Social Security: What Happens to Spousal Benefits If You're Divorced but Remarried?

As a general rule, this extinguishes any right to benefits tied to your former spouse's work history. There are, however, two important exceptions.

Jul 13, 2014 at 7:12AM


One of the biggest gray areas when it comes to Social Security concerns what happens when you get a divorce. Does this terminate your right to benefits tied to your former spouse's work history? And, more specifically, does the answer to this question change if you later get remarried?

Here's the answer: So long as you were married to your former spouse for at least 10 years, then a divorce will have no bearing whatsoever on your ability to claim spousal benefits. But if you subsequently get remarried, then it could. 

As a general rule, a remarriage will terminate your eligibility for spousal benefits stemming from your ex's work history.

One exception is if the remarriage occurred after you turned 60. In this case, the latter marriage will not prevent you from becoming entitled to benefits on your prior spouse's Social Security earnings record.

And a second exception is if your subsequent marriage ends as well. According to the official explanation from the Social Security Administration, "If you remarry before you turn 60 and that marriage ends, you may become entitled or re-entitled to benefits on your prior spouse's earnings record."

In other words, as Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield explains in the following video, it doesn't matter if you're remarried or not. What matters is if you're remarried at the time you apply for benefits.

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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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