How would GOP’s Medicare “modernization” proposals affect enrollees?

Not much was said during the presidential election about Medicare reform, but “modernization” of one of our most critical retirement programs is on the agenda in Washington. The term applies to a basketful of reform ideas long favored by Republicans. But if Medicare modernization moves forward next year, it will set in motion a long-term […]

Will Your Social Security Get Whacked by the WEP?

A friend called recently about her Social Security benefit, and she was not happy. Preparing to retire following a successful career in academic, private sector, and federal government positions, she expected to retire on a mix of Social Security, a pension, and savings. Then she checked the amount of her projected Social Security benefit and […]

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Medicare open enrollment 2016: Shopping tips

Medicare enrollees can save hundreds of dollars on premiums and out-of-pocket costs by doing a checkup on their coverage in the weeks to come. But few bother to review what they’ve got or make changes. Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 – the period when enrollees can shop for […]

Military prepares for overhaul in retirement benefits

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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Retirement: The Other Economic Gender Gap

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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Fresh approaches to paying for long-term care

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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The ins and outs of Social Security benefits and taxes

It’s an unpleasant fact of life: The taxman can take a bite out of your Social Security benefits. The federal tax formula was crafted to initially target higher-income households, but the share of benefits taxed has risen over the years, because the income thresholds for taxation aren’t indexed for inflation or real income growth. Meanwhile, […]

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The 2016 Retirement Landscape: 5 Predictions

“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” said Yogi Berra, the late baseball great.* But let’s give it a try: Here’s my forecast of the five most important stories that will unfold on the retirement beat in 2016. No market predictions here: In my view, the smart retirement investor owns a well-balanced portfolio […]

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Inflation in retirement: What you can do to keep up

The news that Social Security beneficiaries didn’t receive an inflation adjustment this year has renewed debate about how we measure the cost of living for seniors. A strong case can be made that the current formula driving Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is out of whack. The COLA is tied to the Consumer Price Index for Urban […]

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Eight questions about Social Security claiming strategies

The bipartisan budget deal signed into law last last month by President Obama jolted some near-retirement couples–and the retirement-planning world–by closing a loophole in Social Security law that a growing number of married couples were using to substantially increase their benefits. The law makes changes in two Social Security claiming maneuvers–“file-and-suspend” and “restricted claims”–that have […]

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