A U.S. federal judge has ruled in favor of maintaining a 2016 Department of Labor fiduciary rule to protect financial investment customers by requiring their advisors to act only in their clients’ best financial interest.
The court decision upheld a rule that obliges stockbrokers and financial professionals to disclose any conflicts of interests, like hidden fees and backend commissions. It is the second time a federal district court has defended the rule.
A new year inevitably brings change – and not always for the better. The U.S. Social Security Administration has announced that it is changing its retirement age and monthly payment caps.
Effective January 2017, the retirement age to begin collecting Social Security has been increased to 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later. By changing the full retirement of Social Security, it reduces the length of time recipients can take payments, helping to secure Social Security and it also encourages older healthy Americans to continue working.
Only in December 2016 did Yahoo confirm that hackers stole data from over 1 billion of its accountholders three years earlier in 2013, possibly one of the largest personal data hacks in history.
Among the stolen information: names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, and passwords. Also stolen were information users provided to Yahoo for security questions, such as their mother’s maiden name or other means to confirm the validity of account holders. According to Yahoo, the ongoing investigation suggests that credit card and bank account information were not stolen.
The technology company has started sending email notifications to users who were affected by the data breach. Even if you weren’t among the affected users, you can take the following steps to protect your personal information.
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During holidays, many seniors seek out fun, educational gifts that can entertain their grandchildren. However, in today’s digital world, it can be a challenge to steer kids away from mindless zombie and warfare-filled video games towards fun and engaging challenges.
Chess is one way to bond and build brainpower—for both kids and adults. Don’t know how to play chess? Well, QuickChess, an award-winning chess learning tool, is something that has beginners playing and game veterans sharpening their skills in only 10 minutes.
The game inventor Joe Miccio, a retired New York City Firefighter, is asking for crowdfunding support via a Kickstarter campaign to bring the popular QuickChess to the digital world. (http://tinyurl.com/zfs4fbw). Kickstarter enables entrepreneurs to raise funds for their projects via supporters, who can pledge money in exchange for rewards.
After 25 years of success in teaching over a million kids alone how to play, Miccio has partnered with four-time Women’s World Chess Champion Susan Polgar to introduce a computer version of the game for 2017.
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America’s 65 million Social Security beneficiaries will receive a 0.3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2017. That translates to a less than desired increase of about $5 to $1,360 per month for the average retiree.
It will mark fourth time in the last seven years that Americans receive a bump in their Social Security payments. It is the smallest adjustment since the mid-1970s, when COLAs began.
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There are many things that get better with age—wisdom, wine, antiques and solid investments, to name a few. However one of the lesser known advantages for older Americans are the number of IRS deductions and credits that are available to them.
NerdWallet and Kiplinger have compiled a list of tax deductions and tax-advantaged credits available to retirees:
Click Here for 8 Tax Deductions & Credits
When determining the best U.S. states to retire in, there’s a lot to factor: cost of living, the tax code, housing affordability, public transit options, infrastructure, low-cost health care options, plentiful amenities, low crime rates, and so much more.
A recently offered list names the top 5 states for today’s active seniors, but the winning destinations may not be what you would expect (Neither Florida or Arizona made the list!).
Click Here to Find Out if Your State Made the List
For seniors looking to earn some extra money while staying cool during the summer, there is one new avenue few might have considered opening up older Americans: The local pool.
Working as a lifeguard, once thought as a job mostly for high school and college students, is apparently no longer quite the draw
to millennials it once was. Many community pools across the U.S. have temporarily closed at points during because there aren’t enough younger lifeguards.
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Seniors, age 65+, currently make up nearly 17% of the United States population, yet statistics show that cities and communities across the country are not doing nearly enough to accommodate their needs.
According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, by 2050 the number of Americans aged 65+ is expected to double to 106.8 million from 54.1 million today. The Washington D.C.-based think tank recently released a report calling for on United States government to start providing seniors the tools, resources and accommodations they need to live comfortably in their retirement years.
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The U.S. Supreme Court recently vacated a lower federal court’s decision related to Verizon’s spin-off of 41,000 retiree pensions, converting those to a group annuity.
The High Court sent the case, Pundt v. Verizon Communications, et al, back to an appeals court to re-evaluate the merits of the lower court’s earlier decision, potentially impacting the pension de-risking strategies of American corporations.
The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 18.9% of Americans 65+ are still working, the highest percentage in United States history.
The last time it tapped 18% was in the early 1960s. Then, in 1965, Medicare was established to ensure healthcare protections for Americans reaching retirement age.
According to Bloomberg News, there are numerous factors forcing older
Americans to work longer. According to a survey by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies, 3 out of 5 retirees said they are working longer because they need money and the benefits.
The United States’ astounding student-loan debt—which grows $2,756 every second according to Market Watch’s national student debt clock—is forcing some Millennials to dig into their retirement savings early on. Millennials are 18 to 33 years old, born 1981-1996.
Today about 40 million Americans carry some level of student-loan debt. And with the escalating cost of college tuition and books, it’s not uncommon for today’s graduate to owe $25,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 to earn a college education. Factor in compounded interest, and the debt can seem endless.
Stars of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are trading their hula hoops and circus tricks for yoga mats and deep breaths at their new retirement home in the Sunshine State.
Eleven Asian elephants completed their last show in early May and arrived at the Ringling Bros, Center for Elephant Conservation in Orlando, FL, just miles away from Disney World.Click Here to Read More
Thousands Eligible to Collect Unclaimed Pension Benefits
You could be one of 30,000 people who are still owed pension assets being managed by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC).
According to the agency, as of April 21, 2016, about 14,000 Americans have collected about $55 million in unclaimed pension benefits they were previously owed.
Want to find out if hey have money for you?
Meeting Your Retirement Dream
Washington, D.C. based ProtectSeniors.Org is a volunteer led group focused on achieving legislation and regulatory action to protect 36 million retired and older working Americans against corporate tactics that harm, eliminate, erode the security of their hard earned pensions and healthcare benefits.
Tune in to the ProtectSeniors.Org YouTube channel and encourage friends and fellow retirees to do the same.
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Current and soon-to-be retirees looking at ways to cut costs and enhance active living may experience bigger bang for their buck by looking overseas.
Topping the list is Italy, followed by the Dominican Republic, Colombia, France, Portugal, Malaysia, Ireland, Belize, Thailand and Mexico. The list is based on measures of affordability, culture and return on investments.
California, Illinois, New York, Texas, Ohio and New Jersey Top the List for Highest Unfunded Liabilities
More state leaders are devising methods to fund state and municipal-administered pension funds after Congress' $1.1 trillion spending bill allowed distressed multiemployer plans to cut benefits that the Pension Benefits Guaranty Corporation (PBCG) projected to become insolvent by 2020.
The PBCG’s prognosis left retirees across the nation wondering: if the federal program that backstops these plans is edging towards insolvency, how do state and municipal pension plans compare?
President Obama is calling for tougher restrictions on investment brokers handling trillions of dollars in 401k and other retirement savings accounts, in order to curtail hidden fees and protect consumers against biased financial advice.
On February 23, 2015, the U.S. Labor Department submitted a proposal to the White House Office of Management and Budget that would hold brokers to a fiduciary standard, which mandates that they place their clients’ interest above their own.
Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
A three judge U.S. court of appeals panel will hear oral arguments in the class action Lee v. Verizon, Case No. 14-10553, regarding the transfer of 41,000 Verizon management retirees’ pensions into a single group annuity sponsored by Prudential Insurance Company. Arguments will be heard on February 4, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. Central Time, before the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans.
Attorneys Curtis L. Kennedy of Denver and Robert E. Goodman, Jr. of Dallas are representing the class of 41,000 Verizon retirees. They originally filed a request for an injunction in November 2012 in an effort to block the transfer of retirees, but Chief Judge Sidney Fitzwater of the Northern District of Texas allowed the annuity transaction to move forward in December 2012.
The future of retirement savings is looking brighter following a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on ERISA-protected plans that may improve employee investment options.
Tibble vs. Edison
This May in Tibble vs. Edison International, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that it is insufficient for employers to only set up a 401(k) with investment options. Fiduciaries must also continue to monitor those investments for any changes.
“ERISA’s fiduciary duty is derived from the common law of trusts, which provides that a trustee has a continuing duty–separate and apart from the duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset—to monitor, and remove imprudent, trust investments,” wrote Justice Stephen Breyer, who delivered the opinion for the court.
The case began when Tibble plaintiffs, on behalf of Edison International’s plan beneficiaries, claimed that the company violated ERISA’s fiduciary duty of prudence by offering more expensive “retail class” rather than “institutional class” shares of mutual funds.
New legislation in the New York State Senate and Assembly (S1092/A6796) would provide protections to retirees whose pensions are sold-out or transferred by their former employers, a strategy commonly referred to as pension de-risking.
Senator Tony Avella (D-Queens-11) has introduced S.1092 and Assembly Member Peter Abbate (D-Brooklyn-49) introduced Assembly bill 6796.
It’s still early in the 2016 race for the White House, but the political posturing has begun. Political leaders across the nation are stepping up to bat addressing the long-term costs and expenditures of Social Security and Medicare programs, making it a possible centerpiece of the 2016 presidential campaign.
Within days of one another, GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie have individually proposed raising the retirement age in an effort to maintain the solvency of these programs.
Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Congressional Budget Office
The History Channel offers Free, Educational Mobile Games for Children
In today’s age, young children are spending more time inside playing video games than most parents and grandparents might like, instead of going outside.
The History Channel is now offering a free set of online mobile games that are designed to be entertaining, but also historically educational.If the younger generations in your family are set on playing games online instead of so-called old fashioned playing of sports, tag and other outdoor activities, they might as well be somewhat educational (Just don’t let the kids in on that secret!).
The games are offered under its Planet H brand. Three games of its titles include Age of Explorers, Empire Run and Frontier Heroes.
Photo Credit: A&E Networks
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) recently announced it will take over the pensions of more than 8,500 retirees in Standard Register Company.
After filing for bankruptcy in March 2014, Standard Register, a printing and marketing communications firm based in Dayton, Ohio was no longer able to fund its pensions.
The federal agency intervened following bankruptcy proceedings, in which Standard Register sold the majority of its assets to Taylor Corp, which is not assuming responsibility for covering obligations to the Standard Register pension plans. The PBGC estimates the plan is only 47% funded with assets of $289M to pay about $611M in benefit liabilities.
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons
While the United States is the 4th most visited nation in the globe and 2nd most desired to visit by travelers, a Hostelworld Global Traveler Report reveals the average American
While the average UK resident has visited 10 countries, Germans have visited on average eight nations and the French five. The average American has been to just three nations, and nearly one-third (29%) of American adults have NEVER been abroad. adult is less “worldly,” as compared to their international counterparts. Americans are only half as likely as Europeans to journey abroad to more than one country, with the main reason being cost.
Most Americans saving for retirement would presume that financial advisers and brokers must act in the best interests of their clients, but until recently, that has only been a standard, not a rule.
The U.S. Labor Department issued new regulations on April 6, 2016, mandating that financial professionals handling retirement and 401(k) accounts now have a mandatory fiduciary duty to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own ability to generate commissions and fees.
The new rules govern how financial advisers and brokers must handle the management of trillions of dollars that Americans are saving for retirement, rather than only simply allowing them to recommend “suitable” investments—some of which pay an extra undisclosed incentive commission to brokers.