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Medicare surcharge notices are shocking retirees

December 5, 2017

There's a new Grinch in town and her name is IRMAA. That's shorthand for the Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount notices that the Social Security Administration sends at the end of each year to inform Medicare enrollees how much they will...

Younger baby boomers face hurdles as they approach retirement

December 2, 2017

When it comes to the baby-boom generation, it pays to be old. The first of the boomers began reaching normal retirement age six years ago, and those who have already gone through the process probably are in better shape financially than their...

Young boomers have some advantages over older counterparts

December 2, 2017

It's not all bad news for younger boomers. In fact, they have more than a few things going for them: 401(k)s and other workplace savings. Younger boomers are more likely to be automatically enrolled in a 401(k) plan, and those plans are also...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

The challenge of the longer lifespan

September 1, 2017

"Live long and prosper," Star Trek's Mr. Spock and his fellow Vulcans liked to say as a valedictory blessing. But for most people, living long will pose the greatest threat to their prosperity, cautions "We'll Live to 100 – How Can We Afford...

Social Security underpaid some survivor benefits

August 21, 2017

Social Security survivor benefits can serve as a crucial lifeline for widows and widowers. But a newly released report by the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that more than 100,000 widows and widowers...

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...

How to fund a Social Security delay

August 11, 2017

The math is simple: For every year a person postpones claiming Social Security beyond full retirement age, benefits increase by 8% per year up to age 70, boosting benefits by up to 32%. The catch: What to do for income until then? For an increasing...

Good health is key to retirement security

August 8, 2017

The key to retirement security has traditionally focused on money. But lately, the discussion has embraced health as an increasingly important component in the retirement security equation. In fact, health status during working years and health-care...

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...

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