Celebrating Social Security’s 80th Anniversary

En español | On the morning of Aug. 14, 1935, Americans awoke in a country vastly different from the one we know today. The Great Depression had brought us to the point where, in the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “one-third of the nation [was] ill-housed, ill-clad [and] ill-nourished.” Suffering the most were America’s elderly. Nearly half of our older population in 1935 lived in poverty! At approximately 3:30 on that August afternoon, President Roosevelt signed the Social Security …

2016 Social Security COLA? Don’t Bet on It

En español |  Nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will probably not get a cost-of-living increase next year, according to projections in the 2015 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports. This would be the third time Social Security beneficiaries have gone without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975, when automatic raises were put into place. The COLA this year was 1.7 percent, making the average monthly check for retired workers $1,334 as of May. Increases in benefits are tied to …

Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

Interest Rates Are Low Until You Do the Math

I often hear that interest rates are awful and that it’s the worst time ever for retirees needing to live on fixed income. Yet when you look at after-tax, inflation-adjusted returns, a different picture emerges. Many people smile when I tell them that back in 1980 they could have earned 12 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury or certificate of deposit (CD). Depositing $10,000 would have returned $1,200 a year. But if a third went to taxes, that gain would …

AARP: Reject Harmful Cuts to Social Security and Medicare

As the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization representing the interests of Americans age 50 and older and their families, AARP urges the budget conference committee to reject harmful cuts to Social Security and Medicare benefits for the purpose of achieving deficit reduction or as a tradeoff for scheduled sequestration cuts or other government spending. While we agree that sequestration cuts will have a growing impact on critical discretionary programs and should be revisited, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect …

AARP: Don’t Shrink Social Security’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment

The annual Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) is critically important to the financial security of the nearly 58 million Americans receiving benefits. By providing protection against inflation, the COLA helps beneficiaries of all ages maintain their standard of living, keeping many from falling into poverty. The COLA announced today is vital to millions, but at an average of just $19 per month, it will quickly be consumed by the rising costs of basic needs such as food, utilities and health …