Showing posts with label StraightTalk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label StraightTalk. Show all posts

Retirement Related News for 12/31/2015

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From Treasurer Zweifel: Treasurer Zweifel’s End of Year Financial Tips for Missourians

Our day to day lives keep us very busy. And when we’re busy, we tend to focus on things which are immediately in front of us. It’s perfectly understandable, but it can be dangerous when we consider the planning and preparation it takes to make consistent, sound financial decisions. So as 2015 comes to an end, think about some of the simple yet meaningful things you can do to keep your fiscal house in order for the New Year and beyond.

From CNN Money: Don't Freak Out About Health Care Costs In Retirement

Planning for retirement is tough. Figuring out how much money you'll need for health care is even tougher.

More than half of people over 50 recently surveyed by Nationwide said they were "terrified" of the uncertainty.

Health care will likely be your biggest expense during the golden years. It's obviously a tough number to nail down and one that will vary by person, but there are estimates out there. A 65-year-old, healthy couple can expect to spend $266,600 over the course of their retirement on Medicare premiums alone, according to HealthView Services. An estimate from Fidelity is a little less: $245,000. Neither include out-of-pocket expenses or long-term care costs.

From PLANSPONSOR: As Investors, Women Have Unique Circumstances

Women in the workplace face special challenges. Over a lifetime’s career, they make less because of lower wages and sometimes stepping out of the workforce to care for children or parents. They lack confidence, but they are interested in saving and learning to invest for their futures.

Women could use a nudge to complete certain retirement planning activities, according to a report from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute. LIMRA research consistently shows that the top financial concern for both sexes is saving enough money for retirement (83% of women, compared with 77% of men). But women seem to have an especially difficult time getting ready for retirement, with just 20% of women surveyed saying they are comfortable with their level of financial knowledge.

From Forbes: 10 Resolutions for Your Retirement

If you’re planning to make New Year’s resolutions for 2016, there’s a good chance at least one of them will be related to your finances. Money management issues like big credit card bills or a small savings account balance may be more top of mind on a day-to-day basis, but the beginning of a new year is a great time to tackle more long-term goals like retirement. Here are some retirement-related action steps to consider resolving to do next year:

From Time: The Retirement Guide 2016

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Retirement Related News for 12/23/2015

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From The L.A. Times: Your Retirement Prospects Are Bleaker Than Ever

The vast majority of Americans who expect to retire in the next decade can count on little income other than their Social Security. This is true not only for low-income workers, who have struggled most of their lives, but also for millions of middle-income workers. Although Social Security is a tremendously important program, and provides a solid base that retirees can depend upon, its $16,000 average annual benefit doesn't go very far. Many if not most can expect to see sharp reductions in living standards.

Illinois is developing a state-run retirement program that will make it easier and cheaper for workers to save. Many other states, including California, are studying this option.

The reason for such bleak retirement prospects is the disappearance of traditional defined benefit pensions and the failure of 401(k)-type plans to fill the gap. A recent analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that, in 2011, only 14% of private-sector employees participated in a defined benefit pension plan. The participation rate has been falling quite rapidly, so it was almost certainly lower in 2015.

From Financial Finesse: Top 10 Financial Articles of 2015

I’m a huge fan of lists: to-do lists (yes, I sometimes add things just so I can check them off), best-of lists, pros and cons lists and yes, top 10 lists. Want a reading list to take you through the end of the year? Without further ado, here are my top 10 favorite money-related articles of 2015:

10. How Many Times Has Your Personal Information Been Exposed to Hackers? (New York Times) This article gets the 10 spot not because I dislike it. I find it incredibly useful and I think everyone should click over and take the quiz. It’s just my least favorite topic.

From BenefitsPRO: Parents Spending Retirement Savings on Kids’ Holiday Gifts

The picture of the doting parent, sacrificing to give the kids everything, has just gotten a little crazier.

Not only do parents admit to overspending on their kids’ holiday gifts, they’re tapping their retirement funds to do so.

That’s according to T. Rowe Price’s 2015 Parents, Kids & Money survey, which not only found that 62 percent of parents agreed with the statement, “I spent more for my kids over the holidays than I should have,” but that 7 percent of respondents actually admitted to using their retirement accounts as holiday spending cash.

From Forbes: Millennials: Your Strategic Plan For Life

Life seems to just happen, doesn’t it? Days turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months into years. Ask any Baby Boomer about where the time went. They’ll tell you about their plans to save money, which were pushed off for more immediate concerns. The kids wanted summer camp, the car broke down, the boiler blew up, or they lost their job. There is always another pull for immediate cash; real pulls, not frivolous ones.

When it comes to retirement, a 2015 study from the Insured Retirement Institute says it all; “… half of all retired boomers are living off Social Security income, pensions, and other forms of recurring income, rather than retirement savings…” And, according to Employee Benefits Research Institute, Baby Boomers have only saved about $150,000 for their retirement. These are the more wealthy Baby Boomers, by the way. Now, they have to keep working to be able to live

From PLANSPONSOR: Illinois Idea to Tax Retirement Income Gets Pushback

With the state’s deficit growing, Illinois lawmakers trying to establish a budget are batting around the idea of taxing retirement income.

According to news reports, no formal legislation has been put in writing. And, some state legislators and lobbying groups are trying to preempt any such legislation.

A resolution was recently introduced in the Illinois House urging the legislature not to consider taxing retirement income. “With many retirees on a fixed income and worried about how they are going to pay for healthcare, the last thing we need to do is suddenly tax their income,” says State Representative Dwight Kay, a co-sponsor of the bill.
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Retirement Related News for 12/18/2015

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From Pensions & Investments: DB plans consistently outperform DC — Center for Retirement Research

Defined contribution plans consistently underperform defined benefit plans, most likely due to higher investment fees, said a new research brief issued Tuesday by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Even after factoring in plan size and asset allocation, defined benefit plans outperformed defined contribution plans by an average of 70 basis points per year between 1990 and 2012, the report found.

The full report is available on the center's website.

From CNN Money: How to Tell Whether You Can Afford to Retire Early

I'm 62 years old and concerned that I might lose my job. If that happens, would I be able to retire early on the $500,000 I have in my retirement accounts? --Michael M.

The answer comes down to how much annual income you can realistically expect to count on the rest of your life if you stop working now and whether that income would be sufficient to fund a retirement lifestyle you consider acceptable.

It's impossible, of course, for me to give you a definitive answer without having a lot more specifics about your finances as well as what sort of post-career life you envision. But I can suggest a process that should at least enable you to come away with a decent idea of how you might fare.

From The Huffington Post: The Year in Retirement Security: A Look Back at 2015

For years firefighters, nurses, teachers, social workers, roads crews and others across the country have paid a percentage of their salary toward their retirement security. Notably, in Illinois and New Jersey irresponsible politicians did not do the same. Instead, they skipped or reduced annually required contributions to their pension systems. Between 2001 and 2013, Illinois paid less than 80 percent of what it should have to its pension systems. New Jersey paid less than 40 percent of its obligation over that same time period.

In 2015, workers across the country learned if they work in a state that is naughty or nice. Responsible states that make their yearly required pension contributions, not surprisingly, have pensions that are fully funded and in some cases have surpluses. That protects both taxpayers and workers.

From Forbes: As Trillions Move Into IRAs And 401ks, High Fees Bite Retirement Security

A new study covering investment returns from 1990 to 2012 finds that 401(k)s and other defined contribution plans underperformed traditional defined benefit pension plans by an average of 0.70% a year, even after differences in asset allocation were taken into account. The likely explanation? The high mutual fund fees workers pay when they invest their 401(k) stash—fees that far exceed the investment costs of traditional company run defined benefit plans, conclude authors Alicia H. Munnell, Jean-Pierre Aubry and Caroline V. Crawford of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

While a 0.70% difference might not sound like a big deal, it means a worker who contributes to a 401(k) over his whole 40 year career will have about 15% less in assets at retirement, the CRR calculates.

From BenefitsPRO: Women’s Pension Protection Act introduced in House

The House version of the Women’s Pension Protection Act (H.R. 4235) was introduced by Representative Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, and Senator Patty Murray, D-Washington.

Earlier in the year, Murray introduced the Senate version of the legislation.

Among the provisions of the proposed legislation is an increase in spousal protection that requires spousal consent before a married worker can take money out of a retirement account; currently, only defined benefit plans offer such protection, but the WPPA would extend spousal protections to defined contribution plans, including 401(k)s.
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Retirement Related News for 12/11/2015

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From MOSERS: Rick Dahl Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

MOSERS' CIO, Rick Dahl, was presented his Lifetime Achievement award from CIO Magazine at the Industry Innovation Awards on December 3rd.”

From the CIO award honoree information:

Rick Dahl's "investment acumen is light years ahead of many of his peers," according to Chris Ailman, CIO of California State Teachers' Retirement System. "His willingness and ability to develop synthetic portfolios and exposure is unique."

From the Jefferson City News Tribune: Our Opinion: State Workers Extend Spirit of Generosity

We commend Missouri’s state employees for extending their tradition of personal generosity.

The results of this year’s Missouri State Employee Charitable Campaign (MSECC) continue to be impressive. Consider these numbers reported Tuesday by the Missouri Office of Administration, which coordinates the campaign.

• State employees this donated more than $1,089,249 to 885 Missouri charities.

• This marks the 12th consecutive year contributions have exceeded $1 million.

• In its 31-year history, the state campaign has raised more than $28 million.

From CNN Money: Retired? How Much Money Should You Keep In Stocks?

Considering how many retirees must grapple with this issue and the fact that allocating one's assets between stocks and bonds is a key element of any retirement income plan, you might think that there would be a stocks-bonds mix that most retirement experts would generally agree is correct.

But there's not, so I can't give you a specific percentage to shoot for.

I can, however, point you to three ways that investors typically deal with this issue, and then tell you what I think you should do to arrive at a reasonable blend of stocks and bonds for your own nest egg.

From Forbes: Three Warning Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Help Handling Finances

Family get togethers can be eye openers. If you haven’t seen aging loved ones in awhile, the visible evidence that they are getting older can be a wake-up call. It can be hard for all of us to accept the effects of passing years on our minds and bodies. We want our aging parents to stay how they used to be. For adult children, and I’m one of them, we understand that our aging loved one just needs more help as time goes by. In our family, it’s about mobility. In other families with cognitive decline as an issue, it can be about taking charge of things you’ve never dealt with before. Finances are one of those things, always a touchy subject. But that’s an area where we need to be ever vigilant.

Holidays near year-end are a time when a lot of people feel generous and do their charitable giving. A lot of scammers know this and seek out the elderly, targeting them for special attention and attempts to get their money. The Federal government’s Office for Older Americans publishes warnings about this regularly. Somehow, these warnings do not necessarily reach the very ones they are intended to protect. So, it’s up to us, the family to be on the lookout.

From PLANSPONSOR: New Model of Retiree Spending Highlights Role of Marriage

New research from the Michigan Retirement Research Center shows important differences in the retirement outlooks of singles and couples.

Findings from a new research paper, “Couples’ and Singles’ Savings After Retirement,” by Mariacristina De Nardi, Eric French and John Bailey Jones, suggest singles “live less long than people who are part of a couple, but are more likely to end up in a nursing home in any given year.”

For that reason, the researchers suggest, a single should expect to have higher medical spending than a member of a couple.
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Retirement Related News for 12/04/2015

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From The Transamerica Center: The Current State of Retirement: Pre-Retiree Expectations and Retiree Realities

This new study compares and contrasts the retirement outlook of age 50+ workers with the actual experiences of retirees. In TCRS' first-ever retiree survey, it finds that pre-retirees' ideas of retirement are different than the actual experiences of retirees. While many age 50+ workers expect to work beyond age 65 and/or work in retirement, those who are currently retired entered retirement at a median age of 62. Many retirees retired before they had planned to, often due to circumstances beyond their control.

View the study.

From CNN:: How much income will I need in retirement?

A widely accepted tenet of retirement planning is that you need to replace just 70% to 80% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your standard of living after you call it a career. And on the face of it, this rule of thumb seems to make sense. After all, since you'll no longer have to funnel money into 401(k)s and other retirement savings accounts and many of your expenses are likely to drop after you retire, you should be able to live as well, if not better, on considerably less income than you earned during your career.

But while "replacement ratios" may be useful for gauging how much you need to save each year to build an adequate nest egg when retirement is decades away, they're less helpful once you're within 10 or so years of retiring. At that point, you really want to base your planning on something more concrete -- namely, how much dough you'll actually have to come up with to cover your expenses and maintain an acceptable post-career lifestyle.

From The Wallstreet Journal: Why Recent Social Security Changes Make Sense

It took a few years, but Congress has eliminated the remaining loopholes that allowed people to game the Social Security system.

In 2009, we published three briefs under the title “Strange But True,” that described Social Security claiming strategies that allowed individuals to get more benefits. The idea was to show how they worked, who was most likely to benefit, and how much they could cost. Our hope was that publicity would compel Congress to close down these options.

The most egregious claiming strategy was what we called “Free Loan from Social Security.” The strategy allowed individuals to claim Social Security at age 62, invest those funds, and then reclaim higher benefits at age 70 simply by paying back what they had received to date interest free. In essence, the claimant received an interest-free loan from Social Security. The $6-$11 billion potential annual gain, concentrated among higher-income households, equaled a comparable cost to Social Security. In late 2010, the Social Security Administration (SSA) changed its regulations so that individuals had only one year to change their mind. In other words, score one for the good guys.

From Forbes: 7 Tips To Think Differently About Your Money And Become An Everyday Financial Superstar

One of my favorite types of articles to write is what I call “the financial feat story.”

As collected in the new Forbes e-book, “Money Hacks: Forbes Stories Of Superstar Savers,” which I cowrote with reporter Lauren Gensler, these are tales of people who took on and accomplished impressive, if not seemingly impossible, financial challenges.

From PLANSPONSOR: Retirees Share Realities with Younger Generations

In research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, retirees shared actionable insights about what they would have done differently in preparing themselves for retirement.
Reflecting on their working years, many retirees say they:
  • Wish that they would have saved more on a consistent basis (76%);
  • Wish they had been more knowledgeable about retirement saving and investing (68%);
  • Would have liked to have received more information and advice from their employers about how to achieve their retirement goals (53%);
  • Waited too long to concern themselves with saving and investing for retirement (48%); and
  • Should have relied more on outside experts to monitor and manage their retirement savings (41%).
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Retirement Related News for 11/20/2015

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From KOMU: Missouri insulated from nationwide teacher shortage by pension program

In an age where a nationwide teacher shortage is well-documented, many believe Missouri’s public school teacher retirement benefits have become quite the draw.

But, others are drawing a target on the system.

Kathy Steinhoff, a Hickman High School math teacher, who has been in the district for 28 years said, “It is the best kept secret even within the profession because, for most teachers, it doesn’t come on their radar until they’re teaching for about 25 years.”

Steve Yoakum, Executive Director for The Public School Retirement System of Missouri or PSRS, said other states are certainly paying attention.

From The Missouri Times: Pension Committee Proceeds Despite Lack of Quorum, Increased Security

The Joint Committee on Public Employment Retirement met Wednesday under two unusual circumstances. The committee did not reach a quorum, and an extra officer patrolled outside House Hearing Room 4, representing heightened security from Capitol Police.

Yesterday, Rep. Mike Leara, the committee chair, asked for increased security after Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, received a death threat on his office voicemail.

Leara said the move was more about making sure the enhanced media presence at a usually quiet committee did not bring out anyone seeking… well, enhanced media presence.

From Forbes: Three Secure Holiday Shopping Moves

You’re going to get annoyed this holiday season dealing with new chip-card readers, now making their way into stores. I know I have. It will take time before they perfect this technology.

In the meantime, there are some solid ways to avoid going into debt or being defrauded this time of year. You have to focus on savings instead of spending. You may not get the best deals on Black Friday or even Cyber Monday.

While the new chip readers are designed to reduce or eliminate point-of-purchase fraud — paying inside a store — there will still be ways thieves can get at your credit card information. You can protect yourself by using online encrypted sites that are certified by third parties for their security.

From PLANSPONSOR: Millennials Face Obstacles to Retirement Saving

An unwillingness to sacrifice things they believe add to their present quality of life is one of them.

Millennials face a unique set of obstacles when saving for retirement, says a new study by Schwab Retirement Plan Services.

Every generation has its reasons not to save for retirement. For Millennials, more than any other, an unwillingness to sacrifice things they believe add to their present quality of life—and crushing student debt—top the list. Schwab’s research echoes other studies of Millennial savings behavior, which find that they’re confused about the process, or squeezed by student loans, and generally need more financial education and support.

Millennials face several obstacles to meeting their retirement savings goals, which disproportionately affect this group more than any other. Moreover, although this younger generation believes they would benefit from help, they are using professional investment advice far less than their older counterparts. Forty-four percent are not saving more because they want to treat themselves to things like occasional dinners out and vacations, more than Gen Xers (34%) and Boomers (29%).

From BenefitsPRO: Spending Patterns Change in Retirement--But Not Always How You'd Think

While on average households spend less money in retirement, not all households do so—and they don’t all change their spending in the same ways.

That’s according to new research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, which found that while households’ average spending in retirement falls during the first two years, almost half (45.9 percent) of retired households actually spent more than they did just before retirement.

Making retirement savings last may be easier in these 10 most tax-friendly states for retirees.

That spending does decline over time, the research found, and by the sixth year of retirement, only a third (33.4 percent) spend more than they did preretirement.
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Retirement Related News for 11/13/2015

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From LifeHealthPRO: Aging In America

One day, while flitting about on earth, the Greek goddess, Eos, met and fell in love with a mortal. Eos went to her father, Zeus, and said, “please, Father, give Tithonus immortality.”

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” Zeus responded.

“Yes, Father, more than anything.”

Like any father with a beloved daughter (goddess or not), Zeus bowed to her beauty and did as he was told, granting Tithonus immortality. Only there was one snag in the arrangement — Eos never asked for eternal youth along with immortality. Over the centuries, Tithonus, unable to die, but with a withered and crumbling body, lived on. Eos, blessed with eternal youth, watched her beloved age and wither, his bones reduced to dust, yet he lived on — he lived on and on and on, well beyond what anyone would consider an enviable quality of life.

Gerontologist and aging expert Ken Dychtwald loves to tell that mythical tale, the story a perfect metaphor to describe our aging population and the modern world’s God-like ability to keep people alive.

“On the first day of the 20th century,” says Dychtwald. “the average life expectancy was 47. As the century closed, it was 78. Today, it’s approaching 80 and continuing to rise.”

From The Kansas City Star: Former Missouri Lawmaker Ray Salva Says Federal Conviction Shouldn’t Affect His State Pension

Former Missouri lawmaker Ray Salva, a convicted felon, is locked in a legal dispute with the state of Missouri over whether he qualifies for a state pension.

Salva, 68, pleaded guilty in 2013 to a federal charge of illegally receiving Social Security payments while working as a state legislator. Missouri says the state’s constitution bars pension payments to public officials convicted of felonies, so it cut off his pension and has now asked a judge to order Salva to repay nearly $30,000 he has already received.

But Salva says he is entitled to the pension because his guilty plea came more than two years after he left the legislature. The constitutional prohibition on pension payments to felons only applies to convictions that take place while a public official is actually in office, he argues.

From Time: How To Solve America’s Retirement Crisis

Economist Teresa Ghilarducci knows firsthand how passionate Americans can be about their retirement dreams. In 2008, after she suggested Congress let workers trade in their 401(k) retirement accounts for annuities, talk-radio hosts accused her of trying to kill the 401(k). She got death threats.

She wasn’t deterred, though, from her decades-long crusade, via research and advocacy, to improve retirement security. Now teaching at the New School in New York City, she has, among other duties, served on the advisory board of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. and been a trustee of the Indiana state employees’ retirement fund. Ghilarducci calls retirement the most important financial issue facing both families and governments. “Everybody knows that they will get old,” she says, “and everybody fears not having enough.” She offers solutions in her latest book, How to Retire With Enough Money, and How to Know What Enough Is. Read on for her proposals and practical advice.

From The St. Joe Channel: SJSD Receives New Federal Subpoena

The St. Joseph School District has received a new federal subpoena as the FBI continues its investigation into the district.

The district announced Tuesday that it received a subpoena Monday night to produce records from the St. Joseph School District to the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

"This was really out of the blue and unbeknownst to us," said Superintendent Robert Newhart, during a news conference at district headquarters Tuesday afternoon.

Newhart said they received the subpoena during their Board of Education meeting Monday evening.

Many were hoping that the FBI was nearing the end of what has become a 19 month investigation. It began in April 2014 after an audit by the Missouri State Auditor's Office revealed a stipend system that paid out anywhere from $25-40 million dating back to 2000.

From Forbes: Social Security Q&A: How Can I Maximize Benefits Under the New Rules?

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 column explores twelve secrets to get the highest benefits now that Social Security’s rules have changed and answers other questions.

The 2015 Budget dramatically changed Social Security claiming options. ​Every day I get a host of emails from the victims of these changes. Most are like my 64-year-old secretary, who I wrote about last week, who, thanks to Congress and the President, lost her ability at age 66 to do three things: a) get a child benefit for her severely disabled child, b) a get spousal benefit for her non-working husband who has had to stay home and care for their child for years, and c) file for her retirement benefit, immediately suspend it and wait until 70 to collect her highest possible retirement benefit.

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Retirement Related News for 11/06/2015

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From PLANSPONSOR: Fidelity Research Busts Five Common Retirement Myths

Retirement is a matter of when, not how much, for most people.

Conventional wisdom has it that workers plan their retirement around the amount of money they have saved. But nearly half of American workers plan to stop working on a specific date, regardless of how much they have for retirement. This is one of several myths debunked in new research from Fidelity Investments, which surveyed retirement savers and recent retirees on the nonfinancial factors that influence retirement decisions.

“It’s critical that employers understand these factors and design benefits to either retain or help transition pre-retirees based on their workforce strategy,” cautions Jim MacDonald, president of Workplace Investing at Fidelity Investments.

From The Gadsden Times: 72-year Employee of Goodyear Retires

Sid Richardson, a 72-year employee of the Goodyear-Gadsden plant and the longest-serving hourly associate in Goodyear Global history, officially retired Thursday at the USW Local 12 headquarters.

He was joined by friends, Goodyear-Gadsden leadership, USWA Local 12 members, former co-workers and family at a small celebration.

“I want to thank everyone for everything you have done for me. I’ll miss coming to work every day and seeing my family, because I spent a lot of time with my work family over the years,” Richardson said. “It’s really all I’ve ever known, so I will miss it. But the time is right.”

From Forbes: Men's Retirement Savings More Than 50% Bigger Than Women's, New Study Shows

Add this to the ongoing debate over pay inequality between the sexes: according to new research, men’s retirement accounts are more than 50% higher than women’s on average in the U.S. – despite women being far, far better savers than their male counterparts.

The results of a review of Vanguard’s retirement plan investors, released today, show men’s accounts averaged $123,262 while women’s accounts were $79,572; the median account balance for male participants was also substantially higher at $36,875 for men and $24,446 for women.

From BenefitsPRO: 10 Questions on Retirement Preparedness

How well prepared are American workers for retirement?

Not very, according to the vast majority of studies, which have found that not only do many people have nothing saved for retirement, but those who’ve managed to put money away are way short of the mark.

According to a Financial Finesse study, as people are increasingly made responsible for funding their own retirement, just 19 percent are confident that they’re on track to retire with enough money to do so.

From PLANSPONSOR: Retirement Investors Need to Understand Role of Risk

“Understanding how risk factors into your plan can help build financial confidence,” says Marcy Keckler, with Ameriprise Financial.

Seventy-three percent of American investors tend to avoid risk entirely or weigh risk very carefully when engaging in financial decisions, according to the Financial Risks & Investor Attitudes study by Ameriprise Financial.

The study found 31% of investors surveyed are what Ameriprise calls Risk Avoiders, who are the most guarded when it comes to financial risk-taking. Eighty-nine percent of this group view their outlook on risk as “cautious.” But, while nearly half (42%) of respondents in this profile claim they are not willing to take risks with their finances, many are unknowingly increasing their exposure to risk, Ameriprise says.
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Retirement Related News for 10/30/2015

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From The Center For Retirement Research: Fewer Boomers Get Social Security at 62

The best way for most individuals to increase their retirement income is by delaying Social Security – each year they wait significantly boosts their monthly benefit check.

It seems that baby boomers are getting the message. The share of people who claim their Social Security benefits at age 62 – as soon as they’re eligible – is falling, and falling more rapidly than previously thought.

From NBC News: 98-Year-old Man is Indiana's Oldest State Employee

Even at 98-years-old, the oldest Indiana state employee is still going strong. WTHR's Kevin Rader reports. Alternate YouTube Link

From BenefitsPRO: Seniors not doing enough to maintain cognitive health

Good news: Nearly everybody agrees that brains are important.

A recent survey by AARP finds that 98 percent of those over 40 believe that maintaining or improving brain health is somewhat or very important. The other 2 percent presumably believe that healthy brains are for nerds.

From The Missouri Valley Times: Retirement days ahead to bring Bingo and cards games

For many, retirement age usually comes along when people are in their mid- to late-sixties. However, many people do continue to work in some capacity – either in a different field or part-time way.

Marge Stirtz of Missouri Valley has worked a little beyond that norm – working for 65 years and into her early 80's as a legal secretary in the community. She will be retiring in late October from Missouri Valley’s Kellogg Law Firm. A few months following her retirement, Marge will celebrate her 83rd birthday – on Feb. 6, 2016.

She began her legal secretary career right after graduating from the Magnolia High School in May of 1950.

“I started out working for Kenneth Acrea,” said Stirtz, “and then I worked for John Kellogg’s dad, and then for John Kellogg for about the following 25 years. I’ve enjoyed every minute of it!”

From Ozarks First: Phil Collins announces end of retirement

Phil Collins wants you to take a look at him now. He's back from retirement.

"The horse is out of the stable and I'm raring to go," Collins told Rolling Stone in an interview published online Wednesday.
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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/23/2015

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From Governor Nixon: Gov. Nixon takes action to keep FY2016 budget in balance following loss of one-time tobacco settlement funds

Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that, due to the recent court ruling relieving tobacco companies of their obligation to pay the State of Missouri $50 million under the Master Settlement Agreement, spending will need to be restricted in order to maintain a balanced budget.

“Based on the St. Louis Circuit Court’s decision, both my administration and members of the General Assembly counted on these funds being available when the Fiscal Year 2016 budget was passed,” Gov. Nixon said. “Now that this ruling has been overturned, this unexpected loss of funds must be accounted for through spending restrictions to keep the budget in balance and our AAA credit rating intact. In taking these necessary actions, we have made every effort to minimize the impact on vital services by reducing spending from new programs yet to get underway and funding increases that would grow the size of government.”

From Forbes: An Early Start Can Lead To An Early Win In Retirement Saving

I recently ran into a blog post on dealing with money for Millennials that’s gone viral: “If You Have Savings In Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong.” The message: enjoy life now, spend your money and quit trying to save so much since life is a gamble and living by the numbers sucks! That idea kind of makes me go, “Hmmm, how can that be right?” so let’s talk about it.

I’m totally in agreement with the idea that saving shouldn’t be a gloomy, hated thing. Diets with food we hate eating end up in calorie binges we love! The same thing goes for your money. If you can’t enjoy the journey, you probably aren’t going to the destination.

But there’s a balance in here somewhere, and an undeniable fact. Starting saving during your 20’s beats saving later hands down, all over town! And you can gamble on yourself with all your dough, but having enough to quit working someday doesn’t have to be a gamble at all!

From BenefitsPro: IRS 2016 Cost-Of-Living Adjustments For Retirement Plan Contributions

The Internal Revenue Service released cost-of-living adjustments for retirement plan contributions today.

As expected, contribution caps will remain largely unchanged from last year.

In a press release, the IRS explained that Social Security’s cost-of-living index did not meet the statutory thresholds required to trigger adjustments to plan contribution caps.

From Treasurer Clint Zweifel: For National Save for Retirement Week, Treasurer Zweifel Offers Advice to Make Your Retirement More Secure

Treasurer Zweifel is raising awareness of the steps Missourians can take to prepare for retirement.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is celebrating National Save for Retirement Week, (now know as National Retirement Security Week) October 18-24, with a few tips to help you save and plan for retirement. Individuals and families have more options now than ever before to save for their retirement. From employer-sponsored plans to private options, now is the time to understand what you will need in retirement and stick to a long-term plan to get there.

From News Leader: How To Pay A Pension Debt When Fair Isn't An Option?

There's big trouble brewing in a little corner of Springfield's police-fire pension plan. And despite repeated promises (and city ordinances) saying that public safety employees would foot the bill, taxpayers might be tapped again for help.

The problem goes back to 1999, when police and firefighters agreed to pay for a boost in retirement benefits through a payroll deduction. The cost of the benefit has been rising steadily for veteran employees, raising concerns those long-serving employees will resign or retire early, increasing the financial burden on the few that remain.

Bonus Article:

From The Wall Street Journal: Retired Women Are More Generous Than Men

Maddy Dychtwald: Are retired women really more generous than retired men?

That is one of the questions my firm, Age Wave, in partnership with Merrill Lynch, set out to explore in our just released study, “Giving in Retirement: America’s Longevity Bonus.” We surveyed 3,694 adults age 25-plus from all walks of life and socioeconomic strata to deepen our understanding of the role of giving in retirement and how giving back has the potential to both maximize social impact and provide personal fulfillment.
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Friday Top Five: Retirement Related News for 10/16/2015

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From the News Tribune: Lawmakers finally move on study of state pay, benefits

After several years of inaction, Missouri state government issued last week its request for proposals from potential consultants interested in determining the “total compensation” state employees receive.

Federal reports and a special Missouri legislative committee already agree — state government’s employees are, on average, the lowest-paid in the nation.

But members of the Legislature’s Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages also want to know if ranking changes when the employees’ total compensation — salary, health care and retirement and other benefits — are considered.

From the News Tribune: Lower gas prices means no Social Security increase next year

For just the third time in 40 years, millions of Social Security recipients, disabled veterans and federal retirees can expect no increase in benefits next year, unwelcome news for more than one-fifth of the nation’s population.

They can blame low gas prices.

By law, the annual cost-of-living adjustment, or COLA, is based on a government measure of inflation, which is being dragged down by lower prices at the pump.

The government is scheduled to announce the COLA — or lack of one — on Thursday, when it releases the Consumer Price Index for September. Inflation has been so low this year that economists say there is little chance the September numbers will produce a benefit increase for next year.

From Forbes: How To Give Financial Gifts To Loved Ones

Giving to a loved one or charity can be one of life’s greatest joys. But when it comes to gifting, there are some key issues, including potential tax implications, that you’ll want to keep in mind in order to make the most of your gift.

The most important thing to remember is that financial gifts are irrevocable: Once you make the gift and record it on your federal tax documents, you can’t take it back.

From American City & Country: The Retirement Tsunami

As the point person for Houston’s initiative to maintain a quality workforce in the face of a rising tide of retirements, Kelly Schreck practices what she preaches. So, as head of employee development, she asked two employees in her department with very different specialties to swap jobs for a year.

For 12 months, each woman trained the other on how to perform her duties, so that each mastered the technical details of handling labor relations and public information.

From BenefitsPro: 4 Simple Things To Do Now While You're Not Retired

Older workers are in trouble when it comes to retirement. They have little or no savings to meet what’s going to be a huge income gap for most of them, and no time to correct the situation.

According to a new study from the Insured Retirement Institute, the typical retiree faces annual expenses of some $50,000 but can only expect an average of $16,000 a year from Social Security.
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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.
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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.
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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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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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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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