Wednesday, July 10, 2013

This Book's for You!

Full disclosure, Kathleen Sindell is a friend of mine. As others can tell you, that is not enough for me to take the time to review and write about what you do. Having already recommended it to several people who found it useful, I choose to write a review.

In the opening paragraph of the introduction to Social Security: Maximize Your Benefits, Kathleen Sindell. PhD states that she wrote the book for "you and the thousands of folks like you who will soon be living on fixed incomes." Since soon is a relative term, I add Sindell's book is for anyone wanting to maximize their future retirement choices, particularly if your work history or future means that a significant source of your retirement income will come from Social Security.

Even when I was younger (and I am not that old), financial planning gave me a headache. Still, like many of you, I hung in there to understand the lingo, counter assumptions about everyone and do my best to make the decisions I could for me and my situation. 

What I love most about Sindell's book is that she does not talk down to us! The language is clear and straightforward. She includes a glossary of unavoidable terms in an Appendix. For those of you who have chart phobia, once you get passed it (deep breaths help), you will find the tables are easy to read and comprehend. What is most amazing is that Social Security: Maximize Your Benefits is less than 130 pages and that includes the Appendix and an extended Table of Contents. 

In some ways that is the beginning and the end of my review of Sindell's book. Except, I know that some you may be wondering why I want you to read this book now instead of later when you are close to retirement. In short, because depending upon your age, current work situation and where you see your career or work situation, and marital status - there are actions you can take now, and periodically, to save yourself - and your family headaches later. For instance:

  • Everyone ought to review their Social Security Statement for accuracy. Are all your working years there? If not, now is the time to find out why. Some discrepancies may be because of government work or military service, or because you worked for a particular type of non-profit. 
  • If you are married and there are differences in your income, there are advantages you and your spouse have of which you may not be aware.
  • Have you factored in your life expectancy as a consideration for your retirement?
  • Do you need to update your beneficiary information?
There is more I could say about Sindell's Social Security: Maximize Your Benefits. Instead, I quote a friend I recently told about the book. "I wish I had had that book when I was trying to figure all this out!" Being clear and straightforward, it all comes down to this: if Social Security figures into your retirement - however remotely - get and read Sindell's book. It is available as a paperback and in a Kindle Edition. 

(c) Copyright Sabrina Sojourner 2013