Mark's Feed
Jul 8, 2014

Why most seniors can’t afford to pay more for Medicare

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Should seniors pay more for Medicare? Republicans think so; they have repeatedly called for replacing the current program with vouchers that would shift cost and risk to seniors.

There’s no doubt this is where Republicans will take us if they capture control of Congress this year, and the White House in 2016. Representative Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee, advocates “premium support” reforms that would give seniors vouchers to buy private Medicare insurance policies in lieu of traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Jul 1, 2014

Hello, Congress: Americans want a strong Social Security system

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Political polarization is at a historic peak. Americans are divided on gun control, abortion, healthcare and privacy, according to a study released last month by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press documenting our increasing ideological rigidity and partisan antipathy (bit.ly/1v23UXF).

Then there’s Social Security. The public is worried deeply about the finances of our bedrock retirement and disability program. Pew found just 14 percent of Americans expect to receive their full benefits. And an earlier Pew study found concern is much higher among young people: Roughly half of Gen Xers and Millennials think Social Security won’t have enough money to pay any benefits at all when they retire.

Jun 26, 2014

Retirement and same-sex couples, a year after DOMA ruling

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

Something big happened in the world of retirement benefits a year ago today: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act.

Jun 24, 2014

The state of senior health: It depends on your state

CHICAGO (Reuters) – What are the best and worst places to stay healthy as you age? For answers, take out a map and follow the Mississippi River from north to south. The healthiest people over 65 are in Minnesota, the sickest in Mississippi.

That’s among the findings of the America’s Health Rankings Senior Report released in May by the United Health Foundation. The report ranks the 50 states by assessing data covering individual behavior, the environment and communities where seniors live, local health policy and clinical care.

Jun 19, 2014

Senate turns up heat on cuts in Social Security offices, services

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Until earlier this year, there was a Social Security field office in Gadsden County, Florida, in the state’s panhandle. It’s the kind of place where seniors need to get in-person help with their benefits rather than pick up a phone or go online.

“Our poverty rate is nearly double the state average, and we trail the state averages in education,” said Brenda Holt, a county commissioner. “Most of the people here don’t have computers, let alone reliable Internet access.”

Jun 18, 2014

When to take Social Security? Your 401(k) plan may know best

CHICAGO (Reuters) – (The opinions expressed here are those of the author, a columnist for Reuters.)

Deciding when to file for Social Security is no simple task, and most Americans don’t handle it well. But increasingly, help is available from an unexpected source: your employer.

Jun 12, 2014

Retirement healthcare costs: Not as scary, but still daunting

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The remarkable recent lull in retirement healthcare inflation isn’t fading – not yet, at least.

A 65-year-old couple retiring this year will need to have saved $220,000 to meet healthcare expenses during their retirement, according to a report issued today by Fidelity Investments. It’s a daunting sum, but it’s unchanged from last year and comes on the heels of an 8 percent drop in Fidelity’s 2012 forecast.

Jun 10, 2014

Surprise: Even wealthy retirees live on Social Security and pensions

CHICAGO, June 10 (Reuters) – Where do affluent retirees get
their income? Portfolios invested in stocks and bonds, you might
think – but you’d be wrong. Turns out many are living mainly on
Social Security and good old pensions.

That’s the surprising finding of new research from a
surprising source: Vanguard, a leading provider of retirement
saving products like individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s.
Vanguard studied the income sources and wealth holdings of more
than 2,600 older households (age 60-79) with at least $100,000
in retirement savings. The respondents’ median income was
$69,500, with median financial assets of $395,000. (The value of
housing was excluded.)

Jun 5, 2014

Silicon Valley’s ageist culture is bad for workers – and business

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Google confessed last week that it has a miserable record hiring and retaining women and minorities.

The tech giant responded to public pressure – including protests led by the Rev. Jesse Jackson at the company’s annual meeting – by releasing data about the gender and ethnic makeup of its workforce, and the numbers aren’t pretty. Women make up just 30 percent of Google’s workforce, and the company is 61 percent white. Asians represent 30 percent of Google’s workers, but Hispanics represent 3 percent and African Americans just 2 percent.

Jun 3, 2014

How to know when a ‘gray gambler’ is a problem gambler

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Once upon a time, bingo was the biggest game in town at the local senior center. But you’re far more likely to find today’s seniors manning a slot machine at the local casino – and some have become gambling addicts.

Problem gambling among older people is on the rise. Seniors have time and money on their hands, and the proliferation of casinos in most regions of the country has made gambling more convenient.

    • 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."
    • More from Mark

    • Follow Mark