The five years leading up to retirement are your last chance to pay down debt and seriously fund your nest egg. Taking care of a few odds and ends can make your retirement years more enjoyable. Here's how to boost your retirement finances during your final years in the workforce.
1. Tighten up your budget. Start living on your likely retirement budget a few years before you retire so you can ease into your more restrictive fixed income. Getting used to a smaller budget before you have to live on it can help make the transition easier. This way, if you find that the tight budget is too restrictive, you still have the option to delay retirement for a few more years and build up additional savings. What you don't want to do is start drawing Social Security, leave your long-term employer and tap into your retirement accounts, only to find that your retirement budget is much too strict for your liking.
2. Add catch-up contributions to your savings. Older workers have the option to add a catch-up amount to their retirement savings accounts. Try to max out your 401(k) and individual retirement account, if at all possible, during your final five pre-retirement years. If that's out of reach, fund these accounts as thoroughly as you can. The tax breaks and employer contributions these accounts often provide will give you even more padding for retirement.
Older employees with specific types of health insurance also have the option of adding extra money to a health savings account. Your health care expenses are likely to increase during retirement, and having this dedicated money for health care that follows you into retirement could help a lot with those bills.
3. Meet with a financial advisor. If you're not sure how you should best take distributions from your retirement accounts or if you will need to work part-time during retirement, a financial advisor can talk you through your options. A good fee-only financial advisor won't try to sell you any particular products. He or she can take a look at your current financial situation, get a feel for your retirement needs and help you make decisions about your annual retirement budget.
4. Fix up your house. If you're planning to stay in your current home for your retirement years, now is the time to tackle major and minor repairs that might need to be taken care of in the next 20 or 30 years. Perhaps you need to replace your roof, re-run your gutters or revamp your appliances. If you spend the money to do these things now, you won't have to draw form your retirement savings to pay for them later. A few upgrades now can prevent the need for expensive and urgent repairs in retirement that will strain your fixed budget.
If you're planning to move or downsize shortly after retirement, use this time to get your home in shape to sell quickly and well. A higher home sales price can boost your nest egg and give you a higher standard of living in retirement. And if you find a new home that costs less, you will appreciate the smaller mortgage payments over many years to come.
5. Pay off your vehicle and home. On the verge of retirement, you want to be in as little debt as possible. This will help smooth your budget and make it easier to live a full life on a restricted income. Make extra mortgage payments so that you can pay off your home before or shortly after you retire. If you're selling, you'll have even more equity to carry over when buying a new home.
Also, make sure that you will have a reliable vehicle for the next several years, and get it paid off. If your family has two vehicles, consider whether you will still need two if you and your spouse are both retiring. Then, make the effort to pay down your vehicles so that you have even fewer payments coming out of your retirement budget.
It will take serious discipline and financial focus to get your nest egg in shape during the five years leading up to retirement. But a few sacrifices now will help you get your retirement off to a great start
The nation's job growth rebounded in February as US employers shrugged off fears of an economic downturn. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 242,000 and the prior two months were revised up by 30,000, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9% as more Americans jumped into the job market, pushing labor force participation to it highest in a year. The latest report should dispel notions of an impending recession . Still the month's performance showed some softness under the surface: Americans wages fell from the prior month and their workweek declined, a potential sign of reduced spending power. Sectors tied to weak commodities and energy prices continued to shed jobs.
Yahoo Inc's appointment of two board members on Thursday signals the Internet company is girding to battle activist investors over its future. Yahoo's new directors are Catherine Friedman, a former managing director of Morgan Stanley, and Eric Brandt former finance chief of semiconductor company Broadcom. The additions bring the board back to nine members following two resignations in recent months. The Sunnyvale Calif company on Thursday morning detailed the director additions shortly before Yahoo's board met with Starboard Value . The activist hedge fund has called for a sale of the company and threatened to nominate a new slate of directors before the March 26 proxy deadline.
The new directors, added without any involvement from Starboard, may indicate Yahoo intends to fend off any outside attempt to seize the board. Several companies recently have taken to nominating new direcroters new directors just ahead of a proxy fight deadline, hoping to persuade other investors the board is open to change and does not need supervision of an activist slate.
The activist fight is brewing at the same time Yahoo is brewing at the same time Yahoo is moving forward with a potential sale of its core Web business, a unit that has struggled to boost revenue under Chief Executive Marissas Mayer. The company has started reaching out a list of about 40 potential suitors including Verizon Communications IAC/Interactive and Time Inc as well as private equity firms TPG and KKR&Co and begun asking them to sign nondisclosure agreements
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – “I want to congratulate Donald Trump on a big victory in Florida.” With those words, Marco Rubio opened his speech to supporters in Miami Tuesday night after learning Trump won the GOP primary in Rubio’s home state.
“While it is not God’s plan that I be President in 2016 or maybe ever, and while today while today my campaign is suspended, the fact that I’ve even come this far is event of how special America truly is and all the reason more while we must do all that we can to ensure that this nation remains a special place. I ask the people do not give in to the fear, do not give in to the frustration.”With those words, Marco Rubio’s quest for the White House came to an end. Inside a packed lobby at Florida International University’s arena, Miami’s native son sounded like he left it all on the court.“I just want you to know there is nothing more we could have done. There is nothing more you could have done. You worked as hard as anyone worked. I want you to know we worked as hard that we ever could.”
Rubio called it a sign of the times. A culmination of a do nothing Congress and an America fed up with it.“In 2010 the Tea Party wave carried me and others into office because not enough was happening and that Tea Party wave gave Republicans a majority in the House. But nothing changes. In 2014 those same voters gave Republicans a majority in the Senate and still nothing changed. And I blame some of that on the conservative movement.”
Exit polls in Florida showed Republicans are furious and showed it with their vote.
Trump won every demographic and 60% said they felt betrayed by the Republican party.“Look people are angry and people are very frustrated and it really began in 2008 with this horrifying downturn.”Suddenly, a protester yelled, “Trump for President!” Rubio responded, “Don’t worry he won’t get beat up at our event.”“Even at his concession speech, Rubio couldn’t escape the anger and Trump’s reach.“America is in the middle of a real political storm, a real tsunami, and we should have seen this coming. People are angry and people are very frustrated.”He made no indication of who he would support moving forward but he did say that the guy who beat him in Florida is doing it all wrong.
“America needs a conservative movement, one that is based on ideas , principles. Not on fear. Not on anger. Not on preying on people’s frustrations.”With more than 97 percent of precincts reporting, Trump had almost 46 percent of the vote to Rubio’s 27 percent — a difference of more than 430,000 votes out 2.3 million cast. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came in third with 17 percent of vote, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a distant fourth with less than 7 percent. The win gives Trump all 99 of Florida’s elected delegates to the Republican National Convention this summer.
Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, who doubles as a state representative, praised Rubio in a statement issued by the party.“He contributed mindful, substance based arguments and articulated conservative ideals since the start of his presidential bid,” Ingoglia said. “His optimistic message and commitment to American exceptionalism has helped keep conservative values in focus for 2016
RUBIO BOWS OUT
The U.S. economy added a better-than-expected 242,000 jobs in February, following a 172,000 rise in January as the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9%.“The headline number was very strong. It was overwhelmingly a step in the right direction,” Joanie Courtney, senior vice president of Monster Worldwide, told Yahoo Finance in the video above. “The only concern that we really saw was that wages fell.”Average hourly wages fell 3 cents, lowering the annualized jump to 2.2%. But despite this decline, companies were hiring employees across various sectors. So which industries added the most jobs?
“There was a tremendous amount of jobs growth in both professional business services and health care, and we even saw construction bringing back jobs, which is a very good sign for the economy.”Health care and social assistance added 57,000 jobs, construction added 19,000 jobs, and private educational services employment rose by 28,000 in February. But the sector that really caught some by surprise was retail.“Retail added 55,000 jobs, and while I expected to see growth, this is a very strong number especially for the month of February,” said Courtney. “That sector is interesting to watch right now since they’re under a lot of wage pressure. We saw that Costco (COST), one of the largest retailers in the country, announced that it is raising wages. So the retail sector is adding jobs, they will be raising wages, and that will ultimately lead to the hourly wage moving up, which was the only downside to this report today.”The labor force participation rate, which is a measure of the active portion of the labor force, rose to 62.9% from 62.8%, the highest since January 2015.
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JP Morgan Chase & Co is making its private bank even more private. Clients of the firm's private bank later this year will be required to have at least $10 million in investable assets, twice the minimum of $5 million. The move is one of the boldest yet among banks that are increasingly focused on managing the money of wealthy clients, who generate more fees and entail less risk than middle class and lower income customers. However, because wealthy clients typical require more attention, banks are being more discriminating when deciding who qualifies for such personalized service.
JP Morgan's restructuring of the unit also reflects broader trends that are reshaping Wall St, including banks' ambivalence toward deposits in a period of low interest rates and their persistent efforts to cut costs. JP Morgan's private bank is recent months laid off more than 100 employees , including managing directors in New York, London, Washington and Boston, The shift could affect about 10% of the private bank's current clients. Clients who donot meet the $10 million threshold will be moved to a less hands on service called Private Client Direct.
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Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) has sued a former executive hired by Target Corp (TGT.N) as its chief supply chain and logistics officer to prevent him from revealing trade secrets.Amazon said in the lawsuit that the former employee, Arthur Valdez, was in violation of a noncompetition agreement that he signed while working for the company. (http://bit.ly/1UL793S)The lawsuit said his new role in Target would breach the agreement, which required him to not engage in competition with Amazon for 18 months after leaving the company.Amazon claims Valdez, whose appointment was announced by Target in February, was privy to confidential information in a highly competitive area for both companies - moving and shipping goods in the most effective manner. Valdez had been president of operations at Amazon, focusing on the company's international supply chain expansion. The lawsuit did not specify when Valdez left Amazon. However, Valdez's attorney informed Amazon that he would start at Target on March 28, according to the lawsuit."We have taken significant precautions to ensure that any proprietary information remains confidential and we believe this suit is without merit," Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said
In a new effort to dispel anxiety about China's cooling economy, the central bank governor said Saturday the country can hit this year's official growth target and Beijing has no need to weaken its currency Zhou Xiaochuan's comments at a news conference during China's national legislature add to a high level public relations campaign by Being to reassure global financial markets about the stability of the world's second largest economy folllowing stock and currency turmoil. Zhou expressed confidence the economy can hit its official growth target , which ruling Communist Party lowered this year to 6.5% to 7% from last year's about 7% Growth fell last year to a 25 year low of 6.9%, though that still was among the world's highest.
The new missile firings were the latest in a series of tests in recent days, aimed at demonstrating that Iran will push ahead with its ballistic program after scaling backing its nuclear program under the deal reached last year with the U.S. and other world powers.Israel, long an opponent of Iran, offered no comment on the test, though Biden issued a strong warning over any possible violation of the nuclear deal."A nuclear-armed Iran is an absolutely unacceptable threat to Israel, to the region and the United States. And I want to reiterate which I know people still doubt here. If in fact they break the deal, we will act," he said.Biden's comments came after meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who strongly opposed the nuclear deal.
The tests, however, don't violate the accord. The landmark deal, which led to Iran dramatically scaling back its nuclear program, does not include provisions against missile launches.Also, when the nuclear accord came into effect on Jan. 16, the Security Council lifted most U.N. sanctions against Tehran including a ban it had imposed in 2010 on Iran testing missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads — a ban that likely would have covered some of the missile fired this week. To deal with the restrictions in the nuclear agreement, the councill adopted a resolution last July which among other measures "calls on" Iran not to carry out such tests.
At the United Nations, there is likely to be a debate about whether Iran is still required to abide by the ballistic missile test ban under council resolutions.Iran says none of its missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons and so the resolutions do not apply.One Security Council diplomat said the tests don't violate the nuclear deal, but "there are obligations on Iran" that stem from the resolution and "they need to abide by those obligations." he said. Another diplomat acknowledged, "We're not mounting an argument that it's a binding obligation."
The two diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the tests, said the council still has to consider the reported launches and if verified determine whether it is a violation and if so what action to take.Iran state TV trumpeted Wednesday's test as officials boasted that it demonstrated the country's might against longtime nemesis Israel.
Video aired on state TV showed the golden-hued Qadr H missiles being fired from a crevice between brown peaks identified as being in Iran's eastern Alborz mountain range. The rockets hit targets some 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) away off Iran's coast into the Sea of Oman, state media and Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency reported.View gallery
[In this photo obtained from the Iranian Fars News Agency, …]
In this photo obtained from the Iranian Fars News Agency, a Qadr H long-range ballistic surface-to-s …
The U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet, which patrols that region, declined to comment on the test.Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division, was quoted as saying the test was aimed at showing Israel that Iran could hit it. Israel is within 1,100 kilometers (660 miles) of Iranian territory."The 2,000-kilometer (1,240-mile) range of our missiles is to confront the Zionist regime," Hajizadeh said. "Israel is surrounded by Islamic countries and it will not last long in a war. It will collapse even before being hit by these missiles."He stressed that Iran would not fire the missiles in anger or start a war with Israel."We will not be the ones who start a war, but we will not be taken by surprise, so we put our facilities somewhere that our enemies cannot destroy them so that we could continue in a long war," he said.The Fars news agency reported the Hebrew inscription on the missiles.…
Writing messages on bombs dates as far back as World War II. During Israel's 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah militants, Israeli children were photographed writing messages on artillery shells in a community near the border. More recently, pictures emerged online of U.S. missiles bound for Islamic State group targets that had "From Paris with love" written on them, referring to last year's IS attacks in the French capital.Iran's message for Israel seemed timed to coincide with Biden's stop in the country on his Mideast tour. Iran has threatened to destroy Israel in the past. Israel, which is believed to have the only nuclear arsenal in the Mideast, repeatedly has threatened to take military action against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Over the past days, Iran has launched a number of missile tests as part of military exercises. On Tuesday, the Revolutionary Guard said the tests included several missiles with ranges between 300 and 2,000 kilometers (185-1,250 miles), including the Shahab-1 and -2, the Qiam, with a range of 800 kilometers, and the Qadr.A U.S. State Department spokesman on Tuesday said the U.S. was aware of reports of missile launches and, if the reports were true, would take "appropriate responses" at the U.N. or elsewhere.Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and "the secretary did raise his concerns today with Foreign Minister Zarif about these reports," State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters. He did not have additional details about the call.
The Qiam and Qadr, each capable of carrying payloads greater than 500 kilograms, fit the U.N. definition for missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, said Jeremy Bennie, Middle East and Africa editor for IHS Jane's Defence Weekly.
The now-lifted 2010 ban covered missiles with a range of at least 300 kilometers (186 miles) and a payload capacity of at least 500 kilograms (1,102 pounds), under a definition by a U.N. panel of experts.The nuclear accord was a victory for Iran's moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, over hard-liners who sharply opposed reining in the nuclear program. But since the deal was reached, hard-liners in the military have made several shows of strength.In October, Iran successfully test-fired a new guided long-range ballistic surface-to-surface missile.U.N. experts said the launch used ballistic missile technology banned by the Security Council. In January, the U.S. imposed new sanctions on individuals and entities linked to the missile program.
Iran also has fired rockets near U.S. warships and flown an unarmed drone over an American aircraft carrier in recent months.In January, Iran seized 10 U.S. sailors in the Persian Gulf and held them for about 15 hours when their two riverine command boats headed from Kuwait to Bahrain ended up in Iranian territorial waters after the crews "misnavigated," the U.S. military said
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Ford may join Uber and Lyft in the ride-sharing business
Selling cars is big business, but there’s an even bigger one: transportation services, which includes things like taxis, shuttles and ride sharing. “We literally get none of that,” Ford Motor (F) CEO Mark Fields tells me in the video above, shot recently at the New York International Auto Show. “We look at that as a huge opportunity.”
That’s why Ford has set up a new “mobility” division to figure out ways the company can grow beyond the manufacture and sale of automobiles. When asked if Ford might get into the booming ride-sharing business, Fields says, “That may be one area we pursue, transportation as a service.”
Ford’s crosstown rival, General Motors (GM), haspurchased the technology of failed ride-sharing service Sidecar, and invested $500 million in Lyft. In one new program, GM will provide vehicles for some Lyft drivers in a few cities, a possible first step toward a broader rental program. Virtually every automaker is developing self-driving cars that could be more popular in ride-sharing fleets than in consumers’ own driveways.
Ford has a pilot program in London that allows drivers to check out a Ford from one of about 25 locations in the city and use it as they wish, paying by the mile. The deal also includes guaranteed free parking. That model is more like Zipcar, which offers short-term rentals in urban areas, than Uber or Lyft, but future transportation offerings could include both rentals and ride-sharing. Similar programs will probably roll out in the United States eventually.
Another new offering, called FordPass, will be an app backed by live services that anybody can use, not just Ford customers. The automaker is still working out the details, but Fields says the service might allow users to prepay for parking, scout for a nearby rental or hail an Uber-like ride. It may also do some of the same things GM’s Onstar service allows, such as helping locate a car in a crowded parking lot or starting the car from a distance, with a smartphone app. “We’re thinking through all of that right now,” Fields says. “It’s very wide open.” Just like American roads used to be
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- The average cost for a year's supply of a prescription drug doubled in just seven years to more than $11,000 — about three-quarters of the average annual Social Security benefit.That's according to the latest study of price trends for widely-used drugs conducted by AARP, the senior citizens advocacy group. It finds prices for existing drugs, driven entirely by manufacturer price hikes, have been rising more quickly since 2007 and likely will continue to do so.
AARP says its research shows drugmaker price hikes imposed one or more times a year are making prescription medicines increasingly unaffordable for retirees and many other patients. That's particularly true for people taking multiple drugs or needing long-term medication for chronic health problems, not to mention the uninsured.
An August poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found 24 percent of Americans were having trouble paying for their medicines. That rose to 43 percent for those in poor health.Retail prices for already-approved medicines often are increased 10 percent or more each year. That exacerbates the sting of six-figure prices for many newly launched drugs, plus exorbitant spikes in prices of some generic drugs with limited competition. Those trends have triggered multiple congressional investigations since last summer and made prescription drug prices a hot issue in the presidential race.
"Our concern with the prices we're seeing is that the overall trend is really accelerating," said Leigh Purvis, director of health services research in AARP's Public Policy Institute.
DRUG PRICES DOUBLING
AARP's latest RxPrice Watch report, being released Monday, found the average retail price among 622 prescription medicines widely used by seniors more than doubled from $5,571 in 2006 to an "incredible" $11,341 in 2013, Purvis said.
That's unaffordable for the many retirees with low incomes and limited savings, she added. In 2013, the average Social Security benefit was $15,526 and medium income for Medicare beneficiaries was $23,500.Prices for those 622 widely used drugs — a mix of generic pills, brand-name drugs and high-priced "specialty drugs" for complex conditions — jumped 9.4 percent alone in 2013, the most recent data AARP had. That jump was six times the 2013 general inflation rate and far above increases ranging from 3.6 percent to 7.6 percent between 2006 and 2012.Specialty drugs for cancer, hepatitis C and rare diseases — many of them injected biologic drugs, which are produced inside cells rather than by mixing chemicals — drove the increase. The average widely used specialty drug cost $53,384 in 2013, 18 times the average annual cost for a brand-name drug ($2,960) and 189 times higher than the average price for a generic drug ($283).
RETIREES HIT HARDEST
Seniors are particularly hurt by the soaring drug prices, as Medicare plans generally require patients to share much more of the cost for their medicines than employer or other commercial insurance plans. For the priciest drugs, Medicare patients sometimes must pay half the cost, Purvis notes."This affects everyone," Purvis said, because even people who don't need prescription drugs are bearing part of the cost through higher insurance premiums and taxes that fund Medicare, the Veterans Administration and other government health programs.
For years, patients and insurers were able to hold down their overall pharmacy bill through increasing use of cheap generic versions of off-patent brand-name drugs, and generics now account for seven in eight prescriptions dispensed in the U.S.Generic prices normally decline over time as additional manufacturers enter the market, and average generic prices had been falling about 4 percent annually until they began rising in 2012, Purvis said.Drugmaker mergers and low profit margins for generics have reduced the number of manufacturers of some generics so much that shortages of some are pushing prices up sharply. In addition, companies including Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. have bought rights to some old off-patent and generic drugs and jacked up their prices many times over.Meanwhile, competition for biologic drugs is just beginning in the U.S., and those versions are only expected to cost 20 percent to 40 percent less than the original drug. Generic pills often cost about 85 percent less than the brand-name versions — if there are several generic versions available
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