Browsed by
Category: General

Pension Plans May Count Service Different Ways for Different Things

Pension Plans May Count Service Different Ways for Different Things

I frequently receive calls from pension plan participants who are confused about their plan’s rules for counting service for vesting, participation, and determining the amount of the pension. I explain that plans may legally count service differently for each of these things, and that most plans do. A recent case illustrates the point and participants’ confusion. Miller v. Ret. Program Plan, No. 18-6314 (Aug. 22, 2019). Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC (CNS) sponsored a retirement plan for its employees (the Plan)….

Read More Read More

The Secure Act- What Would It Mean To Retirement?

The Secure Act- What Would It Mean To Retirement?

The House of Representatives passed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the “SECURE Act”). The SECURE Act is now in the hands of the Senate. If the Senate and President approve, the following are some of the key provisions that could impact individuals and businesses when it comes to retirement planning: · After the death of a participant in a retirement plan or owner of an IRA (or Roth IRA), distributions of the entire account…

Read More Read More

It’s Not Always True That You Must Start Taking Pension Distributions By April 1 of the Year Following the Year You Turn Age 70½

It’s Not Always True That You Must Start Taking Pension Distributions By April 1 of the Year Following the Year You Turn Age 70½

Under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC), participants in tax-qualified pension plans [most pension plans ARE tax qualified] MUST start taking “required minimum distributions” (RMDs) of their pension by April 1 of the year following the year they turn age 70½. This is referred to as the “required beginning date” (RBD), and it is very important because the penalty for failing to take an RMD by the deadline is an onerous 50% tax penalty. Ditto if you fail to take your…

Read More Read More

What Is the Better Strategy For Achieving Retirement Security? Working Longer? Or Saving More?

What Is the Better Strategy For Achieving Retirement Security? Working Longer? Or Saving More?

The National Bureau of Economic Research recently published a working paper that purports to answer this question. [See “The Power of Working Longer,” by Gila Bronshtein, Jason Scott, John B. Shoven, and Sita N. Slavov]. With exhausting technical analysis, the authors demonstrate that working longer is a much more powerful strategy for achieving retirement security than saving more. For example, the authors show that delaying retirement by just one year results in an 8% increase in the standard of living,…

Read More Read More

Does It Make Sense to Delay Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits in Order to Receive a Higher Monthly Benefit?

Does It Make Sense to Delay Collecting Social Security Retirement Benefits in Order to Receive a Higher Monthly Benefit?

Callers sometimes ask me this question, and I tell them the answer depends on a number of factors unique to them. But, here are a few things to consider. First, if you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits (SS benefits), you may choose to start receiving them between age 62 and age 70. However, if you start your SS benefits before your full retirement age (FRA), they will be reduced; if you wait until age 70, they will be increased….

Read More Read More

Latest Social Security Trust Fund Report Is Not Good News for Retirees

Latest Social Security Trust Fund Report Is Not Good News for Retirees

Each year, Social Security’s trustees report on the current and projected financial status of the Social Security trust fund. Their 2018 annual report is worrisome. In a nutshell, the trustees conclude that the Social Security trust fund faces insolvency and resultant benefit cuts by 2034 if changes are not soon made to the program. BackgroundSocial Security actually has two trust funds: the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund, which pays retirement benefits and survivors benefits; and the Disability Insurance…

Read More Read More

One More Thing to Worry About in Retirement: the Solvency of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund [Medicare Part A]

One More Thing to Worry About in Retirement: the Solvency of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund [Medicare Part A]

On June 5, 2018, Medicare’s Board of Trustees issued its annual report on the state of its two trust funds: the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (Hospital Fund) and the Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund (Supplementary Fund). The Hospital Fund, known as Medicare Part A, helps pay for hospital stays, home health services following a hospital stay, care in a skilled nursing facility, and hospice care the aged and disabled. The Hospital Fund is financed by taxes on workers’ earnings. Thus,…

Read More Read More

Can Immigration Help Shore-Up Our Social Security Retirement System?

Can Immigration Help Shore-Up Our Social Security Retirement System?

A paper by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) provides intriguing insights into the role of immigration on our Social Security retirement system. [See “America’s Demographic Challenge: Understanding the Role of Immigration,” Aug. 2017, by Kenneth Megan and Theresa Cardinal Brown]. The U.S. population has been aging rapidly the past few decades, due mainly to declining fertility rates and increasing life expectancies, a trend that is expected to continue. This demographic shift has placed a strain on our Social Security retirement…

Read More Read More

Retirement Likely to Be More Financially Challenging for Women Than Men

Retirement Likely to Be More Financially Challenging for Women Than Men

It’s all about the money, honey. In April [2018], the Census Bureau released data comparing men’s and women’s 2016 median earnings in over 300 occupations. In nearly all occupations, women earned less than men. Overall, women’s median 2016 earnings equaled $40,675, while men’s median earnings equaled $50,741-nearly 25% more! However, the gender pay gap varies among occupations. The widest gender pay gaps were in financial management and sales (real estate brokers, real estate sales agents, insurance sales agents), and in…

Read More Read More

Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments May Not Reflect Actual Cost Increases to Seniors

Social Security Cost of Living Adjustments May Not Reflect Actual Cost Increases to Seniors

When our nation’s Social Security program was enacted in 1935, there was no automatic adjustment in Social Security retirement benefits to account for inflation. Rather, Congress would periodically adjust benefits to reflect inflationary increases in the costs of goods and services. In 1972, however, Congress enacted an amendment to the Social Security Act that requires benefits to be increased based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) the previous year. At the time of the 1972 amendment, there…

Read More Read More

Untitled 1