CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you are still wondering whether we are in a “new normal” investment climate of ultra-low interest rates, wonder no more: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke settled any lingering doubts last week when he guaranteed rates will stay near zero at least through the middle of 2015 — or until the jobless rate falls to at least 6.5 percent, or the inflation rate jumps above 2.5 percent.
Bernanke’s unprecedented announcement(see link.reuters.com/kuj64t) might be good for the economy, but it is bad news for retirees, who already have suffered through four years of historically-low interest rates.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – On September 11, 2001, Lorraine Decker had it made. She and her husband Ken had a lucrative Houston financial planning practice specializing in retirement seminars all over the world for corporate employees. That day, they were waiting for a flight to New Orleans at the Newark airport when the first plane hit the twin towers in New York City.
With all air traffic grounded, the Deckers managed to rent a car to drive home to Houston. “We had the time to slow down and reflect on our priorities and the future of the nation, and we were feeling a profound need to help recreate the future,” she recalls.
By Mark Miller
CHICAGO, Dec 12(Reuters) – IBM ads urge us all to follow its
lead and help “build a smarter planet.” Let’s hope other
companies don’t follow Big Blue’s latest move: an overhaul of
its 401(k) plan that shifts its matching contribution to a
Starting next year, IBM will shift its matching contribution
from semi-monthly to a lump sum paid each December 31. Leave the
company before December 15, and you’ll get no match at all for
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Congressional Republicans want to raise Medicare’s eligibility age as part of a deal with Democrats to avoid falling off the fiscal cliff. Raising the eligibility age from 65 to 67 would save some money for Medicare and low-income seniors. But at the same time, it would boost out-of-pocket insurance costs for two-thirds of seniors in that age bracket and those who are younger, plus raise overall healthcare spending for the federal government, states and employers.
Start shifting insurance risk in one age bracket, and the effects ripple.
First, the youngest, relatively healthy seniors would move out of the Medicare risk pool, raising the cost — and premiums — of covering older beneficiaries.
CHICAGO, Dec 5 (Reuters) – The federal government is
proposing to make big changes to its reverse mortgage program
early next year that should make the loans safer for seniors who
use them to tap home equity.
Shaun Donovan, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development (HUD), which regulates these loans, will
detail policy options t h at would create more conservative
lending standards in testimony later this week before the Senate
Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. “fiscal cliff” is bad news for retirement security – whether we fall off it or not.
If the White House and Congress don’t steer clear of the cliff, taxes on income and investments will jump, beginning January 1. And if a deal is reached in Congress, it could herald entitlement benefit cuts, higher Medicare premiums for the rich and even caps on pre-tax 401(k) contributions.
CHICAGO, November 16 (Reuters) – The rising cost of Medicare
premiums will take a bigger bite out of seniors’ wallets next
year – but the amount will be smaller than was predicted by a
federal government forecast earlier this year.
The monthly premium for Medicare Part B (outpatient
services) will jump 5 percent in 2013 to $104.90, the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced on Friday. The
increase — which amounts to $5 instead of the $9 that had been
predicted by the trustees of the Medicare program — will
consume part of the already-small Social Security cost-of-living
adjustment next year for middle class recipients.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Medicare processed 906 billion outpatient insurance claims in 2010 – and refused to pay 10 percent of them. But if you’re a senior on Medicare with a denied claim, your odds of turning that around are surprisingly good if you appeal.
The importance of pushing back when Medicare says no was highlighted recently by settlement of a class action lawsuit that will force Medicare to start covering skilled nursing and therapy services in institutional or home care settings – not only when patients have a demonstrated medical potential to improve, but also when they need care to maintain their current health status.
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Gay rights took a big stride forward in this week’s elections, with voters in four states affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry. But here’s an issue in the LGBT community that continues to fly under the radar: what happens to LGBT Americans when they get old?
“Our community has been focused for years on other issues, like AIDS/HIV, marriage equality and bullying,” says Mark Segal, a well-known advocate in the LGBT community and founder of the Philadelphia Gay News. “But we’ve never developed a system for LGBT seniors, especially those who are low income and are very endangered.”
By Mark Miller
(Reuters) – Disrupted mail service is not at the top of the list of problems facing superstorm Sandy’s victims – unless you are a senior counting on the post office to deliver a monthly Social Security check.
Most Social Security benefits, which account for more than half of total income for nearly two-thirds of people aged 65 and above, are paid on the third of each month. This month, the payments were made on November 2, because the third fell on a Saturday. That means those payments were made just as the U.S. Postal Service was struggling to restore service around the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. A USPS spokesman said the situation still varies dramatically around the region.