement-good-your-health.asp

Retiring with an Age Difference

If you are 10 or 15 years older than your spouse or partner, to what degree should that age gap influence your retirement planning? You will want to consider this question, for it may affect many aspects of your financial future – such as your planned retirement dates, how you decide to claim Social Security, and how you choose to invest.

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What Vaccinations Should You Think About Getting After 65?

Your specific answer to that question depends on the advice of your doctor. Keeping that fundamental in mind, there are some vaccines that many health care professionals advocate for seniors.

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On the Bright Side

A report from the non-partisan American Enterprise Institute says that in 1970, Americans in the middle 40% of U.S. income distribution had saved an average of 33% of their yearly income in retirement accounts. That compares to an average of 210% of annual earnings for Americans in the same income demographic today. 3

3 -bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-01-04/a-little-optimism-on-the-future-of-retirement

What Does the 21st Century Cures Act Mean for Health Care?

Last December, the 21st Century Cures Act became law, opening the door to the assignment of greater federal funds for medical research and more expedient approval of medical devices and drugs by the Food & Drug Administration.

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Can You Work Your Way into Retirement?

As 2016 ended, the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey appeared and noted a preference for a phased retirement among a majority (53%) of workers polled by the insurance and investment company's Center for Retirement Studies. In fact, 48% of the pre-retirees surveyed felt that their current employer would allow them to continue working in some capacity after age 65.

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Regulatory Disclosure: The information on this website has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. This website is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation to buy any securities. Gerard Gruber offers Securities and Investment Advisory and Financial Planning service through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not FDIC insured. Investments are not deposits of the financial institution and are not guaranteed by a financial institution. Investments are subject to investment risks including loss of principal amount invested.