In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Social Security Secrets?

By Emily Brandon

Hatched Golden Egg With Cash from Bigstock

Many close to retirement never learn important benefits information

JewishWorldReview.com | (USNWR) Many people on the verge of retirement lack knowledge about how Social Security works. Most older workers can't identify basic information about the Social Security calculation, including how many years of earnings are factored into their payout and how much their payments will increase due to delayed claiming, according to a recent AARP and Knowledge Networks online survey of 2,053 people ages 52 to 70 who plan to claim Social Security within the next 15 years. Here is what most people in their 50s and 60s don't know about Social Security:

How many years of work are factored into the payout. Social Security benefits are calculated based on your 35 highest-paid years in the workforce, but only 7 percent of survey respondents knew this. Most older workers guessed that the five (30 percent) or 10 (21 percent) years in which they earned the highest salary would be used to calculate their benefit amount.

You can get more than 30 percent bigger payments by waiting to claim. Most people (89 percent) know that their monthly Social Security payments will be bigger if they wait until their full retirement age to sign up for benefits instead of claiming at age 62. But very few people can identify exactly how much more they'll receive. "One thing that they generally know is that if you delay your claiming decision even a year, you will get a boost in your benefit, but when you actually ask them how much, they have no sense of what that actual amount is," says Jean Setzfand, AARP vice president for financial security. Only about a quarter (or 29 percent) of the survey respondents were able to estimate the percentage increase within 10 percentage points of the actual increase. For the survey respondents who are between ages 52 and 70, the increase in payments for delaying claiming from 62 until full retirement age ranges from 30.5 percent to 41.2 percent. Most of the survey respondents underestimated the value of waiting to claim their Social Security benefits.

Your payments could increase by 8 percent annually after your full retirement age. The majority of older workers (62 percent) know that their monthly payments will increase even more if they delay claiming past their full retirement age. But only 34 percent of those surveyed were able to identify a percentage increase that was within 2 percentage points of the actual increase. For most people in the age group surveyed, Social Security checks will grow by 8 percent for each year of delayed claiming beyond their full retirement age, up until age 70. Most of the survey respondents overestimated the benefit of delaying claiming after their full retirement age. "If you expect to live well beyond 80, you will maximize your benefit by claiming at 70. If you expect to die at three or more years before 80, then you will maximize your benefit by claiming at age 62," says William Reichenstein, a Baylor University professor and principal of Social Security Solutions. "You get two-thirds of 1 percent more for each month of delay. You could get 32 percent more by waiting until 70."


Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". In addition to INSPIRING stories, HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.

The age you can receive the highest possible monthly benefit. Social Security payouts grow for each year of delayed claiming up until age 70. After age 70, there is no additional benefit to waiting to sign up. But only 29 percent of those surveyed were able to identify age 70 as the year they would max out their benefit. Many people (41 percent) incorrectly guessed that it was between ages 65 and 67.

How the earnings test works. People who work and claim Social Security benefits at the same time before their full retirement age may see a temporary reduction in their Social Security payments if they earn too much. The earnings limit is $14,640 in 2012 for people below their full retirement age, above which 50 cents of each dollar earned is deducted from Social Security payments. For beneficiaries who will turn 66 in 2012, the earnings limit is $38,880, after which 33 cents of each dollar is withheld. While most older workers (76 percent) are aware of the earnings test, 71 percent incorrectly believe the reduction in benefits is permanent. Once you reach full retirement age, your checks will be recalculated to factor in any withheld benefit and your continued work record. "Most people who work before full retirement age are going to lose much, if not all, of the benefit, but there is an adjustment later," says Reichenstein. "When they hit full retirement age, they raise the benefit amount." And once you turn your retirement age, there is no penalty for working and collecting retirement benefits at the same time.

Spouses can claim benefits. Only about half (48 percent) of those who are married or who have ever been married are aware that they're eligible for Social Security spousal benefits. Spousal payments can be worth as much as 50 percent of the higher earner's Social Security payment. Dual-earner couples who have reached their full retirement age can even claim Social Security twice by signing up for spousal payments, then later switching to payments based on their own work record. "If both members of the couple wait until the full retirement age of 66, then either one of the spouses could begin receiving a spousal benefit based on the other spouse's record, and then continue to delay their benefit up until age 70, which would then maximize both of their benefits," says Jim Blankenship, a certified financial planner for Blankenship Financial Planning in New Berlin, Ill., and author of A Social Security Owner's Manual.

How to maximize widow and widower's benefits. Almost all older workers (95 percent) know that widows and widowers can collect Social Security benefits based on the earning record of the deceased spouse. Most people (78 percent) also correctly report that the age the deceased spouse signed up for benefits affects how much the surviving spouse will get. But only 52 percent of respondents correctly reported that the age the surviving spouse claims benefits can also affect how much he or she will be paid. To receive the maximum widow or widower's benefit, the surviving spouse must claim no earlier than his or her full retirement age. "Typically, the higher-earning spouse is the husband. The later that he waits to [receive] benefits, the higher the survivor's benefit will be at his demise," says Blankenship. "If he began receiving benefits early, at age 62, that would permanently reduce the amount that his wife could receive as a spousal benefit and the survivor's benefit she could receive upon his passing."

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.

© 2012, U.S.News & World Report LP All rights reserved Distributed by Tribune Media Services