How Your Social Security Benefit Is Calculated

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If you’ve checked your annual Social Security statement lately, you probably know the size of the benefit you’re projected to receive in retirement. But do you know how that number is calculated? Social Security determines your initial benefit at full retirement age (FRA) using a complex formula that takes into account your earning history, wage […]

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Company stock in your 401(k)? Proceed with caution

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401(k) plans have made great strides in recent years–reducing costs, simplifying investment menus, and automating portfolio allocation. But a surprisingly large number of plans still include one feature that really should go: offering the plan sponsor’s own shares to workers. Research consistently shows that owning your employer’s stock in a workplace retirement plan is risky. […]

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Debunking the top 10 myths about Social Security

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Social Security is going bankrupt. It’s a Ponzi scheme. The program’s trust fund contains nothing but a bunch of worthless IOUs. Those are just a few of the comments we hear frequently from journalists, politicians, and policymakers about Social Security. But they’re all false–and that’s a big problem. Social Security is one of our most important […]

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Social Security to the max: Strategies for affluent households

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A friend who plans to retire soon asked me recently whether he should delay filing for Social Security. He’s reached full retirement age (66) but doubted it would make sense to wait longer–he’s been a high earner most of his career and assumed he had already “maxed out” his “full” benefit. Not so. Social Security’s […]

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Longer life expectancies raise the bar on pensions

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Americans are living longer. That’s good news for people–but it’s creating challenges in the world of traditional defined-benefit pensions. American men are living an average of two years longer than they were in 2000 (the last time the tables were revised), and women are getting an additional 2.4 years of life, according to new mortality […]

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Retirement planning for singles: Three must-do items

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If retirement planning had a soundtrack, a great candidate would be “Love and Marriage,” the old Sammy Kahn lyric made famous by Frank Sinatra: Love and marriage, love and marriage . . go together like a horse and carriage . . . So much planning advice focuses on married couples–and no doubt, that’s where some of […]

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The 50-Plus Job Market: 5 Trends to Watch

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Working longer is a mantra these days for many Americans hoping to build greater retirement security. Staying on the job even a few years beyond traditional retirement age makes it easier to delay filing for Social Security; it also can mean more years contributing to retirement accounts and fewer years of depending on nest eggs […]

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Retirement spending: Why rules of thumb don’t work

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We’ve all heard the rule-of-thumb: To retire comfortably, you need to replace 70 percent to 80 percent of pre-retirement income. Add a couple of percentage points for inflation every year, and you’ll have what you need to meet your expenses in retirement. But the rule-of-thumb never was meant as a way to think about spending […]

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Timing your Social Security filing: Where to get assistance with the big decision

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Deciding when to file for Social Security is one of the most consequential financial decisions most Americans will make about their retirement. Opting to claim benefits early, at the Full Retirement Age (FRA), or later can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in higher–or lower–lifetime benefits for a married couple. But Social Security’s rules are […]

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Five ways to confront changing healthcare costs in retirement

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The cost of health care is one of the biggest out-of-pocket costs facing retirees–and for some, the challenge is getting tougher. Fifteen million retirees on Medicare get supplemental health insurance coverage from their former employers–and another 2 million retirees not yet eligible for Medicare receive primary coverage from their former workplaces, according to research by […]

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