Anyone feel like they're not "keeping up with the Jonses"?

LSUmiss

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 8, 2014
Consider that at some point half of that two-SS check couple will die, leaving the other widowed. So the remaining spouse will instantly have his or her income slashed by 50%. It's something to consider in your retirement planning.

I am younger than my husband (and in better health, and I come from a long-lived family), so we've always assumed that I will need more retirement income than he will. If things fall out as expected, he will have me as a caretaker in his last years. I'll still be doing the housecleaning and driving, etc. On the other hand, when I reach those last years, I'll probably have to pay for those things. So our plans include more money for me than for him.
I consider myself pretty well informed about retirement issues, but I only learned this about a year ago. I was shocked. My husband and I have been paying hundreds every month for decades, and I (foolishly) thought senior citizens paid only if they wanted "extra" coverage -- which isn't exactly wrong because Part A is no-cost to most people, but it only pays for inpatient hospital coverage. Most of us want a whole lot more coverage than that.

When I learned that Medicare costs, I started reading and talking to retired people about what they pay -- and I feel better prepared, and the cost will be significantly less than I pay now -- but I am still disappointed that I'm paying NOW and will pay more LATER.
That's crazy. I paid off my house a decade and a half ago, and my housing expenses are less than 2K/year (taxes and homeowner's insurance).
Mine are $9600 annually & that’s now.
 

barkley

DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
Joined
Apr 6, 2004
That's not how it works though. When one person dies, the other continues to receive the higher of the two amounts. For example, my dads ss payment is $2700. My mom's is half of his because she didn't work very much, so $1350. Their total payment is $4050/mo.

If my dad dies, my mom stops getting her $1350, but keeps getting my dad's $2700. Her income is reduced by approximately 1/3.

If my mom dies, my dad doesn't receive her $1350, but keeps getting his $2700.

In effect, the higher earning spouse's payment keeps coming, regardless. The income is only "cut in half" if both spouses have the same payment.



there are numerous factors that play in this equation w/ social security. the age beneficiaries began reviving benefits, traditional retirement vs. disability, length of marriage, age at time of as well (to some extent) basis of death...

having worked administration within these types of government programs, i always caution, for one's own good, to never assume that any social security benefit is guaranteed at a certain dollar or percentage amount unless and until you've been verified IN WRITING with social security what your personal individual circumstance/situation determines you are in fact eligible to a specified dollar amount in a specific individual program or benefit.
 

Christine

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 31, 1999
In effect, the higher earning spouse's payment keeps coming, regardless. The income is only "cut in half" if both spouses have the same payment.
That will be our situation. We both worked. I think our SS is about $300 apart from each other so, essentially, our income will be cut in half.
 
  • NYCgrrl

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 13, 2017
    Currently, we live on the man's SS, having cut back our monthly expenses 32.6% by moving into a smaller co-op/apt. He waited until his 66th birthday to begin collecting his benefits. I've no plans of accessing my SS until I reach my 70's. If he leaves this earth before me the plan will change somewhat since as we aren't married I cannot collect any of his benefits.
    Vacations, property maintenance and such come from my investments as he zeroed out his 401k trying to keep his parents afloat. This wasn't a wise move in my opinion as it made better financial sense to take out a loan for that purpose but our funds are separate on this level and we all get to make choices in life.
     

    MrsPete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2002
    That's not how it works though. When one person dies, the other continues to receive the higher of the two amounts. For example, my dads ss payment is $2700. My mom's is half of his because she didn't work very much, so $1350. Their total payment is $4050/mo.

    If my dad dies, my mom stops getting her $1350, but keeps getting my dad's $2700. Her income is reduced by approximately 1/3.

    If my mom dies, my dad doesn't receive her $1350, but keeps getting his $2700.

    In effect, the higher earning spouse's payment keeps coming, regardless. The income is only "cut in half" if both spouses have the same payment.
    Okay, the numbers will vary depending upon the two spouses' SS (my husband and I will be about the same), but the real point is that when one spouse dies, the remaining spouse will see a reduction in income -- but will still have the same housing costs, pretty much the same utilities, etc.

    I think people plan for retirement saying, "We'll have X + Y in SS," but they don't stop to think that at some point one of those spouses will be living on JUST X. Y will be gone.
     
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    MrsPete

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 24, 2002
    That's not how it works though. When one person dies, the other continues to receive the higher of the two amounts. For example, my dads ss payment is $2700. My mom's is half of his because she didn't work very much, so $1350. Their total payment is $4050/mo.

    If my dad dies, my mom stops getting her $1350, but keeps getting my dad's $2700. Her income is reduced by approximately 1/3.

    If my mom dies, my dad doesn't receive her $1350, but keeps getting his $2700.

    In effect, the higher earning spouse's payment keeps coming, regardless. The income is only "cut in half" if both spouses have the same payment.
    Okay, the numbers will vary depending upon the two spouses' SS (my husband and I will be about the same), but the real point is that when one spouse dies, the remaining spouse will see a reduction in income -- but will still have the same housing costs, pretty much the same utilities, etc.

    I think people plan for retirement saying, "We'll have X + Y in SS," but they don't stop to think that at some point one of those spouses will be living on JUST X. Y will be gone.
     

    DLgal

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2013
    Okay, the numbers will vary depending upon the two spouses' SS (my husband and I will be about the same), but the real point is that when one spouse dies, the remaining spouse will see a reduction in income -- but will still have the same housing costs, pretty much the same utilities, etc.
    That's true. However, my parents biggest expenses after the mortgage are their healthcare costs and insurance costs (long term care and life insurance). Without those needing to be considered after death, it is a significant reduction in expenses.
     
  • barkley

    DIS Veteran<br><font color=orange>If I ever have a
    Joined
    Apr 6, 2004
    That's true. However, my parents biggest expenses after the mortgage are their healthcare costs and insurance costs (long term care and life insurance). Without those needing to be considered after death, it is a significant reduction in expenses.
    yes.

    when i recently did our estate planning i wrote out instructions for which ever of us survives the other (or if our dd has to handle things for one of us) as a reminder of things to take care of upon a death, all of which could generate income or reduce expenses-there were the obvious (pensions/social security/life insurance) but also the not so-make sure life insurance premiums no longer auto deduct from checking, cancel deceased on auto, health, umbrella insurance, cancel any memberships/subscriptions only deceased used, eliminate one cell phone from plan. it all adds up.
     

    Starport Seven-Five

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2019
    There has to be a balance. And for those who seem to be obsessing over the savings, exactly when do you enjoy it??? It seems most of you are just preparing for when you will inevitably be in a nursing home.
    We'll enjoy it while most of our coworkers are still going to work everyday. :-)
    A lot of friends my age (mid 30s) still have student loan debt. One of my friends is close to finally paying off her student loans, and then she can finally start on the credit card debt she acquired while paying those off in order to live a life. I genuinely not sure what some in this thread think people like this should do in situations like this. It's been 15 years. Should people who are still dealing with debt from a very messed up higher education system simply sit in their (rented) homes, never enjoy going out to eat, never travel, never purchase anything that isn't out of necessity? And this is before saving for the future? Being able to save for retirement, or at all, is not a reality for a lot of young adults, even some with reliable income.

    It seems like some older adults don't really grasp that young adults are entering adulthood already in debt, and when you start out that way, saving for retirement seems so distant that taking some money to do something for yourself and keep up with the Jones in THAT way is as important.
    I always tell people that the best thing you can do is continue your college level broke lifestyle for a year or two after getting a full time job. Use the additional funds to make a large dent in student loan debt instead of spending the next decade paying interest on it.
     

    LSUmiss

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2014
    We'll enjoy it while most of our coworkers are still going to work everyday. :-)

    I always tell people that the best thing you can do is continue your college level broke lifestyle for a year or two after getting a full time job. Use the additional funds to make a large dent in student loan debt instead of spending the next decade paying interest on it.
    For many, it didn’t sound like it. Sounds like they’re waiting for their nursing home days.
     

    disykat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 5, 2000
    I always tell people that the best thing you can do is continue your college level broke lifestyle for a year or two after getting a full time job. Use the additional funds to make a large dent in student loan debt instead of spending the next decade paying interest on it.
    This was the norm when I graduated. (1983) My first vacation that involved an airplane was 4 years later. Most of my friends didn't take a vacation that didn't involve a tent or visiting family until at least 25 and bought homes around 30. Where I grew up, it was pretty common never to have left the state. Honestly, I when I started reading the DIS (2000) I really had my eyes opened to the way some people see money. I must live in a very frugal area.
     
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  • skyblue17

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    We'll enjoy it while most of our coworkers are still going to work everyday. :-)

    I always tell people that the best thing you can do is continue your college level broke lifestyle for a year or two after getting a full time job. Use the additional funds to make a large dent in student loan debt instead of spending the next decade paying interest on it.
    But again, this assumes a certain starting point as well. It assumes getting a job right out of college. It assumes that pay and CoL is such that you can afford to make any dent in your student loan debt even if you do have a fulltime job. And I don't know about you, but when I was in college, I had a meal plan that made it so that even if I was short on cash, I still didn't have to worry about paying for food.

    I also kind of disagree about being "college broke" IN college. If I had done that, I would have stunted my emotional and social growth, which would have completely altered my trajectory. There is a value in investing in the "now."
     

    mom2rtk

    Invented the term "Characterpalooza"
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2008
    But again, this assumes a certain starting point as well. It assumes getting a job right out of college. It assumes that pay and CoL is such that you can afford to make any dent in your student loan debt even if you do have a fulltime job. And I don't know about you, but when I was in college, I had a meal plan that made it so that even if I was short on cash, I still didn't have to worry about paying for food.

    I also kind of disagree about being "college broke" IN college. If I had done that, I would have stunted my emotional and social growth, which would have completely altered my trajectory. There is a value in investing in the "now."
    Those meal plans are a very pricey way to eat and contribute to the college loan debt most students graduate with. My son had a meal plan for 1 year (because it was required). My daughter will do the same.

    And unfortunately that "emotional and social growth" you speak of can also come with a hefty price tag.
     

    skyblue17

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    Those meal plans are a very pricey way to eat and contribute to the college loan debt most students graduate with. My son had a meal plan for 1 year (because it was required). My daughter will do the same.

    And unfortunately that "emotional and social growth" you speak of can also come with a hefty price tag.
    Well, I know I'd be in a bit of a rougher spot in college if I had to sit in my dorm that had no kitchen and miss out on meals with my friends. At my college, you weren't allowed into the dining hall without a meal plan, and a lot of the time, meals were the only time we all had free to get together. I'm glad I was able to invest in that option.

    I also found investing in my emotional and social growth to be incredibly worth it. If I hadn't had that opportunity, I wouldn't live where I live, I wouldn't have experienced the things that have led to my career (I've been at my company for most of my adult life but the industry is something I became interested in because I allowed myself to "travel" to the city in college and spend money on things once or twice a month) and I wouldn't have experienced the sense of community that gave me the self-confidence to not even move home after college and start my independence (financial and otherwise) adult life a week after graduation.

    Point being, "oh my gosh, these bratty kids spending money on frivolous things!" isn't always devoid of value.
     

    mjkacmom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 20, 2006
    Those meal plans are a very pricey way to eat and contribute to the college loan debt most students graduate with. My son had a meal plan for 1 year (because it was required). My daughter will do the same.

    And unfortunately that "emotional and social growth" you speak of can also come with a hefty price tag.
    Yes, I don’t know if any kids who live on campus all 4 years these days. Dd23 moved out with 4 friends junior year, 6 roommates senior year. Ds21 moves into one of his fraternity houses with 9 other guys. Dd18 is moving to a 6 bedroom townhouse next year. Not many upperclassmen in dining halls. She did have unlimited swipes her first semester, but now has her tribe (helps bring in the honors program and all dorm together), so she has a more limited plan.
     

    Starport Seven-Five

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 16, 2019
    But again, this assumes a certain starting point as well. It assumes getting a job right out of college. It assumes that pay and CoL is such that you can afford to make any dent in your student loan debt even if you do have a fulltime job. And I don't know about you, but when I was in college, I had a meal plan that made it so that even if I was short on cash, I still didn't have to worry about paying for food.

    I also kind of disagree about being "college broke" IN college. If I had done that, I would have stunted my emotional and social growth, which would have completely altered my trajectory. There is a value in investing in the "now."
    My point was that many have roommates and limited budgets in college but inflate lifestyle the minute they get a job. I know I did (my rent went from $400-> $1000). That was $600 per month just on rent that wouldn't go towards student loans.

    I had a meal plan as well but only for my first 2 years.

    My career related social growth generally occurred in class or in study sessions after. There was social stuff beyond that but it was generally house parties where it cost $5-$10 for the night. I get the idea that people don't want to put their life "on hold" but I'd rather do that for a couple years than spend the next 20 with student loan debt hanging over my head.
     

    skyblue17

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    Yes, I don’t know if any kids who live on campus all 4 years these days. Dd23 moved out with 4 friends junior year, 6 roommates senior year. Ds21 moves into one of his fraternity houses with 9 other guys. Dd18 is moving to a 6 bedroom townhouse next year. Not many upperclassmen in dining halls. She did have unlimited swipes her first semester, but now has her tribe (helps bring in the honors program and all dorm together), so she has a more limited plan.
    I didn't have a car in college, and off-campus housing would have required one (or friends with one, I think one of my friends had one and that was it). I was also very active in Student Government, so being on campus was a major plus. My school at the time had most seniors living on campus. They've largely expanded housing since so I'd imagine that's still the case (it's an upstate-ish NY town with varying options for what would work for kids off-campus). Probably depends on the school. Our upperclassmen housing did have kitchens, also had a meal plan option for just one meal a day, which was perfect when you're busy and don't have time to go all the way back to your off-campus housing to eat. I had ten roommates my senior year and one kitchen, also, so again, it was a cost that had value to me personally.
     

    skyblue17

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    My point was that many have roommates and limited budgets in college but inflate lifestyle the minute they get a job. I know I did (my rent went from $400-> $1000). That was $600 per month just on rent that wouldn't go towards student loans.

    I had a meal plan as well but only for my first 2 years.

    My career related social growth generally occurred in class or in study sessions after. There was social stuff beyond that but it was generally house parties where it cost $5-$10 for the night. I get the idea that people don't want to put their life "on hold" but I'd rather do that for a couple years than spend the next 20 with student loan debt hanging over my head.
    Why didn't you live somewhere for $400 a month?

    I explained my career related social growth in the next post I made. It would not have occurred in a study group.
     

    Moliphino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2016
    I didn't have a car in college, and off-campus housing would have required one (or friends with one, I think one of my friends had one and that was it). I was also very active in Student Government, so being on campus was a major plus. My school at the time had most seniors living on campus. They've largely expanded housing since so I'd imagine that's still the case (it's an upstate-ish NY town with varying options for what would work for kids off-campus). Probably depends on the school. Our upperclassmen housing did have kitchens, also had a meal plan option for just one meal a day, which was perfect when you're busy and don't have time to go all the way back to your off-campus housing to eat. I had ten roommates my senior year and one kitchen, also, so again, it was a cost that had value to me personally.
    I lived on campus all four years, but my college had some really nice apartments (private bedrooms, bathrooms shared between 2 people, shared kitchen and living room for 4-6).
     

    skyblue17

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 4, 2017
    I lived on campus all four years, but my college had some really nice apartments (private bedrooms, bathrooms shared between 2 people, shared kitchen and living room for 4-6).
    I loved my campus housing, which was literally smack in the middle of the campus. Upperclassmen housing had a lot of people but also more bathrooms (usually shared among four people). I had some friends that went to NYU, though, and they were in these beautiful downtown apartments that none of us would be able to afford as adults, and I'm sure that was an astronomical room and board cost. I'm kind of glad my on-campus living was a bit more dorm-y.
     

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