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Gradually converting a traditional IRA to a Roth can boost nest egg

November 10, 2016

The first wave of baby boomers who turned 70 ½ this year must start tapping their traditional retirement accounts soon and pay taxes on those required minimum distributions. For those first boomers who turn 70 ½ this year, who were born from...

Where will Medicare costs go in 2017?

November 7, 2016

People are asking me where Medicare costs, specifically Part B premiums and Part B and D high-income surcharges, are going in 2017. While the final numbers have not yet been released, we know that Medicare costs have been going up dramatically....

Advisers still baffled by key rule changes to Social Security claiming strategies

November 2, 2016

One year after the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 was signed into law on Nov. 2, financial advisers continue to be baffled by how to help their clients maximize their Social Security benefits under the new claiming rules. I get it. The new rules...

Big gap between Social Security cost-of-living adjustment and retiree inflation

October 24, 2016

One of the great values of Social Security benefits is that they are supposed to increase each year to keep pace with inflation and protect seniors' buying power. Unfortunately, that's not the way it has worked out in recent years. The rising...

Divorce might be the worst financial plan of all

October 19, 2016

Divorce can crush just about any retirement savings strategy. And women generally suffer more than men. The later a woman divorces, the more likely she is to be working late in life. The road to real riches often begins in Congress, where the...

Coordinating Social Security disability and retirement benefits

October 17, 2016

Financial advisers are often well-versed in optimal Social Security claiming strategies for married couples when it comes to deciding when and how each should claim retirement benefits. But adding disability benefits into the mix seems to wreak...

Social Security cost-of-living adjustment expected to be lowest ever

October 11, 2016

Advisers, get your aspirin ready. When the Social Security cost-of-living-adjustment for 2017 is officially announced next week, it is expected to be 0.3% — the lowest annual increase on record. After no annual cost of living adjustment this...

Most women claim Social Security early

October 6, 2016

Women tend to live longer than men, which means they spend more time in retirement and often do so with less savings. As a result, women retirees, on average, could spend 70% of their Social Security benefits on health care costs. Women count...

Social Security timing can affect Medicare premiums

September 26, 2016

Social Security benefits are expected to increase slightly next year, and most retirees who have their Medicare premiums deducted directly from their Social Security benefits will be protected from a net decline in monthly benefits. However,...

Grappling with retirement health costs

September 25, 2016

It is fairly well-known that Americans are living longer and that medical costs are climbing. How advisers are dealing with these two trends is less clear. There is a good reason why, in the opening paragraph of his cover story last week, InvestmentNews...

GAO study documents mistakes by Social Security Administration staff

September 20, 2016

This should come as no surprise to InvestmentNews readers, but a new study shows government representatives often dole out incorrect or misleading information when people visit their local Social Security Administration (SSA) office in person...

Advisers face big challenges in helping clients prepare for health-care costs in retirement

September 18, 2016

Health-care costs are the great unknown of retirement. Not only are health expenses rising quickly overall, but medical needs and conditions vary dramatically from person to person. There are several moving parts, from combinations of different...

Reforms could solve Social Security funding woes

September 16, 2016

Financial advisers are always asking me to speculate about future changes to Social Security benefits. Will benefits be reduced or eliminated for high-income seniors? Will more wages be subject to payroll taxes? Will all benefits be taxed in...

Small Social Security cost-of-living adjustment likely for 2017

September 12, 2016

Although we are still a month away from an official announcement about the size of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits in 2017, the latest Social Security Trustees report projects a 0.2% increase in benefits...

How Social Security benefits are calculated

September 7, 2016

I received an interesting question from a reader the other day regarding how Social Security benefits are calculated. He said that his wife, who is in her mid-30s, has an estimated Social Security benefit of about $2,600 per month at her full...

New Congressional bill addresses Medicare enrollment confusion

August 30, 2016

In the past, the traditional retirement age of 65 was the trigger age for a host of crucial decisions: claiming Social Security benefits, enrolling in Medicare, retiring from a job and, if you were lucky, the start of collecting your pension....

Social Security and dying too soon

August 22, 2016

Almost every day I read another new study about the impact of increased longevity on financial planning. But last week I experienced a stark reminder about the perils of dying too soon. One of my dear friends died Aug. 15 at age 61, two months...

Social Security drops cell phone mandate

August 15, 2016

Well, that didn't last long. On July 30, 2016, the Social Security Administration began requiring new and current Social Security account holders to sign into their account using a one-time code text message as an extra measure on online security....

Careful planning can help public employees avoid Social Security reductions

August 9, 2016

Nothing angers public employees more than rules that reduce the Social Security benefits they have earned by working in the private sector when they are also eligible for a government pension based on work where they did not pay FICA taxes....

Social Security Administration steps up privacy protections

August 2, 2016

The Social Security Administration had added a new security step for users to access their benefit information online. Starting this month, all users will need a text-enabled cell phone number to log into their accounts at Ssa.gov/myaccount....

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