Time to raise – or scrap – the Social Security payroll tax cap

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It’s Tax Day, and a small number of wealthy Americans will have something to celebrate: They’ll be done paying Social Security taxes for the year. The payroll tax that funds Social Security is levied only on a certain amount of income. This year it’s capped at $117,000. That means most wage earners will pay 6.2 […]

Considering retirement abroad? What you need to know

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Are you thinking of retiring abroad? It’s a growing trend: the number of retirees, spouses and widows receiving Social Security benefit payments outside the U.S. rose 26 percent to 542,451 between 2006 and 2012, according to the Social Security Administration. And that figure likely understates substantially the number of retirees living abroad, since many retirees […]

Out of work and under 65? Here’s how to retool your retirement plan

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We reached a milestone last week when the government reported that the U.S. economy has regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Yet for many older workers the recession never ended; long-term joblessness has morphed into de facto premature retirement. Now, millions are performing financial triage on retirement plans that had been based […]

Corporate pension plans are healthier, but they’re still dying

Josh Gobtaum, director, Pension Benefit Guarantee Corp.

This should be good news: At a time when worry about the retirement security of American workers is rising, traditional pension plans finished 2013 in their best shape last year since the financial crisis of 2008. Yet that may only be setting the table for more corporations to stop offering them. The funding deficit of […]

Should young retirement savers load up on stocks? Maybe not

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Millennials don’t seem to buy the traditional wisdom when it comes to investing. They’re the most risk-averse investors since the Great Depression, with the average portfolio 52 percent in cash, according to a recent report by UBS Wealth Management Americas. That runs counter to what most investment experts will tell you – that young people […]

‘File-and-suspend’ Social Security strategy under fire from White House

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Are high-income Americans gaming Social Security? The Obama administration wants to go after the wealthy for “aggressive” moves to “manipulate” their Social Security claiming decisions, according to the fiscal 2015 budget released by the White House earlier this month. The target is a benefit claiming strategy known as file-and-suspend – a twist on the more […]

The other Social Security funding battle: the squeeze on customer service

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If you want to understand the fight over Social Security’s future, look no further than your annual benefit statement – if you can find one. The Social Security Administration stopped mailing annual statements in 2011 in a budget-cutting move that saves $70 million annually. The SSA rolled out an online statement the following year, but […]

Retirement confidence bounces back, but only among wealthy savers

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Americans who owned stocks in 2013 are feeling better about their retirement prospects than they did just a few years ago. For everyone else, not so much. The longest-running survey of American retirement sentiment shows confidence rose in 2013, the first increase since sentiment plunged following the Great Recession of 2008-2009. But the 2014 Retirement Confidence […]

Retirement trade-offs: Work longer? Play now? Save more? Save less?

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“How’s the rainy day fund coming along?” I get this question every time I talk with my financial adviser. The answer: not so well. And I write about personal finance and retirement issues for a living. At age 60-ish, my wife and I still work and save diligently in our tax-qualified accounts. But the goal […]

Why a Roth IRA for the baby would be a blessed event

Ray Boshara

When an infant is born, the hospital paperwork for parents includes birth certificate and Social Security number applications. Soon, though, there could be another document to fill out: a Roth IRA account setup form. That’s the thrust of the Roth Account for Youths Savings Act, or RAYS Act,introduced last week in the U.S. House of […]