Military prepares for overhaul in retirement benefits

Photo by Fort Rucker via Flickr.

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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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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