Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller, and Paul Solman. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (288) ISBN 978-1-47677229-5
Social Security is widely mistrusted and little understood by most Americans, and with good reason: the program’s operating manual contains 2,728 core rules, and thousands of additional instructions. This can’t-miss guide to the system comes from Kotlikoff, a Boston University economist; Moller, an expert on aging; and Solman, a PBS NewsHour economics correspondent. After a conversation among all three about their own retirement planning revealed how confusing the system is, they set out to write a book pointing out traps and ways to maximize the reader’s retirement benefits. With a little tough love (reminding readers not to overestimate their own knowledge or objectivity), they explain the ins and outs of lesser-known features, such as survivor and spousal benefits. Readers are also led through the decision of whether to claim early or delay retirement entirely, the intricacies of marital-status changes, and the options for those who are married, divorced, widowed, or single. The writing is detail heavy but clear enough for even the most intimidated reader, with a concluding cheat sheet helpfully summing up the book’s suggestions. The authors’ palpable fervor to help readers get back what they’ve paid will energize readers to claim what is rightfully theirs. Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/15/2014
Release date: 02/17/2015
Genre: Nonfiction
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