WSJ piece, not too much detail, but hints at a wealth of complexity and opportunity, regarding strategies for maximizing Social Security benefits.
Mentions of Social Security Timing, a service to help folks figure out how to optimize.
Consider a hypothetical situation. The husband, the higher earner, believes he’s going to die relatively early and the wife thinks she’ll live a long time. So the husband claims his benefits as early as possible and the wife delays.
“That’s exactly opposite of the scenario that should happen,” Mr. Elsasser says.
Each year you delay claiming your benefits past your normal retirement age, your benefit ticks about 8% higher, up to age 70, thanks to what the Social Security Administration calls “delayed retirement credits.” And in the event of a spouse’s death, the surviving spouse can take the higher of her own benefit or that of the dead spouse.
If the husband claims early and then dies first, “effectively he’s shortchanged his wife’s survivor benefit,” Mr. Elsasser says. Instead, that husband should delay his claim, so if need be the wife can claim the highest possible benefit for the rest of her life. If the wife dies first, the husband simply keeps his own benefit.