Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/09/2015

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From Governor Jay Nixon: Gov. Jay Nixon today announced his appointments to the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Missouri State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced his appointments to the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Missouri State Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees.

The Governor has appointed Lloyd Joseph Carmichael, of Springfield, to the Missouri State Employees Retirement System (MOSERS) Board of Trustees. The board is responsible for the general administration and proper operation of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System, as well as for the administration and oversight of the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Program.

From The Nevada Daily Mail: Missouri's retirement systems for public educators on solid footing says director

The Public School and Education Employee Retirement Systems of Missouri is doing what it needs to do, said Steve Yoakum, executive director of PSRS/PEERS.

Yoakum told those attending the Vernon County Retired Teachers meeting Sept. 25, at the Bowman Building in Nevada that the system was meeting its stated goals:

* To help school districts attract and retain the best and brightest educators and employees for Missouri's school children.
* To manage the systems in a prudent and cost-efficient manner.
* To provide retirement security to Missouri's educators and education employees after a full career of service.

From CNN Money: Don't waste your savings on a boring retirement

Sometimes we put so much time and effort into the financial aspects of retirement planning -- saving the right amount, creating a viable investing strategy, assuring we'll have adequate income after the paychecks stop, etc. -- that we don't pay enough attention to translating all that financial planning into a more enjoyable and gratifying retirement.

Which is why I've long recommended that as people get within five to 10 years of calling it a career -- and then again periodically during retirement -- they engage in some "lifestyle planning," or thinking seriously about how they to spend the last 30 or so years of their lives.

From Naija247 News: US pension funds embrace private equity in Africa

But while African pension funds still tend to err on the side of caution and, for the most part, avoid investing in domestic private equity funds, US pension funds are embracing private equity on the continent.

That Missouri’s 111,000 retired state workers receive some of their pensions thanks to Africa consumers may seem unlikely.

As pension funds the world over struggle to meet their responsibilities, many are considering a larger exposure to African economies to tap into growth of, on average, close to 5 per cent a year. Some sectors, particularly those serving the nascent middle classes, have been growing much faster, at up to 20 per cent a year.

From Scripps Media: Missouri Senator McCaskill Addresses Pension Advance Fraudsters

A problem that's affecting pension advances among firefighters, veterans and teachers in other states is being addressed by Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.

McCaskill says she's hoping other states will outlaw the practice of pension advances like Missouri.

She says because of fees and interest rates, pension advances often offer consumers terms and costs that are extremely unfavorable in comparison to other financial products.

Related: 2014 Legislation Affecting MOSERS.

Maximum Age for Optional Life Insurance?

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Is there a maximum age limit for optional term life insurance coverage available via MOSERS? Or is coverage available until death, regardless of age?
Optional life insurance coverage through MOSERS* continues for the member’s lifetime, as long as applicable premiums are paid and the terms of the group policy are met. Your premium may be adjusted every January 1 based on your age.

In order to be eligible for MOSERS’ optional life insurance as a retiree, you must retire within 60 days of leaving state employment. You may elect to continue purchasing any amount of coverage from $1,000 up to a maximum of $60,000** (in increments of $500). However, the amount of coverage you carry into retirement cannot exceed the amount you carried while actively employed. You have 60 days from the end of the month in which you leave state employment to make an election to convert the remaining optional life insurance to an individual policy through Standard Insurance Company if you meet eligibility requirements.

As an aside, if you are an actively employed or retired member of MOSERS and have MOSERS’ basic life insurance, you also have worldwide travel assistance at no cost to you through our group insurance plan.

*MOSERS' life insurance is not available to employees of the Department of Conservation or state regional colleges/universities except for Lincoln University and State Technical College of Missouri; they provide different employer-sponsored insurance benefits.

**Note for members who retire under MSEP 2000 - If you retire under the “Rule of 80,” you may retain all of your optional life insurance coverage until age 62. At age 62, your coverage will automatically reduce to $60,000. For additional information, please see the MOSERS Life Insurance Handbook.

MSEP 2000 COLA Cap?

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How do I determine when or if I have met my MSEP 2000 COLA cap?
The COLA cap does not apply to MSEP 2000 members; it applies only to members of MSEP hired prior to 8/28/97, who receive a minimum 4% COLA until meeting their COLA cap.

They meet their COLA cap once their monthly benefit is equal to 165% of their initial or original benefit. This does not mean those members no longer receive an annual COLA. It means that it will be calculated differently: MSEP members who have already met their COLA cap and all MSEP 2000 retirees receive an annual COLA based on 80% of the percentage increase in the average CPI-U from one year to the next, with a minimum of 0% and maximum of 5%.

You can read more about how COLAs are calculated on our website, and also watch a short video. MOSERS will announce retiree COLAs for 2016 in mid-January.

Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/02/2015

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From PLANSPONSOR: Retirement Readiness in the Age of High Tuition

Adults who think it’s their duty to put the kids through college may want to think a little further—that is, if they are also saving for retirement. A recent LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute study explored the incidence of parents and grandparents helping, or being willing to help, finance a four-year college education and their attitudes behind that. More than collecting numbers, the researchers wanted to give a warning, if needed, to self-sacrificing family who might later find they’ve given up more than they bargained for.

From Forbes: Four Must-Know Social Security Facts

When it comes to Social Security, far too many retirees — and future retirees — are in the wilderness. Not only are most Americans not fully informed about the program, they don’t know how to maximize their benefits.

Of course, knowing what Social Security offers and how to get the highest-possible benefits are two different things. There’s a lot you have to know.

From CBS News: Is more money the key to a happy retirement?

With so many people approaching their retirement years with meager retirement savings, rather than aiming to fully retire and not work at all, it might be more realistic to aim for being happy. To help you get there, it's important to think about how much money you really need to be happy. A long time ago, someone said "money can't buy you happiness," and indeed considerable thought and research has gone into the question of whether having more money makes you happier. The so-called "Easterlin paradox" maintains that once your basic needs are met, having additional income won't add to your happiness.

From CNN Money: Low gas prices may doom Social Security raise

Cheap gas is good news for most people -- except senior citizens. Falling prices at the pump mean that retirees probably won't get a boost to their Social Security benefits next year.

The amount of money that Social Security pays out is adjusted each year to taken into account the rate of inflation in the 12 months leading up to September. This is known as the cost of living adjustment, or COLA. This year benefits rose 1.7%, and they've climbed by less than 2% for three years in a row.

From Daily Finance: How to Start Investing, & Why Now Is a Good Time

There is a big percentage of Americans who don't like complex financial problems. It's why things get crazy around tax season. It's why personal debt and credit are out of control for many. And it's why so many Americans don't invest for their retirement. Sure, there are plenty of people who rightly say they don't have the extra money to invest. But I suspect that these people are actually in the minority. With careful planning, it's possible for most people to invest in such a way that -- at least -- they will be somewhat financially secure upon retirement.

Related:  As a Missouri state employee, you can easily start investing through the State of Missouri Deferred Compensation Plan by using Target Date Funds or a Self-Directed Brokerage account.

Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 9/25/2015

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From GOBankingRates: Retirement Fun or Emergency Fund: Which Do I Save for First?

You know you need to save for retirement. But you also know that you need to have a stash of cash for emergencies. However, numerous studies and surveys show that Americans aren’t doing a good job of saving for either.

In fact, GOBankingRates’ 2015 Life + Money survey found that planning for retirement and saving for an emergency are among the top financial challenges that Americans said they are facing.

From Forbes: Retirement Roadmap: Rules Of The Road

Retirement is not a destination but a journey, the accumulation of many action steps over many years. Along the way, there are myriad opportunities to get off the path—and back on it. And at virtually any turn in the road, there are possibilities to speed up or slow down your progress.

And for most of us, it’s a long road, both before and after retirement. Currently, a healthy 65-year-old man has a 25% chance of living to age 92. For a woman, the age is 94. A healthy 65-year-old couple has a 25% chance that one of them will reach 97.1 Even though no one knows how long he or she will live, it’s smart to plan for a long life. 

From CNN Money: Ensuring your retirement savings last as long as you do

I'm retired and have about $800,000 invested in a conservative mix of stocks and bonds. Social Security and pension payments cover my basic expenses, but I'm skittish about the market volatility and would like to have a guaranteed source of income that's not subject to the market's ups and downs. Should I put some of my savings into an immediate annuity? --J.M.

At first glance, I'd say you probably don't need to put any of your savings into an immediate annuity, a type of investment that converts a lump sum into guaranteed monthly payments for life. After all, you've already got enough assured income from Social Security and your pension to cover your essential living expenses.

From USA Today: Social Security recipients: Don't count on a raise in 2016

Retirees, many of whom continue to struggle with dismal yields on deposit accounts, bond funds, annuities and other conservative investments, should prepare for a bit more bad news: Social Security benefits probably won't include a cost-of-living increase next year.

The Social Security Administration has been paying COLAs, or cost-of-living adjustments, to help protect against inflation since 1975 and didn't offer a yearly increase in just two other years. But 2016 seems destined to join 2010 and 2011 as the third year of no increases.

 From Kiplinger: Are You Saving Enough for Retirement? - Quiz

Even before the onset of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, many people wondered whether they were saving enough for retirement. Frankly, many weren't. Now, post-meltdown, the question remains: Am I saving enough? Take our quiz to see if you are on track for a comfortable retirement and if not, how you can improve your chances.

Retracting Retirement Application

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If I submit my retirement papers to retire on 11-1-15 this month (Sept) and then decide I will not retire on 11-1-15, can I retract them? 
If you submit a Retirement Application and then decide not to retire, please send MOSERS a written notice to rescind your application (mail, email, or fax).

As you consider the decision to retire, visit the Ready to Retire? section of our website. We encourage you to apply for retirement online - it's fast, easy and efficient. Login to your secure Member Homepage using your MOSERS password or Register for a Password, then click on the Retire Online tab. This streamlined process will lead you through all the forms in Step 1 of the two-step retirement process. You will be able to track your progress and see checkmarks next to each form you have submitted.

Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 9/18/2015

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From MarketWatch: How has the shift to defined contribution plans affected saving?

Many commentators – ourselves included – assert that people are saving less for retirement as a result of the shift from defined benefit to defined contribution plans. To support such an assertion, it would be nice to have counterfactual data showing what the world would look like today in terms of retirement saving if workers were still covered by defined benefit plans and compare that saving with actual contributions to defined contribution plans. But these data do not exist. Furthermore, even if these data did exist, today’s more mobile workforce would make defined benefit plans a less effective way to save for retirement than they were in the past. So such an exercise simply is not feasible.

From BenefitsPro: U.S. savers most confident in retirement, but should they be?

Retirement confidence in the U.S. has catapulted in 2015, according to State Street Global Advisers 2015 Retirement Survey. A bit more than half, or 51 percent, of respondents that participate in a workplace plan say they are extremely or very confident about their retirement readiness, up from 36 percent last year. In 2013, only 21 percent of respondents felt as confident about retirement.

From Gallup: Gov't Workers Happier With Retirement Plans, Other Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Public and private sector workers are similarly satisfied with most of the 13 job aspects Gallup asks them about, but government employees are more likely to be satisfied with their retirement plans, health insurance and vacation benefits.

From Ozarks First: Protecting Your Retirement: Push to Close Investment Loophole

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Today more people than ever invest for their retirement with 401-K or IRA plans, as opposed to traditional pensions, which is why financial experts want to make sure the law requires financial advisers are on your side.

Jay Hardenbrook, associate state director for advocacy with AARP Missouri, says right now there's no fiduciary responsibility for those investment advisers, meaning instead of giving you the best advice, they could be lining their own pocketbooks with bigger fees.

 From Houston Herald: Retirement income from the tooth fairy?

It turns out a good source for retirement income for today’s kids in Missouri may be right under their pillows.

According to a new analysis out today from Delta Dental of Missouri, if today’s 6-year-olds invest all the money they receive from the Tooth Fairy, they could be sitting on a combined total of more than $643 million by the time they reach 67, the traditional retirement age.