Your Social Security Check Will Increase This January
For Mark Roberts’ Use: The Social Security administration has announced that all benefits recipients will see a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly checks, beginning January 15, 2015. The increase is due to the program’s annual cost of living adjustment (COLA), which is tied to the Consumer Price Index. When prices of goods and services rise, COLA helps protect seniors on a fixed income from inflation.
The cost of living adjustment will affect more than 70 million retirees and disabled veterans, or more than one-fifth of the country. It amounts to about 20 dollars per month for the average Social Security recipient, and is the third year in a row that the cost of living adjustment has been calculated at less than 2 percent.
Luckily, although the cost of health care is on the rise, Medicare Part B premiums will remain the same for 2015 at 104.90 per month. Most seniors opt to have their Medicare Part B premiums deducted from their Social Security checks. Meanwhile, federal retirees face a 3.8 percent increase on their health insurance premiums next year, and premiums for other self-insured retirees may also rise.
Some skeptics believe this year’s cost of living adjustment is too low, and is not enough to cover inflated costs associated with health care, food, gas, and other essentials. While politicians continuously argue over changes to the Social Security system, retirees should take note of this year’s cost of living adjustment and plan ahead.
It’s important to remember that Social Security was never meant to entirely fund retirement, but should be seen as a supplement instead. Retirees who find that their monthly expenses exceed their income should talk to their financial advisors about ways to either trim their budgets or boost income. Those who have not yet retired should calculate expected expenses and income carefully, and talk to their advisors about the right time for retirement.
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In addition to managing clients’ money and giving investment and diversification advice, Mark offers something that “the other guys” don’t - a unique approach to Retirement Tax Strategies and distribution. Time and time again, Mark meets with new clients who tell him they have a great relationship with their financial advisor but have never been offered information on this kind of approach to securing their financial futures. Mark has taken this feedback to heart and works tirelessly to ensure that his strategies focus on taxes and distribution.
Mark started selling insurance for a major insurance company right out of high school to help put himself through college. After graduating with a degree in finance, he dove into estate planning on the financial side to set himself apart from other financial advisors. However, as changes were made to estate tax laws over time, Mark shifted his focus to income tax strategies.
Mark’s philosophy is “the blue prints are more important than the wall paper or carpet.” The wall paper and carpet represent products like investments and insurance policies, whereas the blue prints represent the strategies. Once strategies that truly fit the client’s needs are put in place, our focus can shift to providing you with the right products. According to Mark, “It doesn’t matter what carpet we use if the walls are not in the right place.”
Our approach to money management is designed to generate the largest alpha (quality) with the lowest standard deviation and beta (risk). By doing this, we help provide clients with the highest return on the lowest risk. Generating income for our retirees is also very important. Because withdrawing money from your portfolio hurts the account rather than helping it, our goal is to design income strategies to harm the portfolio the least making the money last longer.