Why Inflation Matters for Social Security

One of Social Security’s great strengths is that it offers meaningful protection against inflation. Each year, the program considers how prices are rising [as measured by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers]. If prices go up, the Social Security benefits people have earned tend to be adjusted as well. For a typical household, this protection is huge – a point I tried to emphasize in my book, “Social Security for Dummies.” It helps people keep …

Digging Deeper on Changes to the Social Security COLA

No one with any common sense wants to see our politicians take us over the fiscal cliff. And I think most people with common sense also realize that Social Security, and the tougher issue of Medicare, are worth thoughtful debate and discussion so these vital programs can be put on stronger footing for future generations. However, when budget cutters take aim at today’s Social Security recipients, it’s time to ask questions and dig deeper into the fine print. A proposal …

Rambling Retirees Buck Aging-in-Place Trend

“You get to fall asleep with the rocking of the waves and the wind, and with the Internet, you can home-office from just about anywhere,” says Ian Morton, an American semi-retiree who spends half the year on a houseboat outside Montreal, Canada. Morton, 51, one of several “rambling retirees” profiled by Reuters in a piece on boomers who are bucking the “aging in place” trend. Though exact stats are hard to come by, evidence points to a growing number of grown-ups trading houses and retirement communities for houseboats, RVs and strangers’ sofas.

GM Retirees Must Decide Today On Lump Sum Payout

After presumably agonizing for weeks over whether to keep their lifetime pension benefit or take a one-time lump-sum payment, some 42,000 General Motors retirees are faced with making that critical decision today. And there is no turning back. No do-overs. GM set Friday as the deadline when it offered its former employees and surviving spouses the choice to retain their monthly pension, which will be switched to an annuity provided by Prudential Insurance, or receive the lump-sum equivalent in one …

The Takeaway: Americans Are Misusing Reverse Mortgages, Says Consumer Agency

Reverse mortgages are not being used as Congress intended, according to a new report from the government watchdog agency Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Reverse mortgages were created to provide an income options for retirees. But these mortgages are increasingly being taken out by younger borrowers, which could decrease long-term retirement security. Borrowers also tend to take lump-sum payments that can be used up quickly.

The Takeaway: Older Americans Feel Better About Their Money

So much of the financial news about older Americans is downbeat. More of them are falling into poverty.  A disproportionate number of older workers lost jobs in April. Will they get new ones? Don’t hold your breath. At last, welcome news: a Gallup survey finds that Americans ages 75 and older are the most likely (72 percent) of all age groups to say they feel good about the amount of money they have. Not only that, they’re the most likely …