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Investing Blog Roundup: Open Social Security Widow(er) Update

A quick announcement about the Open Social Security calculator: it now has full functionality for widow/widower scenarios (including mother/father benefits as applicable).

To be clear, the calculator has always accounted for survivor benefits, but it was not built to provide guidance to people who are already widows/widowers at the time they are using the calculator.

When I first created the calculator, my line of thinking was that such wasn’t necessary because the analysis for a surviving spouse is usually very straightforward. In fact, in the absence of complicating factors, there are only two options worth considering, as compared to the 96 options for a single person to consider or 9,216 options for a married couple.

But of course, that’s “in the absence of complicating factors.” And in real life, complicating factors do apply in many cases. (The earnings test is the complicating factor most likely to dramatically affect the analysis for a widow/widower.)

So, as of last week, the calculator now provides guidance for widows/widowers, with all of the same features as in other cases.

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