Marcia Mantell, retirement income expert, relishes get- ting in the weeds of SocialSecurity rules and regs, where she learnedlong ago that “nothing is a straight line.”She unpacks the biggest pitfalls that tripup women when they claim benefits, inthis interview with Investment Advisor.
Author of “What’s the Deal With SocialSecurity for Women” (Rethink Press-2019), she founded Mantell RetirementConsulting in 2005 after spending morethan 13 years in retirement product marketing at Fidelity Investments.
Here she reveals big mistakeswomen make about Social Securitywhen they claim — or fail to claim —benefits. Mantell argues that advisorshave alot to learn about Social Securitynitty-gritty, too.
Wrong-way thinking about SocialSecurity is particularly common amongboth widows and women who have hadwhat Mantell calls “popcorn careers”:They pop in and out of the labor forceover decades.
While these tricky situations are morecommon among women, some maleclients who may be stay-at-home dadsand earn significantly less than theirwives or find themselves widowed, arethus at risk for the same missteps. Andsame-sex couples are subject to identicalSocial Security rules, Mantell points out.
Mantell holds the RetirementManagement Advisor designation andspeaks on behalf of the new ElderPlanning Specialist training program atSalem State University.
Here are excerpts from our interview:
What’s the scoop on taxing Social
Not only do women not know those aretaxed, but neither does our industry. …The income thresholds are very low, somost clients end up paying tax on at leastsome of those benefits. Benefits are taxedat the ordinary income tax rate. This [cal-culation] requires use of a [retirement]worksheet found in [IRS] Publication 915.
What’s a common mistake women make
about Social Security taxes?
Not having any withholding tax [takenout] of their benefit each month to gotoward their tax liability. You can voluntarily choose to do that.
If she’s widowed, how is a woman’s tax
When a wealthier woman becomes awidow, her tax bracket can increase substantially — she can jump up two, three ormore IRMAA brackets [Income RelatedMonthly Adjusted Amount]. It’s shocking! A widow’s tax rate may well go upsignificantly in the year after her husbanddies because she will now be filing taxesas an individual and no longer jointly.
What’s a big mistake regarding taxes
Advisors fail to understand that
The Biggest Social Security Claiming
Mistakes Women Make
Widows, stay-at-home parents and divorced spouses can be in for somebig shocks, says retirement expert and advisor Marcia Mantell.
RETIREMENT PLANNINGBy Jane Wollman Rusoff