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Medicare premiums and Social Security COLAs: Here's why retirees will pay up in 2018

November 21, 2017

Here's a riddle: How can Medicare premiums remain the same in 2017 and 2018 yet result in a 23% increase for millions of retirees? That's the quandary that many financial advisers will face next year when they try to explain to some retired...

2018 Medicare changes will erase Social Security COLAs for many

November 17, 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Friday that the standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B, which covers outpatient services and doctor's bills, will remain at $134 per month in 2018. While it may seem counterintuitive,...

Someone tried to hack my Social Security account

November 6, 2017

Several InvestmentNews readers have asked me to weigh in on whether the recent Equifax data breach, which affected an estimated 143 million Americans, could compromise online Social Security accounts. Equifax, one of the three major credit bureaus,...

8 scary retirement facts

October 30, 2017

On the spookiest holiday of the year, investors need look no further than the global stirrings with North Korea or the uncertainty about healthcare costs in the U.S. to produce some shivers. But here are 8 frightening retirement facts to inspire...

Medicare rules are needlessly complex

October 9, 2017

People who collect Social Security benefits early are automatically enrolled in Medicare when they turn 65. But as increasing numbers of Americans delay claiming Social Security benefits until older ages when they are worth more, many of them...

Pre-retirement earnings can limit Social Security survivor benefits

October 16, 2017

As financial advisers and their clients become more aware of Social Security rules, many realize that if someone claims Social Security benefits before full retirement age and continues to work, their wages can reduce or eliminate their retirement...

Both spouses don't always need to delay Social Security until 70

October 3, 2017

It seems that 70 may be the new 66 when it comes to claiming Social Security benefits. Several financial advisers have asked me about the wisdom of having both spouses delay claiming benefits until age 70. Although that would certainly maximize...

Demand for Social Security advice growing

September 21, 2017

Less than 20% of older Americans work with a financial adviser who provides guidance on when to claim Social Security benefits. Despite the low incidence of this type of holistic financial advice, it marks an improvement from recent years, according...

Social Security COLA could get wiped out by Medicare costs

September 15, 2017

Consider this perverse scenario. Next year, typical retirees could see their expected Social Security cost-of-living adjustment for 2018 virtually wiped out by a big jump in Medicare premiums, but premiums for many higher-income clients could...

Social Security benefits to increase by 2% in 2018

October 13, 2017

Monthly Social Security benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase by 2% in 2018, the largest increase in retirement and survivor benefits for workers and their families since 2012. The higher payments will begin in January. The...

Reverse mortgages under fire again ​

September 6, 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a new report warning seniors against using a reverse mortgage as an income bridge to delay collecting Social Security benefits. While the report rightly points outs the potential risks of...

A refresher course on Social Security claiming rules

August 2, 2017

By now, most financial advisers should be generally familiar with the changes to Social Security claiming rules that took effect last year. But it is the nuances of the new rules that can thwart a carefully crafted retirement income plan. Based...

Surprising Social Security rules on divorce

August 16, 2017

Anyone who has read my columns about Social Security rules over the past several years undoubtedly knows that a couple must be married at least 10 years before divorcing to claim benefits on an ex-spouse's earnings record. Ho hum. But one astute...

Dual income couples complicate Social Security earnings test

July 6, 2017

With so many people planning to work beyond normal retirement age, dual-income couples create a challenge for financial advisers when it comes to recommending a Social Security claiming strategy. Anyone who claims Social Security benefits before...

On Social Security, financial advisers tell clients to not count on much

July 27, 2017

Ask two financial advisers what they think about the future of Social Security benefits, and you'll get two different answers. Ask three financial advisers the same question, and you'll get three different answers. And on it goes. Yet, for all...

Social Security reserves still expected to be depleted by 2034: annual report

July 13, 2017

The Social Security Board of Trustees on Thursday released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Soecial Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance (OASDI)...

How Social Security treats the survivors of young workers

July 10, 2017

I just received a sad question from a financial adviser in Indiana who asked if there would be any Social Security benefits available for a young widow and child following the death of their 25-year old husband and father in a traffic accident....

An adviser's guide to Social Security survivor benefits

June 29, 2017

One of the primary tenets of financial planning is to anticipate a worst-case scenario and to implement a strategy to buffer the risk. For many families, the untimely death of a parent or spouse can spell financial disaster. While Social Security...

Social Security Administration steps up online security

May 15, 2017

Here we go again. The Social Security Administration announced that, beginning June 10, users of the agency's online services will need a one-time code to log into My Social Security accounts, which provide access to personal benefit estimates...

Retirement taxes are not for sissies

May 11, 2017

You may have heard the saying "old age is not for sissies." Well, neither are taxes when it comes to figuring out how an extra dollar of retirement income can boost taxable income by three times that amount. "Taxes are a critical piece in retirement...

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