Can You Collect Double Social Security Benefits?

Collecting twice from Social Security sounds like it's too good to be true. Is it?

May 10, 2014 at 9:10AM

If you're married, Social Security offers benefits both under your own work history and under your spouse's work history. But can you claim both, essentially giving you a double Social Security benefit?

In the following video from our Social Security Q&A series, Dan Caplinger, The Motley Fool's director of investment planning, answers a question from Fool reader Thomas, who asks whether he can file both for spousal benefits and for his own benefits. Dan explains that you're only entitled to receive spousal benefits if your spouse files for Social Security under her own work history, and so if you're the only person to file, you can only claim your own benefits. Moreover, Dan points out that in combining spousal benefits and your own, you don't simply add the two amounts together, but rather essentially end up getting whichever the greater amount happens to be. Even without double benefits, though, the interplay between your own benefits and spousal benefits is worth looking into.

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Have general questions about Social Security? Email them to, and they might be the subject of a future video!

Dan Caplinger and The Motley Fool have no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

A Financial Plan on an Index Card

Keeping it simple.

Aug 7, 2015 at 11:26AM

Two years ago, University of Chicago professor Harold Pollack wrote his entire financial plan on an index card.

It blew up. People loved the idea. Financial advice is often intentionally complicated. Obscurity lets advisors charge higher fees. But the most important parts are painfully simple. Here's how Pollack put it:

The card came out of chat I had regarding what I view as the financial industry's basic dilemma: The best investment advice fits on an index card. A commenter asked for the actual index card. Although I was originally speaking in metaphor, I grabbed a pen and one of my daughter's note cards, scribbled this out in maybe three minutes, snapped a picture with my iPhone, and the rest was history.

More advisors and investors caught onto the idea and started writing their own financial plans on a single index card.

I love the exercise, because it makes you think about what's important and forces you to be succinct.

So, here's my index-card financial plan:


Everything else is details. 

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