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Is This Popular Social Security Strategy Right for You?

Social Security is an essential part of most people's retirement plans. But figuring out how to make the most of Social Security is extremely complicated. To maximize your benefits, it's important to know about innovative strategies designed to take advantage of the Social Security laws. 

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, looks at the file-and-suspend strategy for Social Security. He gives a simple overview of the strategy, noting that under file and suspend, one spouse files for Social Security benefits but immediately suspends them, instead waiting until a future date to start actually collecting benefits. The reason to do this is to allow the other spouse to claim benefits based on the first spouse's work history.

Dan then moves on to discuss the benefits of the file-and-suspend strategy. Filing and suspending allows a couple to earn some income now while also letting the higher earner's eventual benefit grow. That's especially useful when the second spouse has little or no work history and therefore would have few benefits if the second spouse filed based on his or her own earnings record. The strategy can also maximize survivors' benefits after the first spouse passes away.

Dan concludes with a warning about optimal timing for the strategy. Under the right circumstances, though, file and suspend can be a smart Social Security choice for couples.

Learn more about how to get more from Social Security
Strategies like file-and-suspend are crucial to get every penny you can from Social Security. To get more insight on your retirement benefits, turn to The Motley Fool's brand-new free report, "Make Social Security Work Harder For You." Inside, our retirement experts share their insight on other innovative strategies that can help you boost your benefits and ensure a more comfortable retirement for you and your family. Click here to get your copy today.


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Dan Caplinger
TMFGalagan

Dan Caplinger has been a contract writer for the Motley Fool since 2006. As the Fool's Director of Investment Planning, Dan oversees much of the personal-finance and investment-planning content published daily on Fool.com. With a background as an estate-planning attorney and independent financial consultant, Dan's articles are based on more than 20 years of experience from all angles of the financial world.

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