What’s the future hold for Social Security field offices?

Social-Security-office-150px

Will you be able to go to a Social Security office 10 years from now for help claiming your benefits? Probably — but a new report from the Social Security Administration (SSA) outlining its vision for future service delivery has some critics worried about the future of the agency’s face-to-face customer services. A report issued […]

This weekend’s recommended reading on retirement

weekend-reading-150px

Here’s a quick look at articles that have caught my eye in the past week: The Risks and Rewards of Self-Managing Investment Portfolios. There are good reasons for retirees to manage their own financial lives: Saving money on fees is one benefit, and more closely aligning investments with personal goals is another. John Wasik/The New York […]

Supreme Court 401(k) ruling latest shift in favor of retirement savers

Supreme-Court

Doing the right thing by retirement savers – could it be the new black? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week that employers have a duty to protect workers in their 401(k) plans from mutual funds that are too expensive or perform poorly. The landmark ruling – which was unanimous, sends a strong signal to […]

New thinking about the use of debt in retirement

Tom Anderson 150px

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be,” Shakespeare’s Polonius advised his son in Hamlet. Tom Anderson disagrees. Anderson, a wealth manager at Morgan Stanley, is the author of The Value of Debt in Retirement (Wiley) and challenges the conventional wisdom that the best retirement plans shed as much debt as possible – of any kind. […]

Retirement investors need patience as bond market wavers

calculator-150px

With bond markets in turmoil, what is a 401(k) investor to do? Probably not much. Retirement investors have enjoyed the best of both worlds these past two years: a bull market in both equities and bonds. But the bond market has been weathering volatility and sharp declines since late April, with prices falling and yields […]

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

Larry-Kotlikoff-150-px

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 software tools for optimizing […]

Survey finds an unfounded rise in retirement confidence

Thumbs-up-150-px

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

Social-Security-card-slider

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?

tax-return-150-px

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?

robot-MIT-slider

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 […]