Friday, February 19, 2010

AoA announces RFP for regional Pension Counseling and Information Projects

The Administration on Aging (AoA) will award grants for up to six Regional Pension Counseling & Information Projects and one Pension Counseling Technical Resource & Assistance Center.


The Federal government’s share for each of the six Pension Counseling & Information Projects will be approximately $200,000 per year for a project period of up to three years.  The counseling projects provide individuals who reside, have worked in, or have some other pension or employer connection to the regional service area with a range of services, including drafting administrative pension claims and appeals, and providing representation and support through administrative proceedings; identifying and pursuing pension benefits from clients’ prior employers; responding to basic questions about rights and remedies under all public and private pension systems throughout the service region; operating a region-wide outreach program to ensure public and provider awareness of the Program’s broad focus of assisting individuals with pension and retirement savings problems, regardless of age or income; and targeting certain outreach efforts to those in greatest need.


Eligible applicants include domestic public or private and non-profit entities including state, local and Indian tribal governments, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education, with a proven record of advising and representing individuals who have been denied employer or union-sponsored retirement income benefits, and which have the capacity to deliver services on a regional basis.

More info:

The Administration on Aging (AoA) will also fund through a cooperative agreement one Technical Resource and Assistance Center (Center).  The Federal government’s share will be approximately $425,253 per year for a project period of up to three years.  The Center will be structured to support the Pension Counseling and Information Program’s grantees and others and to encourage coordination among the projects, State and Areas Agencies on Aging, legal services providers, and other potential providers of pension assistance by providing substantive legal training, technical assistance, programmatic coordination, and nationwide outreach, information and referral.  The award is a cooperative agreement because AoA will be involved substantially in the project.  Eligible applicants include domestic public or private and non-profit entities including state, local and Indian tribal governments, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, and institutions of higher education, with a proven record of advising and representing individuals who have been denied employer or union-sponsored pension and retirement savings plan benefits, the capacity to provide services under the Program on a national basis, and a well-established, positive reputation in their respective professional communities.


More info:    

February 19, 2010 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Funding Opportunity: Wider Opportunities for Women Elder Economic Security Initiative

Wider Opportunities for Women Elder Economic Security Initiative

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) is pleased to announce the release of our Request for Proposals for the Elder Economic Security Initiative tm (Initiative). The Initiative's core components include: coalition building, research, advocacy, education, and outreach. Underpinning these national, state and community efforts is the Elder Economic Security Standard tm Index (Elder Index), a comprehensive geographically-based measure of income adequacy, developed by the Gerontology Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Boston (GI UMASS) and WOW. WOW seeks lead state organizations (LSOs) with whom to launch and implement the Initiative. In collaboration with WOW, these LSOs will:

*Build a diverse statewide coalition;
*Provide input into the tabulation of the state Elder Index;
*Develop a statewide policy agenda to promote elder economic security; and
*Coordinate the launch and implementation of their state's Initiative.

To date, WOW has partnerships with non-profit organizations and state agencies in twelve states, including California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and West Virginia. Applications will not be accepted from these states. If you are interested in becoming involved with the Initiative in these states, please contact WOW.

Applications  will be due Friday, March 5, 2010. For additional information, contact Stacy Sanders, Associate Director, at

Deadline: March 5, 2010

February 9, 2010 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GAO report highlights need for PBGC reforms

Summary:  Corporation (PBGC) insures the retirement future of nearly 44 million people in over 29,000 private-sector defined benefit pension plans.  In July 2003, GAO designated PBGC’s single-employer pension insurance program—its largest insurance program—as “high risk,” including it on GAO’s list of major programs that need urgent Congressional attention and agency action. The program remains on the list today with a financial deficit of just over $11 billion, as of September 2008. The committee asked GAO to discuss our recent work on PBGC. Specifically, this testimony addresses two issues: (1) PBGC’s financial vulnerabilities, and (2) the governance, oversight, and management challenges PBGC faces.

To address these objectives, we are relying on our prior work assessing PBGC’s long-term financial challenges, and several reports that we have published over the last two years on PBGC governance and management. GAO has made a number of recommendations and identified matters for Congressional consideration in these reports, and PBGC is implementing some of these  ecommendations. No new recommendations are being made as part of this testimony.

Full report:

May 20, 2009 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009



The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College is currently accepting submissions for the 2009 Steven H. Sandell Grant Program.

    * The Sandell Program provides the opportunity for junior scholars from a wide variety of academic disciplines and senior scholars working in a new area to pursue quality scholarship on retirement income and disability insurance policy issues.
    * Up to eight grants of $45,000 will be awarded for one-year projects.
    * The submission deadline for grant proposals is 5:00 pm (EST) January 30, 2009. Visit the Sandell Program website to view the proposal guidelines and apply online.  Grant award recipients will be announced in March 2009.

For questions, please contact:  Kara Sullivan, Assistant Director of Communications,

January 13, 2009 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OECD chief says we must encourage older workers to stay in the job force

"In an era of rapid population aging, we can no longer afford policies, employment practices and attitudes that discourage work at an older age. They not only deny older workers the choice of when and how they should retire, but are costly for business, the economy and society.

The key message that emerges from the OECD's work on population aging is that it is both a challenge and an opportunity. If nothing is done, population aging poses serious economic and social challenges. But it is also raises the prospect of longer, more prosperous lives, if increases in longevity are matched by longer working lives.

We are living longer and healthier lives on average than previous generations. If we have the courage to change our outdated policies, attitudes and employment practices with respect to work at an older age, we should be able to enter a virtuous circle where longevity promotes activity, and activity, in turn, promotes wealth and well-being.

But if nothing is done to promote better employment prospects for older workers, the number of retirees per worker will double over the next 50 years in OECD countries. This will place severe strains on the financing of social protection systems. Labor force growth has been an important contributor to economic growth in the past; but this will slow considerably over the next 50 years and in some OECD countries the labor force could even shrink. We have projected that Japan's total labor force could shrink by over one-third between now and 2050. Recruitment difficulties will also increase. In Europe, the number of workers retiring each year is likely to exceed the number of younger people entering the workforce by more than one million from around 2020 onwards. Employers may face even greater recruitment difficulties in the future in specific sectors such as health care.

To help meet these daunting challenges, work needs to be made a more attractive and rewarding proposition compared with the siren songs of early retirement. But how can this be achieved? The OECD's 2006 report, Live Longer, Work Longer, offers some answers based on its 4-year study of aging and employment policies in 21 OECD countries. It shows that there are three key factors discouraging older people from work, which need to be tackled urgently."

Source and more:  AARP International,

November 18, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Economic worries drive Japanese elders to crime

Via Bloomberg (and Neal Axton)

More senior citizens are picking pockets and shoplifting in Japan to cope with cuts in government welfare spending and rising health-care costs in a fast-ageing society.  Criminal offences by people 65 or older doubled to 48,605 in the five years to 2008, the most since police began compiling national statistics in 1978, a Ministry of Justice report said.   Theft is the most common crime of senior citizens, many of whom face declining health, low incomes and a sense of isolation, the report said. Elderly crime may increase in parallel with poverty rates as Japan enters another recession and the budget deficit makes it harder for the government to provide a safety net for people on the fringes of society.

``The elderly are turning to shoplifting as an increasing number of them lack assets and children to depend on,'' Masahiro Yamada, a sociology professor at Chuo University in Tokyo and an author of books on income disparity in Japan, said in an interview yesterday. ``We won't see the decline of elderly crimes as long as the income gap continues to rise.''  Crime rates among the elderly are rising as the overall rate for Japan has fallen for five consecutive years after peaking in 2002. Over 60s accounted for 18.9 percent of all crimes last year compared with 3.1 percent in 1978, with shoplifting accounting for 80 percent of the total, the report said.   The trend has captivated Japan's media, which include regular accounts of the latest thief or pickpocket as well as undercover footage of people shoplifting food in convenience stores and supermarkets.


November 17, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New pension rule may affect payouts for some retirees

A growing number of defined-benefit pension plans, especially small- to-mid-sized plans, could be in trouble this year because of the struggling stock market combined with a little-known provision in the Pension Protection Act of 2006.  Under PPA, firms with defined-benefit plans have to use something called the Adjusted Funding Target Attainment Percentage, or AFTAP, when calculating pension distributions for newly retiring workers.
The AFTAP, in essence, measures a plan's funded status. A plan that can pay out all that it owes its retiring workers is 100% funded. In days of yore, employers would typically offer retiring workers the option of taking their pension either in a lump sum or an annuity. But starting in 2008, the law requires employers tell workers if their plan does not have sufficient funds to pay out all of the employees, according to Brett Goldstein, pension administrator and president of the Pension Department, a consulting firm in Plainview, N.Y.  If the pension plan does not have enough money to pay at least 80% of the employees, then the notice states that employees can only get 50% of their pension as a lump sum and the remainder as an annuity. If the pension plan does not have enough money to pay at least 60% of the employees, then the notice states that employees can't get their benefit as a lump sum, only as an annuity.

Given the big decline in the stock market this year, the AFTAP will likely come into play, especially for would-be retirees at many small- to mid-sized firms, Goldstein said. Goldstein estimates that workers at some 25% of small- to mid-sized firms will be offered the "under-funded" payout options when they retire in 2008 instead of the traditional full lump sum or annuity options. And that could lead to financial distress for some households, he said.

Source/more:  Market Watch

November 15, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

WEBCAST OCT. 30 on the Economic Crisis -- what we can do about it

The Economic Crisis Webcast
Thursday, October 30, 2008 at 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM EDT / 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM PDT

Click here to register now

  • How we got into this mess.
  • What we as a nation and as advocates can do about it.

Financial meltdown, credit crunch, the burst housing bubble, rising unemployment: the economic situation is tumultuous and scary. Between the finance jargon and the finger-pointing about blame, it is pretty hard to understand what's going on and, most important, how to evaluate the solutions being proposed. This webcast is for people who care about rebuilding our economy in a way that includes low- and moderate-income people, both protecting them and recognizing that the only sustainable prosperity is shared prosperity.

You'll learn from experts what you need to know about the current crisis in the economy and in housing, and what Congress and a new Administration may do about it.


Jared Bernstein, Economic Policy Institute, author of Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? (And Other Unsolved Economic Mysteries)

Jared is famous for plain-English explanations and wit. His quotes and advice are widely sought out by press, candidates, and public officials.

Barry Zigas, Consumer Federation of America

Barry is Housing Policy Director at the Consumer Federation of America, and is a leading expert on low-income housing policy, with previous experience at Fannie Mae and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs

Debbie is Executive Director of CHN. What Congress is considering; practical suggestions about how you can help shape the agenda.

We're Trying Something New!

This event will be webcast live from the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC. DC-based advocates will attend. Advocates not based in DC can tune in and watch on their computers. We will leave plenty of time for questions, taking them both from those in the room and from participants watching from undisclosed locations all around the country.

If you can join us in person: please RSVP to Maricela Donahue at mdonahue@chn.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or at:
Economic Policy Institute
1333 H Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC.

For online participation, click here to register.

October 28, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

GAO Report recommends stronger oversight of PBGC

Summary of the report: 

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) insures the retirement future of over 44 million people. As a federal guarantor of private defined benefit plans, PBGC finances its operations through insurance premiums, investment income, and funds from terminated pension plans. PBGC is governed by a board of directors comprised of the Secretaries of Commerce, Labor, and Treasury, who are responsible for providing policy direction and oversight but often rely on board representatives. In 2004, PBGC began reviewing its investment policy biennially and recently decided to broaden the range of asset classes in which it invests.

GAO reviewed PBGC’s procedures for developing and implementing its investment policies, and examined PBGC’s most recent investment policy. To address these issues, GAO reviewed and analyzed PBGC policies and data, assessed the analysis informing the recent policy change, and interviewed agency officials and other experts.

What GAO Recommends

GAO recommends (1) improvements to the way that PBGC’s board monitors progress in achieving investment policy goals, and (2) additional analyses on the new investment policy. In response, PBGC’s board stated its informal guidance is appropriate oversight. GAO states this type of guidance is not strong enough for investing $68 billion. Further, PBGC is conducting additional analysis on the new policy.

Get the report.

August 19, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Prof. Kaplan (IL) on planning for retirement

Dick Kaplan's article entitled “A Guide to Starting Social Security Benefits,” has just appeared in the Journal of Retirement Planning (July-Aug. 2008) and is available at:

Abstract:  When a person should begin taking Social Security retirement benefits is a critical question for planning one’s retirement. This article explains the various factors at play in determining the optimum starting point, including: longevity considerations; spousal implications, whether for a previously employed or a previously unemployed spouse; the impact of post-retirement employment; the availability of health insurance prior to Medicare eligibility for the worker and the worker’s spouse; alternative sources of retirement income, including distributions from retirement savings plan assets and lifetime liquidation of nonretirement assets (and the pertinent income tax ramifications); and anticipated investment strategies.

Dick rules!


August 5, 2008 in Retirement, Social Security | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Predicted costs of retirement are creeping higher

With medical care and other costs soaring, the portion of their pre-retirement pay that Americans will need in retirement to keep the same standard of living is rising, financial planners say.  For years, a common projection was that workers needed to replace 70 percent to 90 percent of their pre-retirement pay to maintain the same living standard in retirement. But now, as medical costs grow, life spans lengthen and fewer retirees receive pensions, financial planners say you'll need more. Hewitt Associates is more pessimistic than most. New research released by the consulting company projects that workers will need to replace, on average, 126 percent of their final pay in retirement.  The study, based on 1.8 million employees with 401(k) plans that Hewitt administers, says only 19 percent of participants are on track to meet their retirement needs. About 67 percent of workers are expected to have less than 80 percent of their projected needs.  Sheryl Garrett, founder of the Garrett Planning Network, agrees that typical retirement replacement guidelines "just don't go far enough when you factor in the huge health-care responsibility that is shifting from the employer's shoulders to ours at retirement.

Source/more:  Indianapolis Star,

July 16, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Korea is "least ready" for retirement as its boomers age

Koreans are the least prepared financially for retirement among countries worldwide. It is time to take this seriously and prepare by investing in a variety of assets, instead of relying solely on property, said Fidelity International, a global asset manager. Announcing the retirement readiness index Tuesday, Fidelity Korea noted that the country's retirement income replacement ratio stands at 41 percent of the average income before retirement, far below that of Taiwan, Japan, Britain and the United States. The ratio is a measure of the actual income after retirement to the income just before retirement.   Assuming that the annual income of a Korean household is 10 million won, the actual expected income after retirement would be 4.1 million won. However, the desirable ratio for post-retirement life should be 62 percent, or 6.2 million won under the assumption, said Fidelity.  The asset management firm and Seoul National University's retirement planning support center calculated the ratio, utilizing data from the statistical office and Koreans' indirect investment patterns. The measure of the index includes assessing expected pension, severance payment and savings.

Korea Times,

July 2, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Free economic stimulus webinar--sign up now!

There is still time to help our seniors who can really use the money file for their Economic Stimulus Payment. Join us for a Webinar that will give you the latest information from the IRS, National Women’s’ Law Center, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and AARP Tax-Aide. We will also guide you through filling out a 1040A form online, printing it out and sending it directly to the IRS for an
Economic Stimulus Payment.

Hurry, sign up now. Space is limited. Call, 1-800-350-5423 to register.

More detailed information to follow.

*Tina Purser-Langley | Tax-Aide Assistant Nat'l Dir*
601 E St NW, Washington, DC, 20049
Office: (202) 434-2043 1-800-424-2277|

June 19, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Urban Institue to host webcast on the retirement

The Urban Institute, Civic Ventures, and Public Agenda will host
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
9:00-10:30 a.m. ET

To attend this event in Washington, D.C., RSVP at,
e-mail, or call (202) 261-5709.

To listen to the live audio webcast, register at

    * John Gomperts, president, Civic Ventures; CEO, Experience Corps
    * Eugene Steuerle, senior fellow, Urban Institute
    * Ruth Wooden, president, Public Agenda
    * Sheila Zedlewski, director, Income and Benefits Policy Center,  Urban Institute

At the Urban Institute, 2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.

June 11, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

GAO reports on incentives for small businesses to fund IRAs and related issues

Congress created individual retirement accounts (IRAs) with two goals: (1) to provide a retirement savings vehicle for workers without employer-sponsored retirement plans, and (2) to preserve individuals’ savings in employer-sponsored retirement plans. However, questions remain about IRAs’ effectiveness in facilitating new, or additional, retirement savings. GAO was asked to report on (1) how IRA assets compare to assets in other retirement plans, (2) what barriers may discourage small employers from offering IRAs to employees, and (3) the adequacy of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) and the Department of Labor’s (Labor) oversight of and information on IRAs. GAO reviewed reports from government and financial industry sources and interviewed experts and federal agency officials.
What GAO Recommends.

GAO believes Congress should consider whether payroll-deduction IRAs should have some direct oversight in response to Labor’s comments that it does not have jurisdiction over these IRAs. GAO also recommends Labor examine ways to encourage employer sponsorship of IRAs, and evaluate ways to determine whether employers offering IRAs are in compliance with the law, and ways to collect additional information on IRAs. GAO recommends IRS routinely publish and give Labor data on IRAs. Neither IRS nor Labor agreed or disagreed with the recommendations.

To view the full product, including the scope
and methodology, visit
For more information, contact Barbara Bovbjerg at (202) 512-7215 or

June 10, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Dateline show to expose annuity scams aimed at seniors

Here's the promo for the show, which airs Sunday evening Sunday, April 13 (7:00 PM/ET)

"With an estimated 15 trillion dollars under their control American seniors have become more of a sales target than ever for insurance agents seeking to sell them annuities. On Sunday, April 13 (7:00 PM/ET), "Dateline" goes undercover in "Tricks of the Trade" -- a hidden camera investigation revealing what some insurance agents say, and what they don't say, when they think they are alone with a senior. In his signature style, Chris Hansen then confronts agents about their questionable sales pitches.

NBC News footage shows the widespread practice of agents cloaking themselves in fancy titles and insurance agents attending a seminar to learn these sales tactics. Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, who reviewed "Dateline's" footage, and who has filed several suits alleging fraud in the sale of annuities to seniors, tells Hansen: "...what is tragic about it is when those agents go into the seniors' homes, it is literally the wolf among the lambs."      

April 11, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New CRS reports on spouses' federal retirement benefits

Retirement and Survivor Annuities for Former Spouses of Federal Employees
April 03, 2008
Open CRS (User submitted)

A former spouse of a federal employee may be entitled to a share of the employee's retirement annuity under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) or the Federal Employees' Retirement System (FERS) if this has been authorized by a state court decree of divorce, annulment, or legal separation. An employee also may voluntarily elect a survivor annuity for a former spouse. A state court can award a former spouse a share of the employee's retirement annuity, a survivor annuity, or both. A court also can award a former spouse of a federal employee a portion of the employee's Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account balance as part of a divorce settlement. This report will be updated as legislative developments warrant.

April 10, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2008

Pension plan funding ratios decline precipitously

The funding ratio of a typical US pension scheme has fallen by nearly a quarter in the past nine months, suffering from a combination of volatile equity markets and declining interest rates.  Acording to the US Pension Fund Fitness Tracker from UBS Global Asset Management, in the first quarter of this year, the US pension funding ratio, or the estimated ratio of a typical scheme’s assets to its expected liabilities, declined by 11%.  UBS said in a statement that most of the drop occurred in January, whose 8% decline was the largest in a single month since 2002. It is the third consecutive quarter that the ratio has dropped. Since the middle of last year, it has gone from about 113% to 90%.  Furthermore, declining interest rates meant the present value of liabilities increased by nearly 8% in the quarter.

Source:  Financial News Online,

April 7, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Urban Inst. report: the changing nature of work and retirement

Other Availability: PDF | Printer-Friendly Page
Posted to Web: March 28, 2008
Permanent Link:

The nonpartisan Urban Institute publishes studies, reports, and books on timely topics worthy of public consideration. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders.

The text below is an excerpt from the complete document. Read the  full paper in PDF format.


About 7 percent of American workers held highly physically demanding jobs in 2006, and 35 percent held highly cognitively demanding jobs. The share of the workforce in physically demanding jobs fell by about one-sixth between 1971 and 2006, while the share in cognitively demanding jobs increased by more than one-third. Stressful occupations also grew rapidly over the past 35 years. The decline in physically demanding occupations will likely improve employment prospects for older adults, but the growth in cognitive demands may limit options for some older people, especially those with limited education.

April 7, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

Belgium pushes for cross-border pensions

Creating a robust cross-border pension market is a priority for the Belgian government, the Belgian Pensions Regulator (BPR) has said.   Speaking at an event organised by Towers Perrin, Henk Becquaert of the BPR outlined the steps the Belgian government has taken to attract multi-national corporations to set up cross-border pension schemes.   Becquaert said cross-border schemes need flexible structures and low taxation to be attractive, which the Belgian government had implemented. Groupacier and Pfizer Pension Fund have set up cross-border pension schemes based in Belgium.   “The legal framework of pension funds in Belgium allows a sponsor to adapt the organisation and structure of a cross-border scheme to its own individual business situation,” he said.

Source:  Global Pensions,

April 7, 2008 in Retirement | Permalink | TrackBack (0)