Are reverse mortgages on the comeback trail?

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Will financial planners resuscitate the reverse mortgage? New loan originations have fallen sharply since their peak year in 2008. Reforms put in place by the federal government several years ago have led the reverse lending industry to target more affluent potential borrowers—the households that tend to work with planners. And some retirement researchers have been […]

Military prepares for overhaul in retirement benefits

Photo by Fort Rucker via Flickr.

U.S. Armed Forces – Get Ready to Salute the 401(k). The military, which currently has a traditional defined benefit plan, will adopt a new hybrid program next year that blends an existing defined benefit for career personnel with a matching contribution to a 401(k)-style account aimed at covering those who don’t make a lifelong career […]

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Social Security urged to focus on delayed filing, longevity risk

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The Social Security Administration needs to up its game when it comes to helping retirees decide when to claim their benefits. The timing of a Social Security claim is the most important financial decision most workers will make about their retirement. Benefits can be claimed as early as age 62, but waiting just a few […]

Automatic enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans drawing scrutiny

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The Medicare enrollment process is fraught with complicated choices – but one big decision could be made for you automatically by a health insurance company if you are not on your toes. A little known rule allows some health insurance companies to automatically sign people up for Medicare Advantage plans – the managed care alternative […]

Older and jobless: the recovery’s forgotten story

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Six years after the Great Recession ended, jobless older workers are the forgotten story of the economic recovery. U.S. employers are creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs every month, but millions of older workers who want a job cannot find work. The economic data documenting the problem is clear. So is one of the […]

How to manage your career like a financial asset

Michael Haubrich

There’s nothing more basic to a retirement plan than your career—income from work makes everything else possible. Many financial planners recognize that truth, at least in theory. But most haven’t taken the next logical step, argues Michael Haubrich, founder and president of Financial Service Group, a fee-only planning firm based in Milwaukee. Haubrich is the […]

Heed the warning label on mutual funds – passive is better

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The warning is posted in fine print at the bottom of all mutual fund advertisements: “Past performance does not guarantee future results.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires it. But when it comes to actively managed mutual funds, that warning should perhaps be updated to: “Strong performance almost certainly guarantees worse performance in the […]

Social Security texting snafu underscores customer service woes

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Now is the summer of our discontent with Social Security’s customer service – and fall and winter could be worse. The Social Security Administration (SSA) stumbled this month when it added a mandatory extra layer of website log-on security requiring customers to receive a code via text message. But the agency’s customer service problems go […]

Decade after landmark pension law, changes still needed

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Next week marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark federal law with a hopeful name – the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Has the law lived up to its name? The anniversary is an apt time to consider changes still needed to improve the retirement security of American workers. The track record of the Pension […]

Will government workers facing Social Security cuts get relief?

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Relief may soon be on the way for more than 2 million Americans who face big cuts in their Social Security benefits simply because they worked in government jobs that come with a pension. The reductions stem from two little-understood rules, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). Both are designed […]