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Social Security topic of workshop by Dames

When Money Smart Week rolls around, members of the Million Dollar Dames investment club are usually getting ready to explain annual reports and price-to-earning ratios and Morningstar ratings.

This year they're taking a different approach to focus on something that's even more basic to making sure you have the money you need in retirement.

Million Dollar Dames, an all-female club, has been around since 1993 and is affiliated with BetterInvesting, a national nonprofit dedicated to investment education. The club has been featured more than once in BetterInvesting's national magazine.

This is the club's fifth year to participate in Money Smart Week  which is sponsored by the Lawton Public Library. In past years members have talked about investment clubs and how to research stocks. This year is the topic is "Social Security: It's Too Important for Guesswork," which will be presented by Beverly Wooley, Ruth Dishman, Ronda Norrell and Joanne Amos.

Among the topics will be what to expect in benefits, how spousal benefits are calculated, the effect on your benefits of working after early retirement and what benefits are taxed, the right time to apply and the future of Social Security.

Some are easier to answer than others, although arriving at the answer is not simple, even if you're not mathematically challenged. (Fortunately, members say, there are tools that can take care of that. The Social Security Administration has one on its website that will estimate benefits.)

When to retire can be a difficult decision. For people born from 1943 to 1954, full retirement age is 66. For those born from 1955 and later, the full retirement age increases until it's 67 for those born after 1959, according to the club's presentation.

Although early retirement is available beginning at age, you'll take a big hit on monthly payments. If your full retirement age is 66, you'll only get 75 percent of full pay at 62. If full retirement is at 67, you'll get only 70 percent at age 62.

And if you hang on after full retirement at 66, monthly benefits rise 8 percent until you reach 70.

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