The Can That Keeps Getting Kicked Down the Road: Social Security Trustees Annual Report Has More Bad News

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

August 15, 2017 — If you are receiving Social Security or you plan on relying on it for your retirement, this news is important. If no action is taken, your benefits will take a big haircut in just 17 years.

Every year the Social Security Trustees prepare an annual report. The one for 2016 was just published, and once again it predicts trouble ahead for the nation’s system of Federal Old Age and Survivors Insurance and Federal Disability Insurance Trust Funds (OASDI), otherwise known as Social Security. Every year the Trustees warn Congress that something must be done, and every year Congress kicks it down the road. Fixing the system will be painful, but in our opinion, something must be done. The longer it takes to correct the system, the worse the problem gets.

Income still higher than expenditures – for now
Total expenditures in 2016 were $922 billion, while total income was $957 billion: the surplus for the year was $35 billion. Asset reserves held in special issue U.S. Treasury securities continued to grow. Social Security’s total income is projected to exceed its total cost through 2021, as it has for every year since 1982.

Interest income not enough to cover program cost deficit
The Trustees project that interest income, which was $88 billion in 2016, is shrinking every year. Up to this point it has helped cover the deficit of expenses over contributions paid in. As interest income declines, however, the total surpluses will turn to (more…)

Posted by Admin on August 15th, 2017

Social Security 2017 Update: Part 2

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

June 26, 2017 — This is Part 2 of our “Social Security 2017 Update”. Here we will cover the changes to two popular SS claiming strategies that went into effect last year, and what you might do in response.

In Part 1 we explained how the Full Retirement Age (FRA) is gradually increasing for those born in 1955, eventually reaching age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. We also provided some strategies on how to make up for this delay and the slightly smaller benefits that come with it. Here is the link to Part 1, “What You Need to Know About Social Security in 2017“.

2 big changes to SS in 2016
Two Social Security claiming strategies went into effect on April 30, 2016 that changed (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 26th, 2017

The Scammers Are Standing By…to Cheat You. 5 Tips to Stay Safe

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

Update June 29 — Since we wrote this article another major malware/ransomware attack, Petya, started in the Ukraine and spread across the world. Here is a helpful article from Norton (they make a good anti-virus software) – 7 Tips to Prevent Ransomware Attacks.
June 14, 2018 – Don’t think for a second that you are safe from the criminals who are trying to separate you from your money. There are tens of thousands of these folks who spend all day, every day, coming up with clever ways to trick you. Here are just a few tips to help keep them at bay.

1. Never, ever give out private information like credit card, SSAN, or bank account numbers to someone calling you. No reputable outfit will ask you for it. The IRS doesn’t call people, they send letters. If you “won” something, someone tells you your grandson needs bail money, or that you missed jury duty, hang up. They are trying to trick you. No credit card company or bank will ask for your credit card or account number.

2. Be very cautious about giving out too much information over the phone, even if you are the one calling out. Here is how your editor got tricked last (more…)

Posted by Admin on June 14th, 2017

It’s 2017: What You Thought You Knew About Social Security…

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

May 27, 2017 — If you thought you knew everything you needed to know about when and how to claim your Social Security benefit – think again. For those who have not yet claimed their benefit as of 2017, two major developments probably affect you. This 2 Part article will help educate you on how to best navigate this new world. Part 1 explains how benefits are different (lower and later) for people born in 1955 or later, and how those folks might cope with that. Part 2 explains the 2016 changes affecting the popular claiming strategies called “file and suspend” and “restricted benefit”.

Where you born in 1955 or later?
The first item affects those who will celebrate their 62nd birthday in 2017 (or in a later year). If that describes you, the age in which you are eligible for full Social Security benefits is on its way from age 66 to 67. The Full (more…)

Posted by Admin on May 28th, 2017

Starting a Retirement business: The First Three Steps

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

By Robert Jones

April 25, 2017 — The good news about retirement is that it can be as much about beginnings as endings. While retirement often means concluding an existing employment contract, increasing numbers of people are grasping the opportunities that open up once they step away from the 9-5.

Today, worldwide connectivity through the internet means that, for most of us, there’s a whole planet of potential enterprise opportunity within easy reach. And many retirees are now considering starting up a retirement business – some to find a source of additional income, others simply in pursuit of an enriching or rewarding (more…)

Posted by Admin on April 24th, 2017

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 ( 2014 survey reported only 55% of retirees are very or somewhat confident they will have enough money to live comfortably in retirement. A 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