When the Only Certainty in Life is Uncertainty

Always Retire at the Beginning of a Bull Market – Sequence of Return Risk If someone had retired in the beginning of 2022, they would have experienced a 9% drop in the DJIA and a 20% loss in the S&P 500.  A 60/40 Stock / Bond  Portfolio was down 16% for the year.  That does not take into account withdraws taken by the retiree to live off of or management charges.  Another way of looking at would be an individual had a $1 million IRA Continue reading →

Tax the Rich – The Error of the Progressives

Happy New Year!  Hard to believe we’re in a New Year!!  Where does time go?  48 years ago this month I started my 1st job out of college with Northwestern Mutual in Oshkosh, Wi.  Don’t ask how that went, but it did serve as a stepping stone into the world of finance which is where I still find myself in 2023.  So where do we find ourselves today? “It ain’t what you know, that gets you in trouble.  It’s what you know that ain’t so.”  Continue reading →

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly and the Uncertain

As we come to the close of another year, I thought it only appropriate to update the status of Social Security heading into 2023.  Next month I’ll be speaking to the TXCPA in Houston and the above is the topic for my session taken from that classic western movie starring Clint Eastwood. I’ve got some Good News & I’ve Got Some Bad News On the positive side (GOOD) we’ll all be looking at an 8.7% increase in benefits next year on top of this years Continue reading →

Ignorance is NOT Bliss

There was an article published the other day in Epoch Times titled “Most Americans lose $180,000 in Social Security Benefits Due to a Key Mistake”.  In a nutshell the premise is that by claiming early they miss out on significant benefits over their lifetime.  Nothing earth shattering here, it’s been my premise since I started consulting on Social Security claiming strategies over 10 years ago.  What was surprising was the reader responses to the article! As of now there are over 600 responses to the Continue reading →

Social Security and Inflation

Last week it was announced that there would be an 8.7% increase in Social Security benefits next year on top of last year’s increase of 5.9%.  Now the good news is that there will be an increase, the bad news is that inflation is running at much the same level, so its safe to say at best we’re treading water.  On the flip side if you have a corporate pension, it is highly unlikely you’ve seen any increases at all. Corporate Pensions I was fortunate Continue reading →

It’s as Clear as Mud – 2,700 Rules related to Social Security

I had conversation the other day with a CPA who questioned the need to run an analysis, since some of the claiming strategies (File & Suspend and the Restricted Claiming Provision) that were available have been eliminated.  I agreed with him on those two provisions were extremely attractive, but that there are still a number of reasons, why no one should claim until they run a thorough detailed analysis of all their options.  Here are just a sample of issues that have come up recently; Continue reading →

A Priest, an Accountant and a Doctor 

A Priest, an Accountant and a Doctor  You remember some of the old jokes that started with such a line?  Well in the last month I’ve had conversations with all 3 regarding their plans to retire and claiming of Social Security benefits.  What’s interesting is all 3 want to continue working, but at greatly reduced hours and responsibilities.  Welcome to the future……… Phased Retirement It’s interesting is that these 3 individuals love their current professions, but they desire to eliminate certain aspects of their current Continue reading →

INFLATION & Claiming Early

With a projected COLA increase this coming year of 10.5% on top of last year’s 5.9% I’ve had a number of calls from CPA’s, Advisors and Clients as to the wisdom of waiting until 70 or claiming early!  There is 2 ways to think about it, so let’s look at it from 2 different perspectives. #1  Simplistic View – I get a BIGGER Increase in monthly benefits We both claimed, you claimed at 62 and I claimed at 70 Your check is $2,000 and mine Continue reading →

Revisiting WEP AND GPO

One of the most confusing and misunderstood issues in receiving Social Security Benefits is the WEP and GPO provisions, that relates to individuals who receive pension benefits from a job where they did not pay FICA taxes!  Who we are talking about is mostly are school teachers, police and fire fighters where either the school districts or cities opted out of paying FICA taxes and withholding payroll taxes from their employees.  Almost all individuals feel that these 2 provisions treat them unfairly, thus they want Continue reading →

Gotta, Wanna, and Nice to Have

The previous weekend I attended a retreat at Mo Ranch titled “Coping with Chaos” which seemed quite appropriate based upon the times we live in!  On Monday morning I had to catch a flight to Dallas to address the Dallas CPA Society that afternoon.  On the way to airport, I was listening to several different radio stations, and these were the issues addressed during my 40 minute drive. What great inspiring thoughts to start my week off!  The issue is this is the way we Continue reading →