Social Security beneficiaries must swallow flat COLA in 2017


Zilch. Nada. Diddly squat. Take your pick of words that best describe the Social Security inflation adjustment announced this week, but it all adds up to this: another year of flat benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration declared a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2017 – a bit more than the zero increase in […]

Five ways to improve retirement math when you haven’t saved


A large segment of American workers are approaching retirement with very little or nothing saved: Among workers age 55 or higher and nearing retirement, 48 percent have saved less than $100,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. A third have less than $25,000. The savings shortfall means many Americans face the prospect of retiring […]

Mandatory worker retirement plans gain momentum with California legislation

Photo via AARP

The movement to require employers to offer retirement plans to their workers just took a big leap forward. California Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation last week launching the state’s Secure Choice plan – a government-sponsored retirement savings vehicle that would be offered to employees of most companies that do not have their own workplace retirement […]

In-patient or not? New Medicare law requires hospitals to tell you


You are in the hospital for tests after experiencing dizziness. You are nervous about what the tests will show, but at least you do not have to worry about hospital bills – you have Medicare, so you can relax about healthcare coverage. Or can you? Not if you are in the hospital under “observation status” […]

Are reverse mortgages on the comeback trail?


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


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


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


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 […]