Surprise: Social Security benefits are for children too

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You’ve heard of greedy geezers: that mythical army of militant seniors out to defend their Social Security benefits at any cost, even if it robs their own children and grandchildren of their futures. The greedy geezer trope, invented by now-retired Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming back in 2012, is just the most colorful example of […]

Medicare Advantage growing quickly, but provider choice is limited

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Medicare enrollees are moving in greater numbers than ever to the program’s managed care option as a way to save money. But the tradeoff is much less ability to use their preferred doctors and hospitals. Seniors can choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare – which is accepted by most healthcare providers – or a Medicare Advantage […]

Retirement: The Other Economic Gender Gap

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The gender pay gap is a hot topic these days, but it’s not the only economic gender gap. Women also are lagging behind men in building retirement security. Lower pay translates into a gap for women in retirement security, reducing Social Security benefits, pensions, and retirement saving. At the same time, women enjoy greater longevity, […]

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Budget cuts threaten SHIP Medicare counseling program

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Would you call a U.S. program that helps 7 million seniors save money on Medicare annually “unnecessary”? Probably not. But a network of more than 3,300 free Medicare counseling services could lose its $52 million in federal funding due to budget cuts. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) is on a list of more […]

New tools for tax-efficient retirement draw-downs coming into view

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Control the things you can control. We’ve all heard the mantra when it comes to personal financial planning, and it usually refers to the accumulation side of a retirement plan—factors such as investment cost, contribution amounts and timing. But a growing body of research points to an under-utilized point of control on the decumulation side […]

2017 Social Security COLA likely to lack fizz

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Retirees will receive a paltry increase in their Social Security checks in 2017 – the second consecutive year of flat or near-flat benefits, and the fifth year of inflation adjustments below 2 percent. Next year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be just two-tenths of 1 percent, according to predictions in the annual report of the trustees […]

Fresh approaches to paying for long-term care

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Long-term care is a wild card in the deck for any retirement plan. Half of all Americans develop a disability at age 65 or older that is serious enough to need long-term care, and one in six will spend at least $100,000 out of pocket for care, federal data shows. The financial risk is real, […]

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Is the fiduciary rule fight really about the little guy?

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants you to believe it is looking out for the little guy in its fight against new government regulation of the retirement investment advice industry. But that is a facade – as one consumer advocacy group found out when it checked the Chamber’s claims of grassroots support for its battle […]

Push to expand Social Security gains momentum

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A coalition of progressive politicians, policy experts and grassroots advocates started a campaign three years ago facing very long odds. They proposed expanding Social Security retirement benefits for millions of Americans. Mainstream thinking in Washington at the time ran in the opposite direction: Social Security benefits should be cut as part of a “grand bargain” to get the federal deficit under control. […]

Not junk mail: This letter from Social Security can cut Medicare drug costs

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A letter arrives in the mail with this opening line: “We are writing to let you know how you can get help paying your Medicare costs.” Your fraud detector probably goes on high alert – the mailboxes of retirees routinely are stuffed with bogus come-ons. But this letter is no scam. More than 2 million seniors are receiving letters this […]