Better Financial Education
Larry was born in Duluth MN, and grew up in Cloquet MN. He has a B.S. cum laude in Physics from the University of Minnesota and a Master's Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Dakota with a concentration in corporate finance and investments.
Larry retired in 1994 from the United States Air Force as a commissioned officer after a career as a Command Pilot where he flew helicopters, high performance acrobatic jets, and internationally to 47 countries on five continents with large multiengine aircraft. He was also a contingency and war planner during his career as a field grade officer. In addition to flying, Larry served on the Joint Staff at US Southern Command in Panama forming contingency plans for ousting Noriega, is a veteran of the First Gulf War 1991, and served as a Contingency Mobility planner at Scott AFB IL during Haiti, relief operations in Somalia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Larry has years of financial planning research and real-life experiences showing people personal finance choices that are focused on how to make smart decisions to work towards growing and protecting their wealth, not income. Rather than make things complicated, his work has been focused around simplifying the complexities of prioritizing simultaneous financial planning issues, and their related calculations, so the person's living is sustainable.
A Registered Investment Advisor and a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner, Larry is also the author of Wealth Odyssey, a book designed to help people make sensible plans for a successful retirement and pursuing their other goals by understanding how financial planning issues are related to each other through wealth. He has research published in the Journal of Financial Planning related to retirement planning.
Larry has served on the Board of Directors for the Financial Planning Association of Northern California, and has appeared in nationally syndicated articles and on nationally syndicated radio. He currently has syndicated columns that appear online at Forbes, Morningstar, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, the Online Investor, and many more.
Larry is a member of the Academy of Financial Services. Larry is also a member of National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), a national association of Fee-only advisors.
His hobbies include reading and travel, especially to El Salvador where he met his wife, Rosa Maria Cáceres. They live in Rocklin, CA and have four children and seven grandchildren.
They speak spanish in their home. Ellos hablan español en su hogar. Larry's blog can be found here.
BS, Physics, University of Minnesota
MBA, Corporate Finance and Investments, University of South Dakota
Disclaimer can be found here.
You will be able to collect a spousal benefit (https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/applying6.html) . Quoting the SSA website “Even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years of age and your spouse is receiving retirement or disability benefits. You can also qualify for Medicare at age 65.” The caveat is “… and your spouse is receiving retirement …” benefits. This means that the earliest you can receive your spousal benefit is when he turns 62.
Further complexity comes in when you consider what happens with Social Security during what I call Phase 2 of retirement when one of you is alive (Phase 1 is when both of you are alive). When either of you go first, the lower benefit goes away, which is your spousal benefit. The higher benefit remains for the survivor, regardless of which of you that is. This will mean a pay cut for the survivor. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou5.html. So this means that the later he waits to claim his benefit, the higher his benefit will be for both Phases of retirement, 1 and 2; and the smaller the pay cut may be to the survivor.
I mention this because most people error by focusing only on the money today without considering the future impact today’s choice may have when it comes to the decision as to when to start receiving benefits.
The last point that comes to mind is that Social Security is just one element of retirement planning. Will there be other sources of income in retirement? How those other sources are structured also affect timing of retirement and when to begin Social Security since the two, retirement and Social Security, events don’t necessarily have to be started at the same time anymore.
If you desire help with refining the specifics of your situation and developing a plan, you may find a fee-only planner at the National Association of Personal Financial Planners http://www.napfa.org/. Be sure to ask them if they do detailed Social Security planning during your initial discussion when selecting them since not all planners have the same specialties.
Yours is an unusual situation. Be that as it may, your benefits will be based on the 1986 amount, however, that will be adjusted for inflation since then. SSA should be able to provide you with an estimated benefit so you should schedule an appointment (you can do that online) and go in to ask them.
Here are a couple of pages on SSA's website that may be helpful:
Survivors Planner: How Much Would Your Benefit Be?: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/ifyou5.html#&sb=1 Your survivor benefit amount would be based on the earnings of the person who died. The more he or she paid into Social Security, the higher your benefits would be.
Social Security Benefit Amounts For The Surviving Spouse By Year Of Birth: https://www.ssa.gov/planners/survivors/survivorchartred.html which means you will get a reduced benefit is you apply at age 60, which increases a little bit each month, based on when you were born, until you've reached your Full Retirement Age (FRA - also based on the year you were born) when it maxes out.
I hope this gives you a bit more info than you already had so you can better decide what to do when you visit Social Security. Be aware that SSA workers often encourage you to take benefits early. If you wait, you get more each month. The question is whether you need the money now? Or can you get by for a while longer and get more later. If you're healthy, you may live longer than you expect (life expectancy calculator https://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.html )and so waiting may give you more total money over the long run. Nobody can really answer this question since it really is one of whether you need some money now versus more money later. You could ask the SSA worker what your estimated benefits would be if you waited until 61, 62, 63, etc and decide which amount is more attractive to you by waiting versus what they say it would be now if you started now.
There are calculations for a break-even ages, but that goes beyond the scope of being able to answer that here.
Thank you for your service teaching. It appears to me that you should consider seeking advice from a fee-only (no products sold) fiduciary adviser who's a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisers (NAPFA http://findanadvisor.napfa.org/Home.aspx ) using the Advanced Find function and select "Retirement Plan Investment Advice and Retirement Planning & Distribution Rules. You would want to ask them, when initially contacting them, if they are very familiar with STRS in Ohio AND how Social Security interplays with STRS in your situation.
I work with teachers (STRS) and government employees (PERS) in CA. There is a complex interplay between many factors in your situation that you should have a firm grasp on to better plan ahead for retirement. You didn't mention if you were married, have prior earnings in Social Security, or if you currently participate in Social Security while also in STRS. There are Windfall Elimination Provisions (WEP) and Government Pension Offsets (GPO) that may apply to you and a spouse. These (WEP & GPO) are the the key terms they should be familiar with and explain to you (if they can't, keep searching for an adviser who specializes more in these areas https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v74n3/v74n3p55.html).
I tell my clients that retirement consists of three (3) phases: 1) you are both here (retirement planning); 2) one of you is here (survivor planning); and 3) neither of you are here (estate planning). Decisions you make in a prior phase ripple through to following phases and need to be better understood before making them so no surprises happen later. I can't count the number of people who come to me mad at their spouse for dying and leaving them with less than planned on income after. Even single person should be aware of the GPO to plan better ahead so there are no retirement surprises.
The other thought that comes to mind, you should have your entire retirement picture evaluated so that you can determine if you should put aside more towards retirement and how to manage the old, and possibly a new, 403b. You can't contribute to the old 403b unless you transfer it into a new one at your current employer, or transfer it into an IRA (I say transfer because rollovers have become trickier with a recent court ruling - they're more restrictive these days). You won't know until you've worked up a timeline to see when you can retire and at what level various time frames may be at.
I hope you can see that this is not something you're going to be able to put together on the internet. But, using an unbiased adviser should be of great value so you have more insights and are better educated to make an informed decision. At 47 you have some time left - years with which you can take advantage of ... those prior 25 years or so are now gone! With a plan, you will have fewer worries - at least not so much about retirement.
Wishing you the best.
They are separate and independent of one another. The VA does not list Social Security as a compensation affecting Disability Pay http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap02.asp .
There may be other considerations as to how VA and Medicare benefits interact https://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/retire/veterans.html . You may want to contact a Veteran Center nearest to you and can find one by entering your zip code on this site http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter.asp to learn more about the interaction of the health care systems and what your options/choices may be. Thank you for your service, from one veteran to another!
The option the insurance company gave you doesn’t seem correct based on the balance and annual amounts. I would suggest you talk to a fee-only fiduciary adviser near you using the Find and Adviser function on at http://www.napfa.org/index.asp. You would want to ask them to review her actual annuity contract she had with the insurance company (ask the company for a complete copy if you can’t find your mother’s copy in her files). Best wishes as you have someone near you dig deeper into specifically what the contract says beneficiary options are.