Social Security Benefits to Rise 1.7% Next Year

Social Security benefits will rise by 1.7 percent starting in January, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. That’s a tad higher than this year’s 1.5 percent increase. It’s also the fourth straight year that the cost-of-living adjustment was below 2 percent for nearly 59 million retirees, disabled workers and their families. The adjustment amounts to about $22 a month for those who receive the average monthly benefit of $1,302. >> See AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ statement on the COLA “The …

8 Year-End Tax Moves to Make Now

As we enter the home stretch of 2014, it’s time to consider some tax moves. Here are a few you might want to consider: 1. Give to charity. For those who itemize, making a charitable contribution could lower your taxes. Rather than just giving cash, consider giving your most highly appreciated securities. You usually will get a deduction equal to the full value of the securities and will not have to pay a capital gains tax. 2. Max out your 401(k). …

In Thailand, Retirement Is Not Always a Choice

Pa’ Noi manages the neighborhood restaurant that my boyfriend, Joe, and I love here in Thailand, where I’m doing part of my master’s program in gerontology. When we arrive, she greets and seats us, and patiently waits as we, the farangs (Thai for “foreigners”), fumble through our orders. When we finish, she brings us our check and our change, and she inevitably beats the busboys to a first swipe at our table. Pa’ Noi is 71, and she’s great at …

Free Financial Advice? What’s Not to Like?

Need financial advice on estate planning, retirement savings or something else? You can get it for free. From Sept. 27 through Nov. 8, hundreds of financial planners will be available to meet one-on-one with people in 25 cities in an annual event called Financial Planning Days. The initiative, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses Financial …

Social Security Takes Center Stage in Alaska Senate Campaign

Social Security has become a hot issue in the Alaska Senate race, one of the battleground contests that will determine which political party controls the Senate. “Both of Alaska’s candidates for U.S. Senate know that the country’s Social Security system needs reform … but differ sharply on how they’d solve the problem,” Alaska Dispatch, on online news site, said in a Sept. 22 story. >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter Democratic Sen. Mark Begich has introduced legislation that would …

Jean Chatzky: Our Relationship With Money Is a ‘Hot Mess’

Jean Chatzky has a few choice words for how most folks describe their relationship with money: Confusing. Frightening. Chaotic. Stressful. Precarious. “For two decades now, I’ve been watching how we make our money, save it, spend it, borrow it, invest it and protect it,” Chatzky told an audience today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. “And I can tell you that, overall, our relationship with money is a hot mess.” Chatzky, AARP’s financial ambassador, is a best-selling author and …