The notion that we separate from work in our sixties may have to go. An executive transitions into a consulting role at age 62 and stops working altogether at 65; then, he becomes a buyer for a church network at 69. A corporate IT professional decides to conclude her career at age 58; she serves as a city council member in her sixties, then opens an art studio at 70. Are these people retired? Not by the old definition of the word. Our definition of “retirement” is changing. Retirement is now a time of activity and opportunity.    Generations ago,

Earning too much may cause portions of your retirement benefits to be taxed. You may be shocked to learn that part of your Social Security income could be taxed. If your provisional income exceeds a certain level, that will happen. Just what is “provisional income”? The Social Security Administration defines it with a formula. Provisional income = your modified adjusted gross income + 50% of your total annual Social Security benefits + 100% of tax-exempt interest that your investments generate.1 Income from working, pension income, withdrawals of money from IRAs and other types of retirement plans, and interest earned by

What pre-retirees owe could compromise their future quality of life. The key points of retirement planning are easily stated. Start saving and investing early in life. Save and invest consistently. Avoid drawing down your savings along the way. Another possible point for that list: pay off as much debt as you can before your “second act” begins. Some baby boomers risk paying themselves last. Thanks to lingering mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt, they are challenged to make financial progress in the years before and after retiring. More than 40% of households headed by people 65-74 shoulder home loan

Consumers may be at risk for many years. How long should you worry about identity theft in the wake of the Equifax hack? The correct answer might turn out to be “as long as you live.” If your personal data was copied in this cybercrime, you should at least scrutinize your credit, bank, and investment account statements in the near term. You may have to keep up that vigilance for years to come. Cybercrooks are sophisticated in their assessment of consumer habits and consumer memories. They know that eventually, many Americans will forget about the severity and depth of this

How can you protect yourself against ransomware, phishing, and other tactics? Imagine finding out that your computer has been hacked. The hackers leave you a message: if you want your data back, you must pay them $300 in bitcoin. This was what happened to hundreds of thousands of PC users in May 2017 when they were attacked by the WannaCry malware, which exploited security flaws in Windows.    How can you plan to avoid cyberattacks and other attempts to take your money over the Internet? Be wary, and if attacked, respond quickly.  Phishing. This is when a cybercriminal throws you

Have you been affected? If so, how can you try to protect yourself? On September 7, credit reporting agency Equifax dropped a consumer bombshell. It revealed that cybercriminals had gained access to the personal information of as many as 143 million Americans between May and July – about 44% of the U.S. population. The culprits were able to retrieve roughly 209,000 credit card numbers, in addition to many Social Security and driver’s license numbers. How can you find out if you were affected? Visit equifaxsecurity2017.com, the website Equifax just created for consumers. There, you can enter your last name and

You may assume you will. That assumption could be a retirement planning risk. How long do you think you will work? Are you one of those baby boomers (or Gen Xers) who believes he or she can work past 65? Some pre-retirees are basing their entire retirement transition on that belief, and that could be financially perilous. In a new survey on retirement age, the gap between perception and reality stands out. The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) recently published its 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, and the big takeaway from all the data is that most American workers (75%) believe

When should you apply for benefits? Consider a few factors first. Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks? Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors aren’t as foreseeable. You don’t know exactly how long you will live, so you can’t predict your lifetime Social Security payout. You may even

debt

$1.1 billion has been garnished from retirement benefits to pay back old student loans. Do you have a federal student loan that needs to be repaid? You may be surprised at what the government might do to collect that money someday, if it is not paid back soon enough.   If that debt lingers too long, you may find your Social Security income reduced. So far, the Department of the Treasury has carved $1.1 billion out of Social Security benefits to try and reduce outstanding student loan debt. It has a long way to go: of that $1.1 billion collected, more

Social Security

Just how gloomy does its future look? Will Social Security run out of money in the 2030s? For years, Americans have been warned about that possibility. Those warnings, however, assume that no action will be taken to address Social Security’s financial challenges. Social Security is being strained by a giant demographic shift. In 2030, more than 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 or older. In 2010, only 13% of the nation was that old. In 1970, less than 10% of Americans were in that age group.1 Demand for Social Security benefits has increased, and the ratio of retirees

One of the biggest mistakes people can make when planning for retirement is failing to maximize their social security benefits. Why is this a mistake? You may have heard that social security is broken, that it might not be around by the time you retire. But the truth is, social security is still here and you should take advantage of it. It can easily be used as another stream is income to help find your retirement. Here are three ways to potentially increase your social security benefits. 1.) Delay collecting your benefits. Too many people rush to collect their social