March 27, 2017

When to claim Social Security Retirement Benefits

You can claim as early as age 62 or at any time up to age 70, the latest age for delaying. Why delay? Your benefit increases about 8% each year that you wait. How to decide? If you have very good reason to think you are going to die young, then claim at 62. However, the trends for educated White Americans is living longer. So the most important thing you can do is fill in a couple online longevity calculators to get an estimate of how long you are likely to live. Keep in mind that you have a 50% chance of living longer than the estimated age of death. Use these 2 calculators:


Abaris How Long Will I Live? Developed by Professors at the University of Pennsylvania
Northwest Mutual Longevity calculator http://media.nmfn.com/tnetwork/lifespan/#0

Also read the excellent short explanation of the trade-offs of claiming early versus late by Todd Campbell: https://www.fool.com/retirement/2017/03/17/americans-average-social-security-at-age-62-66-and.aspx

March 23, 2017

5 Times an Annuity Makes Sense for Retirement

Jeff Rose explains "how to decide whether an annuity should be a part of your retirement plan."
1. You want guaranteed income for life.
2. You hope to secure guaranteed income for a spouse.
3. You want a low-risk portfolio above all else.
4. You want to create your own pension.
5. You want to protect your retirement assets from taxes.
Read the article to get the full details:  http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/articles/2017-02-03/5-times-an-annuity-makes-sense-for-retirement   

Three Ways to Protect Your 401(k) If Trump Kills the Fiduciary Rule

"A new move by President Donald Trump may mean higher costs for individual investors and retirement plans, especially 401(k)s offered by small businesses. The good news, though, is that you can protect yourself against his order, which delays and reconsiders the so-called fiduciary rule, if you ask the right questions."
"Brokers often get incentives to steer clients into certain financial products, which can charge very high fees. President Barack Obama’s White House had estimated that these conflicts of interest were costing American investors $17 billion a year. The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, scheduled to go into effect in April, would have fought this, requiring financial advisers to put clients interests before their own when providing advice on retirement accounts." Writer Ben Steverman suggests asking your adviser 3 questions:
1. Are you a fiduciary?
2. How are you paid?
3. What are my fees?
Read the details: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-03/three-ways-to-protect-your-401-k-from-donald-trump

 

 

Debt Collection help from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

"In the United States today, debt collection is a $13.7 billion dollar industry with more than 6,000 debt collection firms operating in the United States. The CFPB estimates that about one in three consumers, more than 70 million people, were contacted by a creditor or collector seeking to collect a debt within the past year. Dealing with debt collection issues can be difficult and stressful for consumers, and consumers may face debt collectors who use unfair or otherwise illegal practices. The CFPB handles more complaints about debt collection than any other financial product or service. The CFPB has tools and resources to assist you in helping consumers with debt collection issues." If you or someone you know is being contacted about debts they may (or may NOT) owe, check out this resource: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/debt-collection/

Just because a debt collector is contacting you does NOT mean that you owe the debt. You may owe nothing or far less than they are trying to collect. Know your rights!
The CFPB is under attack and threat of elimination under the new administration. 

How to select a continuing care retirement community


“By combining independent living with a continuum of care, CCRCs offer a viable solution for older adults who are healthy today but seek the peace of mind of having care services readily available in the future.” While this blog post is written for financial advisers, it provides an excellent over view of CCRCs to help consumers decode of a CCRC is the right choice for them or their parents. Check out this info from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants: http://blog.aicpa.org/2017/02/continuing-care-retirement-communities-helping-clients-choose.html#sthash.dr6XzrYE.dpbs

How to figure taxes on Social Security Benefits

 Are My Social Security Benefits Taxable?  How to Understand Form SSA-1099 and Determine whether You Owe Taxes
"Depending on the amount of alternate income that you have in retirement and your filing status, you could owe taxes on up to 85% of your Social Security benefits." When you receive Social Security income, "you will also receive a Form SSA-1099 from the government. This form tells you the total amount of your benefits but does not tell you if any of your benefits are taxable, or at what percentage." Read this article to understand if you owe income taxes and how to calculate the amount: https://www.moneytips.com/are-my-social-security-benefits-taxable
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