Jennings (Paid For, 2017, etc.) walks retirees through the federal social insurance program in this manual.
As more and more baby boomers reach the age of retirement, the number of Americans signing up for Social Security benefits has reached unprecedented heights. This work “is designed to help you avoid the mistakes by understanding what your benefits are, how they are calculated, and how to plan for your own benefit.” First and foremost, Jennings wants readers to understand that Social Security is not going bankrupt and will not do so in the near future. Retirees who sign up as soon as they are eligible (age 62) based on the premise that it soon won’t be there are, in Jennings’ estimation, making an uninformed decision. Many retirees (and even scores of financial advisers) misunderstand the ways in which Social Security actually works, and Jennings is here to set the record straight. There are scenarios in which Social Security may not pay out for certain people, but such outcomes are based on the actions they have taken during their working lives. From determining what age is best to sign up to examining the effect of pensions and exploring the specifics of retirement, divorce, survivor and disability benefits, the author guides the reader through everything a recipient can (and should) expect. Drawing on decades of professional experience as a CPA, Jennings knows the practical concerns of individuals and highlights those areas that retirees are likely to misunderstand or overlook. His prose is direct and, despite some idiosyncratic flourishes (he occasionally refers to himself using the royal “we”), highly conversational. He deftly uses examples of specific problems (“Elbert is badly injured in an auto accident and is unable to work for nine months”) to illustrate his points, and frequent, useful charts allow the reader to compare various scenarios. It is a dry read, given the topic, but an instructive one. At only 159 pages, this slim guide works as an effective introduction to those who are just beginning to ponder Social Security, providing enough details for potential beneficiaries to make enlightened decisions without overwhelming readers with a deluge of technical information.
An accessible and helpful primer for those thinking about Social Security.