Dear Rusty: I plan on retiring at 62, one year from now. I have been coached to (if financially possible) leave my Social Security earnings for my wife to collect in the future if I die, considering that she was a homemaker for the majority of her income earning years. My instinct is to get Social Security coming (I understand I'm settling for a lesser amount at age 62) as soon as possible considering the forecast of our government's inability to fund Social Security for the rest of my life. No one has a crystal ball, and no one knows what our government will or will not be able to fund even into next week, so we weigh what we know and see, and then decide. Is my question clear? Skeptical

Dear Skeptical: Well, your question is clear but contains two opposing factors - you say you wish to provide well for your wife if you die, but also say you wish to claim at age 62 because you’re not confident that Social Security (SS) will be there in the future. Yet claiming at age 62 will mean the lowest possible survivor benefit for your wife because her benefit as your widow will be the amount you are receiving at your death. I’ll try to put all this into perspective for you.

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