I get asked this question frequently: Is Social Security really different for women? The answer is surprisingly complex. It requires a fair amount of knowledge about how Social Security was developed, how social insurance works, and how benefits are calculated. As you might imagine, not many people are all that interested.
So, I tend to go with a simple answer: Yes. Social Security is different for women, even though the math and calculations are the same.
The issue is one of input. The data that many women have to enter doesn’t fit the framework. Women have to figure out where they fit into a framework set up specifically for men. It’s like wearing a man’s cut t-shirt rather than a women’s cut. One accommodates curves, the other doesn’t.
A guest column in Retirement Daily
My column about how and why women’s Social Security is different appeared in The Street’s Retirement Daily in January. It’s always exciting to see an article in print, and I wanted to share it with you. Take a read here (if you are a subscriber) or open this PDF to read the article: 2020_0106_ Social Security Really Different for Women
Social Security is complicated. Those who earned high salaries are disappointed when they only receive a relatively small payment. People who claim early are surprised they don’t get a “bump up” at Full Retirement Age. And, it’s common for women who stayed at home to raise their families to be quite surprised by the impact that decision has on their own benefit payment. At the beginning, Social Security was designed to offer a modest safety net for workers who reached retirement and their wives. That was in the 1930s. Things have changed somewhat since then!
Take a few minutes to read the article. Then, let me know what you think.