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Oct 11, 2013

How to cope with dreaded retirement distributions

CHICAGO (Reuters) – There’s a reason why 401(k) and individual retirement accounts are called “tax deferred.” You pay no taxes while you’re accumulating savings, but Uncle Sam ultimately gets his bite when funds are withdrawn. And to make sure the meal gets started on time, you’ll face though the dreaded required minimum distribution (RMD).

RMDs must be taken from IRAs starting in the year you turn 70.5 – and from 401(k)s at the same age, unless you’re still working for the employer that sponsors the plan. They exist to make sure the tax benefits of these accounts don’t extend indefinitely – and that you start using these assets, and start paying taxes, in retirement.

Oct 8, 2013

Will you get your Social Security check if the U.S. defaults?

CHICAGO, Oct 8 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned
last week that Social Security benefits might not go out “on
time” if Congress does not raise the debt ceiling.

Should seniors and disabled American really be worried about
their benefits if the U.S. government runs out of borrowing
capacity later this month?

Oct 1, 2013

Seniors face more scams as Obamacare launches

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Seniors have been sold plenty of lies about health reform since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law in 2010. They’ve been told that it will slash their benefits and create “death panels” to weed out those too old and sick to be worthy of medical care; that it will crush the popular Medicare Advantage program; and that government will get between them and their doctors.

Falsehoods, all. But with key provisions of Obamacare kicking off Tuesday, seniors finally have something real to be concerned about: fraud. Consumer advocates and legal experts say they are seeing a rise in ACA-related identity theft and other scams targeting seniors on Medicare.

Sep 26, 2013

What Obamacare will mean for retirees

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When the autumn leaves start to fall, it is time for Medicare enrollment. Starting on October 15th, seniors can shop for prescription drug or Medicare Advantage managed-care plans in online exchanges that let them compare features and prices.

Wait a minute, you’re thinking – online health insurance exchanges? Isn’t that the Obamacare insurance market launch on October 1st?

Sep 25, 2013

In divisive Washington, commission punts on long-term care

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Why can’t we all just get along when it comes to long-term care?

Long-term care services support the medical and non-medical needs of people with chronic illnesses. Coverage is hardly restricted to older people, but demand for long-term care services will explode as the baby boom generation ages.

Sep 19, 2013

Will U.S. middle class lose in fight over financial advice?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If average Americans haven’t been kicked around enough this past decade, now we have this: the middle class is serving as a pawn in Wall Street’s high-stakes lobbying battle against stricter rules for brokers.

The fight centers on the so-called fiduciary standard under consideration at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Labor. It would require financial advisers to put the interests of their clients above their own. Some advisers – mostly those who charge their clients fees and don’t collect commissions – already are fiduciaries.

Sep 17, 2013

New technology helps older drivers keep the keys longer

CHICAGO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – When automakers add safety
technology to their cars, they don’t go out of their way to
advertise the new features to older drivers – that would be
self-defeating.

“The car remains a symbol of youthfulness, independence and
freedom,” says Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which studies and
develops a wide range of age-related technology. “If I sell a
car pitched as an old man’s car, I can guarantee a younger man
or woman won’t buy it – and neither will the older man.”

Sep 10, 2013

Reverse mortgages get smaller and costlier

CHICAGO, Sept 10 (Reuters) – If you’ve been thinking about
getting a reverse mortgage, September offers a model-year
closeout sale opportunity.

A new set of rules governing Home Equity Conversion
Mortgages (HECMs), the most popular type of reverse loan, has
just been issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development, following up on Congressional action last month
authorizing reforms.

Sep 5, 2013

Disability is the other Social Security fight we need to have now

CHICAGO, Sept 5 (Reuters) – The year 2035 is far off in the
future – and that’s one reason Congress has kicked the can down
the road so many times when it comes to Social Security reform.

The program’s retirement trust fund is projected to be
depleted that year, requiring sharp cuts in benefits if nothing
is done. Closing the shortfall calls for tough choices that
invite political procrastination – revenue increases, benefit
cuts or some combination of the two.

Aug 30, 2013

Column: Five things you should know about Social Security

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Social Security is the country’s most universal social insurance program – it covers 86 percent of the population over age 65, as well as some younger people. But the program’s complexities are not so widely known.

To address that, the Social Security Administration helpfully publishes an annual “Fast Facts & Figures” guide, which highlights key features and trends. The new 2013 edition yields the following five factoids you might not know about Social Security, but should.

    • 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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