7 Out of the Box Ideas for Surviving a Retirement Savings Shortfall

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 22, 2017 — A lot of baby boomers are facing a very difficult retirement. The Employee Benefits Research Institute’s (EBRI.org) 2014 survey reported only 55% of retirees are very or somewhat confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. A Topretirements.com survey was even less optimistic; only 46% of our Members said that their expected retirement income will allow them to continue their pre-retirement lifestyles.

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled a baby boomer in this situation who took a surprising solution to solve the problem – “With $15 in the Bank, A Baby Boomer Makes Peace with Less (article might be behind a paid wall). Kathleen Wolf lived in the San Francisco area until recently. During her working life in real estate she made (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 21st, 2017

The 8 States With the Biggest Financial Problems

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 12, 2017 — First the good news – the financial outlook is not as bad as has been reported – for most states. A study by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) looked at 3 fiscal components: pensions, other post employment benefits (OPEBs), and debt payments – to analyze which states, counties, and municipalities face the biggest future financial crunch. Most states have a manageable situation in the coming years; 36 of them have required payments below 15 percent of own-source revenue, and 22 of them have obligations less than 10%. The problem is more acute for the 8 states who face obligations more than 20% of own-source revenues. The experts in the study believe that payments over 25% are untenable.

The problem children
The bad news for five states – Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Kentucky – is that future payments for pensions, OPEBs, and debt service are more than 25 percent (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 11th, 2017

Turning 62 This Year? Your SS Retirement Age Goes Up and Benefits Down

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

February 7, 2017 — If you will celebrate your 62nd birthday in 2017 or later, the age in which you are eligible for full Social Security benefits is on its way to 67. The full retirement age (FRA) will steadily increase in two-month increments from age 66 over the next six years, eventually reaching age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. This is not a new development, however. It has always been part of changes made the last time the Social Security program was overhauled, which was 1983.

The bad news is that your Social Security benefits are also taking a hair cut compared to your fellow boomers who were born prior to 1955. When your FRA becomes age 67, your (more…)

Posted by Admin on February 6th, 2017

Living in Retirement on a Tight Budget – Ideas from Members

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 28, 2017 — Dear Members. On our “Are You Ready for Retirement” thread MaryNB started an interesting thread about cost of living and coping with various expenses. That generated a raft of suggestions, so many that we have decided to move them all here to a new post just on that subject. Below are the Comments moved over from the original. Feel free to add your own!


This may be off topic, but part of the calculations about cost of living. The references (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 28th, 2017

Think You Got Away with Not Paying Your Student Loans – Think Again

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 2, 2017 — Just as millions of baby boomers start to enjoy their Social Security retirement or disability checks comes a new worry. The problem arises for the folks who, for whatever reason, did not pay off all of their student loan debts. Many non-payers thought that after the initial wave of debt collection efforts subsided, they were off the hook. Wrong! The government has one last ace to play, and that is garnishment of your Social Security checks.

Last year the Feds reclaimed $171 million in unpaid student loans, and many of those paying it back were over 50 years of age – 114,000 of them in fact. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article the typical delinquent borrower sees their Social Security (more…)

Posted by Admin on January 1st, 2017

First Salvo to Fix Social Security Fired in Congress

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

December 21, 2016 — Almost everybody agrees Social Security needs some tweaking to keep this popular program running smoothly. After all the latest estimates are that, if no changes are made, starting in 2034 only 75% of promised benefits will be able to paid (Social Security Trustees Annual Report).

Politicians and economists have been talking about the need to fix Social Security for years, but up until now no one has done more than talk. Finally, at least one person in Congress, Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), has proposed something. We don’t agree with a lot of what is in his plan, but we salute him for at least proposing something. The Bipartisan Policy Center has also proposed solutions, some similar to Johnson’s and some different. Soon to be President Trump said during the campaign (more…)

Posted by Admin on December 20th, 2016

2017 Medicare Part B Premium to Rise $4.10/Mo. for Most

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Nov. 11, 2016 — The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that 2017 premiums for the Medicare inpatient hospital (Part A) and physician and outpatient hospital services (Part B) programs will increase.

Because of the low Social Security COLA, (0.3 percent for 2017) a statutory “hold harmless” provision designed to protect seniors will largely prevent Part B premiums from increasing for about 70 percent of beneficiaries. Among this group, the average (more…)

Posted by Admin on November 11th, 2016

Social Security Retirees to Get (Very) Modest COLA 2017 Increase

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 18, 2016 — The Social Security Administration today announced a very modest Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2017 of 0.3%. There was no COLA in 2016, whereas the COLA in 2015 was 1.7%. The 2017 increase results in a whopping $4 a month based on the average SS retiree benefit of $1350.

The government measures changes in the cost of living through the Department of Labor’s Consumer Price Index (CPI-W). Since the CPI-W did rise this year, the law increases benefits to help offset that inflation. As a result, monthly Social Security and SSI benefits for over 65 million Americans will increase 0.3 percent in 2017.

Other changes will also begin in January 2017. For example, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security payroll tax will increase to $127,200.

Information about Medicare changes for 2017, when announced, will be available at www.Medicare.gov. For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums.



Posted by Admin on October 18th, 2016

Filing for Social Security – 5 Reasons Why It’s A Lot More Complicated Than You Think

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

October 11, 2016 — We just read a bunch of articles on how to “maximize” your Social Security benefit from some of the top experts in the field. Did we get enlightened? Actually we ended up more confused than ever. In fact we got so tangled up by the explanations that we almost think that one SS guru did it on purpose to sell his Social Security software. And we didn’t feel any better after reading that the same expert believes that employees at the SSA are not permitted to give out certain information (like breakeven points for various claiming optoins), and often give incorrect information to their clients.

This article provides 5 reasons why we think taking your Social Security retirement benefit is nowhere near as simple as you might think. We will also give (more…)

Posted by Admin on October 10th, 2016

Digital Legacy – Or Digital Mess – What Will You Leave Your Loved Ones?

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

August 31, 2016 — Consider this unpleasant scenario: You go to bed tonight and don’t wake up. Instead, you go on to your greater reward, leaving a saddened spouse, family, and friends. They, on the other hand, are about to find out how well you prepared for this event. While not fun to think about, this is not an “if” it happens situation, it is only “when”.

Not so long ago your heirs would face many unpleasant chores as a result of your untimely death, but at least the tasks were relatively straightforward. Assets could generally be traced by looking in file folders, safe deposit boxes, and various spots around the house. Statements would eventually come in the mail, alerting your survivors to the existence of various accounts. Now in the digital age, your executor or surviving spouse face the same tasks, only they tend to be much more difficult. That is mainly because so many of your assets and accounts only exist online. How will they find out what accounts (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 30th, 2016