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Oct 30, 2014

Conquering fear, finding purpose: The secrets of an encore career

PHOENIX (Reuters) – “You must do the thing you cannot do,” Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote. It’s the only way to overcome the fears we all face in doing something new, she thought, and take a leap into the unknown.

Kate Williams quoted Roosevelt earlier this week here when she accepted a $25,000 Purpose Prize, one of the awards given annually by Encore.org, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that works to engage baby boomers in “encore careers” with a social impact. The awards, now in their ninth year, recognize trailblazers over age 60 who have tackled social problems creatively and effectively. Cash prizes range from $25,000 to $100,000.

Oct 23, 2014

The COLA crunch: Why Social Security isn’t keeping up with seniors’ costs

CHICAGO, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Social Security’s annual
inflation adjustment is one of the program’s most valuable
features. But it’s time to adjust the adjustment.

Retirees will get a 1.7 percent bump in their Social
Security benefit next year, according to the Social Security
Administration, which announced the annual cost-of-living
adjustment (COLA) on Wednesday. Recipients of disability
benefits and Supplemental Security Income also will receive the
COLA.

Oct 16, 2014

Beware: Some Medicare Advantage plans have plenty of disadvantages

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Seniors have flocked to Medicare Advantage in recent years, attracted by savings on premiums and the convenience of one-stop shopping. But as the annual Medicare enrollment season began this week, a memorandum from federal officials to plan providers surfaced that serves as a big red warning flag.

The upshot: Assess the quality of any Advantage plan before you sign up.

The memorandum, first reported by the New York Times, described ongoing compliance problems uncovered in federal audits of Advantage and prescription drug plans. These include inadequate rationales for denial of coverage, failure to consider clinical information from doctors and failure to notify patients of their rights to appeal decisions. The audits also uncovered problems with inappropriate rejection of prescription drug claims.

Oct 9, 2014

Shining a light on a murky election-year Social Security debate

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In North Carolina, a television ad attacks incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan for supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age” for Social Security. The ad comes from Crossroads GPS, the super PAC run by Republican Karl Rove.

A Republican attack on a Democrat for cutting Social Security benefits? It’s just one instance where voters are hearing confusing claims about Social Security reform. Social Security has surfaced as a major issue in Senate rates in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and Arkansas.

Oct 2, 2014

Why it pays to pore over your Medicare drug plan – every year

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Your Medicare prescription drug plan sent you a letter recently. Chances are, you didn’t read it – and that could be costing you money.

Health insurance companies must send an annual notice of changes for the coming year to Part D prescription drug and Part C Medicare Advantage plans. The notice, which must be delivered to you by Sept. 30 each year, details changes in premiums and co-pays, and lets you know whether your medication will be covered in the year ahead.

Sep 25, 2014

It happens: Seniors with student debt – and smaller Social Security checks

CHICAGO (Reuters) – It’s a rude awakening for a growing number of seniors: They file for Social Security, then discover that the federal government plans to take part of their benefit to pay off delinquent student loans, tax bills, child support or alimony.

This month the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released findings on the problem of rising student debt burdens among retirees – and how the government goes after delinquent borrowers by going after wages, tax refunds and Social Security checks.

Sep 18, 2014

Extreme retirement abroad: How one footloose couple sees the world

CHICAGO (Reuters) – For Americans looking to retire abroad, deciding where to live can be a challenge. But Lynne and Tim Martin took that question off the table by deciding to retire everywhere and anywhere.

In 2011 the couple opted for what might be called extreme retirement abroad: They sold their Paso Robles, California, home, jettisoned all but a few treasured possessions and became nomads.

Sep 11, 2014

Retirement insecurity: Two studies underline housing and income challenges

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Monday marks the sixth anniversary of the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers, a key event in the Wall Street meltdown that led to the Great Recession. The recession wreaked havoc on the retirement plans of millions of Americans, and two studies released last week suggest that most of us haven’t recovered well.

To be more precise: Middle- and lower-income Americans haven’t recovered at all, while the wealthiest households have done fine.

Sep 2, 2014

A landmark law at 40: How well is it protecting workers’ retirements?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The writer is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Every American who has retired with economic security – or hopes to – should know these two dates in our history: August 14, 1935, and September 2, 1974.

Aug 28, 2014

Why ‘unretirement’ might be your best retirement strategy

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chris Farrell has a hot retirement investing tip for you, but it’s not a stock or bond.

Farrell wants you to invest in yourself. In his new book, “Unretirement” (Bloomsbury Press), he argues that developing skills that can help you earn income well past traditional retirement age offers a better return on investment than any financial instrument – and it can help transform the economy as it continues to heal from the Great Recession.

    • About Mark

      "Mark Miller is a journalist and author who writes about trends in retirement and aging. He has a special focus on how the baby boomer generation is revising its approach to careers, money and lifestyle after age 50. Mark is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living (John Wiley & Sons/Bloomberg Press, 2010) and edits RetirementRevised.com. Mark is the former editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, and former Sunday editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. The opinions expressed here are his own."
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