Retirement Calculators: 3 Good Options
Source: Center for Retirement Research

The Internet offers many free calculators to baby boomers wanting to get a better handle on whether their retirement finances are on track.

The operative words here are “on track,” because each calculator has strengths and weaknesses.  Calculators aren’t capable of providing a bullet-proof analysis of the complex factors and future unknowns that will determine whether someone has done the planning and saving required to ensure a financially secure retirement.

With that caveat, Squared Away found three calculators, listed below, that do a good job. They met our criteria of being reliable, free, and easy to use.  Many other calculators were quickly eliminated, because they were indecipherable or created issues on the first try.


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Another blow for heartland workers: Slashed pensions
Source: MoneyWatch


February was a bad month for Larry Burruel and thousands of other retired Ohio iron workers. His monthly take-home pension was cut by more than half from $3,700 to $1,600.

Things have been rough in the Rust Belt, but this was a particularly powerful punch in the pocketbook for Burruel, who started in the trade at 19 and worked 36 years before opting for early retirement to make way for younger workers. Unfortunately, this sagging industry doesn’t have enough younger workers to pay for retirees like Burruel, whose pension plan is in what the U.S. Treasury Department calls “critical and declining status.”

Burruel and the 4,000 members of his Cleveland Iron Workers Local 17 pension plan are the canaries in the coal mine as far as pension cutbacks go. At least 50 Midwestern pension plans — mostly the kind jointly administered by trustees for a labor union and a group of employers — are in this decrepit condition. Several plan sponsors have already applied to the Treasury Department to cut back retirees’ allotments.

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Golf Registration for the 2017 IPPFA MidAmerican Pension Conference is NOW Open
Source: IPPFA

2017 Golf Registration Form

Golf will be held at The Courses at Forest Park, St. Louis, MO.

Golf has been played in Forest Park since 1897. Built after the 1904 World’s Fair, the original 27-hole course was designed and constructed in phases by Scotsman Robert Foulis. Foulis started out as an assistant to Tom Morris at the Old Course at St. Andrews. The original “flat or Eisenhower Nine” opened in 1912. A second nine was completed the following year, and the third nine was finished in 1915. The original set-up was intended for the “flat nine” to be the beginning nine, and then as players’ skills advanced, they would ‘graduate’ to the main 18-hole course. The Courses at Forest Park have played host to numerous championship golf events over the last nine decades, including the 1929 National Public Links Championship.

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Public Pensions Provide a Secure Retirement
Source: National Public Pension Coalition

For a decade now since the Great Recession, special interests have waged a false-information campaign against public pensions. While not all of the motives are clear, one thing is certain: if the over $3.8 trillion in assets managed by state and local pension funds were converted into individual 401(k)-style accounts, someone on Wall Street would stand to reap enormous financial benefit. In California alone, CalPERS, the 7th largest pension fund in the world, manages $295 billion in assets. The playbook to convert public pensions to 401(k)s has changed, but the lack of honesty in the arguments has not.

As with virtually all other investors, public pension funds suffered losses on their investments during the Great Recession. By one count, the financial markets lost 33% of their value from 2008 to 2009. Undeniably, this affected the funded status of public pension plans. According to data collected by the Center for Retirement Research, the average funded ratio of public pension plans declined from 86% in 2007 to 77% in 2009. Some states, like Idaho, suffered major drops in funded status while others, like North Carolina, saw smaller drops. Regardless, every pension plan was impacted.


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Retirement Plan Coverage Compliance Self-Assessment For State and Local Government Entities
Source: IRS

Public employers have unique legal requirements for compliance with federal tax and Social Security laws. These employers need to be aware of the rules that apply to them and their workers (both employees and independent contractors); especially those related to federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes and public retirement system obligations.

The Form 14581 series consists of seven topical employment tax Compliance Self-Assessment tools, listed below, for voluntary use by government entities to conduct self-assessments of their compliance with these requirements. The forms have fillable check box and text fields so they can be completed electronically or printed and completed manually.

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Social Security’s Financial Outlook: The 2017 Update in Perspective”
Source: Center for Retirement Research

The brief’s key findings are:

  • The 2017 Trustees Report shows very little change:
    • Social Security’s 75-year deficit rose slightly from 2.66 percent to 2.83 percent of payroll.
    • The deficit as a percentage of GDP remains at 0.9 percent.
    • Trust fund exhaustion is still 2034, after which payroll taxes still cover about three quarters of promised benefits.
  • The shortfall is manageable, but action should be taken soon to equitably share the burden among cohorts, restore public confidence, and give people time to adjust.
  • Proposed solutions range from “all benefit cuts” to “all tax increases.” For action to occur, policymakers need guidance from the public on the desired mix.

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