3 Social Security Facts …

3 Social Security Facts You Need to Know in 2015

Source: Social Security Administration.

For the most part, Social Security is a straightforward concept. You pay taxes to the program throughout your working life, and then, upon reaching retirement age, you collect monthly benefits based in large part on the amount you paid into the system over that career.

Still, there are small shifts to the program every year, and 2015 will be no different. Let’s go over three developments to watch for in 2015 if you’re one of the millions of Americans either paying into or receiving money from Social Security.

Payment amounts and income subject to taxes are rising
In January, Social Security payments will increase 1.7% thanks to the annual cost-of-living increase, and the income limit subject to Social Security taxes increases to $118,500 from $117,500. The average monthly payment to a retiree will be $1,328, up from $1,306 prior to the adjustment.

The maximum possible Social Security benefit to a new retiree just reaching full retirement age in 2015 will also increase to $2,663 per month from $2,642 per month in 2014.

If the payments and increases seem woefully inadequate to cover your lifestyle in retirement, you’re not alone. Social Security was never designed to be your only source of income in retirement — just a foundation to be supplemented with pensions and/or personal savings.

Mailed personal statements are making a comeback (for some people)
Until 2011, Social Security mailed out annual statements telling people who weren’t collecting payments what their eventual benefits would be. Budget cuts curtailed that practice, but it’s making a partial comeback. If you are turning 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, or 60 in 2015, and you haven’t signed up for an online Social Security account, then you can expect to receive a statement this year.

The statement provides an excellent estimate of your benefit and a copy of your earnings record. If you don’t want to wait until your multiple-of-five birthday to see your statement, you can sign up online at this link.

The financial health of the program will be evaluated around April 1
Every year, the Social Security Trustees publish a report detailing the program’s stability and financial health. The report is due by April 1, but it doesn’t always get published on time. The 2014 report, for instance, was published on July 28.

Key in that report will be an update on the estimated timeline of when the Social Security Trust Funds will empty. In the last report, the trustees estimated that the funds would empty by 2033 and that payments would be cut by about 23%. History suggests Congress will likely pass some combination of tax hikes and benefit cuts to shore up the system between now and then.

Unless and until that happens, though, your best bet is to invest as if you will have to make up for that cut on your own. After all, if taxes rise to cover the gap, it’s easier to dial back your investing to cover the reduction in your take-home pay than to cut your basic costs of living. On the flip side, if benefits are cut, you’ll be glad you have a buffer built up.

It’s your retirement. Take control
Despite the long-term challenges facing Social Security, it remains a key part of millions of Americans’ retirement plans. It appears there will only be modest adjustments to Social Security in 2015, which provides an excellent opportunity to update your end-to-end retirement plans around what you’ll need to retire comfortably. Take advantage of the relative calm to take control of your retirement. Your future self will thank you for it.

How one Seattle couple secured a $60K Social Security bonus — and you can too
A Seattle couple recently discovered some little-known Social Security secrets that can boost many retirees income by as much as $60,000. They were shocked by how easy it was to actually take advantage of these loopholes. And although it may seem too good to be true, it’s 100% real. In fact, one MarketWatch reporter argues that if more Americans used them, the government would have to shell out an extra $10 billion every year! So once you learn how to take advantage of these loopholes, you could retire confidently with the peace of mind were all after, even if youre woefully unprepared. Simply click here to receive your free copy of our new reportthat details how you can take advantage of these strategies.


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On this day: “remember the ladies”

womens_day_2013GOOGLEfeatured photo is from google

In a letter dated March 31, 1776, Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, urging him and the other members of the Continental Congress not to forget about the nation’s women when fighting for America’s independence from Great Britain.

The future First Lady wrote in part, “I long to hear that you have declared an independency. And, by the way, in the new code of laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make, I desire you would remember the ladies and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands. Remember, all men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”

Nearly 150 years before the House of Representatives voted to pass the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, Adams letter was a private first step in the fight for equal rights for women. Recognized and admired as a formidable woman in her own right, the union of Abigail and John Adams persists as a model of mutual respect and affection; they have since been referred to as “America’s first power couple.” Their correspondence of over 1,000 letters written between 1762 and 1801 remains in the Massachusetts Historical Society and continues to give historians a unique perspective on domestic and political life during the revolutionary era.

Abigail bore six children, of whom five survived. Abigail and John’s eldest son, John Quincy Adams, served as the sixth president of the United States. Only two women, Abigail Adams and Barbara Bush, have been both wives and mothers of American presidents.


On this day: March 31, 1889

ParisOriginally intended as a temporary installation, the Eiffel Tower has become one of the most enduring symbols of France and the industrial age.

On March 31, 1889, the Eiffel Tower is dedicated in Paris in a ceremony presided over by Gustave Eiffel, the tower’s designer, and attended by French Prime Minister Pierre Tirard, a handful of other dignitaries, and 200 construction workers.

In 1889, to honor of the centenary of the French Revolution, the French government planned an international exposition and announced a design competition for a monument to be built on the Champ-de-Mars in central Paris. Out of more than 100 designs submitted, the Centennial Committee chose Eiffel’s plan of an open-lattice wrought-iron tower that would reach almost 1,000 feet above Paris and be the world’s tallest man-made structure. Eiffel, a noted bridge builder, was a master of metal construction and designed the framework of the Statue of Liberty that had recently been erected in New York Harbor.

Eiffel’s tower was greeted with skepticism from critics who argued that it would be structurally unsound, and indignation from others who thought it would be an eyesore in the heart of Paris. Unperturbed, Eiffel completed his great tower under budget in just two years. Only one worker lost his life during construction, which at the time was a remarkably low casualty number for a project of that magnitude. The light, airy structure was by all accounts a technological wonder and within a few decades came to be regarded as an architectural masterpiece.

The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall and consists of an iron framework supported on four masonry piers, from which rise four columns that unite to form a single vertical tower. Platforms, each with an observation deck, are at three levels. Elevators ascend the piers on a curve, and Eiffel contracted the Otis Elevator Company of the United States to design the tower’s famous glass-cage elevators.

The elevators were not completed by March 31, 1889, however, so Gustave Eiffel ascended the tower’s stairs with a few hardy companions and raised an enormous French tricolor on the structure’s flagpole. Fireworks were then set off from the second platform. Eiffel and his party descended, and the architect addressed the guests and about 200 workers. In early May, the Paris International Exposition opened, and the tower served as the entrance gateway to the giant fair.

The Eiffel Tower remained the world’s tallest man-made structure until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. Incredibly, the Eiffel Tower was almost demolished when the International Exposition’s 20-year lease on the land expired in 1909, but its value as an antenna for radio transmission saved it. It remains largely unchanged today and is one of the world’s premier tourist attractions.


what a successful Presidency looks like

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President Obama Took Office
(January 2009)
7,949 The Dow Jones Index 17,573
7.8% Unemployment 5.8%
-5.4% GDP Growth 3.5%
9.8% Deficit GDP % 2.8%
37.7 Consumer Confidence 94.5

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