Category: Retirement

When Should You Start Taking Social Security?

I’ve written numerous articles over the years about strategies for maximizing your Social Security (SS) benefits. But the most fundamental decision all retirees face is when to start taking payments. Which is better: to start as early as possible or to delay benefits as long as you can? First, you need to understand how SS…
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U.S. Life Expectancy Lowest Among Peer Countries

It’s well-documented that the U.S. had more deaths due to COVID than any other country on the planet (excluding authoritarian countries whose reporting is highly politicized). According to a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), U.S. life expectancy – which was previously lowest among 21 high-income advanced democracies with available…
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The Biggest Risk You Face With Your Investments

If someone were to ask you what you thought is the biggest risk you face with your investment portfolio, what would be your answer? Would it be the increased investment volatility we’ve been seeing this year? Or perhaps it’s the risk of investment losses? Maybe you’d say inflation since it has recently ramped up to…
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Useful Medicare Website For Comparing Drug Costs

One of the most frustrating experiences for seniors on original Medicare is shopping for the most beneficial Part D plan during open enrollment each year (and also on your birthday if you live in California). Medicare supplement plans (aka Medigap) are highly standardized and consequently relatively straightforward: your choice is primarily a tradeoff between premiums…
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Mega and Backdoor Roth Contributions: Do You Feel Lucky?

Often politicians pass laws that have unintended consequences, making tax planning difficult. This year the uncertainty revolves around two methods to build up your tax-free savings that may go away if the Biden administration’s Build Back Better legislation passes. I’ll describe the situation and the three possible outcomes. As background, some workers have the ability…
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New Tax Reduction For Some IRA Owners

It’s always nice to get a tax break. Starting in 2022 required minimum distributions (RMDs) by seniors from qualified retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k)s will be reduced, courtesy of a change to life expectancies instituted by the IRS. Here’s an example to illustrate the change. Suppose Mary Taxpayer, born on March 1, 1950,…
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