Honey, I Took Social Security Too Early

Deciding when to take Social Security is one of the most important retirement planning decisions people make – and many retirees say they got it wrong. As many as 38 percent of 573 retirees surveyed by the Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute, a unit of Nationwide Mutual Insurance, say they regret taking their benefit early, which locked in their lower monthly payment for life, and wish they had waited. When you look at the differences in their monthly payout, you can understand their remorse. Those …

Lynn Williams: He Fought for Retired Steelworkers

When Lynn Williams took the helm of the United Steelworkers union in 1983, the domestic steel industry seemed to be in a death spiral. From 1981 to 1985 – a period Williams later called a “frightful time” for the union, its members and its retirees – the basic steel industry shed some 350,000 jobs in the United States, triggering a wave of early retirements and, in many cases, putting retiree health benefits and pensions in jeopardy. >> Sign up for …

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 …

More New Retirement Account Proposals

Americans are way short in their retirement savings, and President Obama’s MyRA plan, which he unveiled last week, isn’t the only new proposal that aims to help with that problem. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., also offered a savings plan. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has one of his own, which follows a report he released last summer. Of these three proposals, Harkin’s is the most ambitious. His Universal, Secure and Adaptable (USA) Retirement Funds would create a …

Give Today’s Retirees a ‘D’ – for Debt

What’s quickly eating up a growing share of retirees’ money these days? Not health care, as you might expect, according to a new report by the National Center for Policy Analysis. Over the past 20 years, a greater percentage of older Americans’ dollars has gone to servicing debt, particularly mortgage and home equity loans, the “free market” think tank says. It used government data to compare the spending habits of today’s retirees with those of their predecessors, finding, for instance, that 20 …

Are Immigrants a Drain on Medicare? The Truth May Surprise You

By Jordan Rau, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News As Congress mulls changing America’s border and naturalization rules, a study finds that immigrant workers are helping buttress Medicare’s finances, because they contribute tens of billions a year more than immigrant retirees use in medical services. “Immigrants, particularly noncitizens, heavily subsidize Medicare,” the researchers wrote in the journal Health Affairs.  “Policies that reduce immigration would almost certainly weaken Medicare’s financial health, while an increasing flow of immigrants might bolster its sustainability.” The …