Archive for the ‘Retirement – Social Security’ Category

Don’t blame me !

June 6, 2018

This year: Social Security’s first deficit.
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Let me get this straight …

On Monday, I announce my retirement.

On Tuesday, the Social Security Trust Fund – the lockbox that doesn’t have a lock – announces that Social Security will run a deficit this year… 3 years ahead of last year’s future projection.

According to the WSJ:

The Social Security program’s costs will exceed its income this year for the first time since 1982, forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits.

That is, outflows (payments to 61.5 million people like me) – will exceed inflows (taxes collected from current workers and their employers … and, interest earned on the trust’s assets).

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I know there may be a temptation to accuse me of being the straw that broke the camel’s back, but ….

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How to rake in $1 million per year during retirement …

September 13, 2016

Answer: Get elected President … and, you only need to serve one term (maybe less)

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Politico ran a story last week, alleging that Bill Clinton used taxpayer money to stake Hillary’s homebrew server.

Frankly, I found that revelation to be very uninteresting.

What caught my eye is the retirement package that Presidents get … more than $1 million per year for life in comp & benefits.

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Here’s the scoop …

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Which states have the lowest (and highest) incomes taxes?

November 21, 2012

I’m hearing increasing chatter about relocations to low tax tax states to offset the burst of Fed tax increases.

So, I checked out current state income tax rates.

Best data source I  found for state-by-state tax rates – income, sales, property, estate – is at BankRate.com

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Full list of state income tax rates is below …

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Zero income tax in 6 states

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington

Alaska benefits from their oil industry;  Florida & Nevada rake in sales taxes from tourists.

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2 states tax interest & dividends, but not wages

  • New Hampshire: 5% on interest and dividend income. Wages are not taxed.
  • Tennessee: 6% on interest and dividend income. Wages are not taxed.

Say, what ?

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10 highest state tax rates

  • Hawaii: 11% on income over $200,000
  • Oregon: 11% on income over $250,000
  • California:10.55% on income over $1 million
  • Rhode Island: 9.9% on income over $373,650
  • District of Columbia: 8.5% on income over $40,000
  • Iowa: 8.98% on income over $63,315
  • New Jersey: 8.97% on income over $500,000
  • New York: 8.97% on income over $500,000
  • Vermont: 8.95% on income over $373,650
  • Maine: 8.5% on income over $20,150

All are blue states.  Coincidence?

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Here’s the full list, showing the highest income tax rate in each state
… and the income level that puts a taxpayer in the top bracket.

•Alabama: 5% on income over  $3,000
•Alaska: No income tax
•Arizona: 4.54% on income over $150,000
•Arkansas: 7% on income over  $32,600
•California:10.55% on income over $1 million
•Colorado: flat 4.63% of federal taxable income
•Connecticut: 6.5% on income over $500,000
•District of Columbia: 8.5% on income over $40,000 
•Delaware: 6.95% on income over $60,000
•Florida: No income tax
•Georgia: 6% on income over $7,000
•Hawaii: 11% on income over $200,000
•Idaho: 7.8% on income over $26,418
•Illinois: flat 3% of federal AGI with modifications
•Indiana: flat 3.4% of federal AGI with modifications
•Iowa: 8.98% on income over $63,315
•Kansas: 6.45% on income over $30,000
•Kentucky: 6% on income over $75,000
•Louisiana: 6% on income over $50,000
•Maine: 8.5% on income over $20,150
•Maryland: 6.25% on income over $1 millio
•Massachusetts: flat 5.3% on all income
•Michigan: flat 4.35% of federal AGI with modifications
•Minnesota: 7.85% on income over $74,780
•Mississippi: 5% on income over $10,000
•Missouri: 6% on income over $9,000
•Montana: 6.9% on income over $15,400
•Nebraska: 6.84% on income over $27,000
•Nevada: no income tax
•New Hampshire: 5% on interest and dividend income.  Wages are not taxed.
•New Jersey: 8.97% on income over $500,000
•New Mexico: 4.9% on income over $16,000
•New York: 8.97% on income over $500,000
•North Carolina: 7.75% on income over $60,000
•North Dakota: 4.86% on income over $373,650
•Ohio: 5.925% on income over $200,000
•Oklahoma: 5.5% on income over $8,700
•Oregon: 11% on income over $250,000
•Pennsylvania: flat 3.07% on all income
•Rhode Island: 9.9% on income over $373,650
•South Carolina: 7% on income over $13,700
•South Dakota: no income tax
•Tennessee: 6% on interest and dividend income.  Wages are not taxed.
•Texas: no income tax 
•Utah: flat 5% on all income
•Vermont: 8.95% on income over $373,650
•Virginia: 5.75% on income over $17,000
•Washington: no income tax
•West Virginia: 6.5% on income over $60,000
•Wisconsin: 7.75% on income over $225,000

Source

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Marketers’ challenge: making shopping easy for cranky old folks.

September 18, 2009

Excerpted from WSJ, Seeing Store Shelves Through Senior Eyes, Sep 14, 2009

The number of adults aged 65 and older will reach 71.5 million people by 2030, twice their number in 2000 and representing nearly 20% of the total U.S. population. As baby boomers turn 65 years old beginning in 2011, they are expected to spend an additional $50 billion over the next decade on consumer products in the U.S.,

Current store layouts present challenges for elderly shoppers, experts say. Worsening eyesight makes finding items more frustrating, arthritis complicates browsing and reduced balance intensifies the strain of stooping or reaching for products.

So, some marketers are donning glasses that blur their vision, slip un-popped popcorn into their shoes, wear gloves and adjust tape that binds their thumbs to their palms …  an exercise designed to help them better understand the physical challenges facing elderly shoppers.

Some of the ways marketers are helping seniors cope:

Morgan Stanley, recommends that financial advisers ensure report colors and office lighting are friendly to elderly eyes.

Drug-store chain Rite Aid is revising its private-label goods with bigger typefaces on packaging.

Family Dollar is weighing new lighting and shelf labels.

Walgreen plans to install call buttons near heavy merchandise like bottled water and laundry detergent in some stores. It also will put magnifying glasses on store shelves.

Many retailers offer nearby parking spaces  and manageable carts.

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125288402995807243.html

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Marketers' challenge: making shopping easy for cranky old folks.

September 18, 2009

Excerpted from WSJ, Seeing Store Shelves Through Senior Eyes, Sep 14, 2009

The number of adults aged 65 and older will reach 71.5 million people by 2030, twice their number in 2000 and representing nearly 20% of the total U.S. population. As baby boomers turn 65 years old beginning in 2011, they are expected to spend an additional $50 billion over the next decade on consumer products in the U.S.,

Current store layouts present challenges for elderly shoppers, experts say. Worsening eyesight makes finding items more frustrating, arthritis complicates browsing and reduced balance intensifies the strain of stooping or reaching for products.

So, some marketers are donning glasses that blur their vision, slip un-popped popcorn into their shoes, wear gloves and adjust tape that binds their thumbs to their palms …  an exercise designed to help them better understand the physical challenges facing elderly shoppers.

Some of the ways marketers are helping seniors cope:

Morgan Stanley, recommends that financial advisers ensure report colors and office lighting are friendly to elderly eyes.

Drug-store chain Rite Aid is revising its private-label goods with bigger typefaces on packaging.

Family Dollar is weighing new lighting and shelf labels.

Walgreen plans to install call buttons near heavy merchandise like bottled water and laundry detergent in some stores. It also will put magnifying glasses on store shelves.

Many retailers offer nearby parking spaces  and manageable carts.

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125288402995807243.html

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Pity the baby boomers …

March 16, 2009

Excerpted from cnbc.com, “Market Meltdown Amplifies Baby Boomer Worries”, 03 Mar 2009

If losing one’s job weren’t enough to worry about in this recession, for many Americans there’s the added angst of being able to afford one’s retirement.

And that may help explain why the seemingly relentless declines in home and stock prices have ravaged consumer confidence.

The depth of that damage … household wealth in the fourth quarter, … was some 12 percent below what it was during its peak in the third quarter of 2007.  The decline in wealth is the greatest on record.

Thus far, the median price of a home is down more than 20 percent from $219,000 at the market peak in 2007 to $170,000 in January.

Stock prices, however, have fallen twice as much, some 50 percent, from their October 2007 peak.

And while a greater percentage of Americans are homeowners than investors and thus the average household’s wealth is more defined by real estate than investments, the investment outlook is still a major force.

In 2008, 47 percent of all households, or some 54.5 million, participated in the market through equity or bond ownership .., 65 million.people participate in defined contribution (DC) retirement savings plans, such as 401(k)s.

The value of those holdings has shrunk considerable. Americans held $15.9 trillion in retirement assets at the end of the third quarter of 2008, accounting for 35 percent of all household financial assets.

At the end of the second quarter of 2007, right before the credit crunch first bit, the value of those holdings was $17.4 trillion.

In the current environment, the huge losses in the stock market may actually have a larger psychological effect than those of the housing market because of the more frequent reminders; the declines are measured daily and weekly, not just monthly, like housing.

While major stock market indices are at 12-year lows; existing single family home prices are a mere six-year low.

“Economic advisors are worried about the stock market because it is part of the puzzle, and it’s almost as if the politicians don’t care what the stock market is doing,”

Some say the President’s stated desire to raise the tax on dividends and capital gains from 15 to 20 percent … sent a negative message to Wall Street, even if it was consistent with his campaign comments.

What’s more, a higher capital gains rate may not pay off if investors continue to lose money because stock prices head ever lower.

Economists don’t expect the President to identify with investors the way he does with homeowners …

Full article:
http://www.cnbc.com/id/29471950

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Baby boomers facing economic bust …

October 7, 2008

Excerpted from WSJ: “One in Five Baby Boomers Cuts Retirement Saving”, Oct. 7, 2008

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One in five middle-aged workers stopped contributing to their retirement plans in the last year, and one in three has considered delaying retirement … the latest evidence that the deteriorating economy and stock market are creating a less-than-golden outlook for the huge tide of baby-boom Americans surging into retirement age. This demographic, born between 1946 and 1964, numbers around 78 million.

About 60% of U.S. workers in the private sector have 401(k) accounts, holding about $3 trillion in assets. Surveys have shown workers don’t put enough into 401(k)s to support their retirements, even as such plans have become the main source of retirement support, surpassing traditional fixed-benefit pensions.

Labor Department statistics also show more Americans over 55 years old are staying in the work force, a sign that many can’t afford to stop working.

Most respondents believe they need to contribute more to their retirement accounts, but those who have stopped are “having trouble making ends meet for basic expenses like food, gas and utilities.”  More people (13%) have been pulling money out of their nest eggs before age 59-1/2, even though such withdrawals bring a tax penalty.

The poll was conducted … before the worst of the stock market’s recent swoon, when retirement accounts were heavily weighted toward stock mutual funds. The turmoil since then might have caused many investors to question the wisdom of plowing funds into investments.

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Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122333045141409159.html

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Baby Boomers Delay Retirement

September 22, 2008

Excerpted from WSJ: “Baby Boomers Delay Retirement
Declines in Assets Force a Generation to Face New Reality”,
Sept. 22, 2008 
 

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In May, 27% of surveyed workers age 45-plus said the economic slowdown had prompted them to postpone plans to retire.

For millions of Americans approaching retirement, events of recent weeks are delivering a clear message: Not so fast. With nest eggs shrinking, housing prices still falling and anxieties about their financial future growing, the oldest members of the baby-boom generation are putting the brakes on plans to leave work.

Most people underestimate how much money they will need for retirements that could easily last two or three decades, and are leaving the work force with nest eggs that are likely to expire long before they do.

Less than one-quarter of workers age 55 and older — just 23% — have savings and investments totaling $250,000 or more. About 60% have less than $100,000.

[Chart]

The average retirement age in the U.S. is 63 — but most investors don’t recognize the benefits from working even just two or three additional years. For example, a 62-year-old with a $100,000 salary and a $500,000 nest egg will see his annual retirement income from investments and Social Security rise by 6% for every additional year he remains in the work force.

Working longer “gives people time to build up their 401(k) balance, can result in a bigger benefit from Social Security, and reduces the amount of time people will have to depend on their savings. “The arguments in favor of working longer are overwhelming.”

“It’s particularly tough if the market gets hit in your early years of retirement. If you’re about to retire and something like this happens, maybe you should stay working.”

Retirees returning to work — is also being played out in the wake of the market turmoil. “I’m trying to go back to work and let our portfolio build back up,” he explained. “We’ve lost such a big amount of money lately, we’re going to get to the point where we can’t recover.”

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Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122204345024061453.html

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