Supreme Court same-sex ruling opens the door for Social Security’s valuable spousal benefits

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Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will give a huge boost to the retirement security of LGBT Americans. That will be especially true in the realm of Social Security – where it pays to be married. The ruling will affect everything from access to spousal pension and retirement accounts, health benefits and more. […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan

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Financial plans typically assume a normal retirement age in the mid-60s or beyond, but life events have a way of intervening. Half of all retirees say they left the workforce earlier than planned, according to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The key culprits include health problems or disability […]

A new type of annuity for life’s biggest unknown

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How much money you will need to save to enjoy a secure retirement depends on the ultimate unknowable: How long will you live? The possibility of running short is called longevity risk, and the Obama administration last year established rules to foster a new type of annuity, the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC), that would […]

How well do you understand Social Security? Take this quick quiz to find out

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Ready for a quick quiz on how Social Security benefits work? You should. Social Security is the most important retirement benefit for most Americans, and understanding the rules is critical for getting the most out of the program. So, let’s get started. At what age can you receive your full benefit? Can you keep working […]

How Social Security could help fix retirement inequality

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  Americans need bigger retirement nest eggs, there is no doubt about that. More than half of us have saved less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Policy experts often point to such figures to underscore the looming retirement security crisis, and proposals have been flying this year from Republicans and Democrats […]

What’s the future hold for Social Security field offices?

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Will you be able to go to a Social Security office 10 years from now for help claiming your benefits? Probably — but a new report from the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlining its vision for future service delivery has some critics worried about the future of the agency’s face-to-face customer services. A report issued […]

This weekend’s recommended reading on retirement

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Here’s a quick look at articles that have caught my eye in the past week: The Risks and Rewards of Self-Managing Investment Portfolios. There are good reasons for retirees to manage their own financial lives: Saving money on fees is one benefit, and more closely aligning investments with personal goals is another. John Wasik/The New York […]

Supreme Court 401(k) ruling latest shift in favor of retirement savers

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Doing the right thing by retirement savers – could it be the new black? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that employers have a duty to protect workers in their 401(k) plans from mutual funds that are too expensive or perform poorly. The landmark ruling – which was unanimous, sends a strong signal to […]

New thinking about the use of debt in retirement

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“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Shakespeare’s Polonius advised his son in Hamlet. Tom Anderson disagrees. Anderson, a wealth manager at Morgan Stanley, is the author of The Value of Debt in Retirement (Wiley) and challenges the conventional wisdom that the best retirement plans shed as much debt as possible – of any kind. […]

Retirement investors need patience as bond market wavers

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With bond markets in turmoil, what is a 401(k) investor to do? Probably not much. Retirement investors have enjoyed the best of both worlds these past two years: a bull market in both equities and bonds. But the bond market has been weathering volatility and sharp declines since late April, with prices falling and yields […]