Friday, October 30, 2020

Legislation to Raise Required Minimum Distribution Age to 75

Last week CNBC ran this story: New retirement bill has perks for seniors, student loan borrowers. Here are the key points from the story

  • A new, bipartisan bill would raise the age for required minimum distributions from accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs to 75, from 72.
  • It would also let workers repaying student loans to get a company 401(k) match even if they’re not saving in their workplace plan.
  • The Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020 was proposed Tuesday by Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., and Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

Here's the news story "The legislation, proposed by House lawmakers on Tuesday, raises the age for starting RMD from 72 to 75.  The bill, the Securing a Strong Retirement Act of 2020, is available here.

Thanks to my colleague and friend Professor Feeley for sending me the story.

 

October 30, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Retirement Post-COVID. A Conversation with Ken Dychtwald

The New York Times recently ran an article, Rethinking Retirement,  that is a conversation with Ken Dychtwald.

When someone retires, three substantial changes take place, said Ken Dychtwald, psychologist, gerontologist and founder and chief executive of Age Wave, a consulting and research company.

“They struggle with their identity, relationships and activity,” he said. “Some people feel unsettled, anxious or even bored, but eventually they realize that relationships, wellness and purpose really matter — perhaps more than ever.”

The reporter asked him if his views of retirement have changed due to his turning 70 and COVID. The short answer-yes. One statement he made resonated with me: "The pandemic this year has given many of us an enormous appreciation for the preciousness of life. I’ve come to realize that I’d like to be useful more than youthful." He notes that many individuals who are retired have made "themselves irrelevant"  while recognizing staying relevant takes time and effort.

He responds to several interesting questions, the last of which is notable

What is the biggest mistake retirees make?

Far too many think far too small. I have asked thousands of people from all walks of life over the years who are nearing retirement what they hope to do in retirement. They tell me: “I want to get some rest, exercise some more, visit with my family, go on a great vacation, read some great books.” Then most stall. Few have taken the time or effort to study the countless possibilities that await them or imagine or explore all of the incredible ways they can spend the next period of their lives.

October 22, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Retiring and Starting a Business for Elders

The New York Times ran a recent story about elders who retired after a long career and then went into business for themselves with elders as their target clients. As They Aged, They Started Businesses for People Like Them, describes these "older entrepreneurs ... [as]  turning their lifelong skills into encore careers selling services and products in the booming senior consumer market. In some cases ... their own experiences become catalysts for career moves at a time when others are retiring."  The article notes the confluence of two factors driving this trend: the "longevity market and the increasing amount of these "later-in-life entrepreneurs."  The article offers some insights regarding the shift to becoming a late-in-life business person and the types of businesses that lend themselves to this model.  Check it out!

October 18, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 5, 2020

New GAO Report: Retirement Security for Women

The GAO has released a new report, RETIREMENT SECURITY: Older Women Report Facing a Financially Uncertain Future. Here are the highlights:

In all 14 focus groups GAO held with older women, women described some level of anxiety about financial security in retirement. Many expressed concerns about the future of Social Security and Medicare benefits, and the costs of health care and housing. Women in the groups also cited a range of experiences that hindered their retirement security, such as divorce or leaving the workforce before they planned to (see fig.). Women in all 14 focus groups said their lack of personal finance education negatively affected their ability to plan for retirement. Many shared ideas about personal finance education including the view that it should be incorporated into school curriculum starting in kindergarten and continuing through college, and should be available through all phases of life.

Individual women's financial security is also linked to their household where resources may be shared among household members. According to the 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, among households with older women, about 23 percent of those with white respondents and 40 percent of those with African American respondents fell short of a measure of retirement confidence, indicating their income was not sufficient to maintain their standard of living. The likelihood of a household reporting high retirement confidence rose in certain cases. For example among households of similar wealth, those with greater liquidity in their portfolio and those with defined benefit plan income were more likely to report high retirement confidence.

The full report is available here.

October 5, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement, Social Security, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

National Continuing Care Residents Association Joins Other Senior Living Advocates in Opposing COVID-19 Immunity

On June 1, 2020, the National Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) released its public statement detailing the organization's opposition to COVID-19 immunity or waivers of liability for nursing homes, adding to the growing chorus of opposition. They explain:  

CCRCs mainly provide three levels of care under one roof or on the same campus, normally comprised of independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing care -- the latter two considered licensed long-term care facilities.  Our members can reside at various times in any of the three levels of care.  Fore example, one spouse can live independently while the other can live in assisted living or skilled nursing.  There are numerous variations of these living arrangements depending on the level of care required.

 

NaCCRA and its members are very sympathetic to the CCRC managers and front-line care/service workers as they labor during the coronavirus pandemic with its many challenges.  However, residents living and dying, many times alone, in nursing homes or assisted living apartments, should not be deprived of their legal rights or protections even in these most extraordinary times.

 

NaCCRA and its member residents living in continuing care settings are alarmed at the push to grant liability immunity to providers and operators of long-term care facilities in the face of the COVID019 epidemic.  Many states have acquiesced to provider association lobbyists at the expense of residents' legal protections.  NaCCRA believes that long term care providers must not be given a pass on negligence in any form simply due to a pandemic, which makes seniors in such congregate settings even more vulnerable.  

 

Therefore, we strongly oppose the liability waivers for COVID-19 legislated by some states.  WE urge that these be repealed and advocate on immediate moratorium on any future waivers for providers/operators of CCRCs and long-term care facilities.  It is our position that existing laws and negligence standards are more than adequate to protect long term care facilities that are sued if they have followed the proper standards of care and protocols.

My thanks to Jim Haynes, the current president of NaCCRA, for keeping us advised on their position.  

June 3, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Federal Cases, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Retirement, Science, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, May 14, 2020

New Research: How Timing Affects Low-Income and Aged Bill Payers

New research described in the Bulletin on Retirement and Disability published by the National Bureau of Economic Research provides new support for thinking about ways to help maximize use of benefits to pay for core living expenses.  Researchers Lint Barrage (UC Santa Barbara), Ian Chin (Michigan), Eric Chin (Dartmouth),and Justine Hastings (Brown) examine how timing of receipt of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits affects a household's ability and success in paying for utilities, such as electric bills.  They observe:

Our results suggest that, for low income households, timing of income from government benefits and the timing of bills due may have long-run consequences. If bills are not received when income is received, households are more likely to miss payments, which may compound into disconnections which may further impact family financial and health outcomes.

 

These results add to a growing literature suggesting that government benefits programs and/or private industry innovate in ways to help low income households balance budgets throughout the month and avoid potential poverty traps. In the case of electricity bills, moving bill receipt to coincide with SNAP benefits receipt could improve repayment rates. This could help low income families avoid poverty traps, but also lower electricity rates for all rate payers in regulated markets, since collection and electricity service disruption are costly and must be covered by regulated electricity rates. Further research is needed to implement and measure the impact of changes in timing of bill receipt through, for example, a randomized controlled trial, and to expand the outcome measures of impact to include measures of financial well being such as credit scores. 

For more, read How Bill Timing Affects Low-Income and Aged Households, NBER RDRC Working Paper 19-09) and the Bulletin summary

Our thanks to George Washington Law Professor Naomi Cahn for this reference.  I suspect that the timing of core household bills and public receipt of pandemic-driven federal stimulus payments would make for another interesting study.  

May 14, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Housing, Retirement, Social Security, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 9, 2020

Have You Had The Talk With Your Parents?

No, no not that talk. The finances talk?  Dear Mom and Dad: Are Your Finances Ready for Retirement?was published last month in the New York Times. How do you start such a potentially awkward conversation? The article suggests some options, including bringing up the topic naturally: “Mom and Dad: What does retirement look like for you?”  One expert suggests that

A natural point of pain in this conversation is that your parents have been the ones providing you with advice and guidance, and now you’re shifting the paradigm and asking questions that suggest you’re concerned whether they’re going to be O.K., [the expert] said. That shift can cause discomfort and tension.

[Another expert]  a financial therapist and financial wellness advocate ... advises that you tie the conversation to your own life as a way to maintain the original roles in which the parent is still the expert and helper. With this strategy, you’re not threatening the power dynamic, while also getting the insights you need.

Take into consideration timing, the location and method (in person, skype), goals, and the participants. 

Oh and for an article on that "other" talk, see Having ‘The Talk’ With My 80-Something Dad.

March 9, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 14, 2020

SSA Fighting SSA Fraud

For those of us who have ever been victims of a fraud that involves your Social Security benefits, we know it's a serious pain (speaking from personal experience).  Protecting all of your personal info is so important. To help beneficiaries, SSA has released a new PSA for beneficiaries. Social Security Launches New Campaign to Fight Scammers explains:

Recently, we launched a new Public Service Announcement campaign as our latest step to caution you about the ongoing nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. The videos feature a message from our Commissioner, Andrew Saul. Along with our Office of the Inspector General, we continue to receive reports about fraudulent phone calls and emails from people falsely claiming they’re government employees. The scammers play on emotions like fear to convince people to provide personal information or money in cash, wire transfers, or gift cards. Fraudsters are also emailing fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands.

“I want every American to know that if a suspicious caller states there is a problem with their Social Security number or account, they should hang up and never give the caller money or personal information. People should then go online to report the scam call to Social Security,” said Commissioner Saul.

The PSA is available here. Watch it!

February 14, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Aging in This Decade Starting in 2020

Kaiser Health News  published an interesting piece a few days ago, What The 2020s Have In Store For Aging Boomers  opens with some interesting data. "Within 10 years, all of the nation’s 74 million baby boomers will be 65 or older. The most senior among them will be on the cusp of 85. ... Even sooner, by 2025, the number of seniors (65 million) is expected to surpass that of children age 13 and under (58 million) for the first time, according to Census Bureau projections." The author interviewed a number of experts to get a sense of what this decade will look like for the boomers and the trends they will face.

  1. Care Crisis:  "Never have so many people lived so long, entering the furthest reaches of old age and becoming at risk of illness, frailty, disability, cognitive decline and the need for personal assistance."
  2. Living longer and "better, " with a focus on quality of life.
  3. "Altering social infrastructure" such as more easily accessible transportation, increased affordable housing,  making existing housing more appropriate for aging in place, and inter-generational programs.
  4. Flipping the perceptions of aging from negative to positive.
  5. "Advancing science", that is “advances in genetic research and big data analytics will enable more personalized — and effective — prescriptions” for both prevention and medical treatments ...."
  6. Responding to inequalities in aging.
  7. Longer careers in the work force

A new decade with ongoing challenges and a chance for progress!

January 22, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Retirement, Science, Statistics | Permalink

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

International Federation on Aeging Webinar on 1th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing

The UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing has its 11th Session coming up.  Prior to that meeting, the International Federation on Aeging, along with  the Global Alliance For the Rights of Older People (GAROP) are offering an upcoming webinar on National Advocacy ahead of the 11th Session of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing.is holding a webinar on National Advocacy Ahead of the 11th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing on January 22, 2020 at 7 a.m. est. This webinar will

  • Provide information for all NGOs engaging in the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) process at the national level.
  • Focus particularly on what national advocacy NGOs can do to influence their governments ahead of the 11thOEWG session in April.
  • Include updates and insights from a UN perspective and concrete examples of national advocacy from GAROP members. 

Click here to register for this program.

Summaries of the prior meetings of the U.N. Working Group can be accessed here.

January 15, 2020 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, International, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Report from 2020 AALS Annual Meeting Section on Aging and the Law

For the last few years, I've found myself with conflicts during semester breaks that interfered with attending the AALS Annual Meeting.  So I was especially happy this year to attend and catch up with long-time and new friends, especially those who work in fields relevant to elder law.  

The annual meeting kicked off for me with a Joint Session hosted by the Sections on Aging and the the Law, Civil Rights, Family & Juvenile Law, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, and Immigration Law.  The collaborative event offered lots of interesting "Emerging Issues in Elder Law," with speakers including:

Mark Bauer, Stetson Law, who spoke about recent enforcement efforts to combat elder exploitation, and pointed to a lingering weakness associated with banks that make SARS reports that never go beyond the regulatory body, and therefore never reach first responders, such as local police.  He talked about support for a state-wide effort in Florida to improve police reports to make it easier to identify abusers who target older persons.  He also called for better record-keeping for sales of gift cards, as these have become the number 1 method that telephone scammers get older adults to send them money.  

Wendy Parmet, Northeastern University School of Law, who focused on the impact of immigration laws and policies on the health of older adults, including attempts by the current administration to change the definition of "public charge" to include anyone who could receive any public benefits whatsoever,  thereby expanding the the pool of inadmissible immigrants and further restricting eligibility for legal permanent residency.  She traced the impacts of such policies on older adults once eligible for family reunification, on older citizens overall, and on a nation that once took pride in providing help to immigrants who were "tired and poor."

Jalila Jefferson-Bullock, Duquesne Law, who talked about how some states are not applying sentencing reforms to elderly offenders, even though such inmates statistically are at the least risk of reoffending and, at 19% of the total prison population, are often generating care costs that are unsustainable.  I learned, sadly, that my own state of Pennsylvania is one of the states that is not yet making significant progress on sentencing reforms for older adults.

Rachel Lopez, Drexel University Law, who is director of Drexel's Stern Community Lawyering Clinic, carried forward the theme of needed prison reforms for older inmates, reporting the latest events that follow the Graterford Think Tank Prison Project in Pennsylvania, and making the sobering observation that the most effective argument may not be one that sounds in human rights or human dignity, but the demonstration that return to the community for aging and ill residents saves the state money.  

Naomi Cahn, George Washington Law, who is also the incoming chair for the AALS Section on Law and Aging, presented facts and figures on "gray divorce," especially with respect to financial impacts on women.  She urged a de-coupling of Social Security benefits from marriage (or perhaps marriage longevity requirements), arguing that Social Security credits should be available for time spent as caregivers.  

Browne Lewis, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, pointed to the emerging issue of "reproductive rights" for older individuals, identifying jurisdictions that restrict women's access to assisted reproductive technologies (ART) including placing age or time restrictions on use of banked or stored eggs.

For faculty members who would like to be part of next year's Law and Aging program at the 2021 AALS Annual meeting in San Francisco, contact Naomi Cahn with your topics and interest.  

January 8, 2020 in Consumer Information, Crimes, Current Affairs, Elder Abuse/Guardianship/Conservatorship, Ethical Issues, Health Care/Long Term Care, International, Retirement, State Cases, State Statutes/Regulations, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Can We Better Assure Retirement Security in the U.S.?

Everyone agrees that we need a stronger national commitment to "retirement security" in America.  But what, exactly does that mean?  Townsend-Kathleen-KennedyThis topic will be a central focus for discussion during a Public Forum hosted at Penn State's Dickinson Law on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.  The keynote speaker is former Maryland Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is currently the Director of Retirement Security at the Economic Policy Institute, as well as serving as a research professor at  Georgetown University.  

Along those very lines, last week I read a news article  about the latest stalemate at the federal level on specific legislation that could promote better retirement savings.  The measure in question is H.R. 1994, the "Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement" Act -- and of course that name was chosen to reinforce the goal of SECURE futures.  The bill passed the House with strong, bipartisan backing in May 2019, but is now mired in the Senate. Excerpts from The Hill describe the roadblocks to passage:

GOP senators on Thursday attempted to bring a House-passed retirement savings bill to the Senate floor with votes on a limited number of amendments, but the effort was rejected by Democrats.

 

The Republican effort and Democrats' rejection highlighted how, despite widespread bipartisan support and backing from industry groups, it is still unclear when the retirement bill will be enacted.

 

The House in May in a nearly unanimous vote approved the bill, known as the SECURE Act. The bill includes a host of provisions aimed at making it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans and for people to save for retirement. It also reverses a provision in the 2017 Republican tax-cut law that inadvertently raised taxes on military survivor benefits paid to children....

 

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) objected to the Republican request, saying that Senate Democrats want the chamber to pass the House-passed bill as-is, without any amendments.

 

“We have a few Republican senators who want to sidetrack it with last-minute amendments, including proposals that are not in the interest of working families and will kill any chance this bill has of becoming law,” she said.

 

Murray asked Toomey to modify his request in order to allow the bill to pass as-is, but Toomey said he wouldn’t modify his request.

For another perspective, see "What is the SECURE Act? How Could It Affect Your Future?"

November 10, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Ethical Issues, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement, Social Security, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 14, 2019

Another Article on Saving for Retirement

MarketWatch published an article last week on the amount of money you need to have for your retirement,  If you want to have enough money when you retire, you need to know this.  "Calculating future savings requires numerous factors, including current age and predicted retirement age, any current assets, how the portfolio is invested and at what rate a person can realistically expect that money to grow. The latter, known as a “rate of return,” includes inflation, interest and dividend payments, and many experts disagree on what individuals can anticipate that rate to be."  There are various views regarding the percentages needed for the rate of return and there are a couple of ways to reference it, the article explains.

As with most other facets of retirement planning, an assumed rate of return can be different from one person to the next, said [one advisor]... The reality is that it is almost entirely dependent upon your own personal allocation....” Many advisers also have their own way of creating projections, and will show clients a few estimates — from conservative to aggressive — when making a financial plan. “There is no one perfect number to use....”

Still, investors may want to err on the conservative side, as it’s better to save too much than end up in retirement with too little....  And investors, especially younger ones, should not be chasing returns.

Bottom line, you need to start saving (the earlier the better) for your retirement if you plan to retire

October 14, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Retirement | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Happy Places to Retire

With Dorian finally moving on, I thought it would be good for all of us to post something that was happy. So Kiplinger ran an article, 10 of the Happiest Places to Retire in the U.S.  According to the article, these "10 retirement destinations rank the highest in terms of the overall well-being of residents."  These are Charlottesville, VA; Ann Arbor, MI: Portland, ME;Carlsbad, CA; Durham-Chapel Hill, NC; Cape Coral, FL; Richland, WA;; Provo, UT; Charleston, S.C.; and Burlington, VT. Not having lived in these, I can't comment on if they are happy places to live.

To come up with the rankings, Kiplinger relied on the "Well-Being index" which the article explains " is based specifically on residents' feelings about five elements of well-being: "purpose" (liking what you do and being motivated to achieve goals), "social" (having supportive relationships and love), "financial" (managing your budget to feel secure), "community" (liking where you live) and "physical" (being in good health). "  Using this index, then Kiplinger "factored in the "community" and "physical" components of the Well-Being Index, where available, as well as living costs, safety, median incomes and poverty rates for retirement-age residents and the availability of recreational and health care facilities."

The article is available here.

September 8, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Retirement, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Assisted Living-Is It the Right Option for Assistance in Living?

My colleague and dear friend Professor Bauer, sent me the link to a recent op-ed in the New York Times,  How Not to Grow Old in America.The assisted living industry is booming, by tapping into the fantasy that we can all be self-sufficient until we die.

Assisted living seems like the solution to everyone’s worries about old age. It’s built on the dream that we can grow old while being self-reliant and live that way until we die. That all you need is a tiny bit of help. That you would never want to be warehoused in a nursing home with round-the-clock caregivers. This is a powerful concept in a country built on independence and self-reliance.

The problem is that for most of us, it’s a lie. And we are all complicit in keeping this dream alive.

The author notes that the ALF industry has a financial incentive to market their product and it's appealing to the kids of those who reside in ALFs.  The author writes, "[t]he irony of assisted living is, it’s great if you don’t need too much assistance. If you don’t, the social life, the spalike facilities, the myriad activities and the extensive menus might make assisted living the right choice. But if you have trouble walking or using the bathroom, or have dementia and sometimes wander off, assisting living facilities aren’t the answer, no matter how desperately we wish they were." Further, the author offers data that most of these residents need more care than that provided and argues in favor of regulation, using several actual cases as illustrations to support the call for regulation.

We need to let go of the ideal of being self-sufficient until death. Just as we don’t demand that our toddlers be self-reliant, Americans need to allow the reality of ourselves as dependent in our old age to percolate into our psyches and our nation’s social policies. Unless we face up to the reality of the needs of our aging population, the longevity we as a society have gained is going to be lived out miserably.

September 4, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Dementia/Alzheimer’s, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Health Care/Long Term Care, Housing, Other, Retirement, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Got a Question About Social Security Retirement?

The New York Times recently ran an article, 7 of Your Most Burning Questions on Social Security (With Answers).

The questions include the future of Social Security, spousal and survivors benefits, the length of benefits, delayed retirement vs. "break even" claiming,  the lowered amount of benefits for those who temporarily leave the work force for caregiving, taxing benefits, and self-employment. 

These are all really good questions (I hope they do another article, cause we all know there are more than 7 burning questions.)  The answers are clear and to the point. I plan to have my students read the article before we cover the topic this fall semester (which will be starting before we know it!) You should read it, too!

August 7, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Federal Statutes/Regulations, Retirement, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mark your Calendar: Webinar on Spending Patterns of Older Adults

The Employee Benefits Research Institute (EBRI) has announced a webinar on July 24, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. edt.  on Spending Patterns of Older Households and Their Financial Planning Implications.

Here's a description of the webinar:

Please join EBRI for a webinar reviewing findings from its latest research on spending behavior of older Americans. EBRI researcher Zahra Ebrahimi will examine how spending varies by retirement status, wealth, and demographic characteristics. We will then hear from Sharon Carson, Retirement Strategist, Executive Director at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, to understand the implications of these findings in assessing retirement income adequacy for financial planning purposes.

To register for the webinar, click here.

July 18, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Programs/CLEs, Retirement, Statistics, Webinars | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

25% Working Americans Don't Plan to Retire

Do you plan to retire?  If you answer is no, you aren't alone. According to a recent poll in the Associated Press, almost 25% of folks plan to keep work. Poll: 1 in 4 don’t plan to retire despite realities of aging found a possible "disconnection between individuals’ retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce." The realities of life ... and aging... "often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they’d like."  The article notes things like caregiving and health as reasons that cause folks to leave employment.  In addition to this nearly 25% who plan to keep working, which "[includes] nearly 2 in 10 of those over 50.... [r]oughly another quarter of Americans say they will continue working beyond their 65th birthday."

The article contains data regarding the impetus to keep working (including financial needs) and the perceptions among those in the workforce regarding the continued employment of older workers:

39% think people staying in the workforce longer is mostly a good thing for American workers, while 29% think it’s more a bad thing and 30% say it makes no difference.

A somewhat higher share, 45%, thinks it has a positive effect on the U.S. economy.

Working Americans who are 50 and older think the trend is more positive than negative for their own careers — 42% to 15%. Those younger than 50 are about as likely to say it’s good for their careers as to say it’s bad.

However, desire and reality aren't always a match. The article also discusses reasons why folks who want to keep working have to leave the workforce.

Thanks to Professor Naomi Cahn for sending me the link to the story.

July 9, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Other, Retirement, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Good News Out of Alabama for SNT Beneficiaries

One piece of good news from Alabama that caught my eye was the passage of a new law regarding pensions and Special Needs Trusts.   Here is the press release from the firm of one of the attorneys integrally involved in this legislative effort:

A new act has been passed by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law by the Governor that will allow participants in the Retirement Systems of Alabama (“RSA”) pension plan to direct proceeds to pass to a special needs trust for a beneficiary with a disability who receives government benefits.  Sirote & Permutt shareholder, Katherine N. Barr, a member of the firm’s Private Clients Trusts and Estates Group, recognized the need for this important statutory change when doing estate planning for RSA employees and retirees who wanted to leave their RSA pensions to children with disabilities receiving SSI and Medicaid.  The RSA provisions required the pension payment to be paid directly to the child, which caused a loss of these critical government benefits in most cases.  With input from RSA, Ms. Barr prepared legislation to correct this problem.  State Senator Cam Ward from Alabaster, Alabama introduced the legislation as SB 57 this session and State Representative Matt Fridy from Montevallo, Alabama introduced to it the House.  Both the House and Senate passed it unanimously. Governor Ivey signed the legislation on May 22, 2019.  The Act covers all RSA retirement plan participants and will become effective August 1, 2019.  Ms. Barr states that it took more than three years to obtain this result.  This legislation will benefit individuals with disabilities for years to come by allowing them to receive the pension payments in a manner that will not affect their Medicaid and SSI payments. The pension can now be directed to a certain type of special needs trust upon the death of the plan participant.  The trust can be set up in advance or following the participant’s death.  The Alabama Family Trust can be designated to receive the benefit, as can a private trust. 

Well done Katherine!

June 6, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Estates and Trusts, Health Care/Long Term Care, Retirement, State Statutes/Regulations | Permalink

Monday, June 3, 2019

Caregivers and the Impact on Their Financial Security

The GAO recently released a study examining the financial implications to caregivers.  Retirement Security: Some Parental and Spousal Caregivers Face Financial Risks explains

[a]bout 10% of Americans per year cared for an elderly parent or spouse from 2011 through 2017. These family caregivers may risk their long-term financial security if they have to work less or pay for caregiving expenses such as travel or medicine.

More than half of people who cared for parents or spouses said they went to work late, left early, or took time off for care

Spousal caregivers at or near retirement age had less in retirement assets or Social Security income than non-caregivers

Experts and studies identified ways to potentially improve caregivers' retirement security, such as increasing their Social Security benefits

The full 71 page report is available here as a pdf, while the highlights are available here.  Here is a synopsis of the highlights

Some caregivers experienced adverse effects on their jobs and had less in retirement assets and income.

  • According to data from a 2015 caregiving-specific study, an estimated 68 percent of working parental and spousal caregivers experienced job impacts, such as going to work late, leaving early, or taking time off during the day to provide care. Spousal caregivers were more likely to experience job impacts than parental caregivers (81 percent compared to 65 percent, respectively).
  • According to 2002 to 2014 data from the Health and Retirement Study, spousal caregivers ages 59 to 66 had lower levels of retirement assets and less income than married non-caregivers of the same ages. Specifically, spousal caregivers had an estimated 50 percent less in individual retirement account (IRA) assets, 39 percent less in non-IRA assets, and 11 percent less in Social Security income. However, caregiving may not be the cause of these results as there are challenges to isolating the effect of caregiving from other factors that could affect retirement assets and income.

 

June 3, 2019 in Consumer Information, Current Affairs, Health Care/Long Term Care, Other, Retirement, Statistics | Permalink | Comments (0)