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 […]

Why White House disability insurance fix makes sense

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Advocates for disabled Americans got some welcome news today in the White House budget for 2016: The plan asks Congress to keep the 11 million disabled Americans now receiving Social Security disability insurance out of a looming brawl over broader Social Security reform (for more, see my column today at Reuters Money). The budget plan […]

Who would pay more if we lift the cap on payroll taxes?

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Progressives have been arguing for some time now that one of the best ways to close Social Security’s long-range funding gap would be to lift the cap on maximum wages subject to payroll taxes. This year, the cap is $118,500; there’s a basic fairness argument here, in that a wage-earner below that figure is taxed […]

Romney’s huge IRA makes a comeback in Obama retirement proposal

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It was a memorable moment in the 2012 presidential race. In their October 16 debate, Defending his blind trust investments, Gov. Romney said: ROMNEY: Just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United […]

State plans for low-income retirement saving gain momentum

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss.

My home state of Illinois is not the first place that comes to mind for innovative approaches to retirement savings. We are much more infamous for our pension plan for state workers, which is the worst-funded in the country. But Illinois just became the first U.S. state to adopt a promising new approach to a […]

Defending Social Security should be next on Obama’s to-do list

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Since the midterm elections, President Obama has taken decisive action on immigration reform, climate change and relations with Cuba. Now, the new Republican-controlled Congress has handed him another opportunity to act boldly – by leaving a legacy as a strong defender of Social Security. House Republicans signaled this week that they are gearing up for […]