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 […]

Five ways to tune up your Medicare coverage

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Health care is one of the largest expenses you’ll face in retirement, and making good Medicare coverage decisions is a great way to save money. Medicare doesn’t cover all expenses in retirement, but it’s the most important factor in smoothing out health care costs, which play such an important role in retiree budgets. Medicare data shows […]

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 […]