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FLESH OUT YOUR FINANCIAL SKELETON


As Halloween hovers on the horizon, the most frightening prospect for some adults has nothing to do with ghosts or goblins.  Rather, it’s their scary lack of preparation when it comes to retirement planning.

We suggest a new activity: fleshing out your financial skeleton. Here are the rules.

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FAST FACTS ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY

When you think of Social Security, you probably think about a monthly payment for retired and disabled workers. But Social Security has a rich history full of interesting facts. The program has been around for almost 75 years, so there has been ample time to put together a list of fun facts and figures. Here are a few.

Social Security paid benefits to about 55.8 million people in 2008. Fifty-six percent of adult beneficiaries were women.

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To Tax Or Not to Tax - A Social Security Question

When it comes to Social Security benefits, you may be wondering who must pay taxes on them and who does not. Let’s look at the numbers.

If you file a federal tax return as an "individual" and your total income is more than $25,000, then the answer for you is yes: you’ll have to pay federal taxes on your benefits. If you file a joint return and you and your spouse have a total income more than $32,000, you’ll be expected to pay federal taxes as well. 

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Apply for Social Security

Many Americans begin each new year with a list of resolutions and goals.  You may want to go on a diet, shed a little weight, do a bit more exercising, or clean out the long-neglected attic.  The trouble is these well-intended goals often melt away long before winter’s snow does.  

So why not make a resolution that’s easier to keep? 

If applying for retirement benefits is on your list of things to do this year, resolve to do it online.  To get started, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline.   

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Social Security can Benefit Surviving Husbands or Wives (and Kids)

So here are some basic facts that may interest you about Social Security survivors insurance. 

   If you are working and paying into Social Security, some of your Social Security taxes go toward survivors insurance. In fact, for most workers, the value of the survivors insurance under Social Security may be more than the value of any life insurance policy owned. 

   Who can receive survivors benefits based on your work? Your surviving husband or wife may be able to receive full benefits at his or her full retirement age.   They also can choose to take reduced Survivors benefits as early as age 60. And, if your surviving spouse is disabled, benefits can begin as early as age 50.

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More Income Tax Tips From Social Security

Here are Social Security's top three tips for making  Income Tax time a lot easier.

1) Don't forget the children. Make sure the kids (and all the dependents) you list on your annual tax forms have Social Security numbers. Yes, children do need Social Security numbers. There once was a time when a child did not require a Social Security card until later in life, but in 2010, that day is long gone.

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RETIREMENT ESTIMATOR EVEN BETTER THAN BEFORE

 Improvements to one of the most popular online services in government — the Retirement Estimator,allow more people than ever before to get a personalized and instant estimate of future Social Security retirement benefits.

 Since its launch last year, the Retirement Estimator has provided more than four million personalized estimates, and is one of the most highly rated online services in government.

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