How Social Security Disability Insurance Works

Most people think of Social Security as a retirement benefit, and that’s understandable. Among the 61 million Americans receiving Social Security at the end of 2016, 68%–44.3 million people–were retired. But Social Security’s broad aim is to protect against the risk of lost income from work. The income loss might be due to retirement, disability, […]

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A guide to buying Medigap policies

Rail systems around the world warn you to “mind the gap” when boarding a train. It’s good advice for your Medicare coverage, too. Medicare is comprehensive, but it doesn’t cover everything. There are copays, deductibles, and limits on hospitalization benefits. If you enroll in Medicare Advantage–the all-in-one managed care alternative to traditional Medicare–your out-of-pocket costs […]

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Age discrimination: You want to work longer, but will employers cooperate?

Working longer offers one of the best paths to improved retirement security. But 50 years after passage of landmark legislation aimed at preventing age bias, our public policy remains out of sync with that goal. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 was part of a broad wave of civil rights legislation that included […]

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How to plan ahead for retirement healthcare costs

Big, bigger, biggest. Those words capture the retirement healthcare challenge. Healthcare will be one of the largest categories of cost for most retirees–and medical inflation is expected to run 2 to 3 times faster than general inflation. Retirees can cope by tuning up their Medicare coverage, as we discussed in my last column. That can […]

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Five ways to get the most from Medicare

Looking for ways to save money in retirement? Start with healthcare. A healthy 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to spend $322,000 (today’s dollars) on Medicare premiums and dental insurance, according to Healthview Services, a maker of healthcare cost projection software. Add in deductibles, copays, hearing, vision, and dental cost sharing, and that figure […]

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Should Social Security invest in stocks?

Pension funds do it. Insurance companies do it. Canada does it, and so does Japan. So, why doesn’t our Social Security system invest in the stock market–and should it? I’m not talking about transforming Social Security into a system of private, individual IRA-style investment accounts, as proposed by former President George W. Bush and some […]

Working longer: Good aspiration, but not a plan

Many older Americans, asking how they’ll be able to afford retirement, have settled on an answer: Work longer, or never stop working at all. Working longer can make sense as a way to mitigate the risks of rising longevity and declining guaranteed income from pensions and Social Security. Adding even a few years of work […]

Income Annuity Decision: Start Now or Wait Until Later?

Fewer workers expect traditional pensions when they retire these days, yet most also are acutely aware that longevity is rising–and that they run the very real risk of running out of money at an advanced age. These concerns have boosted awareness of the importance of optimizing Social Security and have sparked growth of a relatively […]

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Life insurance in retirement: Who needs it?

The KISS principle–invented by the U.S. Navy in the 1960s–holds that most systems work best when they are kept simple. And KISS is a great principle to apply to this question: When, if ever, does it make sense to own life insurance in retirement? Keeping things simple, here’s the answer: In most cases, never. The […]

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Retirement planning for special needs families

The financial planning challenges for parents of special needs children are myriad and complex–and retirement planning presents one of the toughest challenges. The core challenge is balancing the financial needs of retirement with long-term needs of a child with a disability–needs that usually outlive the parents. “If we aren’t asking the right questions, we’re going […]

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