Debunking the top 10 myths about Social Security

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Social Security is going bankrupt. It’s a Ponzi scheme. The program’s trust fund contains nothing but a bunch of worthless IOUs. Those are just a few of the comments we hear frequently from journalists, politicians, and policymakers about Social Security. But they’re all false–and that’s a big problem. Social Security is one of our most important […]

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Who would pay more if we lift the cap on payroll taxes?

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Progressives have been arguing for some time now that one of the best ways to close Social Security’s long-range funding gap would be to lift the cap on maximum wages subject to payroll taxes. This year, the cap is $118,500; there’s a basic fairness argument here, in that a wage-earner below that figure is taxed […]

Romney’s huge IRA makes a comeback in Obama retirement proposal

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It was a memorable moment in the 2012 presidential race. In their October 16 debate, Defending his blind trust investments, Gov. Romney said: ROMNEY: Just going to make a point. Any investments I have over the last eight years have been managed by a blind trust. And I understand they do include investments outside the United […]

Social Security to the max: Strategies for affluent households

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A friend who plans to retire soon asked me recently whether he should delay filing for Social Security. He’s reached full retirement age (66) but doubted it would make sense to wait longer–he’s been a high earner most of his career and assumed he had already “maxed out” his “full” benefit. Not so. Social Security’s […]

Defending Social Security should be next on Obama’s to-do list

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Since the midterm elections, President Obama has taken decisive action on immigration reform, climate change and relations with Cuba. Now, the new Republican-controlled Congress has handed him another opportunity to act boldly – by leaving a legacy as a strong defender of Social Security. House Republicans signaled this week that they are gearing up for […]

Retirement planning for singles: Three must-do items

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If retirement planning had a soundtrack, a great candidate would be “Love and Marriage,” the old Sammy Kahn lyric made famous by Frank Sinatra: Love and marriage, love and marriage . . go together like a horse and carriage . . . So much planning advice focuses on married couples–and no doubt, that’s where some of […]

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Five takeaways on retirement policy from the midterm elections

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Retirement policy wasn’t on the ballot in last week’s midterm elections. But the new political landscape could threaten the retirement security of middle-class households. With Republicans in full control of Congress, expect efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. And more Republican-controlled statehouses mean more efforts to curtail state and local workers’ pensions. One positive […]

Social Security reform should boost benefits and taxes, poll finds

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It’s no surprise that a new public opinion survey would find broad public opposition to cutting Social Security benefits. But a survey released this week [PDF] by the National Academy of Social Insurance finds a strong majority of Americans actually support boosting benefits – and taxing themselves to pay for it. The survey uses a polling […]

Why Social Security COLAs aren’t keeping up with seniors’ costs

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Social Security’s annual inflation adjustment is one of the program’s most valuable features. But it’s time to adjust the adjustment. Retirees will get a 1.7 percent bump in their Social Security benefit next year, according to the Social Security Administration, which announced the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) on Wednesday. Recipients of disability benefits and Supplemental […]

Shining a light on a murky election-year Social Security debate

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In North Carolina, a television ad attacks incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan for supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age” for Social Security. The ad comes from Crossroads GPS, the super PAC run by Republican Karl Rove. A Republican attack on a Democrat for cutting Social Security benefits? It’s just one instance where […]