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  • Stay Engaged With Financial Wellness At Every Age

    May 29th, 2018

    women-retirement-facts-FSL-graphic

    Every May, WISER is pleased to partner with organizations across the country for Older American’s Month, led by the Administration on Aging, part of the Administration for Community Living. The 2018 theme, Engage at Every Age, emphasizes that you are never too old (or young) to take part in activities that can enrich your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It also celebrates the many ways in which older adults make a difference in our communities.

    Here at WISER, we believe wholeheartedly in the message of Older Americans’ Month—that no matter your age, you have unique benefits to offer to society, your loved ones and yourself. Even if you are no longer working, there are ways to stay engaged with the world around you. Doing so keeps you connected to others and keeps you alert—which is a good thing for your finances. The more isolated you are, the more susceptible you can become to financial scammers, who are likely to prey on older Americans.

    A great way to stay engaged with others is by sharing the financial lessons you’ve learned throughout your life. WISER’s website is filled with resources that make doing so easy. For example, WISER has dozens of fact sheets that cover the basics on many topics. They can be a helpful guide for talking to others about money. For example, here’s a list of 5 things mothers should tell daughters about money and retirement. Other resources are aimed at younger people, like “The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing.” It can provide a framework for an initial conversation talking to the teenagers and young adults in your life about the importance of long-term planning. If you know a young person planning for college, talk them through“Student Loans 101” to make sure they know exactly what to expect if they plan to take out loans.

    For those who aren’t quite ready for more advanced money topics, WISER created a storybook called Sonja Meets Her Future Self.  The book is available for free download or can be ordered directly from WISER.  In the story, a young girl named Sonja travels forward in time and meets future versions of herself. Along the way she learns about the importance of saving and what it means to be retired. This booklet provides a multi-generational look at retirement planning and the valuable lesson of save, spend and give.

    In addition to teaching others about financial lessons, another great way to stay engaged is through volunteer work. Doing so can keep you busy during retirement and is often an activity that is free of cost. Websites like volunteermatch are a great starting point. Your local library is another great resource to find community groups that will keep you engaged.

    WISER believes that financial security is tied to better physical, mental and emotional well-being. Stay engaged during Older Americans Month (and year-round) with our resources.

    National Social Security Month Shines a Light on Online Services

    April 19th, 2018

    WISER is pleased to share this message from the Social Security Administration in celebration of National Social Security Month.

    In April, we celebrate National Social Security Month, and highlight our agency’s mission and purpose. We’re with you throughout life’s journey — from birth, to marriage, and into retirement — and we’re always searching for ways to give you easy and secure access to everything we offer.

    We are constantly expanding our online services to give you freedom and control in how you wish to conduct business with us. Our online services help you plan for the future and keep you in control of your benefits. You can go online to:

    1. Find out if you qualify for benefits;

    2. Use our benefit planners to help you better understand your Social Security protection;

    3. Estimate your future retirement benefits to help you plan for your financial future;

    4. Retire online, or apply for Medicare quickly and easily

    Open your personal my Social Security. Your personal account is the most powerful tool to help you stay in control of your Social Security record. If you don’t receive benefits yet, you can:

    -Get your Social Security Statementto review your earnings, make sure they’re recorded correctly;

    -Get a benefit verification letter to prove you don’t receive Social Security benefits or that you applied but haven’t received an answer yet;

    -Request a replacement Social Security card if you meet certain requirements; and

    -Check the status of your application or appeal a decision.

    If you receive benefits, you can:

    -Change your address and phone number;

    -Get a benefit verification letterto prove you receive Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicare;

    -Start deposits or change your direct deposit information at any time;

    -Get a replacement Medicare card; and

    -Get a replacement Benefit Statement (SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S)for tax purposes.

    Do you own a business? You can also use our Business Services Onlinesuite to report employee wages and verify names and Social Security numbers for W-2s.

    Join us and celebrate National Social Security Month by seeing everything you can do online!

    Get to Know Your Social Security Benefit

    April 1st, 2018

    Social Security Arch

    April is Social Security Month (follow #SocialSecurityMonth on social media for more). While WISER is dedicated to promoting women’s financial security every month of the year, setting a month aside to focus on Social Security is a reminder of the importance of the benefit. It is never too early to start understanding Social Security benefits for both you and your loved ones. The more you learn now, the better prepared you will be in the future.

    Social Security is especially important for women because they are often more dependent on it than men. More men than women receive income from retirement plans and pensions: 4 out of 10 men, compared to 2 out of 10 women. Women’s work patterns are more likely to involve part-time work and moving in and out of the paid labor force to provide family care. For as long as this is the case, the benefits they receive from retirement plans or employer pensions will be lower than men’s. As a result, Social Security, which is portable from job to job and is cost-of-living adjusted at retirement, will remain the mainstay of retirement income for most women.

    Different people become eligible to receive Social Security payments at different times. This is why it is important to understand what benefits you are eligible for and when. As a worker, you must work and pay Social Security taxes for at least 10 years (40 quarters), and be at least 62 years old. As a spouse or divorced spouse, you must be at least 62 years old. If you are divorced, you must have been married to your ex-spouse for at least 10 years and currently be unmarried. As a widow, you must be at least 60 years old (unless you are disabled in which case you can claim your benefit as early as age 50). If you are divorced, you can claim the survivors benefit if you were married at least 10 years and are currently unmarried (unless you remarried after age 60).

    However, when you actually receive benefits also depends on when you were born. You can receive full benefits at “full retirement age.” Full retirement age is increasing gradually until it reaches age 67 for those who were born 1960 or later. Find a chart that lists your birth year and when you can receive full benefits on WISER’s fact sheet, Social Security: What Every Woman Needs to Know. The fact sheet includes answers to many other Social Security questions you may have, including how to estimate what your benefits will be and how you will be taxed on your benefits. At what you claim your benefit is also important.  If you claim at age 62 when you are first eligible, you will receive a reduced benefit.  If you wait until after your full retirement age, you can receive an increased benefit up to age 70.

    Because Social Security is so important for retirement, there are many organizations and resources in addition to WISER that are dedicated to helping you understand and make the most out of it. Visit WISER’s Social Security resource page to learn more and find useful links, including to the Social Security Administration booklet, What Every Woman Should KnowThe page is also a great place to check for recent news on Social Security, such as the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2018. Each year, the Social Security Administration may increase benefits to help seniors with changes to the cost of living due to inflation and other factors. In 2018, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 2.0%.

    During National Social Security Month, take control of your future by seeing what you can do online at SocialSecurity.gov.  From estimating or managing your benefits, to retiring online, Social Security’s online services put control at your fingertips. Not sure where to begin? Sign up for your online Social Security account today at ssa.gov/myaccount.

    WISER

    About Us

    WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand the important issues surrounding women's retirement income. WISER creates a variety of consumer publications including fact sheets, booklets and a quarterly newsletter that explain in easy-to-understand language the complex issues surrounding Social Security, divorce, pay equity, pensions, savings and investments, banking, home-ownership, long-term care and disability insurance.

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