Results for "On Retirement"

Oct 15, 2018, 9:27 AM EST

Social Security and the fear of missing out


By Mary Beth Franklin

Fear of missing out, or FOMO, is generally associated with millennials who worry that something exciting is happening elsewhere when they're not there. But baby boomers are not immune from FOMO — a word officially added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013 — when it comes to collecting Social Security benefits. Many think they should be getting a bigger benefit.Just this week I fielded questions about three different scenarios including a widow, a disabled worker and an aspiring early retiree. Each thought they deserved more from Social Security and in each case, they were wrong. Perhaps this is the dark side of advising clients about how to maximize their Social Security benefits. It leaves them hungry for more. Here are some guidelines to help set them straight.Social Security was designed to replace some lost earnings when a worker retires or can no longer work as a result of illness or injury and to help eligible family... Read full post

Sep 19, 2018, 3:44 PM EST

Determining if a message from Social Security is a scam


By Mary Beth Franklin

A financial adviser contacted me recently to ask if the email he received from the Social Security Administration reminding him to review his estimated benefits statement online was valid."Does Social Security send out these types of emails, or is it a scam?" he asked. Coincidently, I received a similar email this week reminding me to review my online statement to ensure that my earnings record is correct and to see my latest benefits estimate.We can all breathe easier. The Social Security email is valid, and it's an excellent idea to review your benefits statement at least once a year. While it is your employer's responsibility to report your earnings each year, it is up to you to make sure they are accurate. If your earnings record is wrong, it could affect your future benefits.But the Federal Trade Commission recently​ issued a warning to ignore phone calls from official-sounding callers who tell you your Social Security... Read full post

Sep 14, 2018, 9:19 AM EST

2019 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment now expected to be 2.8 percent


By Mary Beth Franklin

Update: Social Security COLA for 2019 announced; will be 2.8 percent​ It looks like Social Security benefits will increase by about 2.8% in 2019. Although that's down slightly from an earlier estimate, it still would be the largest benefit boost in seven years, according to The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan advocacy group representing more than 1 million retirees. Previously, the organization had projected a 3% increase in Social Security benefits next year.The Social Security Administration will issue its official announcement of the 2019 cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, in October following the Oct. 11 release of the consumer price index data for August. Social Security COLAs are based on the increase in the CPI-W, which measures price inflation for urban workers, in the third quarter (July, August and September) of the current year from the corresponding third quarter of the prior year. In July, the CPI-W... Read full post

Sep 12, 2018, 4:46 PM EST

Inaccurate info from Social Security Administration a challenge for widows


By Mary Beth Franklin

Losing one's spouse is one of life's most difficult and overwhelming experiences. Claiming Social Security survivor benefits apparently ranks as a close second based on a frantic phone call I received from a close friend this week.My friend was widowed 20 years ago when her husband died suddenly of a massive heart attack at age 44 during a Saturday morning racket ball game. She was left with a toddler and a teenager, half of their former income and too little life insurance.Now 64, she has decided to retire from her position as a corporate sales executive next January. Her financial adviser wisely urged her to claim her Social Security survivor benefits once she stops working and then switch to her own retirement benefits at age 70, when they would be worth the maximum amount.But in three separate phone calls, Social Security Administration representatives told my friend she was not entitled to survivor benefits because her own... Read full post

Aug 30, 2018, 5:09 PM EST

Nudging Congress toward Social Security reform


By Mary Beth Franklin

When leaders refuse to lead, it's time for the people to step in. That, essentially, is the mission of Funding Our Future, an alliance of organizations dedicated to making a secure retirement possible for all Americans. I was honored to serve as a moderator during the coalition's first public educational session on Capitol Hill recently.As Americans celebrate the Labor Day holiday, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the promise of the golden years of retirement that are supposed to follow a lifetime of hard work. Retirement remains an uncertain prospect for too many Americans. Over 40 million private-sector workers lack access to workplace retirement plans. Millions more face the risk of outliving their savings. And Social Security, the bedrock of retirement income for most American retirees, faces the depletion of its trust fund in about 15 years if Congress fails to act.A familiar face — Ric Edelman, executive chairman ... Read full post

Aug 29, 2018, 3:04 PM EST

Estimating the impact of early retirement on Social Security benefits


By Mary Beth Franklin

One of the most common questions I receive from financial advisers concerns the impact of early retirement on future Social Security benefits. They wonder if the estimated benefits statement that their clients receive accurately portrays future benefits if their clients stop working before full retirement age.In general, the statement assumes you will continue earning about the same amount of money as you did in the previous year until you reach retirement age. Every adult with an earnings history should set up a personalized Social Security account to get access to their estimated benefit statement 24/7.Retirement benefits are based on your highest 35 years of earnings and your age when you start receiving benefits. If you stop work before you have 35 years of earnings, SSA uses a zero for each year without earnings to calculate your retirement benefits. Even if you have 35 years of earnings, some of those years may be low earnings... Read full post

Aug 27, 2018, 4:10 PM EST

Some public employees face Social Security hurdles


By Mary Beth Franklin

There are about 2,700 different rules that govern Social Security benefits, but two of them stand out as the most confusing and unfair — at least according to the subset of workers and family members who are subject to them.About a quarter of employees of state and local governments — including public school teachers, first responders and civil servants in select states — as well as federal employees hired before 1984 do not pay FICA taxes on their earnings and therefore do not qualify for Social Security benefits. But many of them are eligible for Social Security benefits based on their work in the private sector or as a spouse or surviving spouse of a worker who is entitled to benefits.In many cases, retirees and their financial advisers are shocked to discover that those Social Security benefits can be reduced or even eliminated if those retirees also receive a public pension based on work where they did not pay ... Read full post

Aug 20, 2018, 1:51 PM EST

Retroactive Social Security benefits: Everything you need to know


By Mary Beth Franklin

A financial adviser contacted me recently to ask whether a widowed client, who had been eligible to collect Social Security survivor benefits at the earliest at age 60, could file for retroactive benefits now that she was 63.Any type of Social Security benefit claimed before full retirement age, whether as a retiree, spouse or survivor, is permanently reduced and subject to earnings restrictions if a claimant continues to work. But this client was a perfect candidate to claim reduced survivor benefits early since she was no longer working and therefore not subject to the earnings cap. She planned to delay collecting her own retirement benefits until 70 when they would be worth the maximum amount.Her financial adviser had recommended that she claim her survivor benefits at 60. Even though her survivor benefit would be worth just 71.5% of her late husband's primary insurance amount, compared to 100% if she waited until her full... Read full post

Aug 16, 2018, 2:43 PM EST

8 ways to boost Social Security benefits


By Mary Beth Franklin

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law 83 years ago, on Aug. 14, 1935, creating the first nationwide safety net for American retirees.During a recent summer road trip, I visited Roosevelt's bucolic Hyde Park retreat in New York's Hudson River Valley and was awed to stand in the footsteps of history. It was the home where the 32nd president welcomed King George VI at the controversial "hot dog summit" in 1939, prior to America's entry into World War II. It was also where FDR signed a pact with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to build an atomic bomb that would end the war. As pensions disappear and longevity increaseas, retirees are even more dependent on Social Security today than they were 25 years ago, according to a new study from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.In honor of Social Security's more than eight decades of helping Americans create a secure retirement,... Read full post

Aug 9, 2018, 4:18 PM EST

Social Security finances worsen as reliance on the program increases


By Mary Beth Franklin

You've heard of good news/bad news stories. This one is a bad news/worse news version. Two new reports from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business document an increase in American retirees' reliance on Social Security income over the past 25 years as the program's long-term finances deteriorate at a faster pace than officially projected by the Social Security Administration. The reports are based on simulations generated by the Penn Wharton Budget Model, a nonpartisan research initiative that provides economic analysis of the fiscal impact of public policies. First, the bad news.The Social Security program was introduced in the 1930s during the throes of the Great Depression to protect those who could no longer work due to old age from slipping into poverty. Over the past 80-plus years, Social Security has evolved into a core pillar of retirement security, providing benefits to retirees and disabled workers, their... Read full post

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