A comprehensive, high-level guide to the fundamentals of Social Security benefits.
In this debut personal finance book, Pogue covers a wide range of topics, from who’s eligible to collect Social Security benefits to what useful information can be found on the Social Security Administration’s website—all in fewer than 100 pages, including a glossary. The author walks readers through how Social Security benefits are calculated, the circumstances that can reduce them, and their long-term impact on total income. However, because many of these aspects are influenced by individual earnings and state regulations, the book offers explanations in general terms and encourages readers to consult experts regarding some of the more specific requirements. Although the book’s primary target audience is readers planning for retirement, Pogue also explains how spouses and dependents may also qualify for benefits. Charts and examples make it relatively easy to understand how, for instance, one’s outside earnings affect benefit levels and tax rates, and readers will be able to easily use the provided calculation formulas. The book also uses examples to encourage readers to make financially sound decisions, showing, for example, how collecting benefits as soon as one is eligible can substantially reduce one’s overall earnings. The book is informative and easy to understand, which is no small achievement given the many variables involved. There are several references to other books in the publisher’s series, such as the companion volume, which covers the disability portion of Social Security; there’s also an excerpt from a book by another author—Personal Finance for Beginners in 30 Minutes, Vol. 2. Despite these advertisements, however, the book is a solid account of how a complicated benefits system works, and it will be useful to readers looking for a concise introduction.
A Social Security explainer that packs a lot of information into a brief text.