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.

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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.

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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.
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Stopping the BackDROP?

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Is it true, they are thinking about stopping the back drop?
We are not aware of any proposals to change or stop the BackDROP for members of the MSEP or MSEP 2000. However, members of MSEP 2011 (those first employed in a MOSERS benefits-eligible positon on or after January 1, 2011) are not eligible for the BackDROP.

The next legislative session begins in January 2016, with pre-filing of bills in December, so we do not know what legislation may be proposed. We will continue to keep our members informed of any news affecting their MOSERS retirement, life and long-term disability insurance through our website, newsletters, social media, and the Rumor Central blog.

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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 9/11/2015

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From Crain's Chicago Business: Here's one public pension that survived the 2008 crisis

The 2008 financial crisis hurt retirement savings, but we found public defined benefit pensions in red states and blue states that survived the market's free-fall in reasonable shape. Surprisingly, one of those well-funded plans is the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

What distinguishes financially sound pensions from others? It's simple: mandated, adequate contributions. "Adequate" means contributions from both employees and employers totaling the amount that actuaries calculate will cover benefits—the actuarial determined contribution, or ADC

From The News & Observer: Berger, Moore deny top House Democrat’s report of state retirement changes

House Democratic Leader Larry Hall called a press conference Thursday to tell reporters that a Republican “secret society” is planning sweeping changes to the state employee retirement system.

Hall said he’s heard that legislative leaders plan to switch to a defined contribution retirement system, either as part of the state budget deal or a separate bill this session.

From Chief Investment Officer: Rick Dahl, CIO of MOSERS, to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Rick Dahl, the CIO of the Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) will receive Chief Investment Officer’s Lifetime Achievement Award at its annual Industry Innovation Awards on December 3 in New York City.

Past winners include Notre Dame’s Scott Malpass, Teacher Retirement System of Texas’ Britt Harris, Strategic Investment Group’s Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, and NISA investment Advisors’ Jess Yawitz and Bill Marshall.

MOSERS, relatively small among US public pensions, garners outsized respect far outweighing its approximately $10 billion portfolio. Dahl has driven the fund towards a risk-focused mindset. According to his annual CIO letter from 2014, the shift is “broadly identified as moving from a world where capital is allocated based on expected returns to one where capital is allocated based on expected risk and economic balance.”

From Forbes: Social Security: Can I Really Not Get My Widower's Benefit?

Social Security may be one of your largest assets. What and when you collect will make a huge difference to your lifetime benefits.

Today’s Social Security question is about eligibility for a widow(er)’s benefit while not earning enough to be subject to the earnings test.

From PLANSPONSOR: Former educator has confidence in retirement system

Michael Rathbone and James Shuls (“Teacher pensions more risky”) certainly reflect the bitter distaste St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield of Show-Me Institute has for public education and teacher pensions. Mr. Rathbone and Mr. Shuls are wrong and receive a failing grade. As a retired Missouri educator, here are the reasons why I have confidence in our system:
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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 9/4/2015

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From BenefitsPro: Lack of savings stresses workers

People aren’t feeling good about where they are financially.

Obligations weigh them down—daily living expenses, the high cost of health care, the potential for job loss or some other catastrophe—and they don’t even have a secure retirement to look forward to, now that pensions are largely a thing of the past.

From The Motley Fool: What Is a Pension? Is It All You'll Need to Retire?

What is a pension? Simple question and a slightly more complex answer than you may think. When most people think about pensions, they imagine someone who spent 30 years working at the factory, then getting a gold watch and a monthly check when he or she retires. And while that may be true for some people (except for the gold watch nowadays), pension benefits are a little more than that.

As a matter of fact, plenty of people who receive pensions will only get a small benefit and it may come from a company the worker left years and years ago. Let's take a closer look at pensions, what they are, and how the benefits work.

From Chicago Tribune: Retirement: Retire to a small city

COLUMBIA, MO. Median home price: $112,000

Columbia, Mo., has three institutions of higher learning within its boundaries. That means lots of bookstores, restaurants, indie films and other amenities that keep both college students and full-time residents entertained and informed. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Missouri -- a university-based, noncredit program for adults 50 and older -- offers courses on everything from Missouri's role in the Civil War to how to use your iPad. Columbia's hospitals are top-rated and offer rehab facilities as well as geriatric and other specialty services.

From Forbes: How A Terrible Saver Grew Her Cash Stash

Jaime Smith had drifted into her 40s and realized she had absolutely no savings. The Seattle-based project coordinator for a health insurance company saw that her industry was going through some turbulence and wondered if she should put some money away should she lose her job and fall behind on her condo payments.

Then she saw a chart make its way through social media, showing that if you put $1 away the first week, $2 the second, $3 the third, and so forth, you’d save $1,378 over the course of a year. Smith realized she could just stash $26.50 each week and get the same result, so she set up an automatic deduction, which funneled the money to a savings account that, in her mind, she couldn’t touch.

From PLANSPONSOR: Retirement Investors Should Plan for Rising Interest Rates

Equities would benefit in the short term, while fixed income investments would decrease in value. Asset managers and retirement plan advisers say they do not expect the Federal Reserve to raise the Federal Funds Rate from its current 25 basis points and that the uncertainty over when the Fed will raise rates will lead to continued volatility in both the fixed income and equities markets.

However, if the Fed were to raise rates, it would benefit equities in the short term, while fixed income investments would decrease in value.
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