Mark's Feed
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.

Aug 21, 2014

How to interpret your Social Security benefit statement

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The Social Security Administration will be mailing annual benefit statements for the first time in three years to some American workers. That’s good news, because the statements provide a useful projection of what you can expect to receive in benefits at various retirement ages, if you become widowed or suffer a disability that prevents you from working.

But if you do receive a statement next month, it is important to know how to interpret the benefit projections. They are likely somewhat smaller than the dollar amount you will receive when you actually claim benefits, because they are expressed in today’s dollars – before adjustment for inflation.

Aug 14, 2014

Phased retirement: How Washington is leading the way

CHICAGO, Aug 14 (Reuters) – Gwendolyn Ross will turn 66 in
November, but she isn’t ready to retire. A deputy comptroller
for the U.S. Coast Guard in Miami Beach, Florida, she hopes to
work until she’s 70 – but she would like to cut back her hours.

“I have some health issues that require a lot of visits to
the doctor, and I’d love to have more time to visit my family in
Michigan,” she says. At the same time, she needs to keep working
to prepare for retirement. “As I get closer to it, I realize I’m
not as financially ready as I thought I would be when I was
younger. The time went by really quickly.”

Aug 12, 2014

Take the pension buyout, or wait for a better deal down the road?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

If you work for a company with a pension plan, don’t be surprised if you get an offer soon for a lump sum buyout – a deal where you accept a pile of cash in exchange for the promise of lifetime income when you retire.

Aug 7, 2014

Medicare costs: How long can the good news go on?

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

Medicare turned 49 years old last week, and the program celebrated with some good financial news for seniors: Premiums will not rise in 2015 for the third consecutive year.

Aug 5, 2014

How much do you need to retire happy? Wes Moss has your number

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

It may be true that money can’t buy you love, but can it buy happiness in retirement? Most people would say it can, but financial planner Wes Moss wanted the details: Just how much money does it take to retire happily – and is there a point of diminishing happiness return on the size of a nest egg?  

Jul 31, 2014

Why Congress needs to reform multi-employer pension plans now

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The window is closing on our last best chance to protect the pensions of 10 million American workers and retirees.

These workers are in multi-employer plans – traditional defined benefit pension plans jointly funded by groups of employers in industries like construction, trucking, mining and food retailing. Although many of the country’s 1,400 multi-employer plans are healthy, 1.5 million workers are in plans that are failing. And that threatens the broader system.

Jul 29, 2014

The truth about Social Security and Medicare, straight from the trustees

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you worry about the future of Social Security and Medicare, this is the week to get answers to your questions. The most authoritative annual reports on the long-term health of both programs were issued on Monday, and while the news was mixed, there are reasons to be encouraged about our two most important retirement programs.

Under the Social Security Act, a board of trustees reports annually to Congress on the status and long-term financial prospects of Social Security and Medicare. The reports are prepared by the professional actuaries who have made careers out of managing the numbers and are signed by three cabinet secretaries, the commissioner of Social Security and two publicly appointed trustees – one Republican, one Democrat.

Jul 24, 2014

IRA contributions: the perils of procrastination

CHICAGO, July 24 (Reuters) – Individual Retirement Account
contributions are getting larger – an encouraging sign of a
recovering economy and improved habits among retirement savers.

But there is an “I” in IRA for a reason: investors are in
charge of managing their accounts. And recent research by
Vanguard finds that many of us are leaving returns on the table
due to an all-too-human fault: procrastination in the timing of
our contributions.

Jul 22, 2014

Why your 401(k) isn’t likely to offer a ‘longevity annuity’

CHICAGO, July 22 (Reuters) – Longevity risk – that is, the
risk of outliving your retirement savings – is among retirees’
biggest worries these days. The Obama administration is trying
to nudge employers to add a special type of annuity to their
investment menus that addresses that risk. But here’s the
response they’re likely to get: “Meh.”

The U.S. Treasury released rules earlier this month aimed at
encouraging 401(k) plans to offer “longevity annuities” – a form
of income annuity in which payouts start only after you reach an
advanced age, typically 85.

    • 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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