Auto Workers’ Medical Benefits at Risk Under New Tax

via Wall Street Journal

GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will spend in excess of $2 billion in medical-cost coverage for hourly workers in 2015, or at least $14,800 per active worker, according to the auto makers.

Detroit’s negotiations this summer to reach a new four-year labor deal won’t just be an argument about wages. Generous health-care benefits for about 135,000 unionized factory workers are at risk of being cut to prepare for the Affordable Care Act’s “Cadillac” tax.

Health care has long been a fiercely protected benefit for United Auto Worker members, remaining generous even as the union has made other concessions. But the so-called Cadillac tax on companies with high-cost health plans is scheduled to take effect in 2018.

The law imposes a 40% excise tax on the annual cost of health care above $10,200 for individual coverage and $27,500 for family coverage. It is unclear how many UAW assembly workers have plans with costs exceeding those amounts, but industry officials say penalties could be significant…

To read the full WSJ article CLICK HERE

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Five Years of the Affordable Care Act

via RAND Corporation

The Affordable Care Act has officially been part of the U.S. health care landscape for five years. We reflect on the twists and turns that followed its passage and the RAND research that informed debates along the way, and look ahead to the future of the ACA. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE

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Scientists’ New Goal: Growing Old Without Disease

via Wall Street Journal

Some of the top researchers on aging in the country are trying to get an unusual clinical trial up and running.

They want to test a pill that could prevent or delay some of the most debilitating diseases of old age, including Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease. The focus of the project isn’t to prolong life, although that could occur, but to make the last years or decades of people’s lives more fulfilling by postponing the onset of many chronic diseases until closer to death.

The project aims to tap into the growing body of research targeting aging, which has revealed a half dozen or more drugs that appear to delay the aging process in laboratory experiments on animals and observational studies of people. Some of the drugs also have been found to reduce the incidence of chronic diseases associated with old age…

To read the full WSJ Article CLICK HERE

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What’s the Best Way for Retirees to Invest Their Nest Egg?

via Wall Street Journal

The nest egg is under pressure. People are living longer—sometimes a lot longer—at a time when their ability to comfortably support themselves has never seemed more at risk.

So the big question for retirees, or for those about to retire, is a simple one: How do you make sure your savings last as long as you do?

Two familiar strategies have pushed to the front of ideas about how to secure a steady and lasting stream of income in retirement, a stream that ideally would even grow. One is known as total-return investing, or balancing your investment allocations in a traditionally diversified portfolio—seeking income but also asset appreciation. That approach, its advocates say, in the long run reduces a retiree’s exposure to market volatility and risk.

The other approach is income investing, a strategy that focuses on stable, income-producing investments—such as bonds and equities with healthy dividends—and places less emphasis on asset appreciation and capital gains…

To read the full WSJ Article CLICK HERE

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The Financial Challenge of Retirement and How to Meet It

via Wall Street Journal

RETIREMENT CHALLENGE: A new book, “Falling Short: The Coming Retirement Crisis and What to Do About It,” offers a distressingly clear picture of the financial challenge that most of America faces—and an optimistic appraisal of how the country can meet it.

The authors, Charles D. Ellis, Alicia H. Munnell and Andrew D. Eschtruth, explain why the “golden age” of retirement (roughly, 1980 to 2000) has given way to the current state of affairs: the “substantial gap that has opened up between the resources we need for a secure retirement and the income we can expect from our nation’s retirement programs.”

The three then spell out specific steps that the nation—and individuals—can take…

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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A Guide to Not Retiring

via Wall Street Journal

It’s an inescapable reality of getting older: At some point, everybody expects you to retire.

There’s your spouse, who perhaps is already retired and is looking forward to enjoying a relaxing life with you—traveling, visiting grandchildren and just enjoying each other’s company. Then there are your co-workers, who may already be whispering about who gets your office. And, let’s face it, the rest of society also figures you’re ready to retire, because giving up work is simply what most people do.

But what if you don’t want to? What if you could afford to retire, but prefer to keep working because you love it? To turn the old saying on its head: What if you find yourself on your deathbed and really do wish you had spent more time at the office?

To read the full WSJ article CLICK HERE

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How to Fund a Roth IRA Through a Standard 401(k)

via Wall Street Journal

I have read recent articles on making after-tax contributions to a 401(k) plan and later rolling them into a Roth IRA. I work for a company that offers the standard pretax 401(k) and the after-tax Roth 401(k). How do I go about putting after-tax money [into my standard 401(k)] so that, say, 10 years from now, when I leave the company, I can roll all my after-tax money into my Roth at a securities firm?

The strategy you are asking about is an appealing one to people who are already setting aside the maximum salary deferral into a traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k), or a combination of the two: If their plan allows, they can put additional dollars into the traditional 401(k) on an after-tax basis and then roll that to a Roth IRA when they leave the company—a move that was simplified by the Internal Revenue Service in a ruling last year.

The first step is to figure out if your traditional 401(k) plan accepts after-tax contributions. One place to look is the “summary plan description,” available from your employer or, perhaps, on the website for your company’s 401(k) plan…

To read the full article CLICK HERE

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