Are reverse mortgages on the comeback trail?

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Will financial planners resuscitate the reverse mortgage? New loan originations have fallen sharply since their peak year in 2008. Reforms put in place by the federal government several years ago have led the reverse lending industry to target more affluent potential borrowers—the households that tend to work with planners. And some retirement researchers have been […]

Social Security urged to focus on delayed filing, longevity risk

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The Social Security Administration needs to up its game when it comes to helping retirees decide when to claim their benefits. The timing of a Social Security claim is the most important financial decision most workers will make about their retirement. Benefits can be claimed as early as age 62, but waiting just a few […]

Heed the warning label on mutual funds – passive is better

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The warning is posted in fine print at the bottom of all mutual fund advertisements: “Past performance does not guarantee future results.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires it. But when it comes to actively managed mutual funds, that warning should perhaps be updated to: “Strong performance almost certainly guarantees worse performance in the […]

Social Security texting snafu underscores customer service woes

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Now is the summer of our discontent with Social Security’s customer service – and fall and winter could be worse. The Social Security Administration (SSA) stumbled this month when it added a mandatory extra layer of website log-on security requiring customers to receive a code via text message. But the agency’s customer service problems go […]

Decade after landmark pension law, changes still needed

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Next week marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark federal law with a hopeful name – the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Has the law lived up to its name? The anniversary is an apt time to consider changes still needed to improve the retirement security of American workers. The track record of the Pension […]

Will government workers facing Social Security cuts get relief?

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Relief may soon be on the way for more than 2 million Americans who face big cuts in their Social Security benefits simply because they worked in government jobs that come with a pension. The reductions stem from two little-understood rules, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). Both are designed […]

Surprise: Social Security benefits are for children too

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You’ve heard of greedy geezers: that mythical army of militant seniors out to defend their Social Security benefits at any cost, even if it robs their own children and grandchildren of their futures. The greedy geezer trope, invented by now-retired Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming back in 2012, is just the most colorful example of […]

New tools for tax-efficient retirement draw-downs coming into view

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Control the things you can control. We’ve all heard the mantra when it comes to personal financial planning, and it usually refers to the accumulation side of a retirement plan—factors such as investment cost, contribution amounts and timing. But a growing body of research points to an under-utilized point of control on the decumulation side […]

2017 Social Security COLA likely to lack fizz

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Retirees will receive a paltry increase in their Social Security checks in 2017 – the second consecutive year of flat or near-flat benefits, and the fifth year of inflation adjustments below 2 percent. Next year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be just two-tenths of 1 percent, according to predictions in the annual report of the trustees […]

Is the fiduciary rule fight really about the little guy?

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The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants you to believe it is looking out for the little guy in its fight against new government regulation of the retirement investment advice industry. But that is a facade – as one consumer advocacy group found out when it checked the Chamber’s claims of grassroots support for its battle […]