The 10 most important things to know about Medicare


Medicare plays a crucial role in providing retirement security – it makes health care expense predictable, and it covers a great deal of seniors’ needs. Unfortunately, the program is complicated, and it doesn’t cover everything. Here’s my list of the ten most important things seniors should know about Medicare. 1. You have two basic choices. First […]

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Why pension plan lump sums are a trap for the unwary


If you work for a company with a pension plan, don’t be surprised if you get an offer soon for a lump sum buyout – a deal where you accept a pile of cash in exchange for the promise of lifetime income when you retire. The price tag for these offers is especially attractive right […]

Retirement spending: Why rules of thumb don’t work


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 […]

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


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 […]

FAQ: Social Security spousal benefits


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. In this free report,”Your Guide to Social Security’s Spousal and Survivor Benefits,” I answer the most frequently-asked questions about […]

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 33 percent of Medicare enrollees are expected to opt for an Advantage plan in 2015. Most Medicare Advantage plans are managed care programs, such as HMOs or PPOs. Some private fee-for-service and specialty plans are offered, although […]

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How to shop for a Medicare Part D plan


The annual Medicare enrollment period starts on October 15th and ends of December 7th. This is the opportunity for seniors to review their prescription drug or Medicare Advantage coverage, and to select new plans. With dozens of plans available in most parts of the country, Medicare shopping can be a complex chore. Re-shopping your plan annually […]

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How to cope with Required Minimum Distributions


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 […]

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Approaching retirement age: A Social Security, Medicare checklist


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 in lifetime benefits or costs. Here’s a rundown […]

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How to cope with an unplanned early retirement


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 […]

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