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Oct 8, 2015

Unwelcome news about Medicare’s rising drug plan costs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Seniors have received some unpleasant news in their mailboxes in recent weeks: premiums for many Medicare prescription drug insurance plans will rise at double-digit rates next year.

Premiums for the ten most popular Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) will rise an average of 8 percent next year – the fastest clip in five years, according to Avalere Health, a consulting and research firm. And five of the top plans will boost their average premiums anywhere from 16 percent to 26 percent.

Oct 1, 2015

Obamacare not spurring more early retirements yet despite predictions

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Affordable Care Act is doing plenty of good for older Americans, but one thing it is not doing is convincing them to retire early.

One prediction of the impact of the healthcare law, commonly known as Obamacare, was that the ACA would end “job lock” – the phenomenon of workers hanging onto jobs just for the health insurance while waiting to become eligible for Medicare at age 65.

Sep 24, 2015

Beefing up advice options for workplace retirement plans

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Would you like some advice with that 401(k) plan?

Two of the leading companies in online investment advice launched initiatives this month aimed at getting more personalized financial advice to workplace retirement savers.

Betterment, a leader in the “robo-advisory” automated portfolio market for retail investors, announced plans this month for a new technology-driven offering for 401(k) plans.

Sep 17, 2015

How to boost the ranks of African-American financial planners

CHICAGO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Lazetta Rainey Braxton is a
rare bird in the financial planning profession. She is
African-American, a group that accounts for no more than 2
percent of all planners.

Braxton, 42, is working to change that. She is president of
the Association of African American Financial Advisors, known as
the Quad-A, a southeastern regional professional group that
seeks to expand representation of African-Americans in planning.

Sep 10, 2015

One last push to stop Medicare premium increases

CHICAGO, Sept 10 (Reuters) – Should 30 percent of Medicare
beneficiaries shoulder a 52 percent premium hike next year while
the other 70 percent pay no more at all? Advocates for seniors
do not think so, and they are making a push to convince Congress
to stop it from happening.

The Medicare population vulnerable to shouldering the larger
premium includes some federal and state government employees,
people who sign up for Medicare for the first time next year,
low-income seniors whose premiums are paid by state Medicaid
plans and high-income seniors who already pay premium

Sep 3, 2015

Why planning to work in retirement is a risky business

CHICAGO, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Planning to work longer to
bolster your retirement finances?

It can make a big difference, but it is tough to pull off.
Half of all retirees leave the workforce earlier than planned
due to a health problem or job loss.

Aug 27, 2015

Young workers in target-date funds hit hard by market drop

By Mark Miller

CHICAGO(Reuters) – As the stock market has whipsawed over the past two weeks, young workers who have all their retirement funds tied up in long-range target-date funds may have been the hardest hit.

The average 25-year-old fully invested in a 2060 target-date fund series saw a 10 percent decline in account value from the market’s recent peak on July 17 through Monday’s close, according to Morningstar – close to the 10.96 percent decline of the S&P 500 over that period.

Aug 20, 2015

Seniors gear up for the sharing economy

CHICAGO, Aug 20 (Reuters) – Five dollars may not sound like
much pay for doing a job, but do not tell that to Brooke Folk.

At age 67, Folk spends up to 30 hours a week on projects
generated through (, a
shared-economy website that requires all its vendors to offer
something to customers for just $5 and takes a 20 percent
commission on earnings.

Aug 13, 2015

Big changes ahead for small-business retirement plans

CHICAGO, Aug 13 (Reuters) – If you work for a small business
that doesn’t have a retirement plan, help is on the way.

Roughly half of the U.S. states are working to create
government-sponsored automatic individual retirement account
(IRA) plans that would enroll workers without access to
employer-sponsored retirement plans.

Aug 6, 2015

Bad news on cost of living raises for Social Security

CHICAGO, August 6 (Reuters) – Retirees are facing a double whammy next year: no inflation adjustment in their Social Security benefits and a whopping 52 percent jump in certain Medicare premiums.

The Medicare premium hikes will hit only 30 percent of beneficiaries: those who are not protected from a “hold-harmless” provision in federal law that prohibits any premium hike that produces a net reduction in Social Security benefits. But the increases suggest strongly that the recent trend of moderate healthcare inflation is ending.

    • 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 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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