Social Security Reformers “Celebrate” the Day Millionaires Stop Paying

Feb 19, 2019 /

For those who advocate eliminating the payroll cap for Social Security taxes, February 18 is “Valentine’s Day for millionaires,” the day when last of the millionaires in the United States will stop contributing to Social Security for the entirety of 2019. The richer they are, the earlier their gift arrives: Based on his 2016 income, President Trump ceased contributing to Social Security just 40 minutes into the new year. This year Senator Bernie Sanders introduced a new Social Security bill and the Center for American Progress and the Center for Economic and Policy Research released reports to mark the day.

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Women Facing Financial Challenges for Retirement

Feb 15, 2019 /

The financial challenges women face to achieve financial security in retirement can be huge, as a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing and an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) briefing last week demonstrated starkly. And with the rising cost of health care, as well as other deep-seated economic factors at play, the anxiety has heightened considerably. Fortunately, as the Senate hearing and the EBRI briefing demonstrate, women’s financial security is on the front burner in political and public policy discussions.

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House Ways and Means Committee Talks About Retirement Income Security

Feb 12, 2019 /

A four-hour hearing on retirement income security before the full House Ways and Means Committee broadly focused on options for making Social Security actuarially sound, expanding savings vehicles in the private sector retirement system, and rescuing the roughly 130 collectively bargained multiemployer pension plans that face impending insolvency. For retirees and their advocates, private sector retirement industry stakeholders, and policy experts across the ideological spectrum who fear retirement reforms may not be prioritized under divided government, the hearing was a strong start.

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Caring Companies Needed

Feb 8, 2019 /

American companies are facing a caregiving crisis—they just refuse to acknowledge it. Rising health care and professional caregiving costs and changing demographics over the past few decades have put great pressure on American employees as they try to balance work and care responsibilities. Yet many employers remain largely oblivious to the growing costs of this hidden “care economy”—costs that hurt employers and employees alike.

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Social Security COLA: What Inflation Measurement is Best?

Feb 5, 2019 /

Senior citizen activists and others who oppose using the chained CPI-U to calculate the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) just got some government support for their argument. The Government Accountability Office studied hypothetical COLA levels over the 30 years from 2003 to 2033, using calculations linked to the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the CPI-E (the E stands for elderly) and the CPI-W (for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers), which is the current standard. It found that that the COLA would decrease by an average 0.25% per year if the Chained CPI-U were used instead of the CPI-W, and the total loss would top 7% after 30 years.

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Using Biological Age to Plan Retirement

Feb 1, 2019 /

“Your true age is not the number of years you’ve circled the sun,’ says Moshe Milevsky, a professor of finance at York University in Toronto. “Your true age is determined by your body and scientists are working very hard how to measure this thing called biological age.” There are numerous ways of measuring biological age, but scientists, he argues, are becoming increasingly accurate in their life expectancy predictions based on it. Milevsky is the author of the forthcoming book Longevity Insurance for a Biological Age, in which he describes retirement planning using biological instead of chronological age.

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Is Phased Retirement A Good Fit for Your Clients?

Jan 29, 2019 /

Shifting from a full workload to an open schedule upon retirement is a drastic change, and many baby boomers don’t want such an abrupt transition. Some employers also want older employees to pass their valuable skills on to younger workers before they leave. A phased retirement, which consists of full-time employees moving to part-time schedules, could be a viable solution for employers and older workers alike.

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This Social Security Reform Bill Could Be Going Somewhere

Jan 25, 2019 /

Washington is going through major changes in the wake of the 2018 election, with Democrats taking control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. As a result, many proposals on key issues that have gone nowhere for years are suddenly getting new life, and even with divided control of the government, it’s possible that some of those proposals could get some forward momentum. One such proposal is Social Security reform propsed by Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.).

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2019 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing

Jan 22, 2019 /

Alight, a provider of workplace health and wealth solutions, has published a new report that looks back at 15 years of surveying employers about the benefits they offer. You can find the 2019 report here. A brief summary follows.

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Will You Miss My Bitcoin When I’m Gone?

Jan 18, 2019 /

Digital security has never been so important or perhaps so easy. You can unlock your phone with your fingerprint or your face. You can use a password manager to store all your login credentials behind a single master password. And you can secure many online accounts with two-factor authentication (where a website sends a one-time code to your phone). But all that security comes at a cost when you die or become incapacitated. If you haven’t planned ahead, your loved ones could find themselves shut out of your digital accounts. And that could cause problems ranging from the trivial (their losing access to your Netflix watchlist) to the tragic (their losing access to your family photos on Flickr). They may not even know which financial or retail accounts you have, since so many companies encourage customers to sign up for email delivery of statements.

Welcome to the new frontier of digital estate planning.

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Employers Express Limited Understanding of When Workers Will Retire

Jan 15, 2019 /

Faced with a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement, and the resulting loss of valuable older workers, U.S. employers are rethinking their approach to managing the retirement patterns of their workforces, according to a new survey by Willis Towers Watson. The 2018 Longer Working Careers Survey found the vast majority of employers (83%) have a significant number of employees at or nearing retirement. However, only half (53%) express having a good understanding of when their employees will retire. Additionally, while 81% of employers say managing the timing of their employees’ retirements is an important business issue, only 25% do this effectively.

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Financial Risks for Retirees Late in Life

Jan 11, 2019 /

Rising life expectancy means that many more Americans will reach very old ages. While longer lives are undeniably positive, they also mean that more people will face late-life financial risks for which they may be unprepared. These late-life risks include high out-of-pocket medical expenses, an increased possibility of financial mistakes due to declining cognitive abilities, and the specter of widowhood.

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Age Discrimination Is More Common Than You Think

Jan 8, 2019 /

When you dive into popular literature on retirement, you could be forgiven for thinking there are hordes of Americans in their late 50s or early 60s desperate to leave the paid workforce as soon as they can. Blog posts and academic studies beg people to hold off on collecting Social Security until the age of 70, so they can maximize their benefits. Few listen. The most common age to file for Social Security is 62.

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How We Trick Ourselves Into Retiring Too Early

Jan 4, 2019 /

When you ask your clients to think about retirement, what words and images come to mind? Usually they will paint a positive experience with words like relax, fun, happy. Why is it then that a large number of retirees are not as happy in retirement as they predicted? According to a research report from SSA, one of the main reasons is “affective forecasting.”

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Retirement Legislation to Watch in the New Year

Jan 1, 2019 /

Happy New Year from the staff at Horsesmouth and Savvy Social Security! May the year ahead be filled with personal growth, learning, and camaraderie. We know you’ll keep helping clients prepare for retirement, and it’s going to be a busy year in Washington and state capitals for policymakers working to improve the retirement security of millions of Americans. Here is a look at crucial retirement policy topics to watch in the year ahead.

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12 Reasons to Be Thankful for Social Security

Dec 28, 2018 /

In the spirit of the season, here are 12 reasons to give thanks for Social Security:

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What the Shutdown Means for Social Security

Dec 26, 2018 /

As Congress and the president battle it out and the government shuts down, millions of Americans worry about what it means for them, especially the Social Security checks, Medicare, and Medicaid that they rely on, particularly during the holiday season. The good news is that Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare payments won’t be interrupted by the partial shutdown. All three programs are considered mandatory spending and are not affected by a federal budget debate. New applicants to the programs, however, may experience delays in processing. The U.S. Postal Service will also remain funded, so checks should arrive in the mail on time.

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Why the World Needs to Rethink Retirement

Dec 21, 2018 /

The golden years look very different depending on where in the world you are, and, increasingly, which generation you are in. Aging populations and decreasing birthrates are spurring countries across the globe to reassess how retirement works—and what needs to change in order to extend the benefits available today to future retirees.

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Higher Retirement Age Comes With Risks for Many Workers

Dec 18, 2018 /

Raising the retirement age is one Social Security reform measure that continually gets proposed. But according to Richard W. Johnson, an economist at the Urban Institute who specializes in employment and retirement decisions made by older Americans, raising the retirement age would inflict serious harm on roughly one-quarter of Social Security beneficiaries.

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Why Are Boomers Working Longer?

Dec 14, 2018 /

Even when their wealth would allow them to retire comfortably, many clients postpone leaving the working world. Recent academic studies observed the increased workforce participation of the retirement-aged population in the United States over the past three decades, trying to figure out why so many people want to keep working beyond the age of 65.

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