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What Americans get right about Social Security, and what they don’t

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Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

The 1 thing Americans get right about Social Security (and what they get wrong)
A majority of retirees are deciding to hold off on claiming Social Security benefits for as long as they can, which is often advised as the best choice, according to this article from Money. Only 21% of Americans between age 55 and 61 plan to claim benefits at 62 years, compared to 27% from the same age group in 2008. However, many pre-retirees are still confused about different aspects of the Social Security program. Just 25% of are even aware of the full retirement age. And 38% still incorrectly assuming they would be able to easily choose a different claiming strategy after an initial claim. It is important that retirees understand they can only switch claiming strategies under unusual circumstances, and that filing for their first benefit claim must be done three to four months prior to their first check.

How clients can reduce income to qualify for Roth IRA contributions
Making pretax contributions to a 403(b), 457, 401(k) or Thrift Savings Plan are among ways that clients can reduce their modified adjusted gross income to qualify for Roth IRA contributions, according to this article on Kiplinger. Contributing to a health care flexible-spending account, a health savings account and a dependent-care flexible spending account are other options. Clients can also sell taxable investments for a loss and those who own businesses can also make the most of tax breaks for the self-employed.

Pitfalls that can derail retirement (and how to handle them)
This article in Nasdaq presents strategies to help clients avert possible issues on taxes, inflation, health care, market volatility, longevity, debt and lack of savings. Aiming to retire without debt, boosting savings in retirement accounts, evaluating lifetime income are all explored. Looking for the best insurance that fits one’s needs, minimizing taxes, creating and sticking to a reasonable budget and taking care of one’s health are also among the strategies.

What every millennial should know about money
Financial experts urge clients to invest in various saving strategies, such as creating rainy-day funds, not maxing out credit cards and avoiding debt they will find difficult to repay, according to this article from Forbes. For millennials though, there are several key concepts they must learn. The top three money concepts that millennials need to learn are: investing in every possible savings vehicle they can find, aiming for net worth and not just rate of return, and deepen their understand of the inner workings of the credit system.

Are you the family bank?
Financially responsible clients are likely to find themselves acting as the family bank and providing financial support to their less financially stable relatives, according to a report from Merrill Lynch. Clients should carefully consider their own current financial standing and the retirement lifestyle they aim to have before lending money or supporting their family members. This article in USA Today advises retirees to take note of exactly what they can afford to do, to determine whether a loan or gift would be better help and to set clear guidelines on the kinds of circumstances the client is comfortable providing financial support to the family.

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