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Research

Readers Debate Retirement Issues

It’s always interesting to see which Squared Away blogs get the strongest reaction from our readers. The June blog, “Husbands Ignore Future Widows’ Needs,” was one of them.

Some readers felt that the results of the study described in the article don’t match up with their experiences. The researchers determined that husbands often are not sensitive to the fact that if they sign up for Social Security in their early 60s, they could be locking in a smaller survivor benefit one day for their widows.

“The elderly couples with whom I do retirement planning are typically very conscious of each other’s needs,” said a critic named Jerry.

But financial planner Kathleen Rehl has the opposite experience when working with couples. “Most couples hadn’t previously known their options and ramifications of those choices,” she said. “Such an important planning concept.”

The blog was based on a study conducted for the Retirement and Disability Research Consortium – consortium studies by researchers around the country are featured regularly on Squared Away.

Here are other 2019 articles about the consortium’s research on various retirement and labor market issues that readers weighed in on:

China Trade Affects Social Security. High-tech and other trade with China has pushed up earnings for people at the top, increasing the share of U.S. workers’ earnings that exceed the payroll tax cap.

People in their Prime are Working Less. U.S. labor force activity has fallen to its lowest level since the 1970s.

Retirement Dates Don’t Always Fit Plan. Unanticipated health problems often nudge older workers into early retirement.

Know the Social Security Survivor Benefit. Another study about the survivor benefit found that married and divorced couples are not well-informed about whether they’re entitled to benefits if one of them dies.

Social Security Benefits Stump Workers. The spousal benefit can also be confusing to couples.

We welcome readers’ thoughtful comments, because it means they’re engaged.

The research reported herein was performed pursuant to a grant from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) funded as part of the Retirement Research Consortium. The opinions and conclusions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not represent the opinions or policy of SSA or any agency of the federal government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the contents of this report. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply endorsement, recommendation or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof.

2 Responses to Readers Debate Retirement Issues

  1. Wendy Rice says:

    Boomers have the highest divorce rate and majority of women do not remarry despite negative impacts and significant number of men do not remarry; aging also often results in loss of spouse.

    Why are most articles addressing married couples?

  2. Wendy – Your point is absolutely right.

    In the past I have written about divorce, so I thought I’d share a couple of these articles with you. Here you go:

    Divorce Bad for Retirement Finances: https://bit.ly/2ksQ4TU
    Boomers Hit by Divorce: https://bit.ly/2mwPvcy

    Thanks for reading the blog – Kim

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