5 Ways to Make Zoom Webinars Engaging and Irresistible

Oct 30, 2020 /

Dry. Dull. Boring. Exhausting. Painful. Waste of time. Forgettable. Those are the words and phrases that came up when I asked people this question: What word would you use to describe the Zoom Presentations/webinars you attend? And it’s true, most webinars are likely to be uninspiring…and forgotten shortly after you attend them. They aren’t wildly engaging, and their impact on your success is likely minimal. One thing that impedes their ability to wow is that they aren’t very different from other meetings you attend online. To counteract the challenges that this medium imposes, consider these five enhancements.

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Why Social Security Calculations Matter

Oct 27, 2020 /

Social Security is the cornerstone of retirement savings for 20% of Americans, thus the cost of living adjustment determined yearly by the Social Security Administration has an impact on retirees. The COLA is calculated using the CPI-W, a consumer price index reflecting increases for urban wage earners and clerical workers that is based on a fixed market basket of goods and services. COLAs have surpassed 2% only twice since 2010.

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Prepare for the Expected: Dementia Can Be Financially Devastating

Oct 23, 2020 /

Of the many risks to financial well-being, it’s clear that an extended long-term care event ranks at the top of the list. A dementia-related diagnosis can be financially devastating, and the number of people affected is on the rise. Currently, cognitive decline affects 5.8 million people, and that is expected to double by 2040, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Not only is there a significant financial impact to the person affected by the disease, but on their caregivers as well. Yet few families factor this impact into their wealth plans.

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Lawmakers Push for Emergency 3% COLA in 2021

Oct 20, 2020 /

House lawmakers are proposing emergency legislation to increase the 2021 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment to 3%. The move comes just days after the Social Security Administration announced that the COLA for 2021 would be 1.3%. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors are facing additional financial burdens in order to stay safe,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., in a statement on Thursday. “This absolutely anemic COLA won’t even come close to helping them afford even their everyday expenses, let alone those exacerbated by COVID-19.”

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SSA Announces COLA for 2021

Oct 16, 2020 /

Social Security checks will be going up by 1.3% in 2021. The adjustment will take effect in December and appear in January’s checks. In December Social Security beneficiaries will receive a letter informing them of their new benefit amount. This information will also be posted on their online mySocialSecurity account. Clients can do their own math now by logging into their Social Security account and bringing up their benefit verification letter which shows the gross amount of their benefit before deductions. Then they can just multiply that amount by 1.013.

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COVID-19’s Impact on Older Workers: Employment, Income, and Medicare Spending

Oct 13, 2020 /

From the earliest days of the pandemic, COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on the health of people age 65 and older—in rates of infection, hospitalization, and death—has been painfully apparent. Yet the pandemic’s impact on the financial well-being of older people—in terms of employment, income, and health insurance coverage—has received little, if any, attention. To fill that gap, this issue brief describes the demographics of older workers and assesses their pandemic-related loss of employment, income, and employer-sponsored health insurance coverage. It also considers the potential effect of these losses on federal spending for Medicare.

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COVID-19 Derails Retirement Contributions

Oct 9, 2020 /

For many Americans, saving for retirement is a luxury they simply cannot afford right now. Although investing for the future is essential, COVID-19 has left millions across the U.S. concerned more about the present as they struggle to cope with record unemployment and unprecedented economic uncertainty. In the second annual FinanceBuzz retirement survey, we look at how the coronavirus is impacting retirement goals, as well as how much Americans are able to save during these turbulent times.

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Congress Moves to Limit Medicare Premium Hikes

Oct 6, 2020 /

Congress has made a move to head off a potential premium spike for some Medicare beneficiaries. As part of a short-term government funding bill passed by the Senate on Wednesday and signed by President Trump, any increase in Medicare Part B premiums for 2021 would be capped at 25% of what it otherwise would be for 2021. While it’s still uncertain what the standard premium would be for 2021—it is based on an actuarial formula and typically revealed in early November for the next year—estimates have proved tricky this year due to economic upheaval from the coronavirus pandemic.

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SSA Office Closures Mean More Hardship for Seniors

Oct 2, 2020 /

Without Social Security, more than 40% of elderly Americans would live in poverty. That’s according to an analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), which says the data underscores just how important Social Security is, and without it, how millions of Americans would slip into destitution. Kathleen Romig, CBPP senior policy analyst, says moving online has likely kept countless citizens who have become eligible for benefits from applying. “A lot of people don’t know they’re eligible, or just can’t handle the application process on their own.”

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Women Face Unfortunate Retirement Future

Sep 29, 2020 /

Older adults represent a growing portion of the U.S. population and older women have a longer life expectancy, on average, than older men. Prior GAO work has found that challenges women face during their working years can affect their lifetime earnings and retirement income. For example, we found women were overrepresented in low wage professions, paid less money than their male counterparts during their careers, and were more likely to leave the workforce to care for family members. Taken together, these trends may have significant effects on women’s financial security in retirement. GAO was asked to report on the financial security of older women. This report examines (1) women retirees’ perspectives on their financial security, and (2) what is known about the financial security of older women in retirement.

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Does Overconfidence Increase Financial Risk Taking in Older Age?

Sep 25, 2020 /

Using data from the Rush Memory and Aging Project, this research provides new and updated evidence that overconfidence in financial knowledge may lead to excessive financial risk taking in older age. Older adults manage an increasing share of national wealth in the United States and other graying nations. Risky decisions by aging investors may have effects on financial markets in general but certainly have critical effects on the longterm health and well-being of the individual decision maker. Taking excessive financial risk in older age can be devastating as opportunities to recover lost wealth are limited as an individual ages.

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How to Help Americans Claim Social Security at the Right Age

Sep 22, 2020 /

Social Security is the foundation of retirement security in America. Among households headed by someone aged 65 or over, more than half rely on Social Security benefits for a majority of total income, while 19% depend on Social Security for at least 90% of income. One of the key financial decisions facing older Americans is when to claim Social Security retirement benefits. While these benefits are available as early as age 62, claiming later permanently raises monthly benefits, with the maximum benefits available to those who claim at age 70. Delaying claiming is thus equivalent to purchasing a greater inflation-adjusted annuity that will be paid for as long as the beneficiary lives. Most people, however, do not claim Social Security at their optimal age, usually because they claim too early. This brief examines why older Americans typically do not claim Social Security optimally and how public policy can help them make better claiming decisions.

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2020 Election: The American Society on Aging Weighs In

Sep 18, 2020 /

What’s in store for older Americans from the 2020 presidential election? For answers, the American Society on Aging (ASA) just hosted its Panel of Pundits —an annual event that’s been running for almost 20 years. The five panelists brought a range of political perspectives and decades of experience in the aging and political worlds. You can find the full article and a link to the replay at Next Avenue.

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Reframing Social Security Claiming Decisions

Sep 15, 2020 /

One of the key financial decisions facing older Americans is when to claim Social Security retirement benefits. The timing affects how much they will receive for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, most people do not claim Social Security at their optimal age but instead claim too early. Financial advisers can play a critical role in reframing how their clients think about their Social Security claiming decisions by referring to the earliest eligibility age of 62 as the “minimum benefit age” or “reduced benefit age” and describing age 70 as the “maximum benefit age,” to focus on benefit size.

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Trends in Working and Claiming Behavior at Social Security’s Early Eligibility Age

Sep 11, 2020 /

This paper has observed work behavior at ages 61 and 63 and claiming behavior at Social Security’s Earliest Eligibility Age (EEA) of 62—that is, when workers are first eligible to claim Social Security retired-worker benefits. These observations were limited to workers born from 1937–1944 (aged 61–63 in 1998–2007) and conditional on workers living to age 64, never having been disabled-worker beneficiaries, and being fully insured (eligible) at age 62 to claim retired-worker benefits. For both sexes, this study found that fully insured workers were distributed across multiple working- and claiming-status combinations, rather than being concentrated in one particular working- and claiming-status category.

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What Jobs Do Employers Want Older Workers to Do?

Sep 8, 2020 /

Over the past couple of decades, Americans have been seeking to work to older ages. The current COVID-19 recession notwithstanding, a long-term trend toward later retirement has sharply increased the labor force participation rate among older individuals. However, working to older ages requires more than a willingness on the part of workers; it requires employers to hire them on terms that are worthwhile. While employers often say they are open to employing older workers, evidence of discrimination in audit studies suggests reason to worry. One question is: “What jobs do employers really want older workers to do?”

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Good News: A COLA Raise Likely After All

Sep 1, 2020 /

Inflation has been on a roller coaster in 2020. First, COVID-19 disruptions cratered prices for gasoline, travel, even car insurance. Summer rebounds in those commodities, as well as increases for in-demand items like used cars, meat and haircuts, have put the consumer price index back on a more normal trajectory, one that will likely mean an increase in the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2021. The Kiplinger Letter is now forecasting a 1.2% increase in the 2021 COLA, which should be welcome news to retirees and others who receive Social Security benefits.

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Attitudes and Perceptions of Social Security

Aug 28, 2020 /

August 14th marked the 85th anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act, providing retirement benefits to American workers. It is instrumental in providing a safety net that keeps millions of Americans out of poverty every month and enjoys continued massive public support from Americans of all ages and political parties. To celebrate this anniversary, AARP commissioned a survey of 1,441 Americans ages 18+ to understand their views on Social Security retirement benefits.

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Trump vs. Biden: Checking the Facts

Aug 25, 2020 /

Recently President Donald Trump and his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, have accused each other of supporting cuts to Social Security. These claims require context. There’s disagreement as to what extent Trump’s executive action will diminish Social Security funds, and Trump’s claims to pay for his proposed payroll tax cut through economic growth strike many as unrealistic. Meanwhile, Biden has supported spending freezes and cost-of-living adjustment reductions as well as budget protections for Social Security over his long career in the Senate, but his current proposals aim to protect and expand it.

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Millions of Older Americans Forced Into Early Retirement

Aug 21, 2020 /

Since March 2020, 2.9 million workers ages 55 to 70 have left the labor force, the New School’s Retirement Equity Lab found in a recent study. And more than half of unemployed American workers over the age of 55 are at risk of being forced into early retirement in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis. Around half a million of the 1.3 million older workers who were already unemployed in March gave up looking for work by June and left the labor force. In addition, close to 4 million older workers lost their employment from March to June, and 2.4 million of them left the labor force entirely.

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