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. […]

When does it make sense to accelerate tax payments on retirement accounts?


It’s almost a mantra of financial planning: Defer taxes on investments whenever you can, for as long as possible. But in some situations, it can make sense to get the tax bill out of the way sooner than later. Consider this: Recent Vanguard research found that 20 percent of account holders who take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) […]

Year-end tips for retirement savers young and not-so-young


It’s year-end, and retirement savers of all ages need to check their to-do lists. These year-end lists often feel to me like endless, laborious chores, so I decided to limit suggestions in my Reuters column this week to just three – one apiece for three stages of life: already retired, close to retirement and just starting […]

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 […]

Three income tax reforms that would give retirees a needed break


Congress probably won’t produce a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code anytime soon. But if and when it does, lawmakers shouldn’t overlook some of the oddities of the way we tax retirement income. Many Americans are stressed out about their economic security in old age, and tax code writers could ease their pain. My […]

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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