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Solving the mystery of unexpectedly reduced Social Security benefits

July 26, 2016

Who doesn't like a good mystery while lounging by the pool or on the beach on a hot summer day? While I can't compete with James Patterson's or Sandra Brown's pulp fiction page turners, I was able to help one financial adviser get to the bottom...

Social Security reform awaits next president

July 20, 2016

All is quiet in Washington this week as Republicans descend on Cleveland for their national convention and Democrats prepare to invade Philadelphia next week to anoint their presumptive nominee. The lull gave me time to review the numerous Social...

Debt dims boomers' retirement prospects

July 18, 2016

What is the biggest difference between baby boomers' retirement and that of their parents? Many people would say disappearing pensions. But even in the heyday of traditional pensions in 1979, fewer than 40% of U.S. workers were covered by a...

How to correct Social Security earnings records

July 6, 2016

What's the most important reason to review your Social Security statement? Most people would say that it is to get an estimate of their future retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Although those estimated benefits are critical elements...

Social Security out of step with many modern families

July 5, 2016

For more than 80 years, Social Security has provided seniors with freedom from poverty after a lifetime of work — an important accomplishment to celebrate as America marks its 240th birthday this week. But much has changed since the Social...

Social Security benefits for noncitizens

June 29, 2016

Britain's recent decision to exit the European Union has dominated world headlines and underscored the interconnectedness of our global economy. For many financial advisers, headlines about immigration and international employment issues strike...

Skeptical advisers should reexamine their attitudes toward reverse mortgages

June 19, 2016

Many financial advisers have jaundiced opinions about reverse mortgages, but as Mary Beth Franklin noted in last week's issue of InvestmentNews, many of the weaknesses of the original reverse mortgages have been fixed. In other words, these...

Most recent retirees do not regret claiming Social Security early

June 16, 2016

A majority of recent retirees (69%) would not change the age they started to collect Social Security, according a new survey of Americans age 50 or older released by the Nationwide Retirement Institute on Thursday. The survey found nearly a...

A widow's Social Security dilemma

June 9, 2016

When it comes to collecting Social Security benefits, widows and widowers have more options than other beneficiaries. If a surviving spouse is entitled to both a retirement benefit on his or her own work record and a survivor benefit based on...

Social Security cost-of-living adjustment unlikely for 2017

June 6, 2016

If inflation continues at its current low pace, 2017 may turn out to be another year when Social Security recipients will not receive an automatic increase in their monthly retirement and disability benefits. If that happens, it would mark the...

Social Security, divorce and remarriage

May 25, 2016

The rules governing Social Security benefits for divorced spouses are complicated. No surprise there. But even I learned something new the other day thanks to a question submitted by an InvestmentNews reader. First, let's review the basics....

Retiree medical expenses could outpace Social Security benefits in 20 years

May 23, 2016

A new report projecting health care costs for current and future retirees is chock full of scary numbers that should keep most financial planners up at night. But just as hiding under the covers during graphic horror flick scenes won't change...

Laurence Kotlikoff, economist and Social Security guru, to challenge Clinton, Trump for presidency

May 18, 2016

Move over, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. There's an economist running for president. Laurence J. "Larry" Kotlikoff is jumping into the race as a write-in candidate. The co-author of a best-selling book on how to maximize your payment from...

DOL fiduciary rule trips up robo efforts at BlackRock, Schwab

May 16, 2016

The DOL fiduciary rule is throwing a wrench into the robo-advice efforts at BlackRock and Schwab. Some robo advisers may need to substantially change their business practices and how they operate. Jim Cramer, the TV personality known for rolling...

Donald Trump's focus on U.S. debt could hurt retirement accounts

May 11, 2016

The flip side of Donald Trump's focus on U.S. debt could hurt ordinary Americans who own more Treasury bonds than any of the better-known holders of our debt, including China, Japan and Saudi Arabia. Americans own almost $5 trillion in U.S....

How to become a Social Security expert

May 10, 2016

How can I become a Social Security expert? That is one of the most common questions I receive from InvestmentNews readers. And if you think you are too late to hop on the Social Security bandwagon in light of the scheduled elimination of two...

Hedge funds face their Uber moment

May 9, 2016

Expensive and exclusive is no longer enough to automatically attract investors to hedge funds. Hedge funds face their own Uber moment. The SEC says financial adviser, Louis Martin Blazer III, stole $2.35 million from his clients by convincing...

Relief for looming Social Security deadline

April 27, 2016

In the words of Matthew Allen, a Social Security expert whose company helps financial advisers and their clients determine an optimum claiming strategy, "This has been a crazy week!" What an understatement. The opportunity to request to file...

Social Security employees finally get instructions on how to implement new claiming rules

April 25, 2016

Good news, folks. Apparently employees in Social Security field offices finally got official instructions on how to implement the new claiming rules — 11 days before the first claiming option known as file and suspend disappears forever. The...

Clients still need Social Security advice

April 24, 2016

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 took the wind out of the sails of many advisers who had been looking forward to using a Social Security claiming strategy known as file and suspend on behalf of their baby boomer clients. The option, which was...

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