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May 28, 2015

How to use Social Security to fix retirement inequality

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Americans need bigger retirement nest eggs, there is no doubt about that. More than half of us have saved less than $25,000, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.

    Policy experts often point to such figures to underscore the looming retirement security crisis, and proposals have been flying this year from Republicans and Democrats alike for ways to encourage people to sock away more money.

May 21, 2015

U.S. courts order 401(k) sponsors to do the right thing

CHICAGO, May 21 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled
this week that employers have a duty to protect workers in their
401(k) plans from mutual funds that are too expensive or perform
poorly.

Monday’s unanimous ruling sends a strong signal that
employers must improve their plans. And it comes just as the
Obama administration prepares a landmark change of its own by
issuing rules requiring that financial advisers put the interest
of customers ahead of their own.

May 14, 2015

Retirement investors need patience as bond market wavers

CHICAGO, May 14 (Reuters) – With bond markets in turmoil,
what is a 401(k) investor to do? Probably not much.

Retirement investors have enjoyed the best of both worlds
these past two years: a bull market in both equities and bonds.
But the bond market has been weathering volatility and sharp
declines since late April, with prices falling and yields
rising.

May 7, 2015

Why cutting-edge healthcare will help the rich live longer

CHICAGO, May 7 (Reuters) – Could the one percent soon get to
live twice as long as the rest of us – maybe even forever?

Immortality may not be in the cards just yet, but
exponential breakthroughs in technology and medicine will make
possible lifespans of 150 years or more, according to Ken
Dychtwald.

Apr 30, 2015

See how your neighborhood ranks as a place to age

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

Should you stay or should you go? That will be a key question in an aging America, as people try to decide if their homes and communities still work for them as they grow old.

Apr 22, 2015

Pensioners risk overestimating Social Security benefits

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (This April 16, 2015 story was corrected in paragraphs 1 and 4 to reflect that Social Security Administration gives little advance warning to beneficiaries, instead of no advance warning. Also, adds paragraph 5 for description of Social Security benefits statements.)

Some U.S. workers who have paid into the Social Security system are in for a rude awakening when the checks start coming: Their benefits could be chopped up to $413 per month.

Apr 21, 2015

U.S. retirement confidence soars despite grim realities

CHICAGO, April 21 (Reuters) – Denial is said to be the first
emotional stage of grief – and that may be where many Americans
are at right now in their attitudes about retirement security.

The 2015 edition of the longest-running national survey of
retirement confidence, released on Tuesday by the Washington,
D.C.-based non-profit Employee Benefit Research Institute
(EBRI), reveals a second consecutive annual jump in the
percentage of workers and retirees in an upbeat mood about their
retirement finances. Unfortunately, that rising confidence is
likely unfounded.

Apr 9, 2015

Why are states leaving billions in retiree income on the table?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Illinois is the national poster child for state budget messes. My home state faces a $7.4 billion general fund deficit and a $12 billion revenue shortfall. One proposed idea for plugging at least part of the horrific shortfall: tax retirement income. But our new governor, Republican Bruce Rauner, has rejected the idea.

Illinois exempts all retirement income from state taxes – Social Security, private and public pensions, and annuities. We’re leaving $2 billion on the table annually, according to the state’s estimates. And we’re hardly alone: 36 states that have an income tax allow some exemption for private or public pension benefits, and 32 exempt all Social Security benefits from tax, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP). States currently considering wider income tax exemptions for seniors include Rhode Island and Maryland.

Apr 2, 2015

The battle of the robo-advisers heats up

CHICAGO, April 2 (Reuters) – Here’s something you don’t see
every day: two investment companies in a very public fight about
values, greed and putting the interests of customers first.

This is what has happened since Charles Schwab
launched Schwab Intelligent Portfolios last month, becoming the
first major investment company to leap into the so-called
“robo-advisory” market.

Mar 26, 2015

Stop-gap Medicare ‘doc-fix’ will cost seniors

CHICAGO, March 26 (Reuters) – Congress is headed toward a
bipartisan solution to fix a Medicare formula that threatens to
slash payments to doctors every year. The so-called “doc fix”
would replace the cuts with a multipronged approach that will be
expensive and will have Medicare beneficiaries pay part of the
bill.

Congress has repeatedly overridden the payment cuts, which
are mandated under a formula called the Sustainable Growth Rate
(SGR), which became law in 1997, that is a way of keeping growth
in physician payments in line with the economy’s overall growth.
This year, unless Congress acts, rates will automatically be
slashed 21 percent.

    • 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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