Social Security and Medicare Trustees Release Annual Report

Apr 26, 2019 /

The big news this week is that the Social Security and Medicare trustees issued their annual reports detailing last year’s financial results and their 75-year projections. Here’s what Elaine Floyd has to say about the news:

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Nobel Laureate Proposes Merging 401(k)s and Social Security

Apr 23, 2019 /

Richard Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize in 2017 for his work on behavioral economics, wants to mesh 401(k) plans with Social Security benefits to help Americans simplify what is perhaps their most daunting and complex financial issue: drawing down retirement assets. He said Americans should be allowed to contribute more into Social Security using a portion of their 401(k) benefits when they retire, which would increase the size of their monthly Social Security checks.

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Social Security Chief Actuary Weighs In On Paid Leave Proposal

Apr 19, 2019 /

Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Ann Wagner recently propsed a bill that would allow parents to take paid leave through Social Security in exchange for delaying retirement. According to information put out by Rubio’s office, “nearly all parents below the median household income of about $60,000 will be able to take significant leave at a rate of two-thirds of their prior wages,” with richer parents receiving a lower replacement rate. What does that mean for Social Security? The Chief Actuary has weighed in.

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59% of Americans Fear Running Out of Money More Than They Fear Death

Apr 16, 2019 /

As more people are living into their 80s and 90s, more than one out of every two Americans has their sights set on even greater longevity. According to a survey by AIG Life & Retirement, a surprising 53% say their goal is to live to 100 years. Thirty-nine percent identify deeper family relationships as the main benefit of such a long life, 32% name seeing the world change and 17% want to remain productive.

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Congress Inches Toward Retirement Legislation

Apr 12, 2019 /

In 2006, Congress passed the Pension Protection Act, which, among other provisions, encouraged 401(k) plan sponsors to offer automated-enrollment programs and expanded the use of target-date funds. Since that bill’s passage, though, Congress has effectively ignored retirement issues. At long last, that is changing.

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Elderly Report Financial Abuse By Kids

Apr 9, 2019 /

A son uses his elderly mother’s ATM card at casinos and liquor stores or takes her to the bank to withdraw money from her account. A woman reports that her sister stole thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry from their mother, who suffers from dementia. News accounts like these are rare. But reports about financial abuse of the elderly are increasing. The problem lurks largely in the shadows, because parents view it as a private family affair and are loathe to file a police report. Read more ...

How China Trade Affects Social Security

Apr 5, 2019 /

If you don’t know this fact about Social Security, join the club. The percentage of earnings for all U.S. workers combined that is subject to the Social Security payroll tax is falling. Growing income inequality is the reason. A recent study identified growing U.S. trade with China as one important factor that is shrinking the share of earnings subject to the payroll tax.

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Americans Curiously Optimistic About Retirement Future

Apr 2, 2019 /

They don’t have savings and most couldn’t deal with a financial emergency of $500—but they plan to retire by the age of 60 and plan on living till age 80. That’s why Varo Money describes these Americans in its research as “curiously optimistic” about their futures, particularly since it’s anticipated that a couple retiring now at age 65 will need some $280,000 just for medical expenses over the course of their retirement.

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A Growing Urgency: Boomers Unprepared For the Realities of Retirement

Mar 29, 2019 /

For the first time in a Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement study, more middle-income boomers now consider themselves retired than not retired. And as 10,000 Americans continue to turn 65 each day, retirement care—whether at home or in a facility, due to injury, chronic illness or decline in physical or cognitive function—is becoming an increasingly urgent issue which boomers need to plan for and address.

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SSA and OIG Take On Scammers In New Campaign

Mar 26, 2019 /

Scammers and robo-callers have been around pretty much as long as the telephone. But the prevalence of Social Security scams seems to be increasing, and the authorities have decided to do something about it. The following post is taken from the Social Security Matters blog. Share with your clients and prospects to show that you are concerned for all aspects of their financial well-being. It might be a great opening for further conversations about basic cybersecurity or the ability to handle financial matters as they age.

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Advisors Share Common Retiree Financial Mistakes

Mar 22, 2019 /

Saving and investing for retirement is probably the single most important issue for the clients of financial advisors, and outliving their retirement funds is a primary worry. Despite these priorities, however, mistakes are made, often before a client even hires an advisor or afterward, when the client fails to follow through on the advisor’s recommendation or outright opposes it. ThinkAdvisor asked financial advisors about the biggest mistakes they’ve seen retirees make. Here are their answers.

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On Disability and Facebook? The Government Might Be Watching

Mar 19, 2019 /

The Trump administration has been quietly maneuvering to use Facebook and Twitter to spy on people collecting federal disability payments, The New York Times reported. Social Security revealed in a budget request last year that it planned to study whether to use surveillance of social media to “expedite the identification of fraud.” The paper cited unnamed sources who said the White House and Social Security officials have been working since then to strengthen the proposal.

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The Impact of Longevity on Clients and Advisors

Mar 15, 2019 /

This Schwab Advisor Services study looks at the dynamics shaping the independent advice industry with the goal of shining a light on the opportunities and challenges facing RIAs. They asked advisors to look beyond the immediate forces influencing the advice and wealth management space, and to consider six larger trends currently being navigated at the individual and societal level. Namely: increased human longevity, changing workplace dynamics (automation, changing job skills), medical advancements, information privacy and data integrity, artificial intelligence (AI), and climate change. “Longer client lifespans” was seen by advisors as the leading dynamic that could impact advisory firms in the decade to come. Here are some more findings from the study:

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Failure to Contribute: Independent Workers and Social Security

Mar 12, 2019 /

While existing research has focused on the size, growth trajectory, and labor and tax law implications of independent contractors, freelancers, and workers selling goods and services online and through app-based platforms (the “on-demand” economy), less work has been devoted to quantifying the Social Security implications. The existing reporting rules applicable to most workers earning income in the on-demand economy substantially increase the likelihood that these taxpayers are failing to contribute to Social Security and Medicare through payment of the self-employment tax (SE tax).

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How 11 Types of Retirement Income Are Taxed

Mar 8, 2019 /

When your clients are planning for retirement, it’s fun to contemplate all the cruises, rounds of golf and restaurant meals they have ahead of them. They’ve earned it! However, many retirees don’t take into consideration the cumulative impact of federal and state income taxes on withdrawals from their nest eggs. Unfortunately, most forms of retirement income—including Social Security benefits, as well as withdrawals from 401(k)s and traditional IRAs—are taxed by Uncle Sam.

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Does the New House Medicare-for-All Matter?

Mar 5, 2019 /

Members of the House last week offered their version of a “Medicare-for-all” bill that is broader than what’s been put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), whose 2016 presidential run pushed the issue into the political mainstream. In many ways, the proposal sounds familiar: The government would establish a health plan that pays for basically all forms of medical care for all citizens. But there are difference, too, some of which would affect seniors in particular.

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Retirement Planning Means Seeking Tax Equilibrium

Mar 1, 2019 /

One of the most fundamental reasons for saving and investing is to accumulate enough assets to achieve a point of “financial independence,” where there’s no longer any need to work for income, and instead, the individual can support themselves solely from their available assets and other retirement resources. The caveat, however, is that accumulating substantial wealth can potentially accumulate significant tax consequences to go with it.

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Social Security Scams a Growing Threat to Retirement

Feb 26, 2019 /

As the Social Security Administration strives to serve more customers online, the agency and current and future Social Security beneficiaries face the growing threat of cyber attacks. Social Security identified nearly 63,000 likely fraudulent online benefit applications in fiscal 2018, according to the agency’s Office of the Inspector General, up from just 89 in fiscal 2015. From February 2013 to February 2016 (the most recent data available), the Inspector General received more than 58,000 fraud allegations related to My Social Security accounts—an issue that persists today, according to the OIG. Meanwhile, there has been exponential growth in Social Security imposter scams, in which fraudsters claiming to be Social Security staffers contact victims—often via robocalls—and try to extract money or personal details. More than 35,000 people reported such scams in 2018, according to the Federal Trade Commission, up from 3,200 a year earlier.

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Retiring Earlier Than Planned: What Matters Most?

Feb 22, 2019 /

Many people have all the best intentions of working longer and delaying claiming Social Security. But more than a third of older workers retire earlier than planned. The question is, why? This Center for Retirement Research brief looks into the most common factors.

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Social Security Reformers “Celebrate” the Day Millionaires Stop Paying

Feb 19, 2019 / 1 Comments

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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