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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Working Longer Cannot Solve the Retirement Crisis

Feb 26, 2021 /

Working longer is often proposed as the solution to the retirement crisis caused by older workers’ lack of retirement assets. Spreadsheet models used by advocates of delaying retirement assume older workers delay claiming Social Security to accrue additional benefits. But in reality, by age 65, most older workers have already claimed Social Security, often to supplement low wages, and working longer does not increase their Social Security benefits. Working longer increases retirement savings significantly less than predicted by spreadsheet models, which don’t reflect older workers’ real experiences in the labor market. Finally, the drastic job loss experienced by older workers in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis reveals the risk older workers face when working longer is the policy substitute for an effective retirement security system.

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New Forms of Verification for a mySocialSecurity Account

Feb 23, 2021 /

Advisors and workers who previously used the Social Security Administration’s website to set up a mySocialSecurity account may recall that the verification process previously required users to answer a series of questions, pulled from information on file with credit bureaus. Common questions would include things like, “Which of the following streets have you lived on?” and, “Which of the following is a company through which you have previously held a line of credit?” The pressure some workers felt to answer the questions correctly would lead to anxiety, which only further increased the likelihood that they would answer one of the questions wrong! No more. Gone is the old system of requiring an exam-like series of questions about one’s past (though this still remains a secondary option for certain individuals). In its place, workers are now given a choice to verify their identity in one of two ways, the simplest of which is the ability to verify their identity using their smartphone and a state-issued ID card.

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How to Get the Best Health Care at the Right Price

Feb 19, 2021 /

Philip Moeller, author of the helpful new book Get What’s Yours for Health Care, says you need to be your own advocate to save on health care expenses. “If people act like sheep, they’re going to get fleeced,” he said. This article, and the podcast that accompanies it, offer some advice on keeping your health costs down without sacrificing on quality.

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Retirees Agree: 5 things Need to Happen to Bolster Social Security and Medicare

Feb 16, 2021 /

Despite the sharp partisan divide in Washington, two surveys by The Senior Citizens League found broad agreement on several proposals that would bolster Social Security and Medicare. The findings come as the nation finds itself in a growing a retirement crisis. Even before the coronavirus-caused recession, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that about 48 percent of households headed by people aged 55 and over had no retirement savings. That situation has been made even worse in 2020 and 2021 as older workers have lost jobs or seen their work schedules reduced due to the pandemic. The top five areas of consensus about proposed solutions:

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Social Security is a Worldwide Phenomenon

Feb 12, 2021 /

A number of people think the concept of Social Security is unique to the United States. Or they figure that maybe a couple of those “socialist” countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, have social insurance programs in place, but surely not too many other places. Actually, just the opposite is true. Almost every country on the planet has a Social Security system in place for its citizens. And many of those countries had Social Security laws on their books long before the U.S. jumped on the social insurance bandwagon in the 1930s.

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The Effect of Raising Required Minimum Distribution Age on Old Age Security

Feb 9, 2021 /

The Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) rule requires retirees to withdraw a minimum amount from their retirement accounts each year, and, if the withdrawals are too small, retirees must pay a 50% excise tax. Until recently, the RMD was computed such that the sum of the retiree’s annual payouts starting at age 70.5 was expected to exhaust her account balance by the end of her lifetime. The SECURE Act, passed in 2019, raised the age for RMDs for tax-qualified plans to 72, and additional proposals would delay it further or even abolish it. This paper examines the potential impact of RMD rule changes.

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