How to navigate benefits if you’re working past age 65

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It’s no secret that Americans are working longer. But some are working well past traditional retirement age: the fastest-growing segment of the labor force is workers over age 65, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – and the growth is especially pronounced among workers over age 70. Working longer certainly can boost the […]

How to cope with Required Minimum Distributions

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The “deferred” part of tax-deferred retirement accounts doesn’t last forever. Distributions must be taken from Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) starting in the year you turn 70.5 – and from 401(k)s at the same age, unless you’re still working for the employer that sponsors the plan. Congress set it up this way because the tax breaks […]

Approaching retirement age: A Social Security, Medicare checklist

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What you don’t know about Social Security and Medicare can hurt you. Both of these critical retirement programs have complex rules governing when you file for benefits, interaction with employment, and spousal and survivor benefits. Any one of these factors can make thousands of dollars of difference to seniors in lifetime benefits or costs. Here’s […]

FAQ: Social Security spousal benefits

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I get a huge number of questions from readers about Social Security’s spousal and survivor benefits. Rightly so, because these are incredibly important features of Social Security that can create powerful amplifying effects that boost lifetime benefits. This page answers the most frequently-asked questions on spousal and survivor benefits. Please note that, due to the […]

How to cope with an unplanned early retirement

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Just under half of all workers retire earlier than they expected – and not by choice – according to research by LIMRA, the insurance industry research firm. The most commonly cited reasons included health problems, job loss or burnout and negative work conditions. The LIMRA numbers confirm annual surveys by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which […]

Medicare basics

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Traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) provides basic health services but with some costs born by beneficiaries through premiums and co-payments. And unlike most private health insurance plans, Medicare has no overall limit on out-of-pocket expenses-which means you face risk in cases of the most serious, care-intensive illness. The basic program also doesn’t cover dental […]

How to hire a fee-only planner

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At a time when retirement security has eroded, a plan for retirement has never been more important–especially for middle-class families who might be facing deficits in retirement savings, sharp declines in the value of their homes, and unforeseen loss of income from employment. Do-it-yourself planning certainly is an option, but a little help from a […]

Retirement spending: Why rules of thumb don’t work

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We’ve all heard the rule-of-thumb: To retire comfortably, you need to replace 70 percent to 80 percent of pre-retirement income. Add a couple of percentage points for inflation every year, and you’ll have what you need to meet your expenses in retirement. But the rule-of-thumb never was meant as a way to think about spending […]

How to shop for Medicare Advantage plans

Medicare Advantage is a fast-growing form of private Medicare plan that offers all-in-one medical and drug coverage. About 25 percent of Medicare enrollees opt for an Advantage plan. Most Medicare Advantage plans are managed care programs, such as HMOs or PPOs. Some private fee-for-service and specialty plans are offered, although the ACA requires all Advantage plans […]

How to protect against elder financial abuse

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We’ve all received the pitch in the mail: Transfer your credit card balance to a new card at a lower interest rate. The catch: Payments on the new card will be applied first to the transferred balance; meanwhile, a higher interest rate is applied to new purchases–and payments are applied to that balance only after […]