Kotlikoff: SSA Tricking People into Making Poor Claiming Decisions?

Jul 26, 2021

The Social Security Administration is misleading and mistreating Americans by “running scams” and “tricking them” into making claiming choices that cheat them out of benefits to which they’re entitled, argues Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston University economics professor, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

One such injustice he calls “a terrible hoax [that] may be the worst public policy this country has ever run.”

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Most Americans in Dire Need of Social Security Education

Jul 19, 2021

Most Americans don’t have as much knowledge of the basic functions of Social Security as they thought, according to a study from Nationwide Retirement Institute.

Around 54% of the adults surveyed by Nationwide—who are not receiving Social Security benefits—claim they know exactly how to optimize their Social Security benefit, but only 6% actually know all the factors that determine the maximum benefit someone can receive, the study reveals… Around 68% of the respondents said it is now more important than ever to optimize their Social Security—a sense especially prevalent among Gen Xers (80%) and millennials (71%).

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Biden Fires Social Security Commissioner

Jul 12, 2021

President Joe Biden on Friday fired Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul after he refused to submit his resignation as the President had requested, a White House official told CNN.

Biden had asked for the top two officials at the Social Security Administration to submit their resignations, the White House official told CNN, but only Saul refused. Deputy Commissioner David Black agreed to submit his resignation, the official said, and it was accepted.

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‘Know Your Social Security Act’ Introduced in Congress

Jul 6, 2021

Congress enacted requirements in 1989 and 1990 for Social Security statements to be sent annually, but it’s fallen short. Now four Beltway politicians are doing something about it.

Proving retirement planning issues are rarely partisan, the Know Your Social Security Act was introduced on June 24 by Senators Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and House Ways and Means Committee Members John Larson, D-Conn., and Vern Buchanan, R-Fla.

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Survey: Only 10% of non-retirees plan to claim at 70

Jun 28, 2021

Getting the largest possible Social Security check doesn’t appear to be incentive enough for 90% of non-retirees 45 and older to wait until age 70 to claim them, according to a new study from Schroders Investment Management. Indeed, 30% plan to begin taking benefits between age 62 and 65, before full retirement age. Fourteen percent plan on taking benefits between 66 and 69, while nearly half (46%) aren’t sure when they will claim.

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Workers Overestimate their Social Security

Jun 21, 2021

The U.S. Social Security Administration reported a few years ago that half of retirees get at least half of their income from their monthly checks. For lower-income retirees, the benefits constitute almost all of their income.

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One-third of Americans plan to retire later due to Covid-19

Jun 14, 2021

It’s no secret that Covid-19 has upended people financially at all stages of life.

Now, one new report shows just how the pandemic has changed the way people think about retirement.

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File a Social Security Claim to Protect Your Rights

Jun 7, 2021

I frequently hear from readers who tell me that they contacted the Social Security Administration with the intention of filing for Social Security benefits of one kind or another and then were either told they were not eligible for any benefits or were just otherwise talked out of filing.

Of course, sometimes that is good advice. For example, if you are 62 years old and still working full time and making $75,000 per year, and you call the SSA to file for retirement benefits, the rep would be correct in telling you that you simply are not eligible for benefits until you retire or reach your full retirement age, whichever comes first.

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No-Benefit Jobs Better than Retiring Early

Jun 1, 2021

Many workers in their 60s lose some of their stamina. Either their bodies start showing signs of wear, or they don’t tolerate on-the-job stress like they used to.

People who find themselves in this situation but can’t afford to retire will appreciate the findings in a recent study: older workers who transition to a new job—and perhaps a less demanding one—have greatly improved their retirement finances, even if the new job lacks health and retirement benefits.

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Why Delayed Social Security Claiming Is More Valuable Than Ever

May 24, 2021

For most clients of financial advisors, the delayed claiming benefit isn’t actuarially fair. It is a gift. Higher income Americans have made significant improvements in longevity over recent decades. For example, a Brookings study finds that men in the top 10th percentile of income gained six years in longevity in just 20 years. Average Americans have a 1 in 5 chance of living to the age of 95, while among highest-income healthy Americans the probably is about 1 in 2.

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Social Security Rolls Out New, Shorter Statements

May 17, 2021

The Social Security Administration kicked off a “soft launch” for a redesigned Social Security statement that is being targeted at a “small percentage” of my Social Security online account users who aren’t currently receiving benefits, an SSA spokeswoman told ThinkAdvisor on Thursday.

The soft launch started May 1 and represents the “first step” for the launch, she said. “Throughout the soft launch we will continue to gather feedback and make updates as needed,” she added.

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A Couple Retiring Today Will Need $300,000 to Cover Medical Expenses, an 88% Increase Since 2002

May 10, 2021

According to Fidelity, a 65-year old, opposite-gender couple retiring this year can expect to spend $300,0003 in health care and medical expenses throughout retirement. For single retirees, the 2021 estimate is $157,000 for women and $143,000 for men.

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The Pandemic is Pushing More Americans to Retire

May 3, 2021

More older Americans are choosing to leave the labor force during the pandemic—for some unemployed workers, it was a decision they couldn’t avoid.

About two million baby boomers have been retiring every year since the oldest turned 65 in 2011, but between the third quarter of 2019 and the third quarter of 2020, that number increased to 3.2 million, said Richard Fry, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center.

“There is evidence that, yes, as a result of the pandemic, the number of boomers retiring accelerated,” he said…

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Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment Isn’t Keeping up with Prices Retirees Pay

Apr 27, 2021

This year’s Social Security cost-of-living adjustment was 1.3%, yet many of the costs seniors face are rising much more quickly.

In 2021, the estimated average monthly benefit increased by $20 per month. Many expenses have dramatically risen in the past year, according to a new analysis of Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics done by The Senior Citizens League, a nonpartisan senior group.

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Statement About Service from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security

Mar 23, 2021 /

A message from Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security:

About a year ago, I took the unprecedented step to close our offices to the public. I did this to keep our employees and you—the public we serve—safe. As we enter year two of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines and other precautionary measures give us cause for hope. For now, we will continue our current safety measures as described in our COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan. This plan is iterative, and we will update it as we receive additional government-wide guidance and information from public health experts in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Do People Work Longer When They Live Longer?

Mar 19, 2021 /

Life expectancy continues to rise, and retirement ages have been increasing since the 1960s. Many significant developments are behind the dramatic shift in retirement habits, including the decline of private-sector pensions, changing attitudes about working women, and bigger financial incentives from Social Security for people who remain in the labor force in order to get a larger monthly check when they finally retire. Given all of these changes, Urban Institute researchers wondered whether the dramatic longevity gains experienced by the people who make it to their 50s and 60s could be counted as another reason for the delayed retirement trend.

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Women Need to Think Differently About Social Security

Mar 16, 2021 /

Clients often believe that there is no difference between retirement planning for men and women. However, women’s longer life expectancies (86 years compared to 84 for men) makes it more likely that they will run out of money before they die without proper planning. The planning needs and strategies for a woman should focus more heavily on longevity and creating lifetime income streams after her spouse has passed away. (In this article, we discuss planning strategies assuming a male-female marriage; however, many of the strategies discussed can also be applied to same-sex married couples.)

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Decline in Staff Equals Decline in Social Security Service

Mar 9, 2021 / 1 Comments

Imagine that you owned a successful business that was gaining 10,000 new customers every single day. All the market projections said that trend would continue for many more years. Would you be hiring new staff and opening new outlets to keep up with the demand? Or would you be cutting back on employees, reducing office hours and closing facilities? If you were in the private sector, I guarantee you would be doing the former. But in the wacky world of government funding and operations, the latter is the norm.

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Covid-19 Pandemic Impacts Many Americans’ Plans for Retirement

Mar 5, 2021 /

The U.S. is facing a retirement savings crisis that likely is worsening thanks to yet another economic crisis. Except for wealthier Americans, the typical working American is not on track to maintain their standard of living in retirement. The retirement savings shortfall can be attributed to many factors, including the move away from pensions, low wages, and a lack of employer-sponsored plans. Also, cuts to Social Security benefits and skyrocketing costs for health, longterm care and housing in retirement are exacerbating the retirement crisis. To assess Americans’ sentiment of retirement, NIRS conducted a survey of working-age Americans to measure their views on a range of retirement issues. The research finds that across party lines, Americans are deeply worried about retirement, the pandemic will impact retirement, and Americans see pensions and Social Security as important for rebuilding retirement readiness.

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Survey: Healthcare Costs Loom Large Among Women Medicare Recipients

Mar 2, 2021 /

Women on Medicare worry more than men about their ability to pay future healthcare costs. Roughly two-thirds of females (66%) said they were either somewhat or very concerned compared to just over half (51%) of males. That’s among the key takeaways in this second report on a new healthcare cost survey of Medicare recipients 65 plus by MedicareGuide.com.

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