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Maximize Social Security benefits for surviving spouses

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Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

Maximize Social Security benefits for surviving spouses
Couples are advised to coordinate their Social Security claiming strategies to maximize the amount of retirement benefits they will receive, according to this article from Kiplinger. A report shows that 82% of surviving spouses could have collected a higher benefit if they restricted their application to survivor benefits and waited until the age of 70 to claim their own retirement benefits. Despite the recent law changes, “you do still have the option to take one benefit and delay the other benefit,” says an expert.

The keys to financial success are incredibly mundane (sorry!)
Maintaining an appropriate saving and/or spending rate is one of the keys for clients to achieve financial success, writes Morningstar's Christine Benz. It is not enough that clients make the best investment decisions if they have not saved enough and failed to live within their means, writes the expert. "High-income investors saving for retirement need to stretch beyond maxing out their company retirement plans and IRAs, as discussed here. And while most people stop saving when they're retired, maintaining an appropriate portfolio-withdrawal rate is essential to good financial health."

Can you open a Roth IRA for your kids?
Setting up a Roth IRA is a smart financial move that parents can make for their children, according to this article on personal finance website Motley Fool. Although the account accepts aftertax dollars, clients can see tax-free growth on their investments and withdrawals in retirement will not be subject to income taxes. Although children cannot claim tax deductions on Roth contributions, the account allows them to maximize the long time horizon, as they have little or no tax liability.

Bankruptcy is hitting more older Americans, pointing to a retirement crisis in the making
A paper by researchers with the Consumer Bankruptcy Project shows that a significant number of seniors are filing bankruptcy, suggesting that a retirement crisis may be looming over the horizon, according to this article from the Los Angeles Times. “Only a small fraction of those who are having financial troubles file for bankruptcy,” says one of the researchers. “So this is part of a much bigger story about financial distress among the elderly.”

Volunteer abroad in the Peace Corps in retirement
Seniors have the option of joining the Peace Corps to lead a meaningful life in retirement, according to this article from Kiplinger. "Retired Americans can use the life skills and professional experience they gained during their careers to make a lasting impact in communities around the world,” says a Peace Corps official. “There is no upper age limit to Peace Corps service.”

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