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Oct 9, 2014

Shining a light on a murky election-year Social Security debate

CHICAGO (Reuters) – In North Carolina, a television ad attacks incumbent Democratic Senator Kay Hagan for supporting a “controversial plan” that “raises the retirement age” for Social Security. The ad comes from Crossroads GPS, the super PAC run by Republican Karl Rove.

A Republican attack on a Democrat for cutting Social Security benefits? It’s just one instance where voters are hearing confusing claims about Social Security reform. Social Security has surfaced as a major issue in Senate rates in Alaska, Colorado, Iowa and Arkansas.

Oct 2, 2014

Why it pays to pore over your Medicare drug plan – every year

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Your Medicare prescription drug plan sent you a letter recently. Chances are, you didn’t read it – and that could be costing you money.

Health insurance companies must send an annual notice of changes for the coming year to Part D prescription drug and Part C Medicare Advantage plans. The notice, which must be delivered to you by Sept. 30 each year, details changes in premiums and co-pays, and lets you know whether your medication will be covered in the year ahead.

Sep 25, 2014

It happens: Seniors with student debt – and smaller Social Security checks

CHICAGO (Reuters) – It’s a rude awakening for a growing number of seniors: They file for Social Security, then discover that the federal government plans to take part of their benefit to pay off delinquent student loans, tax bills, child support or alimony.

This month the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released findings on the problem of rising student debt burdens among retirees – and how the government goes after delinquent borrowers by going after wages, tax refunds and Social Security checks.

Sep 18, 2014

Extreme retirement abroad: How one footloose couple sees the world

CHICAGO (Reuters) – For Americans looking to retire abroad, deciding where to live can be a challenge. But Lynne and Tim Martin took that question off the table by deciding to retire everywhere and anywhere.

In 2011 the couple opted for what might be called extreme retirement abroad: They sold their Paso Robles, California, home, jettisoned all but a few treasured possessions and became nomads.

Sep 11, 2014

Retirement insecurity: Two studies underline housing and income challenges

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Monday marks the sixth anniversary of the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers, a key event in the Wall Street meltdown that led to the Great Recession. The recession wreaked havoc on the retirement plans of millions of Americans, and two studies released last week suggest that most of us haven’t recovered well.

To be more precise: Middle- and lower-income Americans haven’t recovered at all, while the wealthiest households have done fine.

Sep 2, 2014

A landmark law at 40: How well is it protecting workers’ retirements?

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

Every American who has retired with economic security – or hopes to – should know these two dates in our history: August 14, 1935, and September 2, 1974.

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.

    • 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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