Good deed while teaching may cause benefit reduction

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Good deed while teaching may result in benefit reduction
A retiree who has been a substitute teacher for nearly 40 years can expect a two-thirds cut to her Social Security spousal benefits because of the government pension offset provision, according to this Q&A article on USA Today. The retiree is subject to the provision, as she contributed to a special retirement savings program for her school district's substitute teachers and other part-time employees. “Special rules apply to a savings plan, but basically the value of the account is pro-rated over her lifetime as if it were a monthly payment,” says an expert.

How to fend off Medicare surtaxes and Social Security givebacks
Taxpayers should look for ways to reduce their adjusted gross income, as they lose substantial tax breaks and face penalties, surtaxes and phase-outs of benefits, if their adjusted gross income exceeds a certain threshold, according to this article on Forbes. A bigger adjusted gross income could also mean Medicare surtaxes and tax liability on a portion of Social Security benefits. One strategy is to lump taxable income in a single year by accelerating future earnings so that clients will incur the adjusted gross income penalties in just one year. This article offers additional strategies for clients to help bring down their adjusted gross income.

How to set, and keep, your personal-finance resolutions
Experts urge retirement savers to set specific and realistic goals in order to succeed in keeping their New Year's personal-finance resolutions, according to this article on The Wall Street Journal. It helps to get support from friends and loved ones. Clients who break a resolution are advised to understand the possible outcome of their decision, avoid focusing on the negative impact and consider pairing their resolutions with a reward. Having a clear vision could be crucial to keeping their New Year's resolutions, says an expert. “That clear vision will push you through the tedious or difficult times and give you the urgency and purpose to try again if you go off course."

Why women are so gloomy about retirement
A study has found that women have saved less for retirement and are more concerned about the golden years compared with men, according to this article on MarketWatch. To improve their retirement prospects, female workers should take advantage of their employer-sponsored retirement plans and sign up for automatic payroll deduction, says an expert. They are also advised to estimate their retirement savings goals using an online calculator and boost their understanding about retirement investing.

How to play catch-up on retirement in the New Year
Clients should be confident in their retirement plan, as the lack of confidence could prompt them to make hasty decisions and result in unstable financial situation, says an expert with TIAA on Fox Business. "One step that Boomers can take to make sure they have a monthly source of income after they retire is to consider the benefits of lifetime income options and what those have to offer," says the expert, adding that those who started their retirement saving late should "make sure they are utilizing any and all resources that are available to them through their employer."

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