November 11, 2018
Every week, Simply Money’s Nathan Bachrach, Ed Finke and Amy Wagner are answering your financial questions in The Cincinnati Enquirer. If you, a friend, or someone in your family has a money issue or problem, please feel free to send those questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kelly in Winton Woods: I just turned 57 and I’ve been divorced for a few years. I am not remarried, but my ex is. Can I get Social Security benefits based off of his work record? And how will that affect my own Social Security benefit?
Answer: The answer to this question hinges on a couple of criteria. If your marriage lasted 10 years or longer you are allowed to receive Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s working record (even if your ex has remarried) only if: you are unmarried, you’re at least age 62, your ex is entitled to Social Security benefits (either retirement benefits or disability benefits), and the benefit you would get off of your own record is less than the benefit you would get off of your ex’s record.
If you’re eligible to claim Social Security retirement benefits off of your own work record and your ex’s, Social Security will pay yours first – then it will make up the difference so the combined total equals that of the higher benefit amount.
Even if your ex-husband qualifies for Social Security but has not yet applied for his benefit, you’re able to receive benefits off his record if you’ve been divorced for at least two years.
Assuming you meet all the requirements, you’ll receive half of your ex’s full retirement benefit (or disability benefit) if you start claiming at your Full Retirement Age (FRA), which, for someone currently age 57, is age 67. If you start claiming before then, that benefit will be reduced. And be aware that if you decide to remarry, you generally can’t get benefits based off of your ex’s record unless your later marriage ends.
And it’s worth noting your ex-husband will not be made aware that you’re collecting based off of his record. This will also not impact his benefit or his current spouse’s benefit.
Here’s The Simply Money Point: As you plan for retirement, make sure you’re working with a financial advisor who understands how Social Security – and its increasingly complex claiming strategies – can impact your financial well-being. We recommend a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or a Chartered Financial Consultant®.
Terry from Ludlow: I’ve always hated the car-buying process, but I’m in need of a new car. Any tips you can share to make this less painful?
Answer: We’re not sure if we can make the experience completely painless for you, but we can at least offer you some advice for how to make the smartest financial decision.
Timing wise, you’re in good shape. October, November, and December are the most discounted months, according to Edmunds.com, with December taking the top spot. So, if you can wait a few more weeks, you should be able to get the best deal possible.
If you’re looking to save even more money, go against the grain. SUVs are extremely popular right now and they come with higher price tags. Therefore, if you don’t absolutely need an SUV, look at a subcompact, compact or mid-size car. These types of cars are falling in popularity, so they’ll be less expensive.
We also like the ‘20/10/4 Rule’ for buying a car: put 20 percent down, spend no more than 10 percent of your monthly budget on maintenance and insurance, and get a loan that is no longer than four years (48 months) long.
The Simply Money Point is that this is a great time of year to get a good deal on a new car. Just don’t talk monthly payments with the salesperson (only discuss the ‘out-the-door’ price), don’t automatically assume the dealership has the best financing options, and never ever get emotionally attached to a car. You always need to be ready to walk away from the negotiation. Often, they’ll track you down if you do – sometimes, with a better deal.
Responses are for informational purposes only and individuals should consider whether any general recommendation in these responses are suitable for their particular circumstances based on investment objectives, financial situation and needs. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing, including a tax advisor and/or attorney. Nathan Bachrach and Ed Finke and their team offer financial planning services through Simply Money Advisors, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Call (513) 469-7500 or email email@example.com.