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Maximizing Social Security

Submitted by Lewis J. Walker on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 3:00pm

Failure to understand Social Security can be costly. Here’s how to get the most out of your benefits. While the subject is complex and laden with acronyms, you need to understand it.

How much financial security can a person or couple derive from Social Security income? For many it is the bulk of retirement income. Per the Social Security Administration, 52% of married couples and 74% of unmarried persons receive half or more of their income from Social Security.

Those Amazing GDP Increases

Submitted by Brenda P. Wenning on Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 9:00am

Isn’t it odd that the government’s economic growth number keeps climbing with each revision? You don’t think there is a political component to this, do you?

If you repeat something often enough, you may even start to believe it. So try this phrase: “The economy is improving. The economy is improving. The economy is improving.”

Optimizing Social Security

Submitted by Harold Wong on Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 12:00pm

Your retirement income hinges on a seeming paradox: People increase dependence on Social Security even as the long-term solvency of the government golden years’ program reportedly dwindles. What tricks of timing and finances can give your benefits checks the biggest boost?

Waiting to collect is the key. Examples may give you a good idea.

Social Security Payout Shrinks

Submitted by Jim Blankenship on Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 12:00pm

Calculating Social Security retirement benefits can be tricky. If you worked in a government job and did not pay Social Security taxes, part of your civil service pension gets deducted from your Social Security benefits, an offset called the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). What you may not know is that the WEP’s effect goes beyond that – this provision also brings down your spouse’s and other dependents’ benefits.

Divorce and Elder-Care Bills

Submitted by Eve Kaplan on Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 3:00pm

A confluence of circumstances can conspire against marriage amongst older couples: longevity, soaring elder-care costs and a lack of long-term care (LTC) insurance. Divorce, even if painful, may hurt less than living in near poverty until Medicaid finally kicks in to cover an ill spouse.

Medicare insurance only covers up to 100 days of nursing care. If you or your spouse need nursing or LTC, you either pay out of pocket until your assets fall below a low threshold or tap your LTC insurance.

Bad Decisions in Old Age

Submitted by Rick Kahler on Friday, September 12, 2014 - 3:00pm

What if you lose your mental capacity in later years and make irrational financial choices? How can you safeguard your assets from that threat?

After three decades as a financial planner, I see more and more clients reach, not just retirement, but their final years. An issue that becomes especially important at this stage of life is how to protect your financial resources from an unexpected threat – yourself.

Asset Caregiver Guides (Pt. 1)

Submitted by Dan Crimmins on Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 3:00pm

We almost all seem to know someone who helps older family members with financial affairs. If legally appointed to help someone with their money, find out all you can about the potentially confusing role.

To help fledgling financial caregivers, the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) publishes four guides for “Managing Someone Else’s Money.” Each guide addresses a specific role:

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