Mark's Feed
Jul 30, 2013

Should you worry about Detroit’s pension woes?

CHICAGO, July 30 (Reuters) – The news from Detroit is enough
to rattle anyone relying on a traditional pension: an
unprecedented bankruptcy filing by a major U.S. city that opens
the door to possible sharp cuts in benefits.

It’s still far from clear that the courts will let Detroit
slash pension benefits as part of its bankruptcy filing. But is
the city’s situation a harbinger of things to come for Americans
relying on traditional defined benefit pensions?

Jul 25, 2013

Three tips for older Americans enrolling in Obamacare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The marketing blitz for the launch of Obamacare is underway, with ad campaigns in many states featuring actors, musicians and athletes urging people to sign up for the health insurance program. A big federal ad campaign will follow in September.

Marketing and communication might serve as an antidote to the confusion and antipathy that persists about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), especially among older Americans. Forty-nine percent of people over age 65 disapprove of the law, compared with just 37 percent of 18-29-year olds, according to the Pew Research Center.

Jul 24, 2013

Government may crack down harder on reverse mortgages

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The federal government is getting ready for round two of the Great Reverse Mortgage Crackdown.

Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development eliminated one of the most risky reverse mortgage programs – upfront lump-sum loans issued at fixed interest rates. Now, it is proposing to further discourage big lump-sum reverse mortgages by limiting the amount borrowers could get from variable rate loans, too.

Jul 24, 2013

U.S. government may crack down harder on reverse mortgages

CHICAGO, July 24 (Reuters) – The federal government is
getting ready for round two of the Great Reverse Mortgage
Crackdown.

Earlier this year, the Department of Housing and Urban
Development eliminated one of the most risky reverse mortgage
programs – upfront lump-sum loans issued at fixed interest
rates. Now, it is proposing to further discourage big lump-sum
reverse mortgages by limiting the amount borrowers could get
from variable rate loans, too.

Jul 19, 2013

Column: Medicare Advantage defies expectations by growing

NEW YORK (Reuters) – If we used tennis scoring to track the progress of healthcare reform, this would be the moment to declare: advantage Advantage.

Obamacare opponents have been warning for several years now that Medicare Advantage, the private plan option that seniors can pick instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare, would fail because of the healthcare law’s impact on the program. The prediction was that the gradual elimination of extra federal reimbursements to Medicare Advantage would kill it.

Jul 18, 2013

Medicare Advantage defies expectations by growing

NEW YORK, July 18 (Reuters) – If we used tennis scoring to
track the progress of healthcare reform, this would be the
moment to declare: advantage Advantage.

Obamacare opponents have been warning for several years now
that Medicare Advantage, the private plan option that seniors
can pick instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare, would
fail because of the healthcare law’s impact on the program. The
prediction was that the gradual elimination of extra federal
reimbursements to Medicare Advantage would kill it.

Jul 16, 2013

Employee stock purchase plans see uptick in post-Enron era

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Invesco is a big believer in employee ownership. But in 2005, the investment management giant dropped a feature in its 401(k) plan that allowed employees to accumulate its shares in their retirement accounts.

The decision stemmed from worries about the risks of company stock in a retirement plan, where plan sponsors have a fiduciary responsibility to put the best interest of employees first.

Jul 11, 2013

Column: Want to grow old at home? Technology to the rescue

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Getting old? There’s an app for that.

And a smartphone interface. And a tablet device that lets family members monitor your medication schedule, send text messages and share photos.

A major new wave of technological innovation is aimed at helping people stay in their homes as they grow older and require care. These “age in place” products are coming from companies ranging from tech mainstays like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to much smaller tech startups.

Jul 11, 2013

Want to grow old at home? Technology to the rescue

CHICAGO, July 11 (Reuters) – Getting old? There’s an app for
that.

And a smartphone interface. And a tablet device that lets
family members monitor your medication schedule, send text
messages and share photos.

A major new wave of technological innovation is aimed at
helping people stay in their homes as they grow older and
require care. These “age in place” products are coming from
companies ranging from tech mainstays like Samsung Electronics
Co Ltd to much smaller tech startups.

Jul 9, 2013

Column: Long-term care clock ticking for U.S. Congress

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Eighty-four days and counting. That’s the time remaining that a new Congressional commission has to come up with solutions for one of the country’s most vexing problems: how to properly fund long-term care.

The Commission on Long-Term Care is an offspring of the January deal that averted the so-called fiscal cliff mix of tax hikes and spending cuts. Back then, Congress and the White House agreed to kill the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act (CLASS), which would have provided a public option for long-term care insurance under Obamacare. The consensus is that the math on CLASS did not work – but there is also widespread agreement that our current approach to financing long-term care is broken.

    • 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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