April 2013

Man confused by signs

Webinar to Explain Social Security

In a webinar next Thursday, an official from the Social Security Administration will explain the fundamentals of calculating and claiming benefits.

Social Security represents the largest single financial resource for most baby boomers, so deciding when to file for benefits is their single biggest retirement decision.

The value today of that future stream of monthly checks – $287,200 for the typical household aged
55-64 – far exceeds the value of home equity or 401(k)s for most people, according to 2010 data from the Federal Reserve Board.  And it often exceeds the value of their traditional defined benefit pension plan – if they even have one.  The lower one’s income, the more Social Security matters too.

The webinar was organized by the National Retirement Planning Coalition for financial planners, who are not always familiar with all the rules for the program.  But anyone can participate, according to the coalition leader, the Insured Retirement Institute.  (Full disclosure: the Center for Retirement Research, which hosts this blog, is a coalition member).  Space is limited and going fast for the webinar, which will also be available online a few days after the webinar on this website.

To register for the April 11 webinar, click here.

The following topics, among others, will be covered in the webinar, including: … Learn More

Video: Why Stock Investors Defy Logic

The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has climbed steadily and surpassed its 2007 peak last week, and even sluggish European markets are showing signs of life as investors rush back in.

This interregnum between the collapse of global financial markets in 2008-09 and the next bubble – whenever and wherever that may occur – is a good time to reconsider investor behavior.

In this video, Ben Jacobsen, a finance professor at Massey University in New Zealand, discusses behavioral economics, market panics, and “strange” and inexplicable behavior.

“Most people,” Jacobsen concludes, “have a great difficulty assessing risk and what risk is.”

Check out another blog post about research confirming that people tend to rush in when the market is rising and pay dearly for stocks and then sell in a panic after experiencing large losses. Morningstar data also indicate that long-term investors have better returns if they buy and stay put.Learn More

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