Retirement Answer Man

Do you let perfection get in the way of progress? Trying to reach perfection could prevent you from reaching your goals. Retirement coach, BW joins me to discuss forward movement and setting realistic goals. 

In this episode, you’ll also hear listener questions about claiming spousal Social Security, preparing for retirement after divorce, and annoying financial surprises. You won’t want to miss the differing points of view on benefit protections, so make sure to listen until the end. 

What can Hazel do to prepare for retirement?

Hazel is 51 and going through a divorce. She doesn’t plan to retire until she is age 65 even though she is eligible for a pension at age 55. She is looking ahead to what she should be doing to prepare for her retirement in the midst of her divorce. 

The first thing that she needs to do is to get through this divorce. Divorces can be messy or they can be amicable. While no one wants to create a messy divorce, it is important to make sure to take care of yourself first. Don’t mistake being nice with sacrificing your own interests. 

The next thing to do is to continue to save in a 401K. Even though Social Security and the pension will be Hazel’s main income streams in retirement, it is important to continue to build her retirement savings. 

The last thing that Hazel and you can do to prepare for retirement is to head over to and download this guide that will walk you through the steps to take in the years leading up to retirement. 

How to time the spousal Social Security benefit

Mike has a question about the timing of his wife’s spousal Social Security benefit. He is considering taking his benefit early at age 62, but his wife is 3 years younger than him. If he takes his benefit at 62, his wife will still not be eligible for her benefit until she turns 62. However, if he waits until full retirement age at 66 then she could take her benefit at age 62. 

A great way to begin to plan this out is to create a retirement plan of record using the full retirement age as the basis and then to create different what-if scenarios. You can use the Spousal Social Security calculator to help calculate the percentage that your spouse would receive. Check out this recent interview I had with Wade Pfau to hear just how important Social Security is to retirement plans. 

An annoying financial surprise or spousal protection?

Rhonda doesn’t have a question but rather a comment on annoying surprises that she has discovered in her finances. She has a pension and has to decide how she wants to take it. Recently, she discovered that if she decides to take the maximum benefit that only covers her own lifespan then her husband has to sign off on the form to approve this benefit selection. 

This isn’t the only thing that she has noticed that she needs her husband’s notarized signature for. If she chooses to change her beneficiaries on her retirement accounts she must also get approval from her husband. 

Rhonda feels like this is one more obstacle for women to overcome to live life in a man’s world, but I have another perspective. These rules (which vary state by state) were actually created to help protect women when men were the main breadwinners. 

How do you see these rules? Do they protect women or make it more challenging for them to keep their hard-earned money?

Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good

As we finish off the month-long series on retirement tax management it can be easy to get caught up in the details of optimizing your situation. However, trying to get something perfect can lead to analysis paralysis. Sometimes we just have to point ourselves in the right direction and move ahead. It is important to be realistic about what is possible. There are so many unknowns when it comes to future tax planning that it is hard to be precise. The most important thing to do is to get the big things right and let the small things take care of themselves. 



  • [2:30] What can Hazel do to prepare for retirement?
  • [8:30] Mike’s Social Security question
  • [12:36] You don’t need to feel dumb
  • [15:12] Rhonda discovered annoying surprises to deal with as a woman


  • [21:07] Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good


  • [29:18] Have a safe Halloween

Resources Mentioned In This Episode

Start listening to the Women in Retirement series here

Spousal Social Security calculator

Wade Pfau interview

Rock Retirement Club

Roger’s YouTube Channel - Roger That

BOOK - Rock Retirement  by Roger Whitney

Work with Roger

Roger’s Retirement Learning Center

Direct download: RAM405.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:00am CDT