Budget Bill Ends File and Suspend Strategies for SS Benefits

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Update 1. See our new File and Suspend article that explains how the law affects this and other claiming issues for people of different ages.
Update2 Nov, 3, 2015: The Budget Bill was approved by the Senate and then was signed by the President into law.
October 29, 2015 — The budget bill just passed by the House, if approved by the Senate and signed by the President, might keep the country from entering a government shutdown and budget chaos. But one of its provisions would have a profound effect on anyone considering or currently taking advantage of the popular File and Suspend strategies. The bill is far from passing the Senate at this point, but if it does hundreds of thousands of retirees are going to have to rethink a claiming strategy that is worth about $50,000 for many who take advantage of it. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, about 100,000 people are now taking advantage of this strategy.

File and Suspend
This popular strategy goes something like this: A couple retires at full retirement age (66 for most baby boomers) and both file for Social Security. The higher earning member immediately suspends his or her benefits, planning to claim again at the age with the maximum benefit, 70. Meanwhile their spouse claims a spousal benefit, 50% of what (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 28th, 2015

No 2016 Social Security COLA – But Some Medicare Premiums Will Increase

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Note on Nov. 12: Final Medicare costs have been announced, which ended up slightly different than the preliminary predictions discussed in this article. See Final Medicare Part Premiums and Deductibles article. See also related article on how current Congressional bill ends the popular Social Security “File and Suspend” strategy for most people not already using this strategy.
October 28, 2015 – It hasn’t happened many times, but it is coming in 2016: there will be no Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for those receiving Social Security. That is due to the fact that the cost of living in the U.S. went down, “fueled” by falling energy and commodity prices. This is only the 3rd time in history there has been no COLA. The COLA in 2015 was 1.7%.

This news will undoubtedly disappoint many folks who look forward to a small increase in their monthly Social Security deposit, something they might view as a pay raise every year, although it is really only an adjustment to keep on pace with inflation (which seems to be in check, at least for the present).

Most will dodge a Medicare increase
Meanwhile in the Medicare world, most people will escape a Medicare bullet. Had there been (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 27th, 2015

Many Reasons to Act Now: Open Enrollment for Medicare and Obamacare Is Here

Category: Health Issues

November 12 Update: Final Medicare Part B Premiums and Deductibles Announced
October 27, 2015 — This is the open enrollment period for both Medicare and Obamacare. If you are retired and need health care before age 65, or you are 65 or over and eligible for Medicare, you need to pay attention, as these are, with some exceptions, the only times you can enroll or change your coverage. And there are many good reasons why you might want to change it.

Two different enrollment periods
Which open enrollment period you need to worry about depends on whether you are talking about Medicare or the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Medicare enrollment started on October 15 and runs through December 7. If you are 65 or over you need to enroll/make your changes by then or wait until next year (with some exceptions). The changes you make go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.
Affordable Care Act enrollment for those not eligible for Medicare goes from November 1 to December 15 (much less time than last year). Changes go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

What is an Open Enrollment Period
An open enrollment period is the time during which you can sign up for coverage for the upcoming year if you don’t have it now. You can also change (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 26th, 2015

Downsizing – Don’t Forget Your Dog

Category: Family and Retirement

October 21, 2105 — Many of us baby boomers are talking a lot about downsizing, in fact some of our most popular and commented upon articles are on that topic (see further reading below). But there is one aspect of downsizing that doesn’t get mentioned as often – your dog.

Americans love their pets, especially their dogs. But as we enter retirement it is worth some time thinking about whether or not you want to have a dog when your current one goes on to Fido heaven, and if you do, what type and particularly, size. We know that many people, including your editor’s wife, could not face living without a (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 21st, 2015

What’s in Your Retirement Plan?

Category: Retirement Planning

October 21, 2015 — Maybe the better question is, “Do you have a retirement plan”. According to Richard Russo in a recent MarketWatch Retirement Weekly article, having a plan greatly increases your chances of success. So if you don’t have one, now is a mighty good time to start. This article will explain what sorts of things should be in your plan, and how you can use it to help you achieve a successful retirement.

Russo, a senior financial adviser with Clarity Financial in Houston and author for Random Thoughts of a Money Muse, cautions that you shouldn’t get uptight about your plan if it isn’t working out exactly as you had thought. He says they are “extraordinarily imperfect… 20% science and 80% forecast (or art)”. He believes you should start your plan 5 to 10 years in advance of when you think you might retire. If you do, you can greatly (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 20th, 2015

Wow – 36 New Active Communities Make the 100 List for 2015

Category: Active adult communities

October 3, 2015 — The think we love the most about the 2015 list of the most popular active communities at Topretirements is that there are so many newcomers – 36 communities are new to it this year! It is great that there are so many new faces – even more interesting places for our Members to explore. Another huge piece of news from the 2015 results is that our long-time, undefeated, #1 community, The Villages, was narrowly edged out of first place by another perennial top 10 finisher, Fearrington Village near Chapel Hill, NC. The 2 communities could not be more different – in scale, amenities, and feel – it’s refreshing to see such variation in the choices available to retiring baby boomers.

Speaking of diversity
The 2015 list has some unusual and exotic choices for retirement (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 3rd, 2015