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Investing Blog Roundup: Getting an Accurate Benefit Estimate from Your Social Security Statement

The benefit estimate on your Social Security statement assumes that you retire and file for retirement benefits on the same date — and the SSA’s online calculators make the same assumption. So how can you calculate a benefit estimate if you plan to retire prior to (or after) filing for benefits?

Short answer: by using either of two calculators from the SSA and a very slight bit of arithmetic.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Financial Advisory Costs Falling

Schwab announced yesterday that they will be switching to a flat, low-cost price for financial planning services via their “Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium” program. For a cost of $30 per month, plus a one-time $300 initiation fee, the client will receive a “comprehensive financial plan” and “unlimited one-to-one guidance” from a CFP.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Selecting a (Next?) Career

I know that many readers are currently in the process of planning a next career (in many cases, as part of a phased retirement process). There’s no shortage of advice on career selection, but this week I encountered a brief article that actually has some evidence-based advice on the matter.

Relatedly, if you are currently trying to improve the satisfaction/fulfillment you derive from your existing line of work, you may enjoy Cal Newport’s book Deep Work.

Other Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Phased Retirement and Managing a “Life Portfolio”

This week Michael Kitces featured a guest article from semi-retired actuary Anna Rappaport about phased retirement (i.e., versions of retirement other than transitioning abruptly from full-time work to full-time retired).

What I particularly enjoyed about the article though was Rappaport’s concept of managing a “life portfolio,” which is just as applicable to people in the earlier stages of their careers as it is to people in retirement.

Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Why Delaying Social Security Doesn’t Provide an 8% Return

It’s common to see articles stating that delaying Social Security is a great deal, because it gives you an 8% return per year. Delaying Social Security is indeed a good deal, in a majority of cases. But it doesn’t give anything close to an 8% return — not usually anyway.

Recommended Reading

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Investing Blog Roundup: Open Social Security (improved WEP/GPO functionality)

The Open Social Security calculator now has some new functionality for people affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision and/or Government Pension Offset.

Specifically, it allows you to enter a date on which your pension from non-covered employment will begin (so that the calculator knows not to apply the WEP/GPO until that date), and it allows you to enter what your PIA would be without the effect of the WEP (so that the calculator can account for the fact that survivor benefits are calculated based on a PIA that hasn’t been reduced by WEP).

Special thanks go to Brian Courts who not only offered the separate-PIAs suggestion but also provided code to implement the idea!

Recommended Reading

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My new Social Security calculator (beta): Open Social Security