If you're married and approaching retirement age, then there's a simple technique that could help you and your spouse maximize your combined monthly benefits.
Known as "claim and suspend," it allows a spouse to get around the requirement that he or she must wait to draw benefits until after the primary beneficiary has already done so.
Here's how it works: Assuming the breadwinner is 66 years old and the spouse is at least 62, then the breadwinner can apply for benefits and then immediately suspend them. The net effect is that the primary breadwinner gets to continue accumulating delayed retirement credits without jeopardizing the now-retired spouse's ability to draw from the system.
Now, just to be clear, this strategy doesn't work for everyone. As Motley Fool contributor John Maxfield explains in the following video, it's particularly well suited for when the primary beneficiary is three to five years older than the spouse.
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