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January 2017

The "Big Three" If You Work Past Age 65

MusingsOne thing we can all be certain of: Boomers will continue to age. In our society, 65 has been known to be a magic number for retirement, but the Boomer generation has changed the very nature of retirement with a desire (and often times a need) to work past the age of 65.

In a past post on his retirement blog,, Mark Miller helpfully reminds us all of the importance of the "big three" if you work past the age of 65, namely, Social Security, Medicare and RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions).

"Working longer is a great way to get the most out of Social Security," writes Miller. The good news is that 66 is the "full retirement age" for Boomers. The importance of this age for working Boomers is that your job earnings after age 66 will not reduce your Social Security benefits. In other words, you can earn as much income as you wish and still earn the full Social Security benefits to which you are entitled. Keep in mind that the later you take benefits up until the age of 70, the higher the benefit amount. However, there is no advantage to waiting past the age of 70, since that is when your benefits max out. Go to for complete information on Social Security benefits.

The age of 65 is an important marker for Medicare, which is government-supported health insurance. Writes Miller, "’s important to sign up sometime in the three months before your 65th birthday up through the three months following, because failing to do so can lead to expensive premium penalties down the road." Medicare offers a number of "parts" or options, so be sure you know what kind of insurance coverage you want, because you will have to pay different premiums for different plans. Medicare is also linked to Social Security, so certain Medicare premiums can be directly deducted from any Social Security payments you receive. Go to for complete information about Medicare. 

Whether you are working or not, Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs, must be taken from IRAs and other qualified retirement plans beginning in the year you turn 70-1/2. From then on, you must take an RMD each year. The amount of the RMD depends on your own financial situation; this is an area in which a financial advisor can be most helpful.

The "Big Three" will probably be of the utmost importance to ALL Boomers as they age, but they have particular implications for Boomers who work past the age of 65.

How Will Retirees Fare This Year?

MusingsMore Boomers are working at least part-time, so fewer Americans of retirement age depend solely on Social Security for their income. Still, retirees are more than a little concerned about how a new political regime in Washington could affect their financial future.

While not all prognosticators take the risk of being very specific, this article by Charlene Oldham appearing on does an excellent job of counting off fifteen distinct ways retirement could change this year. Among them are:

  1. Interest and mortgage rates could go up
  2. Some mutual fund risks could increase
  3. Tax cuts are likely
  4. Health care costs will rise
  5. Inflation is more likely
  6. The future of Social Security is less clear.

This would be a good time to review all of your investments (particularly retirement accounts), sources of income, and expenses. It is an especially good time to consult with your financial advisor, or get an advisor to assist you.

Oldham's article is important reading for every Boomer, so check it out here.

How Workplace Diversity Will Change the Conversation Around Aging

MusingsI'm not sure we are on the cusp of fundamental change in the American workplace when it comes to age discrimination, but there are some promising signs, according to a recent report published by AARP, "Disrupting Age in the Workplace."

It is not uncommon for the modern day workplace to include workers from five different generations. Despite this reality, less than ten percent of CEOs include age as a factor in their diversity and inclusion strategy, according to a PwC global survey. AARP reports, however, that "Research has shown that age diversity can improve organizational performance if managed well. ...One research study found that the relative productivity of both older and younger workers is higher in companies that utilize mixed-age work teams than in companies that do not. Another study found that age diversity within a team was positively related to performance for groups that are involved in performing complex decision-making tasks." 

The AARP report goes on to examine five companies that excel at addressing age diversity and the intergenerational workforce. The companies are:Huntington Ingalls Industries, UnitedHealth Group, Centrica, PNC, and AT&T. Within these companies several "promising practices" were found, including:

• Talent recruitment across all ages help build a diverse and experienced workforce.

• Apprentice programs open to people of all ages helps recruit and retain talent.

• Special programs designed to help people reenter the workforce following an extended absence provide an opportunity for permanent employment.

• Raising awareness of intergenerational differences enhances understanding and leads to better-functioning teams.

• Cross-generational mentoring programs help facilitate knowledge transfer—a critical need for many companies.

If you would like to read the entire AARP report, you can download a copy by clicking below.

Download AARP-Disrupt Aging in the Workforce Report

How to Leave Your Full-time Job and Keep Your Job Part-time

OntheClockAre employers finally waking up to the fact that a Boomer employee's retirement can benefit both the employee and employer? There are signs that some companies have figured out how to make the transition from full-time work to part-time work a win-win for Boomers.

Writing for The New York Times, Christopher Farrell calls the phenomenon "boomerang retirees: people who exit gracefully after their career at a company, then return shortly afterward to work there part time." Farrell cites a number of examples of employers who are welcoming back retired employees on a part-time basis. He points out that only about 8 percent of companies surveyed in 2015 offered part-time work programs for retired former employees, but Farrell writes more companies are discovering the benefits of part-time working retirees.

One such program, sponsored by Atlantic Health Systems of New Jersey, invites retired employees to return to work part-time for a maximum of 1,000 hours per year. Farrell writes, "The company’s Alumni Club — formerly known as the 1,000 Hour Club — was established in 2006, and about 300 Atlantic Health retirees are currently on the company’s payroll in various capacities. 'They’re engaged employees; they’re productive,' said Lesley Meyer, Atlantic Systems’ manager of corporate human resources. 'They’re a stable talent pool.' "

Here's the good news: Human resources professionals think these types of programs are likely to expand. Writes Farrell, "Older workers are the largest collection of talent on payroll, a deep well of skill to tap at a time when management routinely complains about skill shortages. The talents of recent retirees are well known to managers, while former employees are comfortable with an organization’s culture."

Let's hope the trend continues. Read Christopher Farrell's complete article here:

Gradual Retirement is the New Reality

OntheClockThere is a definite yet gradual shift among employers with regard to older workers, and it is to accommodate the notion of gradual retirement. The Wharton School addresses the subject in an excellent article entitled "The Case for Phased Retirement." According to the article, phased retirement, bridge jobs, "un-retirement," and retirees who go on to second or even third careers are concepts that are increasingly popular with Boomers, and employers are starting to take notice.

One employer, the Federal government, is gradually introducing the idea of phased retirement across its many agencies. One of the reasons is practical: A third of the U.S. government workforce will be eligible for retirement by September 2017.

Wharton reports:

"Under prior law, workers who were eligible for retirement but wanted to continue part-time had little economic incentive to do so, since retirement benefits would often be equal to or greater than their salary would be for part-time employment, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The government’s phased retirement program, whose regulations were approved in 2014, allows workers to retire from part of their employment while continuing in another part of the job and continuing to earn additional retirement benefits proportionate to the new level of employment. In exchange, some workers are required to spend 20% of their time mentoring new generations of workers."

Unfortunately, that model hasn't yet been embraced by most companies. A recent survey indicated that only ten percent or less of companies offered any kind of informal or formal phased retirement programs. It's not as if Boomers don't want the programs. According to Wharton, "Various surveys of older workers show that between 60% and 80% would be interested in staying in the workforce on a more limited schedule beyond formal retirement.The advantages for employers are manifold: transfer of skills and institutional knowledge to younger workers, the ability to replace workers with less pressure to find the right candidate immediately and lower turnover costs. "

The bottom line is that Boomers have to make their needs known to employers and potential employers, and organizations who employ Boomers have to recognize that the rewards of gradual retirement go both ways. Some companies will be more progressive than others when it comes to phased retirement programs. Wharton professor Olivia S. Mitchell sees it this way: “Evidence seems to show most employers don’t offer phased retirement because they haven’t been forced to do it yet.”