November 2012

28 Nov

Social Security Claiming Strategies

What can married couples do to increase joint lifetime benefits?

What is your "magic number"? Roughly half of retirees claim Social Security benefits at age 62, as soon as they become eligible. Some people delay benefits and postpone using their retirement savings as an income source. Others apply out of necessity; their financial situation leaves them little choice.1

These factors aside, what if you have a choice? If you wait a few years to apply for Social Security, how much more income might you realize?

Could you wait until age 66? The Social Security Administration has made 66 the "full" retirement age for people born during 1943-1954. If you were born in this period and you apply for Social Security at age 62, you will reduce your retirement benefit by 25% and your spouse's by 30%.2,3

28 Nov

The Aftermath of Sandy

Gauging the economic and market impact of the storm.

Hurricane Sandy's fury has exacted a considerable and tragic toll. Even with the relief efforts now underway, it will be some time before things return to normal in many communities. How has Sandy impacted Main Street, Wall Street and the broader economy?

Repairing Main Street. How do you begin to total the damage from a storm affecting 20% of the U.S. population?1

28 Nov

The Big Tax Questions of 2013

How will Congress resolve these issues?

Decisions must be made. In the next couple of months, Congress will address several major tax matters. Here are the big questions looming.

The Bush-era income tax cuts. Will the current 10%-15%-25%-28%-33%-35% federal tax rate structure give way to 15%-28%-31%-36%-39.6% tax brackets in 2013? After the election, some analysts feel a compromise will be struck to maintain some of the Bush-era cuts for another year. In 2013, you may see the 10%, 15%, 25% and 28% brackets being retained while the wealthy face higher taxes.1

28 Nov

Some Fiscal Cliff Scenarios

What could play out in the near future?

Will 2013 be as severe as some economists think? The fiscal cliff is getting closer and closer. How will Congress respond?

In the worst-case scenario, Congress argues and deadlocks. Tax hikes and roughly $109 billion in federal spending cuts take a bite out of GDP and another recession becomes a possibility.1