"Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:04 am I spent some time yesterday using my iPhone 6 Plus and iPad Mini to view the updated site by changing the browser tab to "Request Desktop Site". Even without the graphic hover capability that displays the percentage of maximum it was no less usable than the original version of the product on the iPhone 6 in landscape mode. The results were of course even better on the iPad Mini in landscape mode.

From my perspective only one enhancement would need to be made to get me as close as possible to the mouse driven PC/MAC version with the hover feature. The enhancement would simply add the hover displayed data to the following when a point on the graph was selected by mouse or touch:
Selected Option:

96.7% of maximum (96.5% if not cut)

Your spouse files for his/her retirement
benefit to begin 5/2027, at age 68 and 4
months.

You file for your retirement benefit to begin
11/2027, at age 66 and 8 months.
You could add an advanced option which folks would need to turn on to enable this when you see that they are on a mobile device.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cheers
Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback!

I should have been more precise in my explanation post. The current behavior isn't necessarily about mobile/desktop per se. Rather, it is for the graph to only appear when the display has a width greater than 710px.

I do not personally own an iPhone 6 Plus or iPad Mini, but I think (based on what I'm seeing online about those display sizes) in either case it should already be set up for the graph to appear if the device is in landscape mode (i.e., without needing to specifically "Request Desktop Site").
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:38 am
Thank you for taking the time to provide this feedback!

I should have been more precise in my explanation post. The current behavior isn't necessarily about mobile/desktop per se. Rather, it is for the graph to only appear when the display has a width greater than 710px.

I do not personally own an iPhone 6 Plus or iPad Mini, but I think (based on what I'm seeing online about those display sizes) in either case it should already be set up for the graph to appear if the device is in landscape mode (i.e., without needing to specifically "Request Desktop Site").
That is actually hilarious in hindsight. I simply took your words at face value regarding not working on mobile devices after trying this out on my PC successfully. I went straight to figuring out how to make your site think I was on a PC and then function "properly" with the new code. Its hilarious to me because I have a BS in Comp Sci that I used for the first 26 years of my career and I can't believe I didn't replicate the "issue". Oh well, I still enjoyed the hunt.

I retested and found that the iPhone 6 Plus must be in landscape to work with the new graph but the iPad mini 4 does not.

It certainly isn't crucial but I hope you will consider the display of the x% of maximum that I mentioned in a future update.

You might want to edit your original post on this enhancement to clarify the capability on mobile devices.

Cheers
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue,

I edited the post accordingly. My apologies for the goose hunt!

As far as the suggested behavior, I just want to check that I understand the suggestion: you would like a tap on the chart (on a touchscreen device) to bring up the same information that appears via a "hover" on desktop? That is, something like the "hover-over-me" tooltip on this page?
https://www.w3schools.com/css/tryit.asp ... ss_tooltip

If so, my concern is that, while doing so would reduce scrolling (i.e., you wouldn't have to scroll down below the chart in order to see the PV output), the popup would then block a part of the chart, thereby making it more difficult to actually click around.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:03 pm Silk McCue,

I edited the post accordingly. My apologies for the goose hunt!

As far as the suggested behavior, I just want to check that I understand the suggestion: you would like a tap on the chart (on a touchscreen device) to bring up the same information that appears via a "hover" on desktop? That is, something like the "hover-over-me" tooltip on this page?
https://www.w3schools.com/css/tryit.asp ... ss_tooltip

If so, my concern is that, while doing so would reduce scrolling (i.e., you wouldn't have to scroll down below the chart in order to see the PV output), the popup would then block a part of the chart, thereby making it more difficult to actually click around.
I’m not asking for anything that advanced. I’m suggesting that when the user taps or mouse clicks that you take the statistical portion of the information that appears were you hovering on that spot and display it outside of the graph below the “Selected Option” information that already appears to the right of the graph on a PC or a landscaped iPad Mini, or under the graph on my landscaped iPhone as shown in quotes from my prior post below.

With this enabled, especially on the iPad Mini, I could quickly tap on the graph and see those statistics displayed in different but similar fashion to hovering over spots on on the graph.

Hopefully this is clear.
Silk McCue wrote: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:04 am ...

From my perspective only one enhancement would need to be made to get me as close as possible to the mouse driven PC/MAC version with the hover feature. The enhancement would simply add the hover displayed data to the following when a point on the graph was selected by mouse or touch:

Selected Option:

96.7% of maximum (96.5% if not cut)

Your spouse files for his/her retirement
benefit to begin 5/2027, at age 68 and 4
months.

You file for your retirement benefit to begin
11/2027, at age 66 and 8 months.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JoeRetire »

One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
LadyGeek
Site Admin
Posts: 66405
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:34 pm
Location: Philadelphia
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by LadyGeek »

You could also save the web page itself to a file on your computer. All browsers allow you to do that. Firefox has a "Save Page As..." (in Chrome it's More tools --> Save page as...).

Double-clicking on the saved file will open the file in your browser. The URL will be the path to your saved file. *

I just tried that. Unfortunately, the color-coded graph "Test an alternative claiming strategy:" does not appear in the saved file. The settings and table are there so you can reproduce the results. You just can't see the graph.

* The browser actually saves a file with a .html extension and a folder containing all of the web page details.
Wiki To some, the glass is half full. To others, the glass is half empty. To an engineer, it's twice the size it needs to be.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue wrote: Tue Jun 23, 2020 5:05 pm I’m suggesting that when the user taps or mouse clicks that you take the statistical portion of the information that appears were you hovering on that spot and display it outside of the graph below the “Selected Option” information that already appears to the right of the graph on a PC or a landscaped iPad Mini, or under the graph on my landscaped iPhone as shown in quotes from my prior post below.

With this enabled, especially on the iPad Mini, I could quickly tap on the graph and see those statistics displayed in different but similar fashion to hovering over spots on on the graph.
Thank you for the elaboration. I'll look into this.

The "selected option" bulleted list (together with the graph itself) and the place where the PV is normally output are different "Components" in Angular jargon. And passing data between components is something I always struggle with.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:03 am One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
I know you suggested this before. And for the record I think it's a good idea. It was next on my to-do list for the application, until Brian submitted this idea for the color-coded graph and all the code necessary for a functioning prototype -- at which point partnering on the graph feature became higher priority, because it was already so far along in the process.

But, I like your idea. And it still is on the to-do list. (I've looked into what would be involved, but having not yet actually made an attempt at doing it, I have a hard time guessing how difficult it will be.)
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JoeRetire »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:46 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:03 am One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
I know you suggested this before. And for the record I think it's a good idea. It was next on my to-do list for the application, until Brian submitted this idea for the color-coded graph and all the code necessary for a functioning prototype -- at which point partnering on the graph feature became higher priority, because it was already so far along in the process.

But, I like your idea. And it still is on the to-do list. (I've looked into what would be involved, but having not yet actually made an attempt at doing it, I have a hard time guessing how difficult it will be.)
Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a pest. I had forgotten that I suggested this feature before.

As a former Software QA professional, it's a feature that was always essential, and one I always prioritized for testing purposes.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 7:37 am Sorry, I wasn't trying to be a pest. I had forgotten that I suggested this feature before.

As a former Software QA professional, it's a feature that was always essential, and one I always prioritized for testing purposes.
You have most definitely not been a pest. I appreciate your suggestions/input.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
mvilleguy9
Posts: 27
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:02 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by mvilleguy9 »

Hi, first this is awesome so thank you. One suggestion I would have is somewhere once you do your calculations to list the family maximums, which comes in handy if you have a disabled child. I'm figuring that you are already calculating them anyway. Thanks!
User avatar
David Jay
Posts: 9398
Joined: Mon Mar 30, 2015 5:54 am
Location: Michigan

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by David Jay »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 11:46 am
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:03 am One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
I know you suggested this before. And for the record I think it's a good idea. It was next on my to-do list for the application, until Brian submitted this idea for the color-coded graph and all the code necessary for a functioning prototype -- at which point partnering on the graph feature became higher priority, because it was already so far along in the process.

But, I like your idea. And it still is on the to-do list. (I've looked into what would be involved, but having not yet actually made an attempt at doing it, I have a hard time guessing how difficult it will be.)
Could you save data in a cookie on the user’s device?
Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future - Niels Bohr | To get the "risk premium", you really do have to take the risk - nisiprius
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:03 am One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
Just rolled this out a few minutes ago.

Of note, I haven't yet figured out how to make it work to save all of the individual child-specific inputs. (Again, the tricky point is the complexity of passing data around between different parts of the application.) But I imagine that even for people with minor children or adult disabled children, being able to save most inputs is still preferable to being able to save no inputs.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

mvilleguy9 wrote: Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:05 pm Hi, first this is awesome so thank you. One suggestion I would have is somewhere once you do your calculations to list the family maximums, which comes in handy if you have a disabled child. I'm figuring that you are already calculating them anyway. Thanks!
Thank you for the suggestion.

Yes, the calculator is calculating and applying the family max (and/or combined family max) as necessary.

I admit I'm a bit leery about displaying the calculated family max though, because it may confuse people that, in many cases, the family actually receives an amount that is greater than the family maximum. (That is, I worry that it could cause more confusion than it eliminates.)
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
JBTX
Posts: 6983
Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 12:46 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JBTX »

I look forward to testing the new features! Ability to save some aspects of scenarios will be YYUUUUGGGE!
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JoeRetire »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:16 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:03 am One useful feature would be the ability to save and load the user's selections.

If the user were able to save all of their selections to a file, they could reload them at a later date and no have to re-enter each selection by hand. Additionally, they could send you their selections easily, so that you could reproduce and debug their situation.
Just rolled this out a few minutes ago.

Of note, I haven't yet figured out how to make it work to save all of the individual child-specific inputs. (Again, the tricky point is the complexity of passing data around between different parts of the application.) But I imagine that even for people with minor children or adult disabled children, being able to save most inputs is still preferable to being able to save no inputs.
Nice! I'll dig in more deeply on this feature when I have some time.

I see you chose to use query strings as input. That's good, but one caveat: your argument names and values are rather long.

Since the max size of the entire string is 2048 characters, you might run the risk of exceeding that somewhere down the road. Most developers solve that by instead using shorter argument names and values.

For example, instead of "cutAssumption=false", you might consider something like "cA=0".

Anyway, thanks for the feature - it will prove very handy!
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 3:16 pm Just rolled this out a few minutes ago.

Of note, I haven't yet figured out how to make it work to save all of the individual child-specific inputs. (Again, the tricky point is the complexity of passing data around between different parts of the application.) But I imagine that even for people with minor children or adult disabled children, being able to save most inputs is still preferable to being able to save no inputs.
Thanks for working to implement this. However, I wanted to share my testing of it.

I tested the feature using Chrome on my Windows PC and Safari on my iPad using just the defaulted data for both single and married scenarios. In both cases the copied data set when run produces results in the hundreds of millions of dollars. After playing around with it for a bit I found if I just changed the PIA numbers by any amount ($1) on the copied page that the calcs would run properly. I then changed the PIA(s) backed as they were originally and the results matched the original page calculations.

Cheers
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue, thank you for catching that. It should be fixed. It was an issue with the PIA input coming in as a string via the URL parameter. And trying to do math with the string doesn't work.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:06 pm Silk McCue, thank you for catching that. It should be fixed. It was an issue with the PIA input coming in as a string via the URL parameter. And trying to do math with the string doesn't work.
Issue still exists in both environments. Did you promote the code to production?

Cheers
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:00 pm
ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:06 pm Silk McCue, thank you for catching that. It should be fixed. It was an issue with the PIA input coming in as a string via the URL parameter. And trying to do math with the string doesn't work.
Issue still exists in both environments. Did you promote the code to production?

Cheers
Hmm. Yes, I did send the new code to production. And I can no longer replicate the issue on the live version of the site. Is there any way you might be loading a cached version of the site with the prior code?

Or perhaps I am misunderstanding exactly what steps you were taking to get the bug to occur in the first place. (Apologies if I'm being really dense right now. I'm pretty sick at the moment and am somewhat struggling to think as clearly as usual.)
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:05 pm
Silk McCue wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:00 pm
ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:06 pm Silk McCue, thank you for catching that. It should be fixed. It was an issue with the PIA input coming in as a string via the URL parameter. And trying to do math with the string doesn't work.
Issue still exists in both environments. Did you promote the code to production?

Cheers
Hmm. Yes, I did send the new code to production. And I can no longer replicate the issue on the live version of the site. Is there any way you might be loading a cached version of the site with the prior code?

Or perhaps I am misunderstanding exactly what steps you were taking to get the bug to occur in the first place. (Apologies if I'm being really dense right now. I'm pretty sick at the moment and am somewhat struggling to think as clearly as usual.)
Sorry you aren't feeling well. I just ran both Windows PC and iPad in incognito/privacy mode and the issue is resolved. Still doesn't work in regular mode but I expect my op systems will straighten that out in due course as I have never had issues with accessing updated versions of your site.

Cheers
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 5:19 pm I just ran both Windows PC and iPad in incognito/privacy mode and the issue is resolved. Still doesn't work in regular mode but I expect my op systems will straighten that out in due course as I have never had issues with accessing updated versions of your site.
Thank you for reporting back. And thanks again for bringing the issue to my attention.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
Silk McCue
Posts: 4809
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 7:11 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Silk McCue »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:20 pm
Not certain when you implemented the enhancement that replaces the "Advanced Options" selection with the more granular additional input selections but it is a nice upgrade that keeps the interface cleaner by only presenting the inputs that the user is interested in the input form.
Certain situations require additional input. Click here to select situation(s) that may apply to you (and/or your spouse, if filing jointly).
Cheers
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JoeRetire »

The tooltip that pops up when you hover over the "Assumed age at death" label says "whole numbers only, please".
Unfortunately, it covers the input field.

I'm using a Chrome browser.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Silk McCue wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:08 am Not certain when you implemented the enhancement that replaces the "Advanced Options" selection with the more granular additional input selections but it is a nice upgrade that keeps the interface cleaner by only presenting the inputs that the user is interested in the input form.
This was another one of Brian's ideas. I think it's great -- the prior version resulted in a pretty overwhelming page as soon as the "advanced" box was checked.

Happy to hear that you like it too!
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

JoeRetire wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:52 am The tooltip that pops up when you hover over the "Assumed age at death" label says "whole numbers only, please".
Unfortunately, it covers the input field.

I'm using a Chrome browser.
Thank you. And as you know, thanks also for mentioning the browser.

This should be fixed. (It's no longer a hover tooltip.)
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 5773
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by JoeRetire »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 12:10 pm
JoeRetire wrote: Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:52 am The tooltip that pops up when you hover over the "Assumed age at death" label says "whole numbers only, please".
Unfortunately, it covers the input field.

I'm using a Chrome browser.
Thank you. And as you know, thanks also for mentioning the browser.

This should be fixed. (It's no longer a hover tooltip.)
Thanks. And thank you once again for this terrific tool!
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

I released an update today that includes functionality for scenarios in which the person using the calculator is already a widow/widower. (The new functionality also includes mother/father benefits, when applicable.)

When the calculator was originally released, I didn't include such because, in the absence of complicating factors, the analysis for surviving spouses is super easy -- only 2 options to really consider rather than 96x96 options, as is often the case for couples in which both people are still alive.

But of course in the real world complicating factors do apply sometimes. (The earnings test is the one most likely to affect recommendations in widow/widower scenarios.)
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Eagle33
Posts: 940
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2017 3:20 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Eagle33 »

Thanks for the enhancement. Currently don't have a need for it. But one of us may need it in the future.
Rocket science is not “rocket science” to a rocket scientist, just as personal finance is not “rocket science” to a Boglehead.
User avatar
Kevin M
Posts: 11698
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:24 pm
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Kevin M »

ObliviousInvestor wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 10:12 am I released an update today that includes functionality for scenarios in which the person using the calculator is already a widow/widower. (The new functionality also includes mother/father benefits, when applicable.)
As far as I can tell, this does not cover the scenario where one is receiving survivor benefits as a widow/widower, but remarried at age 60 or older.

For example, my survivor benefit is significantly more than half of my spouse's PIA. When I run the calculator as married, the recommendation is for my spouse to start collecting at 66 (her age now), and for me to start collecting the spousal benefit now, and wait until 70 to collect my retirement benefit (I am 68). But if I start collecting the spousal benefit, I will lose my (larger) survivor benefit, correct?

So the real question is, does it still make sense for my spouse to start collecting at 66 if I continue to collect my survivor benefit, even though I would continue collecting my survivor benefit rather than receiving nothing if my spouse waits until age 70?

Thanks!

Kevin
Wiki ||.......|| Suggested format for Asking Portfolio Questions (edit original post)
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Kevin M wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:42 pm As far as I can tell, this does not cover the scenario where one is receiving survivor benefits as a widow/widower, but remarried at age 60 or older.
You are correct.
Kevin M wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:42 pm For example, my survivor benefit is significantly more than half of my spouse's PIA. When I run the calculator as married, the recommendation is for my spouse to start collecting at 66 (her age now), and for me to start collecting the spousal benefit now, and wait until 70 to collect my retirement benefit (I am 68). But if I start collecting the spousal benefit, I will lose my (larger) survivor benefit, correct?
You would not lose the survivor benefit, but the spousal benefit would be reduced (to zero) by the amount of your survivor benefit.

As far as references in case you would like them, here are the cases/times at which a survivor benefit ends. Note that there's nothing describing the situation you are discussing (i.e., becoming entitled to a spousal benefit).
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0337.htm

And in subsection (b) below you can find the description of what happens when you are entitled to a survivor benefit and another benefit (other than retirement/disability).
https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/404/404-0407.htm
Kevin M wrote: Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:42 pm So the real question is, does it still make sense for my spouse to start collecting at 66 if I continue to collect my survivor benefit, even though I would continue collecting my survivor benefit rather than receiving nothing if my spouse waits until age 70?
Just to reiterate, your spouse filing for her retirement benefit would not cause your survivor benefit to end. As far as whether she should wait though, hard to say without knowing your respective PIAs.

If her PIA is lower than yours, then it's unlikely that waiting all the way until 70 makes sense unless you're both in unusually good health and/or there is a strongly compelling tax planning reason to wait (which is not particularly uncommon).

If her PIA is greater than yours, then it's extremely likely that her waiting until 70 is optimal.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

For Kevin M, sscritic provided the following POMS reference via email in case that's helpful as well.

https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0300615170
1. Widow(er) and Spouse Only
• •
When an individual is entitled to a WIB and a spouse's benefit, he/ she will be paid only the WIB (after any reduction) if it is larger than the spouse's benefit (after reduction).
• •
If the spouse's benefit exceeds the WIB, he/she will be paid the WIB plus an amount equal to the excess spouse benefit.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
Kevin M
Posts: 11698
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 3:24 pm
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by Kevin M »

Thanks for the reply, Mike.

I understand that I will continue to receive my survivor benefit whether or not I apply for spousal benefits (I did additional research after the post), so no question there. So there's really no point in applying for spousal benefits.

The main point is that I don't understand how much impact on the PV the spousal benefit has if running it as married (instead of as widow/widower). Since my survivor benefit is significantly larger, the smaller spousal benefit is not the correct number to use in the PV calculations.

Unless you add my scenario to your calculator, I guess I'd need to run my own PV calculations to figure it out.

Thanks,

Kevin
Wiki ||.......|| Suggested format for Asking Portfolio Questions (edit original post)
User avatar
Topic Author
ObliviousInvestor
Posts: 3781
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2009 9:32 am
Contact:

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Kevin M wrote: Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:57 pm Thanks for the reply, Mike.

I understand that I will continue to receive my survivor benefit whether or not I apply for spousal benefits (I did additional research after the post), so no question there. So there's really no point in applying for spousal benefits.

The main point is that I don't understand how much impact on the PV the spousal benefit has if running it as married (instead of as widow/widower). Since my survivor benefit is significantly larger, the smaller spousal benefit is not the correct number to use in the PV calculations.

Unless you add my scenario to your calculator, I guess I'd need to run my own PV calculations to figure it out.
While that's something that I would like to add to the calculator at some point, it's unlikely to be soon. The prior update (survivor scenarios, not including people who remarried after age 60) took about 6 weeks of work, and this feature could likely be similar. (I find I have a hard time estimating in advance.) And any work on the calculator is sort of "when I can fit it in," given that it's not a directly revenue-producing activity.

If you'd like to provide the PIAs in question, I may be able to provide some input as far as modeling.
Mike Piper | Roth is a name, not an acronym.
User avatar
sunny_socal
Posts: 2288
Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: "Open Social Security" calculator: feature requests, bug reports, etc

Post by sunny_socal »

Excellent calculator OP! Takes about 10 seconds on my 2013 MBPro.
Post Reply