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

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. [em]Agent: Alice Martell, Martell Agency. (Feb.) [/em]