10/15/2013 11:31 am ET

When Life Partners Should Marry To Benefit From Social Security


Jo Anne De Varges -- Racine, Wis.: Like many boomers, my "life" partner and I chose not to get married, preferring to keep our finances separate. Twenty years in, at ages 61 and 60, we are wondering if we should reconsider tying the knot due to Social Security benefits. Both of us have worked continuously since an early age.

Larry Kotlikoff: If you get married, after one year, you will both qualify for spousal and survivor benefits on each other's work records. The trick to actually receiving these extra benefits is not to take them at the same time as your retirement benefit.

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