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CBSMoneyWatch: Social Security Errors That Can Cost You Thousands

Mistake #3: Not coordinating benefits for spouses

"Many people fail to coordinate claiming benefits with their spouse, and they miss opportunities for married couples to optimize their payouts," Peterson pointed out. These strategies usually entail starting Social Security benefits at different times for the husband and wife, whereas many married couples start their incomes at the same time.

One common strategy is to delay benefits as long as possible for the highest earner -- often the husband -- for the reasons described above. The wife might then claim benefits at an earlier age to have some retirement income coming in. Whether the optimal age to start the spouse's benefits is age 62 or age 66 (the official retirement age to collect full benefits) depends on your particular circumstances, such as the age difference and relative career earnings history of each spouse.


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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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