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Book Announcement: Social Security Made Simple

Social Security benefits make up roughly 39% of the income of U.S. citizens age 65 or older. Unfortunately, many retirees make decisions regarding their Social Security benefits that cause them to miss out on tens of thousands of dollars over the course of their retirement. (For couples, it can even be a six-figure sum.)

As I’ve mentioned here and there over the last 18 months or so, I’ve been working on a book about Social Security for the …in 100 Pages or Less series to help people better understand how to get the most out of their Social Security benefits.

Today, that book is finally available. (Click here to see it on Amazon.)

Free for the Next 5 Days

To get things started with a bang — and to say “thank you” to everybody who reads this blog — the Kindle version will be free and the print version will be just $5 for the next 5 days (that is, through Friday 10/12/12).

Related note: There’s no need to own a Kindle to read a Kindle book. They can be read using free software on a regular PC or Mac.

What Topics Does the Book Cover?

The book is organized into four sections, each with four brief chapters. As you’ll probably notice if you’re a regular Oblivious Investor reader, many of the topics in the book have been explored in articles here on the blog.

Part 1 covers the basic rules:

  1. Qualifying for Retirement Benefits
  2. How Retirement Benefits Are Calculated
  3. Spousal Benefits
  4. Widow(er) Benefits

Part 2 takes a look at the rules for a handful of slightly less common situations:

  1. Social Security for Divorced Spouses
  2. Child Benefits
  3. Social Security with a Pension
  4. The Earnings Test

Part 3 discusses the question of when to start taking Social Security benefits:

  1. The Claiming Decision for Single People
  2. The Claiming Decision for Couples with One Working Spouse
  3. The Claiming Decision for Couples with Two Working Spouses
  4. Taking Social Security Early to Invest It

And Part 4 covers a few related planning topics:

  1. Checking Your Earnings Record
  2. How Social Security is Taxed (And How That Affects Tax Planning)
  3. Social Security and Asset Allocation
  4. Do-Over Options

I hope you find the book helpful.

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.

Want to Learn More about Social Security? Pick Up a Copy of My Book:

Social Security cover Social Security Made Simple: Social Security Retirement Benefits and Related Planning Topics Explained in 100 Pages or Less
Topics Covered in the Book:
  • How retirement benefits, spousal benefits, and widow(er) benefits are calculated,
  • How to decide the best age to claim your benefit,
  • How Social Security benefits are taxed and how that affects tax planning,
  • Click here to see the full list.

A Testimonial from a Reader on Amazon:

"An excellent review of various facts and decision-making components associated with the Social Security benefits. The book provides a lot of very useful information within small space."


  1. Bob Kirchner says

    Thanks Mike,

    I just downloaded the Kindle version and have quickly browsed the book. Looks like solid information.

  2. Thanks Mike, although I am atleast 30 years away from retirement I applaud and appreciate the free version of the book.

    Needless to say I do enjoy the simplicity of advise in this blog for the past few years.

  3. Bob,

    Thank you for downloading the book. I know it’s a subject into which you’ve done a lot of research, so I’d be interested to hear any of your thoughts. See you next week at the Bogleheads event!


    Thank you for being a long-time reader of the blog. It’s great to hear from people who continue to enjoy the articles.

  4. Hi Mike,
    Just bought the book on Amazon. I like paper and the price is right. I look forward to seeing a simplified version of a complex topic that so many seniors struggle with and as a result so often end up making bad decisions! I applaud your determination to make important financial topics easier for us all!

  5. Thanks, Mike, I have really liked your previous books and have recommended them to several friends.

  6. Thank you, Mike, for distilling a complex subject down to an easily read 100 pages.

    It’s probably cruel to ask, but what do you think the odds are that Social Security benefits will be means tested before someone as young as yourself could apply to start collecting them?

  7. Dale,

    I’m no expert in politics or economics. At all. So this is just my man-on-the-street guess. But, as succinctly as possible, my answer would be “high.”

  8. Bill Martin says

    I have a small psychology practice with one employee for the past 11 years. Last weekend, I found your site and purchased Investing Made Simple. My practice manager and I have wanted to move from our simple IRA provider for some time, as we have received very poor service and we know our costs have been excessive. Tonight I returned to your site and found the free offer for Social Security Made Simple. Thanks! I’ll be 66 in February 2014 and have needed this simplified information. Just downloaded the new one through my wife’s kindle onto my Ipad. I have an 18 year old senior and thus, I’ll never be able to retire, so I’ll have questions about receiving social security benefits in a year or so, while paying ordinary income tax on what I’ll be getting, I suppose. Thank you again for the valuable basic information in both of these books.


  9. Hi Bill.

    Thank you for buying/downloading the books. I’m happy to hear you’ve found them helpful. Please let me know when you do have questions. I’m always happy to try to answer them.

  10. Thank you, Mike! 🙂

  11. I need to read this book. Your very generous to let it go for free. I’ll tweet it out so many other people can benefit. Thanks.

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