Posts made in May, 2013

In Other News…

Posted by on May 28, 2013 in Financial Focus

Good news doesn’t sell. Bad news certainly does. It is a strange phenomenon that humans are generally optimistic and prefer the “good guy” over the “bad guy,” yet the news media is filled with bad news. TV news ratings are clearly superior when the news is negative, and it almost seems like a joke when the newscast finishes up the hour with an obligatory “heartwarming story of the day.” At any rate, there are some hugely positive long-term trends out there that should be considered “good news.” Some trends do lead us to compelling long-term investment implications, while others are simply...

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Maximizing Social Security Survivor Benefits

Posted by on May 24, 2013 in Financial Focus, Social Security

Mary Beth Franklin is a highly regarded financial expert and editor for several industry publications including Kiplinger. In this short video she provides a quick primer on how to maximize Social Security Survivor Benefits. As a widow or widower, many people forget that you are left with a few different Social Security income options. One important takeaway is to distinguish between your own retirement benefit and the survivor benefit. These are two separate benefits, and although you may not take them simultaneously, there are ways to maximize your lifetime benefit with careful planning....

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Your Smart Phone is Disrupting Your Long-Term Retirement Planning

Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Financial Focus

It is somewhat ironic to follow up a post about the benefits of smart phones with a post about the harm your smart phone is causing you. Not in the medical sense, but the harm mobile devices are causing by distracting from long-term retirement planning. A recent survey by Northwestern Mutual reveals that 3 in 10 people are distracted by the fast-paced immediacy of these devices. The study set out to “understand whether or not Americans feel they are ‘moving in the right direction’ in areas such as debt, saving, spending, health, and finances.” Unfortunately, these areas require extensive...

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Social Security Goes Mobile

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Financial Focus, Social Security

Social Security Goes Mobile Smart phone and tablet users now have access to a revamped Social Security Administration website. They retooled their site to cater to the growing population of internet users using smart phones. According to their study, 6% of their visitors were viewing the Social Security site on a smart phone, and that number is growing fast. In another study among smart phone users ages 18-44, an astonishing 79% look at their phones within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. While we don’t believe the Social Security Administration website will get much traffic from that...

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Lower Deficits

Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Financial Focus

America’s budget deficit is ballooning out of control, right? Analysts are discovering something surprising: the U.S. government budget deficit this year and next appears to be shrinking.  Goldman Sachs has issued a report which lowered fiscal 2013’s estimated red ink from $900 billion to $775 billion, or about 4.8% of total U.S. economic output. How did this happen?  Spending is down as a result of the sequestration ($85 billion this year) and prior spending cuts, plus tax revenues are up 12% over last year, the report tells us.  It says that the deficit may come in even smaller...

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