Final word on Social Security COLA and Medicare premiums for 2018

Millicent Graves will get a raise from Social Security next year, but her household budget will get worse, not better. The 2 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) announced by Social Security for 2018 last month will boost Graves’ monthly benefit by $20.70. But in reality, that increase will be wiped out by a higher Medicare Part […]

Killing medical tax break will hammer middle-class seniors

Republican lawmakers want to cut taxes for corporations and wealthy people by $1.3 trillion – and they seem to want seniors to foot a good chunk of the bill. Their 2018 budget plan would chop $473 billion out of Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid. But the House tax plan also calls for elimination of […]

Near miss on 401(k) tax grab marks a new low for retirement policy

Republican lawmakers came close to staging a damaging raid on retirement savers this week to pay for a massive tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. Their recklessness brings to mind that old saying – “This is no way to run a railroad.” But in this case, using that expression would be grossly unfair to […]

Getting a handle on what retirement plan failure really means

I’ve certainly used the term “plan failure” more than a few times, which is why a recent blog post by retirement researcher Dirk Cotton caught my eye. In Three Degrees of Bad, Cotton separates out what he calls “three progressive levels of failure.” Those are: (1) loss of “market-funded” standard of living; (2) loss of […]

How to close the race-based chasm in retirement wealth

The gap in retirement wealth between white and minority families has widened to the point where it really is’nt a gap anymore -it’s a canyon. In 2016, white families had six times more money saved for retirement on average than black or Latino families, according to new data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer […]

Using a reverse mortgage to delay Social Security: does that really make sense?

Delaying your Social Security benefit claim offers one of the best routes to higher retirement income – annual benefits increase 8 percent for every 12 months that you delay from age 62 to 70. But the strategy often comes with a challenge: how to meet living expenses while you wait? How about this solution? Borrow […]

Aging U.S. needs to get economics right on immigration

“Immigrants – we get the job done” is one of the most famous lines from “Hamilton,” the hit Broadway musical. But the play’s creator, Lin Manuel Miranda, might well have written: “Immigrants – we keep the country young.” The Trump administration’s move last week to end protections and benefits for young people who were brought […]

When should you retire? Consult this checklist of questions

The question sounds simple, but it is tough to answer: At what age should you retire? I get this question from readers and friends more often than any other. It is difficult to answer because it brings into play such a wide range of issues: Do I have enough money to retire? What will I […]

New Medicare cards a lone bright spot in identity-theft battle

Older Americans are especially vulnerable to scams and identity theft, and Medicare is doing something about it. Seniors will start receiving new identification cards next year as part of an effort to protect them from the rising risk of fraud. But that is the only good news surrounding a sweeping federal initiative to bolster fraud […]

When Social Security gets its wrong on claiming advice

It’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make about retirement: when to claim Social Security benefits. Delaying past your full retirement age (currently 66) adds valuable delayed retirement credits of around 8 percent to your benefit – and couples can gain even more through coordinated strategies. But the claiming rules are complex, and the […]