Is there a formula for calculating whether I should apply for spousal benefits and defer taking my own full retirement benefits (i.e., a calculation for comparing taking spousal benefits now vs. taking my own full benefit now)? I'm full retirement age, my husband is getting Social Security now, and my income was higher than my husband's.
There is not a specific formula. This is a case-by-case determination. The earnings history is a major factor, but so is life expectancy and personal cash flow needs. The best approach would be to engage a CPA or other financial adviser who has the software to help make these calculations for you. Another alternative is to make an appointment with Social Security to get assistance.
For more resources, check out PICPA’s Money & Life Tips, Ask a CPA, or CPA Locator.
Answered by: Paul K. Rudoy, CPA, PFS, is managing partner of H2R CPA in Pittsburgh, Pa.