Charitable IRA makes a last-minute comeback for 2014

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Gotta love the way we make tax policy these days. Congress finally okayed charitable IRA transfers for 2014 (!) this week. This provision – which bounces in and out of existence like a yo-yo – allows IRA account owners who need to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) to make direct contributions to charitable organizations, and […]

Multiemployer pension benefit cuts: A Q&A on what you need to know

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The last-minute deal to allow retiree pension benefit cuts as part of the federal spending bill for 2015 passed by Congress last week has set off shock waves in the U.S. retirement system. Buried in the $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus” legislation signed this week by President Barack Obama was a provision that aims to head off […]

When does it make sense to accelerate tax payments on retirement accounts?

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It’s almost a mantra of financial planning: Defer taxes on investments whenever you can, for as long as possible. But in some situations, it can make sense. Consider this: Recent Vanguard research found that 20 percent of account holders who take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from retirement funds put the money in taxable accounts. In other words, […]

Lame duck Congress tries a lame move on pensions

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The mid-term election results have changed the political landscape in a way that threatens the retirement security of middle class households. But we don’t even have to wait for the new Congress to be seated in January to know just how bad things could get. This week, the lame duck Congress pulled a lame move, inserting “Solutions Not […]

The trouble with financial literacy

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Financial literacy education is a mom-and-apple-pie proposition – who can be opposed to getting smarter about money? But I’m struck often by just how much the topic rings hollow as a solution to the retirement security crisis we’re facing. This week’s Reuters column looks at two recent studies touching on this topic. The American College of Financial […]

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Retirement planning: The view from Vanguard

Steve Utkus, director of the Vanguard Center for Retirement Research.

The dramatic shift by retirement savers to passive investing means financial advisors will spend less time in the future picking stocks, and that leads to questions about new ways to add value. Nowhere are those questions more pressing than at Vanguard, the king of passive mutual fund investing. The company has been testing its Personal […]

Year-end tips for retirement savers young and not-so-young

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It’s year-end, and retirement savers of all ages need to check their to-do lists. These year-end lists often feel to me like endless, laborious chores, so I decided to limit suggestions in my Reuters column this week to just three – one apiece for three stages of life: already retired, close to retirement and just starting […]

Five takeaways on retirement policy from the midterm elections

Mitch McConnell

Retirement policy wasn’t on the ballot in last week’s midterm elections. But the new political landscape could threaten the retirement security of middle-class households. With Republicans in full control of Congress, expect efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. And more Republican-controlled statehouses mean more efforts to curtail state and local workers’ pensions. One positive […]

Social Security reform should boost benefits and taxes, poll finds

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It’s no surprise that a new public opinion survey would find broad public opposition to cutting Social Security benefits. But a survey released this week [PDF] by the National Academy of Social Insurance finds a strong majority of Americans actually support boosting benefits – and taxing themselves to pay for it. The survey uses a polling […]

Why Social Security COLAs aren’t keeping up with seniors’ costs

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Social Security’s annual inflation adjustment is one of the program’s most valuable features. But it’s time to adjust the adjustment. Retirees will get a 1.7 percent bump in their Social Security benefit next year, according to the Social Security Administration, which announced the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on Wednesday. Recipients of disability benefits and Supplemental […]