Can state auto-IRA plans improve retirement security?


Remember the auto-IRA? It’s a good–but modest–idea for improving retirement security that President Obama has been trying to get going since 2010. Auto-IRAs would cover millions of workers who don’t have 401(k)s on the job–mostly lower-income workers at small businesses. But Congress has refused to cooperate, so the White House threw in the towel on […]

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Medicare fall enrollment: It pays to shop as drug plan premiums surge


Seniors have received some unpleasant news in their mailboxes in recent weeks: premiums for many Medicare prescription drug insurance plans will rise at double-digit rates next year. Premiums for the ten most popular Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) will rise an average of 8 percent next year – the fastest clip in five […]

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QLACs: A New Tool for Retirement Income


Is there a QLAC in your future? Not disability insurance from that noisy duck of TV-ad fame, but a qualified longevity annuity contract. QLACs are a new form of deferred income annuity (DIA) promoted by the Obama administration as a way to address longevity risk–the risk that you’ll run out of money in retirement. The […]

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How flat income growth late in your career can hurt your retirement plan


How much will your income grow during the course of your career – and how much of that growth can you safely bake into a financial plan for retirement? For successful people in the middle of their careers, should your assumptions keep pace with inflation or go higher? For typical American households, the correct answer is […]

At age 50, let’s weigh the future of Medicare


Medicare is having a midlife identity crisis. Our most important health insurance program celebrated its 50th birthday on July 30, and two political and policy visions for Medicare’s future are competing for supremacy in Washington. And the winning direction will have important consequences for retirees in the decades ahead. The question on the table is […]

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Need to Work in Retirement? Think Small


More retirees than ever intend to keep working past traditional retirement age. But age discrimination and job burnout pose major challenges to staying in the corporate workforce. Entrepreneurship can be a viable alternative work route for retirees–and it’s getting more commonplace. Entrepreneurs age 55-65 accounted for 26% of all startups last year, up from 15% […]

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What the Medicare doc fix means for your pocketbook


The Medicare “doc fix” is in. The question now: What will it mean for seniors’ pocketbooks? President Obama recently signed the most significant Medicare legislation in years–a plan to fix a Medicare formula that threatened to slash payments to doctors every year. The law achieves several positive Medicare reforms, but it will increase some costs […]

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New strategies for covering long-term care costs


You’ve heard the scary statistics: About two thirds of Americans will need long-term care. The average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is $87,600; the length of stay can run three years or more. Do a few quick calculations, and it’s easy to get very worried about the potential financial impact […]

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Watch: Making money last in retirement


How can you make your money last throughout retirement? I discussed the question as part of a terrific panel at the recent Morningstar Individual Investor Conference. My co-panelists were Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance, and financial planner Mark Balasa, co-founder of wealth management firm Balasa Dinverno Foltz. The session was moderated by Adam Zoll of […]

How Your Social Security Benefit Is Calculated


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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