Medicare premiums to jump in 2016, but Social Security benefits stay flat


Retirees are facing a double-whammy next year: no inflation adjustment in their Social Security benefits and a whopping 52 percent jump in certain Medicare premiums. The Medicare premium hikes will hit only 30 percent of beneficiaries – those who are not protected from a “hold-harmless” provision in federal law that prohibits any premium hike that […]

Supreme Court same-sex ruling opens the door for Social Security’s valuable spousal benefits


Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will give a huge boost to the retirement security of LGBT Americans. That will be especially true in the realm of Social Security – where it pays to be married. The ruling will affect everything from access to spousal pension and retirement accounts, health benefits and more. […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan


Financial plans typically assume a normal retirement age in the mid-60s or beyond, but life events have a way of intervening. Half of all retirees say they left the workforce earlier than planned, according to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The key culprits include health problems or disability […]

How Social Security could help fix retirement inequality


  Americans need bigger retirement nest eggs, there is no doubt about that. More than half of us have saved less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Policy experts often point to such figures to underscore the looming retirement security crisis, and proposals have been flying this year from Republicans and Democrats […]

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


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 […]

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


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, one of a handful of premium software tools for optimizing […]

Unraveling the mysteries of Social Security WEP and GPO


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 […]

Watch: Making money last in retirement


How can you make your money last throughout retirement? I discussed the question as part of a terrific panel at the recent Morningstar Individual Investor Conference. My co-panelists were Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance, and financial planner Mark Balasa, co-founder of wealth management firm Balasa Dinverno Foltz. The session was moderated by Adam Zoll of […]

How Your Social Security Benefit Is Calculated


If you’ve checked your annual Social Security statement lately, you probably know the size of the benefit you’re projected to receive in retirement. But do you know how that number is calculated? Social Security determines your initial benefit at full retirement age (FRA) using a complex formula that takes into account your earning history, wage […]

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The case for expanding Social Security: A conversation with Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson


Nancy Altman and Eric Kingson are two of the nation’s leading progressive advocates for strengthening and expanding Social Security. Their new book, Social Security Works: Why Social Security Isn’t Going Broke and How Expanding It Will Help us All, lays out the case for expanding benefits in order to address growing income inequality and the looming […]

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