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Why Social Security Is So Complicated for Couples

Millions of Americans rely on Social Security to help them make ends meet in retirement. That makes it more important than ever to get as much in Social Security benefits as you can. But given how complex Social Security is, that task can be a big challenge. In particular, married couples have a lot to consider in order to maximize their benefits.

In the following video, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, examines why Social Security planning for couples is so complicated. Dan observes that for single people, Social Security involves the simple decision of planning for usually one beneficiary. With couples, though, the interplay between two spouses' work histories, the potential to receive spousal and survivors' benefits, and the combinations of actions necessary to implement complex strategies like the file-and-suspend strategy or the restricted application strategy all present opportunities to maximize benefits -- but they also are extremely difficult for many Social Security recipients to understand. Dan concludes, though, that it's worth the time to get all the Social Security benefits you deserve.

Learn more about how to get more from Social Security
It can be challenging to get information about smart Social Security strategies for couples, but having that knowledge is important in helping you maximize your Social Security benefits. To learn more moneymaking retirement-benefit strategies, 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 methods you can use to increase your monthly Social Security checks and retire more comfortably while ensuring your family's long-term financial security. Click here to get your copy today.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 8:41 PM, sciencedave wrote:

    These social security strategies, although complicated, benefit married couples and discriminate against single persons who have never married. Am I the only one who recognizes this issue? It's time to simplify the system.

  • Report this Comment On October 13, 2013, at 9:37 PM, Gege12 wrote:

    A typical Motley Fool article. Attention grabbing topic header with an article/video that says absolutely nothing. It's bit of "enlightenment" on the topic that SS for couples is complicated is to say it's complicated.

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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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