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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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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The best places to retire successfully

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Minnesota just might be the best place to get old in America–if you’re interested mainly in quality health care and don’t mind cold winter weather. A state-by-state ranking of senior health gives Minnesota top honors for a range of reasons–everything from the rate of annual dental visits to the quality of nursing home beds and […]

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How Social Security’s file-and-suspend feature works

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It’s not often that the federal budget deals with the nitty-gritty of personal-finance strategies for retirement. But this intriguing statement is buried deep inside the fiscal 2015 budget that President Obama released in March: “In addition, the Budget proposes to eliminate aggressive Social Security claiming strategies, which allow upper-income beneficiaries to manipulate the timing of […]

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Seven questions to ask about annuities

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I wrote recently about the sales traction that insurance companies are getting with deferred income annuities, or DIAs. In this post, I’ll consider the pros and cons of using a DIA as part of a retirement portfolio plan, and expand the conversation to include the DIA’s first cousin: single premium income annuities, or SPIAs. We’ll […]

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Getting a handle on health care in retirement

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Health care is one of the largest expenses most Americans will face in retirement – and it’s among the most difficult to predict. At the recent Morningstar Individual Investor Conference, I joined a panel discussion of strategies for meeting health-care funding needs using Medicare, Medigap, long-term care insurance health savings accounts – and the Affordable Care Act. […]

Deferred annuities getting some traction

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You’ve probably seen this attention-grabbing advertising message on television or on a billboard: “The First Person To Live To 150 Is Alive Today.” Not surprisingly, the ad comes from an insurance company–Prudential–and the pitch is for annuities. You may find the message optimistic, unsettling, or just plain disturbing–but it does highlight the insurance industry’s core […]

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