How gender pay gap haunts women even in retirement

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

The gender pay gap is a hot topic in the presidential campaign, and President Barack Obama has been hammering on it, too. Women who work full-time, year-round, made just 79 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts in 2014, U.S. Census Bureau data shows. But the injustice of the gender pay gap also […]

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The 2016 Retirement Landscape: 5 Predictions


“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future,” said Yogi Berra, the late baseball great.* But let’s give it a try: Here’s my forecast of the five most important stories that will unfold on the retirement beat in 2016. No market predictions here: In my view, the smart retirement investor owns a well-balanced portfolio […]

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File-and-suspend phaseout sparks scramble for optimization tools


The phase-out of Social Security’s file-and-suspend loophole has sparked a scramble among companies that offer benefit-optimization software to rewrite their programs and advisors to rethink client retirement plans. The Bipartisan Budget Act signed into law by President Obama in November shuts down two Social Security claiming maneuvers that can boost benefits substantially for married couples […]

Social Security benefits still in legal limbo for some same-sex couples


Nearly six months after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling making same-sex marriage the law of the land, the Social Security Administration is dragging its feet on implementing changes to its benefit eligibility policies. Some same-sex spouses have been caught up in a legal limbo while the government sorts out eligibility questions about retroactive spousal […]

Eight questions about Social Security claiming strategies


The bipartisan budget deal signed into law last last month by President Obama jolted some near-retirement couples–and the retirement-planning world–by closing a loophole in Social Security law that a growing number of married couples were using to substantially increase their benefits. The law makes changes in two Social Security claiming maneuvers–“file-and-suspend” and “restricted claims”–that have […]

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How file-and-suspend ended: Here’s the back story


When President Obama signed the Bipartisan Budget Act into law this week, he changed Social Security’s retirement benefits with a stroke of his pen. The law makes changes in two Social Security claiming maneuvers – “file and suspend” and “restricted claims” – that have become the foundation of a loophole strategy that married couples could use […]

Budget deal will end Social Security file-and-suspend strategy


The budget deal moving quickly through Congress would put a stop to a lucrative strategy that can boost lifetime Social Security retirement benefits by hundreds of thousands of dollars. File-and-suspend is a variation on the more straightforward strategy of delayed filing to earn a higher monthly benefit down the road. It permits married couples to […]

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. […]

No Social Security COLA for next year: Here’s what it means


Update: Congress and The White House reached a tentative budget deal the week of October 26 that includes a provision blunting the 52 percent increase in Medicare Part B premiums discussed below. If the deal is signed into law, Part B premiums for the 30 percent of beneficiaries not held harmless would rise from the current […]

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 […]