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Jan 30, 2014

Enrolling in Medicare: Your boss doesn’t always know best

CHICAGO (Reuters) – You’re getting ready to retire, and need to navigate the transition from your employer’s health insurance plan to Medicare. Where do you go for help? If you’re guessing your human resources department, you may be guessing wrong.

Transitioning to Medicare from your employer’s health insurance presents some complex challenges – and missteps can result in costly premium penalties and coverage gaps. But consumer experts who provide Medicare enrollment assistance say employers don’t always provide the right answers.

Jan 28, 2014

The ‘side gig’: It’s a passion, a Plan B, an exit strategy

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Jeffrey Nash saw the handwriting on the wall a few years ago, and the message wasn’t good. A 56-year-old salesman for a large men’s clothing retailer in Las Vegas, his base pay had been cut 40 percent and he faced stiff competition from younger, lower-compensated sales staff. He knew the job wouldn’t last much longer.

Nash was too young to retire, and knew he needed a Plan B. Looking for a business he could start, inspiration struck. Watching a young mother teaching her toddler how to walk, he mused about a baby walker that would help parents assist their kids with first steps without being forced to bend over and strain their backs.

Jan 23, 2014

Hospitalized but ‘under observation’? Seniors, beware

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A growing number of seniors who think they’ve been hospitalized are finding that they really weren’t.

The problem isn’t memory loss, confusion or dementia. Instead, seniors on Medicare who did in fact spend multiple nights in the hospital are learning later on that they weren’t formally admitted. Instead, they had “observation status” – a Medicare classification that can cost seniors thousands of extra dollars if they need post-hospital nursing care.

Jan 21, 2014

Why more Americans are putting their eggs in Roth baskets

CHICAGO, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Affluent Americans are showing a
growing preference for paying taxes on their retirement savings
sooner rather than later.

Data released earlier this month by the Internal Revenue
Service shows that conversions from tax-deferred individual
retirement accounts to Roth IRAs increased ninefold in 2010, to
$64.8 billion. That was the first year when a $100,000 income
limit on eligibility to convert was eliminated – and it marked
the first time the amount of assets converted to Roths exceeded
contributions.

Jan 16, 2014

Resolution: Rethink your retirement spending plan

CHICAGO, Jan 16 (Reuters) – This is the time of year when
many of us take stock of our financial plans. New Year’s
resolutions are in place, and tax season is just around the
corner.

But when it comes to retirement planning, the resolutions
shouldn’t just revolve around how much you’ll sock away this
year. It’s just as important to get a handle on how much you’ll
need to spend when you retire.

Jan 9, 2014

Thinking of rolling over your 401(k)? Think twice

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Regulators are sending a clear warning: Beware the IRA rollover.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which self-polices the brokerage industry, issued a regulatory notice late last month warning member firms against overselling clients on shifting retirement dollars from 401(k)s to individual retirement accounts when they retire or change jobs.

Jan 7, 2014

Column: Filing early for Social Security? Therapy may be in order

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Deciding when to claim Social Security benefits is one of the most important retirement moves you will make. Social Security is by far the largest retirement asset for all but the wealthiest Americans, and the only source of guaranteed lifetime income – with incredibly valuable annual inflation adjustments.

And most of us are flubbing it.

In 2012, 38 percent of men, and 43 percent of women, filed for benefits at age 62, according to the Social Security Administration. An additional 41 percent of men, and 37 percent of women, filed by their full retirement age. Just 3 percent took benefits at age 67 or later. (The remainder were Social Security disability recipients, who are converted automatically to retirement benefits at their full retirement age.)

Jan 7, 2014

Filing early for Social Security? Therapy may be in order

CHICAGO, Jan 7 (Reuters) – Deciding when to claim Social
Security benefits is one of the most important retirement moves
you will make. Social Security is by far the largest retirement
asset for all but the wealthiest Americans, and the only source
of guaranteed lifetime income – with incredibly valuable annual
inflation adjustments.

And most of us are flubbing it.

In 2012, 38 percent of men, and 43 percent of women, filed
for benefits at age 62, according to the Social Security
Administration. An additional 41 percent of men, and 37 percent
of women, filed by their full retirement age. Just 3 percent
took benefits at age 67 or later. (The remainder were Social
Security disability recipients, who are converted automatically
to retirement benefits at their full retirement age.)

Dec 20, 2013

An 80-year-old Peace Corps volunteer? No sweat

By Mark Miller

CHICAGO – Vivian Davis walks five or six miles every day in her work as a an AIDS/HIV outreach worker for the Peace Corps in rural South Africa. “I just get around town visiting with people, or go to the Internet cafe,” she says. “It keeps me healthy.”

Her routine isn’t out of the ordinary for a Peace Corps volunteer – until you consider that Davis recently celebrated her 80th birthday.

Dec 17, 2013

Why your health insurance may soon resemble your 401(k)

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Are you ready for the 401(k)-ization of health insurance?

If not, get ready, because there’s a good chance it’s coming to your workplace soon. That was the consensus of some of the nation’s top employee benefits experts, who gathered last week for a conference in the nation’s capital.

    • 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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