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Social Security begins paying survivor benefits to same-sex married couples

December 16, 2013

The Social Security Administration announced Monday that it has begun processing claims for surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due. To be eligible for a survivor benefit, which is worth 100% of what the...

Note to state legislators: Voters' retirement security is your responsibility, too

December 16, 2013

The overall cost of retirement can sometimes seem difficult to grasp, but Main Street investors are fully aware that a dignified post-working lifestyle doesn't come cheap. It takes years of careful planning and discipline to get there, and unnecessary...

File-and-suspend strategy works for singles, too

December 16, 2013

My recent blog about using the file-and-suspend strategy as a hedging strategy for claiming Social Security benefits has generated a lot of comments and questions. In that blog on Dec. 2, I explained how the file-and-suspend strategy, which...

Advisers pick their poison with UL policies

December 15, 2013

I read the article “Low interest rates threaten universal-life policies” (InvestmentNews, Nov. 18), and I am glad to see that the publication is making financial advisers aware of these issues. I just received an in-force illustration regarding...

Keep your eyes on the calendar

December 15, 2013

Roth conversion rules allow an investor to re-characterize, or undo, a conversion. This makes sense when the value of the Roth declines substantially, making the tax bite disproportionate to the Roth's value. The government gives Roth converters...

Advisers need to boost knowledge of Social Security

December 15, 2013

How much do you know about Social Security? Not just the basics, but how much do you really know? Enough to sit down with each of your clients right now and confidently outline all of their claiming options, including a recommended course of...

Factoring travel dollars into financial plans

December 13, 2013

Ask almost any near-retiree what they hope to do with their newfound leisure time, and most will say “travel.” Whether it’s hitting the road in an RV for a tour of the national parks or cruising down the Rhine to visit medieval European...

Supreme Court accepts 401(k) employer stock-drop case

December 13, 2013

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to revisit the issue of fiduciary prudence in managing employer stock investment options in defined contribution plans. The Labor Department had petitioned the court to hear a case regarding Fifth Third...

Financial literacy begins at the office

December 12, 2013

A financially secure employee is a happy employee. That seems to be the bottom line of a newly released Workplace Benefits Report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Based on a nationwide survey of more than 1,000 companies of all sizes, the...

Workers pay little attention to 401(k) fee disclosures

December 12, 2013

Employees are tossing their retirement plan fee disclosures in the circular file, keeping themselves in the dark on how much their 401(k)s cost. Ever since Aug. 30, 2012, per the Labor Department, retirement plans have been required to distribute...

Senators seek more retirement plan pop

December 11, 2013

Two lawmakers who championed retirement plan reforms in 2001 are seeking more changes that would boost Americans' savings for retirement. "The top of my list is that we need to do something to encourage more lifetime income options. Too many...

Will older advisers pay more than younger colleagues for health care coverage?

December 10, 2013

Financial advisers who work with or employ a younger staff — a common demographic in an industry where the average adviser is about 52 years old — could see their cost of personal health insurance rise under new small-business provisions...

ING wins fixed-annuity deal as Allstate narrows focus

December 9, 2013

ING U.S. Inc. will begin selling fixed annuities through Allstate Corp. agencies as the largest publicly traded U.S. auto and home insurer ceases to offer its own brand of the retirement products. The deal gives ING U.S. access to one of the...

Social Security's rearview mirror: Retroactive benefits

December 9, 2013

Sometimes I feel like a proud parent watching a child take his first steps as I help financial advisers understand the basic rules of Social Security. Other times, I'm wowed by the brilliance of my star pupils who have learned the nuances of...

Is age 70 the new 65 for retirement?

December 8, 2013

Due to increases in Social Security's delayed-retirement credit, the real retirement age is now 70, according to a recent research paper from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. Social Security benefits increase by 8% per year...

Charitable IRA provision: Time is now

December 8, 2013

Once again, the qualified-charitable-distribution provision is set to expire at year-end. Not taking advantage of this provision could be costly for high earners due to the 2013 tax increases affecting these clients. In fact, not using the QCD...

Fixed-annuity sales driven by frustration with low interest rates, thirst for income

December 6, 2013

Fixed-annuity sales in the third quarter reached their highest level since 2009, topping $22 billion. That number represents a 31% rise from the previous quarter and more than a 35% increase from the same period last year, according a report...

Tax break for repaying Social Security benefits

December 6, 2013

As more Americans begin to realize the value of delaying their Social Security benefits, some are rethinking their decision to claim reduced benefits early. You have 12 months from the date of your initial claim to change your mind. If you do,...

Ready or not? Surveys conflict on Americans' retirement preparedness

December 5, 2013

A series of retirement reports released this week offer conflicting opinions on the state of Americans' retirement preparedness. According to two advisers, most people still aren't ready. One of this week's reports gleans positive news from...

New strategy for equity investing during retirement ignites debate

December 5, 2013

A new paper that suggests rising equity exposure in retirement may in fact lead to better outcomes has set the web abuzz. Financial planning literati Wade D. Pfau, professor of retirement income at The American College, and Michael Kitces, partner...

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