Why Do Estimates of the 2100 Act’s Impact Differ?

Nov 15, 2019 /

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary (OCACT) show the Social Security 2100 Act prposal having very different impacts on the financing of the program. OCACT says thelegislation would completely eliminate the shortfall and keep the program solvent for 75 years, while the latest from CBO has the trust fund hitting zero in 2036. How could it be that the same provisions produced such different outcomes?

Read more ...

CMS Announces 2020 Medicare Premiums

Nov 12, 2019 /

On November 8, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2020 premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance amounts for the Medicare Part A and Part B programs. Each year the Medicare rates are adjusted according to the Social Security Act. For 2020, the Medicare Part B monthly premiums and the annual deductible are higher than the 2019 amounts. The standard monthly premium for Medicare Part B enrollees will be $144.60 for 2020, an increase of $9.10 from $135.50 in 2019. The annual deductible for all Medicare Part B beneficiaries is $198 in 2020, an increase of $13 from the annual deductible of $185 in 2019.

Read more ...

Can An Ex Bar Former Spouse From Retirement Benefits?

Nov 8, 2019 /

From time to time we get some questions about divorced-spouse benefits and whether or not an ex can keep his former spouse from getting benefits, usually by signing something in the divorce papers. The short answer is that a former spouse can always receive divorced-spouse benefits if she qualifies. However, there are a few other issues that dirty the waters. Here, PBS News Hour takes on the question.

Read more ...

Stark Differences Between Current Retirees and Younger Generations

Nov 5, 2019 /

Today’s retirees are the last generation in the United States to live a retirement shaped by the forces of the prior century, standing in stark contrast to baby boomers, Generation X, millennials and even Generation Z, according to the 2019 Wells Fargo Retirement study, which examines the attitudes and savings of working adults and retirees. “Our survey clearly shows stark differences between current retirees and younger generations and how they will fund retirement,” said Fredrik Axsater, head of the Institutional Client Group for Wells Fargo Asset Management.

Read more ...

Improving the Retirement Risk Index

Nov 4, 2019 /

The National Retirement Risk Index (NRRI) shows that half of today’s working families are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living once they retire. This result is not surprising since at any given point about half of private sector workers do not have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and many who do have a plan end up saving relatively little. The question is how would additional saving affect the NRRI?

Read more ...

71% of Americans Are Afraid Social Security Won’t Be There

Oct 29, 2019 /

Today’s retirees are the last generation in the United States to live a retirement shaped by the forces of the prior century, standing in stark contrast to baby boomers, Generation X, Millennials and even Generation Z, according to the 2019 Wells Fargo Retirement study, which examines the attitudes and savings of working adults and retirees. Now in its 10th year, the survey spotlights the importance of a planning mindset as people in their working years must shoulder the burden of funding their own retirement.

Read more ...

How to Care for Aging Parents Without Sacrificing Your Career

Oct 25, 2019 /

The typical caregiver spends 24 hours a week on eldercare, which leads many to make alternative work arrangements. Sixteen percent of women take a less demanding job, 12% leave the workforce entirely, and 7% lose job-related benefits. The cost in lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits to these caregivers is staggering. For the 10 million caregivers who are over age 50 themselves, the aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits equal nearly $3 trillion. On an individual basis, the total financial loss due to caregiving was estimated in 2011 to be $324,044 for women and $283,716 for men, so those totals would be higher today.

Read more ...

Millennials Will Save Social Security

Oct 22, 2019 /

Smead Capital Management CEO Bill Smead thinks millennials will solve the coming Social Security crisis, as he told CNBC last week. He said, “Just do the math, there’s 89 million millennials in a 330 million population of the United States of America. And then the group behind them—this is crazy—is just as big. In 20 years, there is going to be way more payers into the Social Security system and there is going to be way fewer taker-outers—and that problem will solve itself through demographics.”

Read more ...

The Social Security Debate Shifts Left

Oct 18, 2019 /

The Social Security debate has moved left, according to The Wall Street Journal. That shift, evidenced by presidential candidates’ plans and a bill backed by nearly 90% of House Democrats, departs from years of conversations about an elusive bipartisan compromise where Democrats agree to lower promised benefits and Republicans accept higher taxes. Instead, President Trump has ruled out cuts to future benefits. Democrats have lined up behind larger benefits and higher taxes.

Read more ...

2020 COLA Announced

Oct 15, 2019 /

The big day has finally arrived! Oct. 10 was the release date for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ September inflation data, which contains the last puzzle piece needed to calculate Social Security’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2020. The official number is a 1.6% “raise.” But how do they get to that number?

Read more ...

Survey Reveals Why Seniors Are Putting Off Retirement

Oct 11, 2019 /

After years of long work, retirement is the ultimate reward. It represents more time to spend with family, travel, discover new hobbies and to relax. However, according to the Social Security Administration, the current age to receive full benefits is 66 years old (for those born in 1955) and many cities across the country have at least 20% or more of their senior population still in the workforce. Provision Living surveyed 1,000 seniors age 65 and older to ask them why they are putting off retirement.

Read more ...

Social Security Fraud Costs Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions

Oct 7, 2019 /

A growing number of targets who have come under the government’s radar in recent years for what prosecutors describe as a pervasive and costly crime: the theft of dead people’s benefits. These scammers have cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year alone, inspector general audits found that the Social Security Administration paid out more than $40 million to 500 dead people in just three states: Texas, Maryland and Michigan.

Read more ...

Curious Behaviors

Oct 4, 2019 /

We all know that humans are not always rational, even (especially?) when it comes to money. But not everyone knows how to put the pieces together, to realize that they need to understand emotional biases and reality. This can lead to unfounded optimism about retirement and a lack of planning. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has put together an interactive video tool that you can use with clients to help them learn more about money behaviors and how that relates to retirement.

Read more ...

Advisors and Future Retirees Not Discussing Health Care Costs

Oct 1, 2019 /

Talking about health care can be uncomfortable for financial advisors and their clients. But having this very important conversation may help reduce the stress for clients, especially those nearing retirement. A recent Nationwide Retirement Institute survey highlighted concerns about health care costs and the reasons for not discussing those concerns, as well as client gaps in understanding and miscalculations about health care costs in retirement.

Read more ...

Americans Want to Retire Before FRA, But Many Regret Not Saving Enough

Sep 27, 2019 /

The American Dream may have changed since the days of pensions, but one thing remains the same: the desire to retire. Almost half of non-retired Americans (49%) see themselves retiring before age 67, according to a new NerdWallet survey. But they might want to consider whether they’re doing what it takes to reach that goal. More than half of today’s retirees (54%) have regrets about the way they saved for retirement, and their No. 1 regret is not saving aggressively enough.

Read more ...

Lots of Excitement for FIRE But Not Much Talk About Mental Health

Sep 24, 2019 /

FIRE—Financially Independent, Retire Early—has been gaining a lot of traction on social media. From Reddit threads to Facebook groups, the community of individuals scouring the internet for saving hacks, investing tips, and simple calculations to retire well before they hit 65 has grown considerably. Some people cut out all the nonnecessities from their budgets, downsize their homes, and work extra jobs to save enough. Others pick up investment books and read through personal finance bloggers’ posts looking for the right figure before they call it quits. Having enough money in the bank and the potential to never work an office job again excites many people on the journey to FIRE, but they often overlook the possible downsides.

Read more ...

Elizabeth Warren’s Plan for Social Security

Sep 20, 2019 /

Sen. Elizabeth Warren came out last week with a dramatic proposal to expand Social Security benefits and make the tax base that funds the program sharply more progressive. Warren’s proposal doesn’t come out of nowhere. The Massachusetts lawmaker has been a proponent of expanding Social Security benefits since her first year in the Senate, and the idea that the government needs to do more to account for households’ basic financial needs has been integral to her thinking since long before that.

Read more ...

Combating Social Security Insecurity

Sep 17, 2019 /

Not only is this article about discussing Social Security solvency with clients relevant, it also features quotes from Elaine Floyd, Peter Murphy (longtime Savvy SS member and Elaine’s co-presenter at workshops), and Nan Lesnick, another Savvy SS member! Enjoy the full article here.

Read more ...

The Break-even Argument: Pros and Cons

Sep 13, 2019 /

The Squared Away Blog, a production of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston college, recently published a blog post about the merits of delaying Social Security to improve one's retirement outlook. It sparked tons of comments both pro and con. Click here to read the orginal article and comments, and here to read the response article (and more comments).

Read more ...

Social Security Fast Facts & Figures

Sep 10, 2019 /

Social Security rules and regulations are important. But sometimes you just want a whole bunch of statistics and charts to geek out with. The Social Security Administration provides just that, with Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, an annual publication whose 2019 edition has just been released. Use the data as trivia questions at your next workshop, impress your clients with in-depth knowledge about Social Security, or just feel smart. Here’s a sample of some of the fast facts and figures:

Read more ...