Mark's Feed
May 9, 2013

Knowing Social Security rules can help divorced spouses

CHICAGO, May 9 (Reuters) – Robin Brewton, who advises
clients on Social Security benefit strategies, has boosted
retirees’ financial security with a single question: Are you
divorced?

It is a little-known fact: If you’re divorced, it’s possible
to claim Social Security spousal and survivor benefits from your
ex. It is a strategy that can dramatically boost your benefits -
and it will be important for more retirees in the years ahead.

May 7, 2013

Column: When aging provides a business opportunity

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Gary Bates was an airline pilot for 37 years, and in his last few years on the job, he noticed older travelers having trouble with the whole experience: the security lines, the delays and the increasingly expanding airports.

Those observations became the inspiration for Care-to-Go, a company he launched with his wife, Beth, in 2009, which provides a caregiver to make the trip with an elderly passenger or others who have special needs when they travel. The couple also launched a sister company that provides in-home care to seniors.

May 1, 2013

Column: Retirees and debt: How to avoid the worst traps

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you’re strapped for cash or have a poor credit rating, the offer would sound tempting: upfront cash in return for your future pension payments.

But it’s a debt trap, according to a recent expose by The New York Times, a “pension advance” loan charging sky-high interest rates. A Times analysis of these deals found effective interest rates ranging from 27 percent to as high as 106 percent.

May 1, 2013

Retirees and debt: How to avoid the worst traps

CHICAGO, May 1 (Reuters) – If you’re strapped for cash or
have a poor credit rating, the offer would sound tempting:
upfront cash in return for your future pension payments.

But it’s a debt trap, according to a recent expose by The
New York Times, a “pension advance” loan charging sky-high
interest rates. A Times analysis of these deals found effective
interest rates ranging from 27 percent to as high as 106
percent.

Apr 26, 2013

Column: Gambling with your retirement: PBS gets in on the action

CHICAGO (Reuters) – PBS Frontline is shocked – shocked! – to find that investors hold retirement accounts that cost too much and eat into long-term returns, even though financial experts have been hammering away on these issues for years

The public affairs show turned its investigative eye to the financial services industry this week with “The Retirement Gamble.”

Apr 26, 2013

Gambling with your retirement: PBS gets in on the action

CHICAGO, April 26 (Reuters) – PBS Frontline is shocked -
shocked! – to find that investors hold retirement accounts that
cost too much and eat into long-term returns, even though
financial experts have been hammering away on these issues for
years

The public affairs show turned its investigative eye to the
financial services industry this week with “The Retirement
Gamble.”

Apr 24, 2013

Column: Want to buy a business? You can tap your 401(k)

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Mark Schottland’s 401(k) took a beating in the market crash of 2008, and its value plunged 35 percent, to $65,000. But rather than go into a mattress fund, the Nashville resident decided to invest in himself.

Schottland used what was left of his nest egg at the end of that year to buy the Nashville franchise for Dogtopia, a dog daycare and boarding business that had 27 locations nationwide at the end of last year.

Apr 22, 2013

Analysis: Boomer downsizing trend hasn’t materialized yet, but may

By Mark Miller

(Reuters) – When Barbara and Mark Gomperts became empty nesters a few years ago, they found themselves using just a fraction of the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house where they had raised their children in Vienna, Virginia.

They bought a townhouse in nearby Burke that was a third the size of the house they sold. “We just didn’t need as much space to be happy,” Barbara said in an interview. She is using some of their monthly savings to retrain for a second career.

Apr 22, 2013

Boomer downsizing trend hasn’t materialized yet, but may

April 22 (Reuters) – When Barbara and Mark Gomperts became
empty nesters a few years ago, they found themselves using just
a fraction of the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house where
they had raised their children in Vienna, Virginia.

They bought a townhouse in nearby Burke that was a third the
size of the house they sold. “We just didn’t need as much space
to be happy,” Barbara said in an interview. She is using some of
their monthly savings to retrain for a second career.

Apr 17, 2013

Answering Americans’ top five questions about Social Security

CHICAGO, April 17 (Reuters) – Americans want to know how to
get the most from their Social Security benefits, and they have
posed more than 11,000 questions to AARP over the years.

The group of more than 37 million people age 50 and older
has been collecting these queries – and answers to them – in an
online searchable database launched eight months ago.

    • 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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