Arkansas Senate Candidates Brawl Over Medicare, Social Security

In their final scheduled debate, Arkansas’ two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate vigorously slashed each other on Social Security and Medicare issues. “The game plans for both men were plain as day — [Rep. Tom] Cotton repeatedly tied [Sen. Mark] Pryor to President Obama, while Pryor said Cotton was beholden to big-money interests who didn’t share the same goals as Arkansans,” a visiting newspaper columnist wrote of the Oct. 14 exchange in Fayetteville. In contrast to recent Senate debates in other …

The Disappearing Social Security Minimum Benefit

Social Security has a minimum benefit? Yes, it’s true. Congress designed the Social Security special minimum benefit in 1972 to help workers who have earned low wages for many years. But today, the benefit helps very few older Americans and unless Congress takes action, the benefit is on the road to extinction. Sophia’s story is typical. She worked for 25 years as a clerk in a factory and doing odd jobs for wages that averaged about $9 per hour (about …

Virginia Senate Candidates Spar Over Social Security, Medicare

In their final scheduled debate before Election Day, Virginia’s two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate sparred over their records on Social Security and Medicare while voicing similar views on steps needed to address their long-term financing. The debate, held in Richmond on Oct. 13 and televised statewide, was cosponsored by AARP Virginia, whose president, Bob Blancato, asked the candidates how they would protect the programs. “If you are 47 years old or younger … you are looking at getting …

No Change in Medicare Part B Costs Means More Change in Your Pocket

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced this week that the Medicare Part B monthly premium and deductible will not increase in 2015. This is great news for the 49 million Americans who rely on Medicare Part B to cover their doctor and outpatient hospital visits. Medicare Part B monthly premiums and deductibles will remain at $104.90 and $147, respectively. Those who pay higher Medicare income-related premiums will also find that their premiums are unchanged. …

W.Va. Senate Candidates Call for Lifting Social Security Salary Cap

West Virginia’s two major-party candidates for the U.S. Senate support raising the Social Security wage base limit from its current level of $117,000, and in an Oct. 7 debate both voiced concern over the long-term financing of the program. “I am supportive of raising the cap to $240,000” or in that vicinity, said West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, a Democrat. “I would be willing to raise the cap over $200,000,” said U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, her Republican opponent. …

How to Be Really Rich With Less Money

Most people define their net worth in dollars. As a financial planner, I define net worth in time. Allow me to explain. When I ask people to tell me what money means to them, I hear words like freedom, security and independence. Money, and having enough of it, allows us to do whatever it is that makes us happy. Reframing wealth as time turns some millionaires into paupers, and it makes those with $250,000 in 401(k) savings into the very …