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Sep 14, 2012

Is new wave pension plan “California dreamin’”?

CHICAGO, Sept 14 (Reuters) – Is California about to set the
country’s retirement saving system on its ear?

The state has often set trends for the country in areas
ranging from the environment to food and popular culture. Now,
California is moving toward launching an innovative new approach
to retirement saving that addresses two key problems facing
Americans: the lack of workplace pension programs among small
businesses and the structural shortcomings of 401(k) plans.

Sep 12, 2012

For seniors, entitlement worries extend to the grandkids

CHICAGO, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Possible changes to Medicare
and Social Security have become the top political concern for
older U.S. voters this year – and not just because of the
effect on their own pocketbooks.

This is national Grandparents Week, a good time to ask how
the presidential candidates’ reform plans would affect not just
today’s older people but also their children and grandchildren.

Sep 7, 2012

Don’t look to Ryancare to cut health care costs

CHICAGO, Sept 6 (Reuters) – Here’s the $64,000 question on
the Republican plan to voucherize Medicare: Can consumer choice
and market competition drive down Medicare costs?

The Romney-Ryan presidential campaign ticket thinks so. If
they are right, seniors might not have to pony up thousands of
additional dollars per year for the cost of Medicare beyond the
voucher’s value. If wrong, there will be a massive cost shift to
seniors to make up for the market’s failure.

Jul 26, 2012

Time not on the side of older Americans in housing slump

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Prior to 2008, many baby boomers assumed they were set for retirement. They would fund those golden years by tapping into their homes if they hadn’t saved enough in their 401(k) plans.

But home equity no longer looks like a safe Plan B for a fast-growing group of pre-retirees and seniors.

Jul 12, 2012

How one model state is implementing healthcare reform

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on healthcare reform, the front line of the battle moves to the states. Some are vowing to resist implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), while others are moving full speed ahead. And the stakes for uninsured Americans are enormous.

In states that do not implement their own public insurance exchanges, the federal government will step in. Federally sponsored exchanges will provide access to insurance for middle-income residents without employer-provided health insurance to buy policies with costs offset by subsidies.

Jul 6, 2012

More red flags on reverse mortgages

CHICAGO, July 6 (Reuters) – Consumer advocates, government
regulators and watchdogs have been warning seniors for several
years about the risks associated with reverse mortgages. Now,
the red flags are being hoisted significantly higher.

The new federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)
has issued a report signaling a likely tightening of regulations
for reverse loans. Regulation of all mortgages was transferred
to the CFPB under the Dodd-Frank reform law. Congress also
instructed the agency to produce a detailed study on the reverse
loan market – and to issue new regulations if its research
uncovered unfair, deceptive or abusive practices.

Jun 28, 2012

Why upheld Obamacare is great news for older Americans

CHICAGO, June 28 (Reuters) – The Supreme Court’s decision to
uphold Obamacare is great news for everyone over age 50. If
you’re over age 65 and on Medicare, the Affordable Care Act
(ACA) improves your benefits. If you’re over 50 and don’t have
insurance through an employer, your options for health coverage
will be improved greatly starting in 2014, when the new state
health exchanges are launched.

Yet polling data says older Americans oppose the ACA by much
wider margins than younger people. Forty-four percent of baby
boomers and 46 percent of seniors favor repeal of the law,
according to a Pew Research Center survey last November. By
contrast, just 27 percent of millennials – and 37 percent of
GenXers – favored repeal, the survey found.

Jun 26, 2012

How high fees for mutual funds whack retirees

CHICAGO, June 26 (Reuters) – Mutual fund costs will be Topic
A this fall around many kitchen tables when workplace retirement
savers start receiving the new government-mandated quarterly
statements spelling out exactly what they are paying for their
401(k)s. But a kitchen table chat is also in order for retirees.

After all, smart portfolio management is important in
retirement, too. Retirees draw down assets to pay living
expenses. Fees are still being levied on those accounts – and
they can have a much larger impact on retirement lifestyles and
portfolio longevity than most people understand.

Jun 21, 2012

Retirement planning checklist for LGBT Americans

CHICAGO (Reuters) – June is Gay Pride Month in the United States. And you can tell the times they are a changing when U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta salutes the event by taping a video personally thanking gay members of the military for their service.

But when it comes to retirement security, LGBT Americans still have a long way to go. The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a core obstacle to equality for a range of important benefits and legal protections, because it defines the word “spouse” as applying only to different-sex married couples for any purpose involving interpretation of federal law.

Jun 20, 2012

Five things to consider before cutting pension benefits

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

By Mark Miller

CHICAGO, June 20(Reuters) – The message from voters about
public pension plans is clear: They’re ready to cut the
retirement benefits of police, firefighters, teachers and other
state and municipal workers.

The latest indicators include the failed recall of Gov.
Scott Walker in Wisconsin – which started with his efforts to
cut pensions – and referendums in San Jose and San Diego, where
voters overwhelmingly backed pension reform measures.

    • 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 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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