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Helen Smith

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security

Do you ever get those statements from Social Security or log online to see how much you are entitled to at different years from 62-70? I have done so and learned that if I wait until I am 70, I am supposed to get $3114.00 a month. “Fat chance of that,” I often think. There is a National Review article circulating about a woman who was surprised (really?) to learn that her benefits might only be 77% of what she is supposed to get on the SS information form she is sent. She must not get out much.

I figured I would receive nothing and have planned financially with that in mind. That said, I decided to be proactive and my husband ordered a new book that might help many of us who are born after 1960 (or before) to get back some of the money we put into this (Ponzi scheme) system.

The book is called Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security and is written by Economics Professor Laurence Kotlikoff, Philip Moeller and Paul Solmon. I read through some of the chapters found it fairly straight-forward although there are 2728 core rules in the operating manual of Social Security and any number of mathematical formulas that make it worth one’s time to read up on how to maximize your own personal benefits.
From the description:

Learn the secrets to maximizing your Social Security benefits and earn up to thousands of dollars more each year with expert advice that you can’t get anywhere else.

Want to know how to navigate the forbidding maze of Social Security and emerge with the highest possible benefits? You could try reading all 2,728 rules of the Social Security system (and the thousands of explanations of these rules), but Kotlikoff, Moeller, and Solman explain Social Security benefits in an easy to understand and user-friendly style. What you don’t know can seriously hurt you: wrong decisions about which Social Security benefits to apply for cost some individual retirees tens of thousands of dollars in lost income every year.

How many retirees or those nearing retirement know about such Social Security options as file and suspend (apply for benefits and then don’t take them)? Or start stop start (start benefits, stop them, then re-start them)? Or—just as important—when and how to use these techniques? Get What’s Yours covers the most frequent benefit scenarios faced by married retired couples, by divorced retirees, by widows and widowers, among others. It explains what to do if you’re a retired parent of dependent children, disabled, or an eligible beneficiary who continues to work, and how to plan wisely before retirement. It addresses the tax consequences of your choices, as well as the financial implications for other investments.

The book has lots of examples of when and how to take Social Security depending on your individual situation along with your spouse if you have one. It’s definitely worth a read if you are near retirement age or thinking about these issues. However, it’s only worth so much time to contemplate these formulas as the system cannot sustain itself the way things are going.

With that in mind, please take the following poll about my future chances of getting my benefits at age 70 ( I was born in the early 1960s):

Will Dr. Helen get $3114.00 monthly Social Security Benefits at age 70?

 
pollcode.com free polls
Posted at 6:04 am on August 1st, 2015 by Helen Smith

James Taylor: Before This World

I went to see James Taylor in Knoxville last night and it was a great show. He was promoting his new album Before This World and opened with several songs from the new CD. I thought the crowd would be mostly baby boomers and it was, but there were many younger people there who seemed to know and love his music. Of course, mainly the crowd (myself included) wanted to hear “Fire and Rain” or “Carolina in my Mind” and he did not disappoint, with some of these old songs mixed in with the new ones. It was a lot of fun and though I haven’t been to a concert in years, I was glad I went to see him.

Have any readers seen any good concerts lately?

Posted at 5:08 am on July 29th, 2015 by Helen Smith

Milo Yiannopoulos: Does Feminism Make Women Ugly?:

Certainly, feminists in the public sphere have acquired a reputation for being brazen about their unconventional looks. The cult of “body positivity” has encouraged many young women to embrace excess weight. Feminist writers like Lindy West celebrate their fatness, while Lena Dunham has made a career out of looking wobbly and horrible.

While the sisterhood might not condemn women for piling on the pounds, men definitely do. But the weight gain, bizarre hair colour, piercings and “genderqueer” fashion trends in feminism aren’t, it seems to me, enough on their own to explain why women who strongly identify as feminists are so often either physically unappealing or mistaken for men.

Posted at 2:11 pm on July 28th, 2015 by Helen Smith

Should the Government Get Out of Marriage Altogether?

I thinks so. Here is an interesting post by PJM’s Walter Hudson who had this to say:

The questions of who should get married to whom and under what circumstances need not be decided by “a liberal democracy,” but by individuals entering into unions and the communities with whom they freely associate. I don’t need an entire democracy to legitimize my relationship with my wife. Our relationship is ours, recognized by our God. All we require from others is the recognition of our rights as individuals, same as if we were single, same as if we were business partners. In the eyes of the law, all that should properly matter is our consent.

What do you you think? Should government get out of marriage altogether?

Posted at 5:39 am on July 27th, 2015 by Helen Smith

First World Problems: Your coffee is too fussy

The Telegraph: Four in five people are embarrassed by their coffee order:

We Brits love a coffee – but a survey has revealed that 80 per cent of us are not ordering what we really want in a coffee shop, for fear of being judged by our fellow coffee drinkers.

Coffees laden with sugar, flavoured syrups or cream seem to cause particular embarrassment, with one in two people (52 per cent) admitting they would be embarrassed to order a cappuccino if their companion chose something stronger, like a double espresso.

The research found that 55 per cent would scorn someone who ordered a sugary or flavoured coffee, while 52 per cent said they would judge people who ordered a complicated or fussy drink.

I just went to the local Starbucks to get some tea: tall, hot peach flavored, herbal with Splenda. No one batted an eye at my order or anyone else’s: coffee, tea or baked goods, no one cared. Heaping scorn on someone for a coffee drink? This is how Brits spend their time?

Posted at 3:58 pm on July 23rd, 2015 by Helen Smith

Is Legalized Pot and Gay Marriage Freedom?

I thought about this question as I read over the description of Mark Levin’s new book Plunder and Deceit. From the description:

In modern America, the civil society is being steadily devoured by a ubiquitous federal government. But as the government grows into an increasingly authoritarian and centralized federal Leviathan, many parents continue to tolerate, if not enthusiastically champion, grievous public policies that threaten their children and successive generations with a grim future at the hands of a brazenly expanding and imploding entitlement state poised to burden them with massive debt, mediocre education, waves of immigration, and a deteriorating national defense.

Yet tyranny is not inevitable. In Federalist 51, James Madison explained with cautionary insight the essential balance between the civil society and governmental restraint: “In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.”

This essential new book is, against all odds, a likeminded appeal to reason and audacity—one intended for all Americans but particularly the rising generation. Younger people must find the personal strength and will to break through the cycle of statist manipulation, unrelenting emotional overtures, and the pressure of groupthink, which are humbling, dispiriting, and absorbing them; to stand up against the heavy hand of centralized government, which if left unabated will assuredly condemn them to economic and societal calamity.

Levin calls for a new civil rights movement, one that will foster liberty and prosperity and cease the exploitation of young people by statist masterminds. He challenges the rising generation of younger Americans to awaken to the cause of their own salvation, asking: will you acquiesce to a government that overwhelmingly acts without constitutional foundation—or will you stand in your own defense so that yours and future generations can live in freedom?

As I read these words I wonder what freedom means to a younger generation. Is legalized pot and gay marriage freedom? (Since when is state-sanctioned marriage freedom?) Many Millennials seem to think so. Have they been so indoctrinated that as long as they perceive that freedom is a bong hit away, they will be a docile easily manipulated group? I sometimes think so.

Posted at 5:49 am on July 23rd, 2015 by Helen Smith

Is Around 30 the Best Age to Marry?

Somewhere around that age is best according to a new analysis on the topic:

If you hope to avoid divorce, what’s the ideal age to get married? For years, it seemed like the longer you waited to marry, the better. That’s because the relationship between age at marriage and divorce risk was almost linear: The older you were, the lower the chances of divorce. Although teens still face an elevated divorce risk relative to older adults, my analysis of more recent data shows that those who tie the knot after their early thirties are now more likely to divorce than those who marry in their late twenties.

But what was true for decades no longer seems to be the case. I analyzed data collected between 2006 and 2010 from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). The trick is to use statistical methods that permit nonlinear relationships to emerge (click here for more information on these methods). My data analysis shows that prior to age 32 or so, each additional year of age at marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent.

Does the experience of staying unmarried well past the age of 30 somehow make people unfit for a lasting marriage?

Posted at 9:56 am on July 20th, 2015 by Helen Smith

Academia: The Fourth Layer of Government

Captain Capitalism: College as the Fourth Layer of Government:

However, a new and even more Orwellian fourth layer of government has formed and that is colleges or “Academia.” But whereas the power of employers come from the fact you need a job, Academia’s power comes from the fact you need a degree to even get a job! (or so they say). Ergo, entire futures of young people’s careers are literally balanced in the hands (and whims) of the unelected officials of Academia.

And who are these unelected officials?

Professors, administrators, diversity officers, and other worthless academic bureaucrats who most certainly, if not entirely, hail from the left.

This has resulted in a defacto tyrannical government forcing their own leftist, socialist, feminist, and anti-white anti-male ideology on the unfortunate and unsuspecting student-citizens of Academiaville.

No longer can “Bill” just show up, get his degree in engineering and go on to work for Boeing. No he needs “diversity training” before he can graduate.

No longer can “Amy” just show up, get her degree in accounting, and go work for Peat Marwick. No, she needs to have 20 credit hours in “Corporate Social Responsibility” before she gets her degree.

Posted at 4:45 am on July 17th, 2015 by Helen Smith

The Beauty of Being Invisible

People seem to get up in arms about “feeling invisible” these days. Many women complain they are invisible or not seen by the opposite sex. Seniors feel that they are often overlooked and treated as invisible. There are even Nationwide insurance commercials depicting Indian actress Mindy Kaling as feeling invisible (hint Mindy, maybe your tendency to push a man’s basketball out of his hand plays a part in them wanting nothing to do with you):

It’s funny but in Obama’s America, most of us are invisible it seems to me. You can blame it on discrimination, sexism, ageism or whatever but I think a good part of it is just plain old incompetence. No one feels like working anymore or feels entitled to be working somewhere better, so they no longer see it necessary to try their best or give good service. Hence they overlook people in stores, restaurants, and in general. Or you have the opposite problem. Doctors and staff are so overworked with paperwork and have so many patients that everyone has become a number and a chart, making it easy to shrug off any real human connection. People complain about feeling invisible and the lack of human compassion but why not embrace being invisible instead?

What do I mean by this? Well, given how little people pay attention to others, a whole new world is open to you if you are willing to engage in a bit of passive-aggressive behavior or even act a bit on the sociopathic side. Is this good for society? No, but it might be a decent way for individuals to behave in order to keep their sanity in a society that devalues individualism.

A few examples. You walk in a store and can’t get anyone to wait on you in the meat department. Before you head there, act like Mindy in the Nationwide commercial above and grab a snack if hungry. Eat the snack in line as you wait for someone to wait on you. If it is a few grapes, you may not be able to pay for it but it is hardly a crime and is to be expected. Sometimes bulk food such as almonds or nuts have places to weigh and get a price you stick on yourself and you can do this if you want the totally honest approach. If it is food with a wrapper, you can just get the cashier to scan it when you check out. The beauty of this approach is that you are full and can stabilize your blood sugar and eat while waiting, meaning that you are not really wasting your time. Just multi-task.

Posted at 1:07 pm on July 14th, 2015 by Helen Smith

“If she’s totally a disaster you’ll have a funny story and probably still learn something.”

More advice from Delta Man at Alpha Game blog on dating: “Why go out with women of low rank, especially if you feel you are of a much higher rank? Well, you have to start somewhere and if this is who’s interested in you it’s the place to start. You aren’t marrying these women; you are going to go out on a date. If she’s totally a disaster you’ll have a funny story and probably still learn something. When I first went down this path I had some weirdos show up, but got some great stories out of it.”

Maybe if both sexes would just treat people as human beings instead of a rank, things might go better. Or not… Maybe people are just a pack of herd animals with a hierarchy. Depressing, but perhaps true.

My question to the rest of us who can’t stand this system is, what is the alternative?

Posted at 7:49 am on July 12th, 2015 by Helen Smith