PBGC premium hike puts another nail in pensions’ coffin


Congress pounded one more nail in the coffin of traditional pensions earlier this month – and it didn’t have to happen. In one of the most misguided retirement policy moves in recent memory, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 signed last week by President Barack Obama increases the odds that more pension plan sponsors will […]

How file-and-suspend ended: Here’s the back story


When President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act into law this week, he changed Social Security’s retirement benefits with a stroke of his pen. The law makes changes in two Social Security claiming maneuvers – “file and suspend” and “restricted claims” – that have become the foundation of a loophole strategy that married couples could use […]

MyRA launch shows we need to get over our problems with mandates


The Obama Administration launched the myRA this week – a Roth IRA with payroll deduction features invested in conservative government securities. MyRA is a praiseworthy but small-bore initiative aimed at encouraging retirement saving for the more than 40 million Americans who don’t have accounts. In my Reuters column this week, I describe it as a kid’s bike […]

Budget deal will end Social Security file-and-suspend strategy


The budget deal moving quickly through Congress would put a stop to a lucrative strategy that can boost lifetime Social Security retirement benefits by hundreds of thousands of dollars. File-and-suspend is a variation on the more straightforward strategy of delayed filing to earn a higher monthly benefit down the road. It permits married couples to […]

CEO pensions are larger than yours – much larger


Most fast food workers don’t earn enough to retire with much of a pension. Then there is David Novak, executive chairman of YUM Brands (YUM.N), the conglomerate that runs Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC outlets. Novak’s total retirement holdings, including deferred compensation, are worth $234 million – more than any other Fortune 500 chief executive. Novak […]

Social Security’s file-and-suspend feature is on Washington’s hit list


File-and-suspend is hot. The once-obscure Social Security strategy for married couples has become almost mainstream in the past couple of years; a growing number of financial planners recommend the strategy to clients. But you’d be well-advised to get it while you can: file-and-suspend is at the top of Washington’s hit list for changes to retirement policy. […]

New findings on long-term care policy lapse rates raise questions


Long-term care insurance really is long term: buying a policy commits you to pay premiums over decades. If you stop those payments, thousands of dollars you have already spent might as well have gone down the drain. A new study suggests that is exactly what a sizeable number of policyholders are doing – allowing their […]

No Social Security COLA for next year: Here’s what it means


Update: Congress and The White House reached a tentative budget deal the week of October 26 that includes a provision blunting the 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums discussed below. If the deal is signed into law, Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries not held harmless would rise from the current […]

Beefing up advice options in 401(k) plans


Would you like some advice with that 401(k) plan? Two of the leading companies in online investment advice launched initiatives this month aimed at getting more personalized financial advice to workplace retirement savers. Betterment, a leader in the “robo-advisory” automated portfolio market for retail investors, announced plans this month for a new technology-driven offering for […]

Wanted: More African American financial planners

Lazetta Rainey Braxton

Lazetta Rainey Braxton is a rare bird in the financial planning profession. She is African-American, a group that accounts for no more than 2 percent of all planners. Braxton, 42, is working to change that. She runs her own registered investment advisory firm in Baltimore called Financial Fountains. She also is president of the Association of […]