Q&A: Starting Social Security benefits early will cost you

Dear Liz: I started getting Social Security at age 62. I would have only gotten $327 a month based on my work history, but they gave me $666 based on my husband’s work history. He gets $1,966 but your article said I should get half. Should I be receiving more?

Answer: Probably not.

Your spousal benefit would have been half of your husband’s “primary benefit amount” only if you’d waited until your own full retirement age to apply. Because you started several years early at 62, your check was reduced by 30%.

His primary benefit amount is what he would have received if he started benefits at his own full retirement age. Full retirement age is currently 66 and will rise to 67 for people born in 1960 and later.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

download (1)Today’s top story: Benefits for Millennials. Also in the news: The downsides of prepaid debit cards, a parents’ guide to insurance for college students, and how your house can save your retirement.

Benefits 101 for Millennials: What You Need to Know
New job, new perks.

Prepaid Debit Cards Are Popular but Still Have Downsides
Keep an eye on fees.

The Parents Guide to Insurance for College Students
Keeping them protected when they leave home.

How Your House Can Save Your Retirement
Using your house as a retirement fund.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Old Woman Hand on CaneToday’s top story: How to manage your elderly parents’ money and protect them from identity theft. Also in the news: Changes to health savings accounts, open enrollment season, and personal finance tips from evil millionaires.

How to Manage Your Elderly Parent’s Money
Protecting elderly parents from identity theft.

The Best Personal Finance Tips from Evil Millionaires
Who better to learn from?

How to Make Smart Benefits Choices for 2014
How to approach open enrollment season for 2014.

7 Tips to Cut Flight Costs During the Holidays
How to arrive at your holiday destination for less.

Treasury Loosens Rules on Health Spending Accounts
Up to $500 can be rolled over to the next year IF your company offers the option.