I've been working with a client to help her invest her QDRO and to develop a financial plan now that her second divorce is finalized. My client is an amazing woman--she's recently recovered from a life-threatening illness that required her to leave her job, and over her recovery she decided to make the most out of her second chance at life and end her marriage. I'm in awe of her strength and determination--and her courage.
Over the course of her recovery and before her divorce, my client filed for Social Security Disability Income. Her benefit amount is very little--about a third of what's recognized as the minimum livable wage where she lives. As we talked, I learned that she's adapted well to her new life circumstances--her funny story about the changes in her spending habits from her first marriage to her second marriage to her current situation helped me understand a little more about her true goals and intentions for this new chapter in her life.
It also made me realize that her first husband had made quite a lot of money over the course of his career.
I recommended that my client schedule an appointment with Social Security and take her marriage certificate and divorce decree from her first marriage, her marriage certificate and divorce decree from her second marriage and find out which spousal benefit (either from her first husband or from her second husband) was higher. The next time we talked, my client said the person at the Social Security office confirmed the spousal benefit from her first husband was higher than her current benefit, and that they would increase her benefit going forward, and make it retroactive to her second divorce date. The difference would be paid in a lump sum after about a month. That was one of the best phone calls I've ever had with a client.
Social Security spousal benefits came into consideration for me recently, as well. When my husband and I were discussing getting married, I asked him for his Social Security statement. No, seriously. When a Financial Advisor and CDFA® is marrying a Tax Attorney, these things are to be expected. Of course I explained that I needed to analyze the financial impact to our future of getting married, and he understood my request. I also sent my Ex an email requesting his Social Security statement so I could reference the spousal benefit information for my retirement planning. I'd been a stay at home mom for most of my marriage to him, so he understood my request as well (I now recommend all my clients request their spouse's Social Security statement during the discovery phase of their divorce to avoid having to get back in touch for this post-divorce). When I'd confirmed that getting married would not be detrimental to my Social Security income, I felt more confident in planning a future with my husband. I owed it to my kids to make the best financial decision for my future, for their sakes. I can help you analyze your own Social Security situation after divorce or before you get married. Click here to schedule a 30-minute zoom.
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