Social Security beneficiaries must swallow flat COLA in 2017


Zilch. Nada. Diddly squat. Take your pick of words that best describe the Social Security inflation adjustment announced this week, but it all adds up to this: another year of flat benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration declared a 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2017 – a bit more than the zero increase in […]

Five ways to improve retirement math when you haven’t saved


A large segment of American workers are approaching retirement with very little or nothing saved: Among workers age 55 or higher and nearing retirement, 48 percent have saved less than $100,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. A third have less than $25,000. The savings shortfall means many Americans face the prospect of retiring […]

Social Security urged to focus on delayed filing, longevity risk


The Social Security Administration needs to up its game when it comes to helping retirees decide when to claim their benefits. The timing of a Social Security claim is the most important financial decision most workers will make about their retirement. Benefits can be claimed as early as age 62, but waiting just a few […]

Social Security texting snafu underscores customer service woes


Now is the summer of our discontent with Social Security’s customer service – and fall and winter could be worse. The Social Security Administration (SSA) stumbled this month when it added a mandatory extra layer of website log-on security requiring customers to receive a code via text message. But the agency’s customer service problems go […]

Will government workers facing Social Security cuts get relief?


Relief may soon be on the way for more than 2 million Americans who face big cuts in their Social Security benefits simply because they worked in government jobs that come with a pension. The reductions stem from two little-understood rules, the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO). Both are designed […]

Surprise: Social Security benefits are for children too


You’ve heard of greedy geezers: that mythical army of militant seniors out to defend their Social Security benefits at any cost, even if it robs their own children and grandchildren of their futures. The greedy geezer trope, invented by now-retired Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming back in 2012, is just the most colorful example of […]

Retirement: The Other Economic Gender Gap


The gender pay gap is a hot topic these days, but it’s not the only economic gender gap. Women also are lagging behind men in building retirement security. Lower pay translates into a gap for women in retirement security, reducing Social Security benefits, pensions, and retirement saving. At the same time, women enjoy greater longevity, […]

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2017 Social Security COLA likely to lack fizz


Retirees will receive a paltry increase in their Social Security checks in 2017 – the second consecutive year of flat or near-flat benefits, and the fifth year of inflation adjustments below 2 percent. Next year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will be just two-tenths of 1 percent, according to predictions in the annual report of the trustees […]

Push to expand Social Security gains momentum


A coalition of progressive politicians, policy experts and grassroots advocates started a campaign three years ago facing very long odds. They proposed expanding Social Security retirement benefits for millions of Americans. Mainstream thinking in Washington at the time ran in the opposite direction: Social Security benefits should be cut as part of a “grand bargain” to get the federal deficit under control. […]

How couples can get the most from Social Security’s survivor benefit


How about this idea for a new reality TV show: “Survivor: Maximize your Social Security.” Rather than getting voted off the island, contestants lose when they fail to get the most out of Social Security’s survivor benefit – one of the government program’s most important features for married couples. Here is how our reality show works. When one spouse dies, the […]