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Editor's note: Olivia Martin, a senior researcher at Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, recently traveled all over the country to find out the details on an opportunity that allows U.S. retirees to boost their Social Security income by as much as 75%. Read on for how to collect as much as...
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
About three weeks ago, I met with a 70-year-old retiree named Murray Roth. Murray has been taking advantage of a little-known opportunity that allows him to collect $1,033 in extra Social Security income every month.
Here's how it works...
As you probably know, you can begin collecting Social Security when you're 62 years old. But if you begin collecting when you're 62, you will get less money per month than if you wait to collect until you're 65 or even 70.
But thanks to this opportunity, you can start collecting Social Security benefits when you're first eligible, then restart your payments at a higher rate as you get older.
Essentially, it's a do-over strategy that gives you the best of both worlds: You get to collect benefits as soon as possible and your payments can get bigger – by as much as 75% – as you age.
To find out how the opportunity really works, I met Murray at a convenience store in a quiet, residential neighborhood. Murray and his wife opened the store back in 1951, shortly after getting married.
About eight years ago, Murray had a heart attack. He stopped working, started collecting Social Security, and passed the store on to his son. But even though Murray had saved all his life, the $1,377 Social Security check he received each month simply wasn't enough to maintain a decent standard of living. So last year, when he read about this opportunity in a financial planning journal, he walked into the local Social Security office to find out more.
"Nobody knew anything about it," Murray said. "It was just like talking Greek."
The lady at the Social Security office told him she'd been working there for 35 years and had never come across this request. But after making some phone calls and speaking with a supervisor, she handed Murray a one-page form.
"All I did was fill out a form," Murray said. "It was over in 15 minutes."
The form Murray filled out essentially canceled his current benefits. And because the Roth's were in the right financial position to best take advantage of this strategy, the SSA restared their benefits at a higher rate. Within a few weeks, Murray and his wife began receiving $1,033 more in their monthly Social Security checks, for a total of $2,410.
In other words, the Roths boosted their Social Security payments by 75% simply by filling out a simple form and meeting a few additional financial requirements. "It's free money from the government," Murray said. "Anybody who can do it should go for it!"
The best part about this deal is, all you have to do is ask. I called the Social Security Administration to find out if this strategy is legitimate. The spokesperson I talked to said it's perfectly legal. In fact, the government can't deny anyone the income boost.
If you're 62 or older and collecting Social Security right now, this could easily boost your monthly payments by 50% to 75%.
For more information, you can visit the Social Security website at www.ssa.gov.
THE LINE IN THE SAND IS CROSSED
For the past few months, we've highlighted the slow-motion disaster in one of the world's most important commodities... copper.
Copper is used in everything – from appliances and automobiles to plumbing and power transmission. So its price immediately reflects economic conditions around the world.
We've marked $2.40 per pound as a crucial "line in the sand" for the economy. This is the lowest level copper reached during its 2007 correction... a level far below its highs around $4... a level that screams economic weakness. Last week, copper didn't just step over this line, it jumped headfirst and landed on its face. The red metal fell as low as $2.12 per pound.Sure... a stock market rally makes everyone feel good again. You can almost forget it takes years for hundreds of billions of bad loans to wash out of the system. But take it from Dr. Copper. The world is in recession. The demand for appliances, new cars, new homes, and new commercial real estate projects is decreasing as you read this. We've crossed the line in the sand.