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September/October 2019

Spousal Catch-Up

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While many Americans have difficulty putting enough money away for retirement, stay-at-home spouses have even greater difficulty due to typically low or no lifetime earnings. This can affect how much they get in Social Security benefits and via retirement plans. If this sounds familiar to you, take hope: There are ways to help ensure your retirement income.

Special Rules
Most retirement plans require earned income to offset qualified contributions, which can be a problem for stay-at-home spouses. Fortunately, federal tax law and the Social Security Administration offer vehicles to provide for retirement for spouses with little income.

A spousal IRA is one such vehicle, and it is no different than other IRAs except that the spouse needn’t have earned income. The reason? Contributions to the spousal IRA cannot exceed the total earned income of both spouses.

If you meet this requirement in 2019, you can contribute up to $6,000 to a traditional IRA, plus another $1,000 annually if you’re at least age 50. If you fall within income limits and you file a joint tax return, you also get a tax deduction for contributions. Your accounting professional can tell you more. And, if you’re looking for potentially tax-free withdrawals in retirement, you might opt for a spousal Roth IRA.

Social Security
You will need earned income to receive your own Social Security benefits, but the hurdle is very low. Your monthly payment will be based on your earnings history. Alternatively, you might opt to receive a spousal benefit, which is typically equal to 50% of that your spouse receives.

Unless you’re divorced or widowed, you can’t begin payments until your spouse does. If your spouse or ex-spouse is deceased, your benefit will be substantially higher, based on a variety of formulas, and up to almost 100% of what your spouse would have received.

Social Security benefits for those using a deceased spouse’s wages can begin at a variety of different ages (and affect the amount of payments), which your financial professional and Social Security office can help you understand.*

By understanding your retirement and Social Security rights as a stay-at-home spouse, you can help make your financial future more secure.



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Securities and Advisory services offered through Triad Advisors, LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC. Triad Advisors, LLC. and Vining Financial Services, Inc. are not affiliated.
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