Advice about maximizing Social Security from the guy who wants to end it

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I had a chance today to hear Larry Kotlikoff speak about his best-selling book Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. Kotlikoff is a professor of economics at Boston University and founder of Economic Security Planning, Inc, a financial software company that created MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com, one of a handful of premium online tools for […]

Survey finds an unfounded rise in retirement confidence

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Denial is the first emotional stage of grief – and that may be where Americans are at right now in their attitudes about retirement security. The 2015 edition of the longest-running national survey of retirement confidence, released today by the non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), reveals a second consecutive annual jump in the percentage […]

Unraveling the mysteries of Social Security WEP and GPO

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Some U.S. workers who have paid into the Social Security system are in for a rude awakening when the checks start coming: Their benefits could be chopped up to $413 per month. That is the maximum potential cut for 2015 stemming from the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP), a little-understood rule that was signed into law […]

A tax day question: Why do states leave billions in retiree income on the table?

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Illinois is the national poster child for state budget messes. My home state faces a $7.4 billion general fund deficit and a $12 billion revenue shortfall. One proposed idea for plugging at least part of the horrific shortfall: tax retirement income. But our new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, has rejected the idea. Illinois exempts all […]

What does the robo-advisor food fight mean for investors?

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: two investment companies in a very public fight about values, greed and putting the interests of customers first. This is what has happened since Charles Schwab launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios last month, making it the first major investment company to leap into the so-called “robo-advisory” market. These automated […]

Lump sum pension offers: Don’t count on your employer for advice

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If you are due a pension from a former employer, there is a good chance you were or soon will be offered a lump-sum payment in exchange for giving up that guaranteed monthly check for life. Should you take it? Probably not, but making a smart decision depends on a complex set of assumptions about […]

IRA providers are waving cash; should you take it?

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Back in the day you could walk into a bank to open a new account and walk out with a free toaster. Today, you can walk into the office of a big mutual fund company or bank and get a wad of cash if you open a retirement savings account. You can get anywhere from […]

White House fiduciary embrace is a turning point for retirement security

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Let’s say you’ve finally decided it’s time to get serious about planning for retirement. You stop in at the local office of a bank or brokerage firm. Perhaps you call an investment or mutual fund company you saw advertising on tv. The person you’re talking to calls himself a “financial adviser” – but most likely, […]

The case for expanding Social Security: A conversation with Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson

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Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson are two of the nation’s leading progressive advocates for strengthening and expanding Social Security. Their new book, Social Security Works: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help us All, lays out the case for expanding benefits in order to address growing income inequality and the looming […]

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How Social Security can help you play catch-up on retirement

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More Americans over 55 are finally getting back to work after the long recession – the strong national employment report for January released last week confirms that. That’s good news not just for patching up household balance sheets damaged by years of lost employment and savings. But getting back to work also is likely to […]