The default assumptions used in Social Security’s online retirement benefit calculators is that the economy will experience no economy-wide real wage growth and no inflation going forward. Note that there is no one correct way to do this, and a proper exposure could have also been obtained by changing the aperture or ISO instead of the shutter speed, or a combination of all three. Take, for example, a 62 year-old high earner, named Sally, with a 66-year old low earner spouse, named Joe. By starting retirement benefits early, Sally permits Joe to start collecting a spousal benefit immediately.
Practice time So now it’s your turn: grab your camera, put it in Manual mode, and hold the viewfinder up to your eye. For my first shot, I’ll show you a photo that is underexposed and then illustrate how the camera settings can be adjusted to get the proper exposure. This may require having one spouse file for retirement benefits, but suspend their collection. Your camera does not know whether you are shooting landscapes, portraits, sports, starry nights, kids, pets, or anything else. This is true whether the loss in benefits due to the earnings test reflects benefits based on your own work record or based on your spouse’s work record. Millions of Baby Boomers can significantly raise their retirement benefits by continuing to work in their sixties.
The formula for the spousal benefit is always the excess benefit formula. The more practice you get, the easier it will be and soon you will feel much more comfortable shooting in a mode that might have seemed hopelessly confusing before. Do you shoot in manual? If so, how did you get yourself off Automatic mode? Or do you actually prefer Automatic? For now just follow along with the examples to see what happens when the exposure values are altered. To get a properly exposed photo you are essentially trying to re-create what your eye already sees, but right now the light meter tells us that the photo will be way too dark. And sure enough, the triangle is hovering above the +3, which tells us the photo will be too bright. Once again the result is a photo that is properly exposed, but the depth of field is much wider – see how the background is not quite as smooth and blurry as before?