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  • Title: AFSCME | President Obama Is Right: We Need Jobs Right Now
    Descriptive info: News / Publications.. Print.. Font Size:.. 2011 Press Releases.. President Obama Is Right: We Need Jobs Right Now.. For Immediate Release.. Thursday, September 08, 2011.. Contact:.. Chris Fleming, 202-429-1053.. President Obama Is Right: We Need Jobs Right Now.. Statement of AFSCME President Gerald W.. McEntee in response to the American Jobs Act outlined by President Obama.. Washington, DC.. Americans are hurting and the President knows it s time to put the middle class and the country first.. The President gets it, the suffering our members see on the frontlines of public service is real, and if the partisan response is the same old posturing about regulations, deficits and taxes, we ll know they don t.. President Obama has taken a bold step toward creating jobs immediately; improving the economy, investing in infrastructure and putting America back to work.. Rather than fold their arms and stomp their feet in opposition, it s time for Republican leaders in Congress to put tea-based politics aside and do what s right for the country.. The President made fighting for jobs, the middle class and working families his number one priority tonight.. He realizes that economic recovery is dependent upon both public and private sector growth and  ...   have an immediate impact on job creation and will help grow the economy now.. Now is the time to stop the petty posturing and pandering to extremists and work with the President to pursue a jobs agenda for all Americans.. AFSCME's 1.. With members in hundreds of different occupations from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and prosperity and opportunity for all working families.. ###.. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.. 1625 L Street, N.. W.. Washington, D.. C.. 20036-5687.. Telephone: (202) 429-1145.. Fax: (202) 429-1120.. Recent Press Releases.. Jan 08.. Jan 07.. Lee Saunders on the Extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance.. Dec 05.. Statement of AFSCME Pres.. Lee Saunders on the Death of Nelson Mandela — a Champion of Democracy, Justice and Freedom.. Dec 04.. AFSCME's Saunders: “Ruling Paves The Way For The Decimation Of Detroit’s Working Class.. Nov 21.. Lee Saunders: This is a major step toward resolving Senate obstructionism.. News /.. Press Room.. Publications.. FEATURED.. AFSCME WORKS, Fall 2013.. Main Street’s New Moment: What Election 2012 Means for America’s Working Families.. “Main Street Moment” by Gerald W.. McEntee and Lee Saunders.. Categories..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/president-obama-is-right-we-need-jobs-right-now
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  • Title: AFSCME | Debt Ceiling Deal Is “Economic Malpractice”
    Descriptive info: Debt Ceiling Deal Is “Economic Malpractice”.. Monday, August 01, 2011.. Chris Fleming, 202-429-1145.. Debt Ceiling Deal Is “Economic Malpractice”.. McEntee on the debt ceiling compromise.. The deal forced upon the White House and the nation represents a form of economic malpractice.. At the least, it will slow economic recovery and impose more joblessness, wage cuts and hardship on America s working families.. The tea party held  ...   what is good for the nation and our economy.. Looking ahead to the negotiations in the super committee, we will fight alongside our friends in Congress and with the President to ensure that the ultimate resolution creates rather than destroys jobs, and does not gut vital programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, in order to preserve tax breaks for the wealthy and prosperous corporations..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/debt-ceiling-deal-is-economic-malpractice
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  • Title: AFSCME | Republican Leaders “Willfully Bring Us to Brink of Economic Turmoil”
    Descriptive info: Republican Leaders “Willfully Bring Us to Brink of Economic Turmoil”.. Friday, July 29, 2011.. Blaine Rummel, 202-429-1145.. Republican Leaders “Willfully Bring Us to Brink of Economic Turmoil”.. McEntee in response to the U.. S.. House of Representatives vote on debt ceiling legislation.. Rather than working together on a bipartisan  ...   by the House willfully brings us to the brink of economic turmoil.. Their plan to gut Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would kill jobs and rob millions of Americans of what little economic security they have left in these challenging times.. House Republican leaders have proven themselves unfit to lead..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/republican-leaders-willfully-bring-us-to-brink-of-economic-turmoil
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  • Title: AFSCME | TV Ads Launched in 8 States: “If the Social Security Checks, Veterans’ Benefits, Military Pay Americans Are Counting On Don’t Arrive After August 2, Thank Republicans in Congress”
    Descriptive info: TV Ads Launched in 8 States: “If the Social Security Checks, Veterans’ Benefits, Military Pay Americans Are Counting On Don’t Arrive After August 2, Thank Republicans in Congress”.. Tiffany Ricci, 202-907-5305.. TV Ads Launched in 8 States: “If the Social Security Checks, Veterans’ Benefits, Military Pay Americans Are Counting On Don’t Arrive After August 2, Thank Republicans in Congress”.. Sen.. Dean Heller, 7 GOP U.. Reps.. Implored: Stop Threatening Default and Holding the Interests of Ordinary Americans Hostage to Protect Tax Breaks for Millionaires, Oil Companies and Corporate Jet Owners.. With only four days left for Congress to avoid defaulting on the nation s debt obligations, a new TV ad has hit the airwaves in eight states making clear that if the.. Social Security checks, Veterans benefits.. and.. military pay.. that Americans are counting on are not in the mailbox come August 3rd, they will have only Republicans in Congress to thank.. See script below for Your Check imploring Senator Dean Heller and seven House Republicans to stop holding the economy and interests of ordinary Americans hostage to protect big oil subsidies and tax breaks for millionaires, corporate jet owners, and companies that ship jobs overseas an effort airing Friday through Monday, sponsored by American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), National Education Association (NEA), and Americans United for Change.. Click below to view all versions of Your Check airing in the following media markets starting today:.. Dean Heller (R-Nev.. ).. Rep.. Bobby Schilling (R-Ill.. Steve King (R-Iowa).. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.. Y.. Lou Barletta (R-Penn.. Eric Cantor (R-VA).. Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner.. admitted a lot of House Republicans are refusing to compromise.. on a debt ceiling deal in hopes the.. resulting economic chaos.. of default would force Democrats to support the so-called Balanced Budget Amendment.. wildly out-of-touch.. and totally.. unrealistic.. legislation that.. would require more extreme cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid than the Ryan Plan.. and would literally.. rewrite the U.. Constitution.. to safeguard subsidies for big oil companies or  ...   disastrous results for working families, seniors, veterans and children.. This is both unacceptable and indefensible.. ".. John I.. Wilson, Executive Director of the 3.. 2 million-member National Education Association: There is a fundamental question before Congress.. Will Congressional Republicans balance the budget on the backs of those least able to afford additional sacrifice? Will they cater to Wall Street and large corporate interests at the expense of America s children, seniors and the middle class? Or will they put partisan politics aside to do what s right for all Americans?.. Tom McMahon, Executive Director, Americans United for Change: Speaker Boehner admits that many of his Republican colleagues are more than willing to derail the economy and withhold checks that millions of seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and military families are counting on unless tax breaks for millionaires and oil companies are permanently protected.. This unprecedented recklessness is a sobering display of Tea Party governance in action.. The consequences of a Republican-caused default can not be overstated, added McMahon.. The business, economic and financial communities all warn that default could.. crush our economy, cost hundreds of thousands of jobs and, ironically, would mean hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt.. and a tax increase on the American people because it would skyrocket interest and mortgage rates.. Republicans have wasted enough time putting politics and wealthy special interests ahead of America s seniors, veterans and military families it s now time to do the responsible thing and work with Democrats to avoid ruining the nation s credit rating and economy.. It s time to end the three-ring circus that Republicans have manufactured in order to advance their extreme right-wing ideological agenda.. In addition to the ads,.. thousands of Americans will be out in force today.. at their members of Congress and Senators offices, delivering the message: Don t Be Reckless With Our Economy.. From Pennsylvania to Florida to Colorado, Republicans will be swarmed with constituents urging them to prevent a default and stop protecting big corporations and the rich.. SEE:.. the Health Care for America NOW blog.. for more..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/tv-ads-launched-in-8-states
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  • Title: AFSCME | Statement of AFSCME Pres. McEntee in response to “Gang of Six” proposal
    Descriptive info: McEntee in response to “Gang of Six” proposal.. Wednesday, July 20, 2011.. Cheryl Kelly, 202-429-1145.. McEntee in response to “Gang of Six” proposal.. The proposal released by the Gang of Six is not a path forward for the country.. Instead of taking the road of shared sacrifice, this plan has swerved off track.. It reserves almost all of  ...   cutting Social Security benefits for seniors and people with disabilities.. It would kill jobs and put our economy into another recession.. The plan makes enormous cuts in health care programs.. And the plan would destabilize employer-sponsored health care coverage for 160 million Americans.. It s time to focus on jobs and stop putting Wall Street before Main Street..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/statement-of-afscme-pres-mcentee-in-response-to-gang-of-six-proposal
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  • Title: AFSCME | “A Stealth Attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid”
    Descriptive info: “A Stealth Attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid”.. Tuesday, July 19, 2011.. Ryan Rudominer, 202-558-8955.. “A Stealth Attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid”.. McEntee in response to House Republicans passing their Cut, Cap and Kill Medicare bill.. Today the Republican House passed their Cut, Cap and Kill Medicare bill, one of the most draconian and extreme pieces of budget legislation in recent memory.. It s the Paul Ryan plan on steroids.. This tea party-inspired legislation is a stealth attack on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and would make  ...   Whether it s passing the extreme Paul Ryan budget, causing the current default crisis, or trying to use the Constitution to launch a sneak attack on seniors and the working middle class, House Republicans have made clear they will do whatever it takes to shred the American safety net in order to protect tax breaks for the rich.. This week marks 200 days since Republicans took power in the House, yet they still haven't passed a single jobs bill.. It s time to stop playing games and start creating jobs..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/statement-of-afscme-pres-mcentee-in-response-to-house-republicans-passing-their-cut-cap-and-kill-medicare-bill
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  • Title: AFSCME | NY Vote a “Rebuke Against Schemes to Shred American Safety Net”
    Descriptive info: NY Vote a “Rebuke Against Schemes to Shred American Safety Net”.. Tuesday, May 24, 2011.. Gregory King, 202-429-1000.. NY Vote a “Rebuke Against Schemes to Shred American Safety Net”.. McEntee in response to Kathy Hochul's victory in the special election in New York's 26th Congressional District.. Voters won't tolerate schemes to shred the American safety net.. Whether  ...   vulnerable among us live with dignity, Medicare and Medicaid are part of the American social fabric.. Voters have sent a message to John Boehner, Paul Ryan and other politicians that balancing the budget and reducing the national debt should not be done on the backs of seniors, the sick and disabled, and the working middle class of America..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/ny-vote-a-rebuke-against-schemes-to-shred-american-safety-net
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  • Title: AFSCME | “Surefire Way to Balance the Budget is to Create Jobs”
    Descriptive info: “Surefire Way to Balance the Budget is to Create Jobs”.. Wednesday, April 13, 2011.. Public Affairs, 202-429-1145.. “Surefire Way to Balance the Budget is to Create Jobs”.. McEntee in response to President Obama’s speech on fiscal responsibility.. President Obama today made clear that everyone needs to sacrifice to lower the federal debt and that we need to look at both sides of the financial ledger.. As Congress works with the President  ...   revenue problem, not a spending problem and to remember how much the working middle class of our nation has already sacrificed.. The surefire way to balance the budget is to create jobs, close corporate tax loopholes and require the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.. We also commend the President for his strong rejection of the Republican budget proposal to turn Medicare into a voucher and to block grant Medicaid..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/surefire-way-to-balance-the-budget-is-to-create-jobs
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  • Title: AFSCME | “Priorities That Are Out of Touch with Basic American Values”
    Descriptive info: “Priorities That Are Out of Touch with Basic American Values”.. Tuesday, April 05, 2011.. McEntee on the Ryan budget plan.. The budget plan released today by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is a disaster for working people, retirees and those who rely on public services.. It s not a real solution to our budget problems.. It freezes domestic spending at unrealistically low levels, while giving subsidies to corporations and more tax cuts to the wealthy.. It decimates important services and programs which working families depend upon, including Medicare and Medicaid, and lays the groundwork for slashing Social Security.. Instead of working together to put Americans back to work, Rep..  ...   of nursing homes, and denying primary care to low-income kids.. It will privatize Medicare and make coverage more costly and less accessible.. It breaks America s promise to seniors and puts their health and retirement security at the whims of insurance companies.. At a time when we should be pulling together, this is one more concerted attack on America s middle class.. It reflects priorities that are out of touch with basic American values.. Americans do not want to see vital programs destroyed while corporations and the wealthy escape paying their fair share.. We will do what is necessary to oppose this plan and the politicians who support it..

    Original link path: /news/press-room/press-releases/2011/priorities-that-are-out-of-touch-with-basic-american-values
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  • Title: AFSCME | What's Ahead? Your Future in Retirement
    Descriptive info: A Guide to Retirement.. What's Ahead? Your Future in Retirement.. Return to Table of Contents.. What's Ahead? Your Future in Retirement.. All of us plan activities intended to add enjoyment to our lives.. These may include socializing with family and friends, going to museums or theaters, gardening, attending sporting events or going camping during summer vacations.. Why Plan for Retirement?.. If we plan for a few days of vacation, it only makes sense to do some planning for 15-20 years (or more) of retirement.. Most of us, unfortunately, have not developed a clear idea of how we want to live in retirement.. In fact, with all of the uncertainties that exist today, we may be tempted to put off thinking about it.. We've got to decide to start planning now, because, if we don't, we never will.. What can retirement planning do for you?.. It is not surprising that the strongest advocates of retirement planning are those already retired.. As a result of their own experiences, they not only stress the importance of planning, but also urge that people begin to plan their retirement as early as possible.. Retirement planning helps us to:.. Recognize that each of us is responsible for our own retirement.. Acknowledge that we have more control over our futures than we may have realized.. Identify options that now exist, or which we could create, that could benefit us in our retirement.. Be ready for retirement emotionally, physically, socially, and financially.. Define one or more desirable and achievable retirement life style for which we can plan.. As suggested by this list, retirement planning is the key to making the most of retirement.. What do you expect from your retirement?.. Studies have shown that most of us will have the type of retirement that we expect.. If we expect it to be satisfyng and rewarding, we will plan it that way.. If we expect that it will be a time of loneliness and boredom, we may do little or nothing to avoid those results.. Looking forward to retirement.. The challenge for a person retiring today and in the years ahead is to not leave the future to chance.. You have the choice: you can make decisions about your future with little information and no planning and hope things will turn out, or you can get more  ...   or will you need (or want) to make some changes? What will your retirement cost you?.. What effect will future inflation have on retirement expenses? (No one knows for sure, of course, but we can be fairly certain that things will cost more in the future.. What are the ways to make your money grow before, and even during, retirement?.. How will you maintain your health in retirement? What do you think will happen to your health as you get older?.. How important are friends and relatives? How will your retirement change your relationships, and what can you do about it?.. How will you spend your time in retirement? Do you expect to be busy? Do you have a lot of interests?.. Where will you live when you retire? And what about 15, 20 or 25 years after retirement?.. Setting your retirement goals.. For each of the questions in the preceding section, you can set some personal goals for your own retirement.. What do you want your retirement to be? What can you do now to help make it that way?.. What kinds of goals should you set?.. We all know that we will need to set goals for providing food, clothing and shelter in retirement.. We've always had to plan for these.. But we will also need to set some goals to help us get the sense of belonging, respect, achievement and personal satisfaction that we need to make our lives worthwhile.. The key is to set goals that are practical, with plans that are doable.. Know yourself: a key to retirement planning.. Making your retirement future something to look forward to means knowing yourself well.. Consider the following questions as a guide:.. What were the events during your life that were real "high points"? What made them so good?.. At the time of these high points, did you feel "successful"? Why or why not? What is real "success" in life?.. What do you like about your present life and the things you do? How can you continue to get the same feelings of comfort and happiness in retirement?.. If you know yourself, plan your finances carefully, look for new ways to be productive and creative and expect to enjoy yourself, you can have the best possible retirement.. It's your future.. Plan it that way.. Next Page..

    Original link path: /news/publications/retirement-life/a-guide-to-retirement/whats-ahead-your-future-in-retirement
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  • Title: AFSCME | Financial Planning
    Descriptive info: Financial Planning.. Financial Planning.. Even the sound of the word "budget" is enough to make most of us want to leave the room.. Fortunately, financial planning—as we will talk about it— is NOT about budgeting as such.. And no, it is not about doing without the things you want.. Financial Planning for Retirement What's It All About?.. Fortunately, financial planning as we will talk about it is NOT about budgeting as such.. Instead, it's about financing a satisfying life style for your retirement.. Let's face it you'll need money to be happy in the future.. A little financial planning the type an average person can do can start earning you hundreds or even thousands of extra dollars each year.. These earnings could start soon and amount to a sizeable sum over time.. How can financial planning help?.. It is a fact that financial planning is even more important for the person with an average income than it is for someone with a very high income.. The average person has to make his or her income stretch to cover many needs, and there is typically little money left each month after paying the bills.. Yet, despite current expenses, you need to look ahead to the time when work income will stop due to retirement.. You want to feel that if you must stop or choose to stop working, you will be financially secure.. Financial Planning can help in a number of ways.. It can:.. Provide a realistic picture of the money you will actually need at the time you wish to retire.. Help you to make more beneficial use of your current income and savings.. Combat the effects of inflation on your savings.. Push you to take advantage of savings options that exist now, but may not be available later.. Identify the expected sources and amounts of your retirement income.. Getting your financial records together: an essential first step.. Do you have all of your important financial papers and records organized so that you can easily refer to them? If so, you are to be congratulated.. If you are like most of us, though, you have your records spread all over the place, ranging from a drawer in the bedroom to a box in the attic.. Is it really important to have your records in one place? Well, it can cost you and your family money if you don't.. A surprising number of important papers get lost, forgotten, overlooked, or just cannot be located when they are needed.. Many insurance policies are never cashed.. Under either government or private programs, if you don't file a claim for a benefit for which you are eligible, you won't get it.. Bank books, military discharge papers, stock certificates, bonds, pension eligiility papers and deeds can easily get lost or overlooked, particularly when only one or two people know they exist.. TODAY is the time to gather all of your important financial records together.. Include recent tax returns along with other important papers.. By gathering them together, you will have done yourself (and your spouse) a service.. Some of the types of papers and records we are talking about include:.. Income tax returns and supporting data.. Bank accounts.. Business interests.. Deeds to properties.. Insurance policies (all types).. Wills.. Pension plan papers (private, government, military).. Savings and loan accounts.. Social Security records.. Stocks, bonds and other securities.. The chances are you will not be able to complete your records without checking with your employer, your insurance company, your Social Security Office, or perhaps some other source to get certain up-to-date information.. Once you have your records together.. After you have rounded up your important financial papers and have made a record of them, put them in one safe place so that you and others will know where they are and will be able to find them when they are needed.. CAUTION: In some states, a safe-deposit box is sealed in the event one of its owners dies.. No one can get into the box until a probate judge permits the box to be opened under the court's supervision.. Therefore, if you use a safe-deposit box, you may decide to keep a copy of your will and other papers of importance in "one safe place" at home.. Potential sources of income.. You may be pleasantly surprised about the total retirement income you can expect to receive from all sources combined.. You may find that it will cover all of your estimated expenses.. However, you should not leave this to chance.. This section will help you to compare expected income with expected expenses.. Get the facts now, so that you can plan on a solid basis.. Figuring the income you need.. Each of us probably has a vague idea of how we want to live in retirement.. Few people, though, have given much thought to what a satisfying retirement life style might really cost.. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can afford to continue your present life style.. Or you may find that only by taking decisive action now will you be able to achieve a satisfying, secure way of life in retirement.. None of us can afford to leave our future well-being to chance.. Even if your employer has a most generous pension plan, you should determine if your income from this and other sources will provide the income you most likely will need when you retire.. Here's an important point: Your future income needs will depend partly on how you desire to live, what is acceptable to you, and what is realistically achievable.. Below are TWO METHODS for estimating your own (or family) retirement income target.. IF YOU ARE MARRIED, YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WILL NEED TO FIGURE YOUR EXPECTED INCOME NEEDS BOTH AS A COUPLE AND AS INDIVIDUAL SURVIVORS.. Method one: the Annual expense method.. Using this method, a person or couple estimates what typical monthly and annual expenses will be in retirement.. In making this estimate, look at what you are currently spending, estimate how this will change in retirement, and do a "retirement budget.. The form on the next page is helpful in using this method.. Note that the form asks you to first estimate your current monthly and periodic expenses.. Next, you are asked to estimate what your monthly and periodic expenses will be when you retire.. If you are expecting to retire with a spouse, a relative, friend, etc.. , be sure to include his or her expenses as well as your own.. Worksheet 1: Annual Expense Method.. Method two: the three-fourths rule.. Some experts suggest that monthly retirement income needs to be about three-fourths of pre-retirement income in order to satisfactorily meet expenses.. For example if your income in the year before you retire is $32,000, you should consider planning a retirement income that adds up to $24,000 a year.. Judgment must be exercised in using this method.. Individuals with relatively low incomes may need more than three-fourths of their pre-retirement income to meet retirement expenses.. Similarly, a couple with a high pre-retirement income might need less than three-fourths of that amount as their retirement income.. As with the first method, if you are expecting to retire with a spouse, relative, friend, etc.. , be sure to include his or her income if it will be used to meet your household expenses.. A SURVIVING SPOUSE will probably require a retirement income that is three-fourths of what the couple together required.. For example, if the couple required $1,600 per month as retirement income, a surviving spouse might require $1,200 per month.. Since the actual amount needed will vary with specific people and circumstances, consider your own case carefully when planning for your future.. Worksheet 2: Currently Expected Retirement Income.. Social Security Count on it.. The Social Security Trust Funds currently count reserves of nearly a trillion dollars and will have no problem meeting projected benefit outlays for over 30 years.. Beyond the year 2040 when seniors will grow to about 20% of the population current payroll taxes will still be sufficient to pay at least 73% of benefits.. But a shortfall is predicted.. Congress will need to address this problem in the near future and make corrections.. But remember, for over 65 years Social Security has never failed to meet its monthly benefit obligations.. It's a system Americans can count on, and reports of its impending demise have been greatly exaggerated.. But Social Security is designed to replace only a portion of a person's earnings prior to retirement: approximately 40% for average-wage workers.. Clearly, it's desirable to supplement Social Security benefits with a pension and savings.. Applying For Social Security benefits.. Normal retirement age under Social Security has always been 65.. The age, however, is scheduled to rise gradually to 67 between the years 2000 and 2027 (see table).. Early retirement benefits can begin at age 62, but retirees must accept a permanent benefit reduction.. To receive benefits, you must apply for them.. Contact your local Social Security office when:.. you are planning to retire and are 62 or over.. someone in your family dies.. you are unable to work because of injury or illness that's expected to last a year or longer.. you, your spouse or a dependent child suffers permanent kidney failure.. Age to Receive Full Social Security Benefits.. Year of Birth.. Full Retirement Age*.. 1937 or earlier.. 65.. 1938.. 65 and 2 months.. 1939.. 65 and 4 months.. 1940.. 65 and 6 months.. 1941.. 65 and 8 months.. 1942.. 65 and 10 months.. 1943-1954.. 66.. 1955.. 66 and 2 months.. 1956.. 66 and 4 months.. 1957.. 66 and 6 months.. 1958.. 66 and 8 months.. 1959.. 66 and 10 months.. 1960 and later.. 67.. *If you take monthly benefits before full retirement age, benefits will be reduced.. About Your Benefits.. For information about your Social Security or Medicare benefits, or to request publications, call the Social Security Administration's (SSA) toll-free number.. (1-800-772-1213),.. visit the website.. or visit your local Social Security office.. The Social Security Administration has begun sending annual statements to workers age 25 and over who are not currently receiving benefits.. These four-page statements include the worker's Social Security-covered earning history and estimates of future benefits.. If there appears to be an error in your earnings record this seldom occurs notify SSA immediately.. [CAUTION: Under the legal statute of limitations, Social Security cannot be required to correct mistakes older than three years.. After that period, it will be very difficult to correct mistakes in your record.. Therefore, it's a good idea to check your earnings statement at least every three years.. ].. The actual amount of your retirement check will vary by your average earnings, the number of years you worked under the system and the age at which you begin collecting benefits.. Also, don't forget that Social Security benefits are fully indexed for inflation.. The annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) guarantees that your last Social Security check will have exactly the same buying power as your first a rare and valuable benefit.. Est.. Monthly and 1.. st.. Year Social Security for a Person Born in 1941 at Full Retirement Age (2006).. Salary in Year Before Retirement.. Monthly.. First Year Social Security Income.. Approximate Replacement Ratio.. $20,000.. $744.. $8929.. 45%.. $30,000.. 925.. 11,100.. 39%.. $45,000.. 1,194.. 14,328.. 33%.. $60,000.. 1,463.. 17,556.. 27%.. $80,000.. 1,742.. 20,904.. 23%.. Work after retirement.. If you continue working in covered employment after you begin receiving benefit checks, you may be subject to an Earnings Limitation for Employees.. A law passed in 2000 ended the Social Security earnings limitation for persons once they reach full retirement age.. For persons under that age receiving benefits, the limitation in 2006 is $12,480.. Under current law, this limitation is scheduled to rise in future years.. Those under 65 who exceed the earnings limitation in any year are subject to $1 reduction in benefits for each $2 of earnings over the limitation.. Taxation of Social Security benefits.. For retirees with higher incomes, a portion of Social Security benefits is included as taxable income.. This applies if a person's adjusted gross income, plus nontaxable interest and half of Social Security benefits, is more than a base amount: $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a couple.. The portion of the benefit subject to income tax will be whichever is less: 50% of benefits for the year or half the excess of the person's income over the base amount.. If income as described above is more than $34,000 for an individual or $44,000 for a couple, 85% of benefits may be taxable.. People who get Social Security benefits should keep a record of benefits received to make figuring taxes easier.. Social Security's Government Pension Offset and Windfall Elimination Provision.. In certain states and localities, public employees are not covered by Social Security.. Some of these workers, however, may be eligible for a Social Security spouse or widow's benefit based on the covered employment of a husband or wife.. Others may be eligible for Social Security based on pre- or post-government employment.. If you fall into any of these categories, be aware that you may be subject to Social Security/pension offsets that could significantly reduce your expected Social Security benefit.. You will want to contact SSA to determine how the GPO (spouse offset) and/or WEP (employment offset) will affect you.. Retirement pension options.. Nearly all AFSCME members can expect to receive an employer-sponsored pension if they participate in their plan for a minimum number of years.. This minimum called the vesting period varies from plan to plan.. It generally ranges from three to ten years.. Most public-sector pension plans provide for benefits to be paid in monthly installments over the course of retirement, along with a death benefit that's equal to the amount of a worker's contributions to the plan (if any), less the total of monthly pension benefits paid out before death.. In order to ensure that monthly payments will be paid to a spouse or other beneficiary after death, a worker must select an optional form of payment before retiring.. If you select such an option, your benefit payments will be reduced during your retirement so that funds will be available to pay your survivor when you die.. It is vitally important to know how soon prior to your retirement you should notify the plan of your intention to choose an option.. That's because most plans have something called an "option election period" or waiting period on options.. This period may vary from six months to three years prior to the expected retirement date.. If you fail to make a timely selection of an option, you may either be denied the right to select an option or you may be required to produce evidence of good health before selection is permitted.. If you select an option in a timely fashion, most plans will permit you to cancel the option just before retirement, if necessary.. In this case, you may want to consider electing an option as soon as possible, regardless of your present age, in order to protect your spouse or other family members.. Check with your employer to learn the rules of your specific plan.. Spousal protection is only one type of option that may be available.. The most common optional forms of payment are described below:.. Life annuity with no death benefit.. Some pension plans that require employee contributions allow employees to increase their monthly retirement benefits by forfeiting the death benefit.. When all payments cease at death, the plan is called a "life annuity.. " Life annuities are also the standard form of pension payment when employers pay the full cost of a pension plan with no employee contributions.. Years certain and life 5, 10 or 15 years.. This pension option guarantees that payments will be made to you as long as you live.. If you should die prior to receiving payments for a prescribed number of years, the remainder of the guaranteed payments will be made to your beneficiary.. For example, if you select a 10-year option, you will receive a minimum of 120 monthly payments.. Even if you outlive the 10-year period, the plan is required to pay you benefits until your death, but your beneficiary will get nothing.. On the other hand, if you should die after having received only 100 pension payments, the remaining 20 monthly payments will be made to your beneficiary.. Contingent annuitant/survivor.. This option, also referred to as "joint and survivor," provides for a continuation of your pension to a spouse or other beneficiary in the event you pre-decease that individual.. Under this arrangement, you would receive reduced retirement payments, but your beneficiary would be guaranteed monthly payments upon your death amounting to 50%, 66-2/3%, 100% or some other agreed upon percentage of your benefits.. These payments would continue for the remainder of your beneficiary's life.. If he or she dies prior to you, however, then all payments cease at your death.. Some plans offer a modification of this option if your beneficiary pre-deceases you.. In this event, your previously reduced benefits would be restored to full-formula payments.. When you request an estimate of your pension benefit, be sure to furnish the plan with information on your spouse or other beneficiary, and get estimates of what your benefits will be, based on the various options offered by the plan.. Remember that you must select an option before payments begin.. After your pension benefits start, an option can be neither elected nor changed.. Estimating your pension income.. If your pension is a percentage (x%) of your final average earnings (FAE), you can estimate what your pension will be at your normal retirement date as a percent of your gross pay.. Many public employee retirement systems use the following formula to calculate pensions:.. x% x FAE x years of credited service=annual pension.. Again, check with your employer to find out how benefits are calculated under your pension plan..  ...   " If a married couple is in the 25% federal income tax bracket, for example, the couple will have to pay a 25% tax on any additional taxable income.. Any additional non-taxable income, though, is free and clear.. Here is a comparison of the income to the investor from both a taxable and a tax-free investment, using the identical rate of interest.. Taxable Investment.. Tax-Free Investment.. Amount invested.. $6,000.. $ 6,000.. Annual rate of return.. 8%.. Annual income from investment.. $480.. Less federal taxes (25%).. -120.. -0.. Net return.. $360.. You can see from this example that income taxes are an important factor in considering investment possibilities.. Potential investors should be aware, however, that tax-free investments.. generally carry a lower rate of interest.. than those subject to taxation.. Still, for someone in the 25% tax bracket, it would take a taxable interest rate of 8% a year to equal the return on a tax-free interest rate of only 6% a year.. Since the return will vary with the investor's tax bracket, be sure to compare rates of return based on your own tax bracket before investing tax-free.. A "net" return the after-tax return should equal or exceed the rate of inflation; otherwise, you are losing ground financially.. Putting Your Objectives Together.. We have identified the major categories of financial objectives that you need to think about.. These are:.. Degree of risk or safety.. Growth of your fund versus income.. Amount of liquidity.. Tax advantages.. Since no investment is perfect, you need to be able to answer the question "What are my specific objectives in each of these four categories?" Of course, each individual's case will be different.. Investment Vehicles.. These are a few of the more common types of investments:.. Passbook Savings:.. These regular savings accounts involve little risk if guaranteed by a government agency (the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation FDIC - guarantees most bank accounts up to $100,000).. Earnings take the form of income, but interest rates tend to be relatively low.. You can get your cash out quickly, but the interest earned is subject to same-year taxation.. This is true even if the interest earnings are left in the account.. Buying A Home Or Other Property:.. There are many tax advantages to real estate investment.. Risk can vary, however, depending on the specific property and its location.. While return can be high, economic conditions do affect the real estate market.. Some homes may offer only a modest return.. Liquidity varies, since it could take months to sell a property.. Stocks:.. When you buy stock in a company, you are buying part ownership.. Income or growth in the value of your stock will depend on company profits.. How much of your savings should go into the stock market? That depends on how much risk you are willing to take, since stocks can carry a relatively high degree of risk.. Some experts offer this guide: The percentage of long-term savings that you can afford to keep in stocks equals 100 minus your age.. For example, at age 30, you can afford to keep 70% of your savings in individual stocks or common-stock mutual funds.. At age 48, however, only 52% should be in stocks.. The theory is that, as you get closer to retirement age, the percentage of your money that is in riskier investments should be steadily reduced.. Bonds:.. When you buy a bond, you are lending money to the issuer of the bond.. Companies issue bonds and so do governments.. The issuer promises to pay you a fixed rate of return on your investment, such as 6% per year.. Risk will vary.. Essentially, a bond is an IOU, and it must be paid back to you on a specific date.. There are many types of corporate bonds and government bonds, and many municipal government bonds are tax-free.. Certificates of Deposit (CDs):.. A Certificate of Deposit is a special kind of savings account.. If you agree to leave a certain amount of money in a savings account for a given period of time (such as $5,000 for 18 months), the savings institution will guarantee you a specific rate of interest.. These are called Time Deposits, and they generally offer higher interest rates than passbook savings accounts.. The savings institution will issue you a Certificate of Deposit that describes your deposit arrangement.. Investment rates vary by type of certificate and length of time you agree to leave your money in the account.. Penalties are generally charged for early withdrawal.. These accounts are usually government-insured up to $100,000.. IRAs:.. Individual Retirement Accounts, IRAs, allow you to invest in a variety of options mostly stock and bond mutual funds.. Depending on the option you choose, safety and growth can vary widely.. There are two basic types of IRA: traditional and Roth.. In a traditional IRA, contributions to an account are tax deductible.. The interest accrues tax-deferred, meaning taxes don't have to be paid until retirement, when tax brackets may be lower.. In a Roth IRA, contributions are not tax deductible, but the income earned from the account is free of all taxes at time of withdrawal.. Both types of IRAs limit the amount of annual contributions, set minimum ages for withdrawal, and require payment of significant penalties if funds are removed early.. Mutual Funds:.. Mutual funds, which pool the resources of a large group of investors, are a way of buying stocks, bonds, real estate or other securities.. Benefits to buying securities through a mutual fund include the services of a professional fund manager, who purchases a variety of stocks or bonds for the group.. There's less risk than with individual stocks because the fund is diversifying your holdings.. There are enough different types of mutual funds to match almost anyone's investment objectives.. Riskier Investments Precious Metals and Commodities:.. Some people invest in precious metals, such as gold and silver.. These investments can be very risky, because their value can fluctuate wildly.. So be sure you understand the risks ahead of time.. You also take a chance with commodities.. These are generally agricultural products such as wheat, coffee or potatoes.. A person signs a contract to buy a specific quantity, at a given price, at a set time in the future.. He or she then tries to sell the contract at a higher price, before the deadline for purchase.. But remember the risk involved: some traders have had to take delivery of carloads of goods, as they could not sell their contracts in time.. Payroll Savings:.. Many employers have special payroll savings plans for employees, often known as 457, 403(b) or 401(k) plans.. These are similar to traditional IRAs, but tend to have even better tax advantages.. Payroll savings plans are an excellent way for working people to invest for retirement.. Your employer's benefits administrator will be able to explain a plan's tax advantages and investment options.. The rule of 72.. The Rule of 72 is a simple way to find out about how long it will take to double your investment.. Assume that the investment's earnings are paid annually and re-invested in the same account.. Simply divide the number 72 by the investment's interest rate.. For example, if you put $1,000 in an investment that pays 8% interest, divide 72 by 8 and you'll see that it takes about nine years to double that investment.. The advantage of starting early.. It pays to start saving early.. If you contribute $1,000 a year for just 10 years to a tax-deferred IRA or employee savings plan, starting at age 21, your nest egg will grow to $137,858 by the time you reach age 65.. But if you wait until age 41,and then contribute $1,000 a year until age 65, you will have only $58,176 even though you invested nearly two-and-a-half times as much money for almost two-and-a-half times as long.. Both examples use an annual interest rate of 7%.. Addressing legal issues.. Legal Documents and contracts.. For most everyday legal matters, you don't need the services of a lawyer.. You've probably signed insurance applications and taken out loans without legal expertise.. There are certain situations, however, where it is too risky to act as your own lawyer; this section will discuss some of those circumstances.. Keep in mind that if your signature is required on a form, it is probably a legal document or contract of some sort.. Before signing any contract, there are several rules that you always should follow:.. Read it in its entirety, including the fine print.. Ask questions about anything that is vague, questionable or written in a complicated way.. Do not sign anything with blank spaces that could be filled-in later without your knowledge.. Getting help from a lawyer.. Whenever you are signing a document involving a lot of money or a risk of significant liability (which could result in a lawsuit), or establishing a trust or making a will, you may want to consider using a lawyer.. A "do it yourself" will or trust is a difficult undertaking and probably shouldn't be left to chance.. By employing a professional, you will gain security from knowing that everything will go according to plan after your death.. One of the first steps in finding an appropriate lawyer is to get suggestions from friends, relatives, or your local bar association.. When someone you know suggests the name of a good lawyer, you should ask for specifics, such as:.. How much of this type of work does the lawyer do?.. Was the lawyer easy to talk with? To get in touch with by phone or letter?.. Were fees reasonable? Did the lawyer willingly discuss them? How were the fees arrived at?.. What, specifically, did the lawyer do? Were you satisfied completely by the quality and promptness of performance?.. Before you decide to hire a particular lawyer, arrange to interview him or her.. If you are considering a "legal clinic" (many of which are low cost or even free), visit the clinic and talk to one of its representatives before making a final decision.. Talk services, fees and schedules with the lawyers you interview.. The relationship between you and the lawyer that you select should feel comfortable.. Estate planning: your will and your heirs.. Do you have an estate? Most likely, you do!.. A person's estate consists of everything he or she owns, minus what is owed.. Your estate might include a home and furniture, a car, personal items such as jewelry, some savings, one or more insurance policies, and similar items of value.. Many individuals are surprised to learn that they have estates that exceed $100,000, $200,000, or even more.. What is estate planning?.. Estate planning is the process of deciding what you want to happen to your estate and taking the action necessary to insure that these wishes are or will be implemented.. The purpose of an estate plan is to insure that what you own will be passed on to loved ones in the manner you wish without too much of the estate going to pay for death taxes and probate costs.. Since a person can begin to pass on an estate while he or she is still living, thus reducing the tax bite for heirs, estate planning is a lot more than preparing a will, which takes effect only after a person dies.. Once you have a clear picture of what your estate is, you may want to ask your lawyer about possible ways to start distributing assets in your lifetime, using such vehicles as trusts and gifts.. Before an estate can be settled and its assets distributed following your death, it must first be reviewed by the probate court.. This process often takes six months to a year, so estate planning should include such provisions as emergency cash, insurance that pays directly to survivors, joint bank accounts that carry survivors' names, and other devices that will assure survivors of needed income before they can take possession of your estate.. What you should know about wills.. A valid will is basic to effective estate planning.. You've probably heard a thousand times that "everyone needs a will.. " No one likes to think about making a will because it reminds us too much of the end, but it is really a great gift to survivors, since it can eliminate many problems they may be unprepared to handle or should not have to face.. A will is an official declaration of how a person wishes to have property, cash and personal items distributed at death.. A will may also be used to name someone to serve as your estate's executor (the person who oversees the distribution) or as the guardian of any minor children.. Most things you own can be passed to another by a will, but there are a few exceptions:.. Property that a creditor can claim usually on a "secured" loan.. Joint interests with right of survivorship.. Insurance and other accounts with named beneficiaries.. Dying without a will.. If a person dies without a will, the probate court will appoint an administrator for the estate and, in the event there is no surviving spouse, appoint a guardian for any minor children.. The assets of the estate will then be distributed as specified by state law, regardless of the situation of each dependent or relative.. If a person leaves no heir or next of kin, his or her property will be forfeited to the state.. How to make a will.. Each state has laws setting forth the formal requirements that must be met before a will becomes legally effective.. Such laws generally require that:.. The will be in writing.. The "testator" (maker of the will) is of sound mind and memory.. The testator declares before witnesses that the will accurately reflects his or her wishes and is the product of a free mind.. The testator signs the will in the presence of at least two or three witnesses.. The will is signed by at least two witnesses in the presence of the testator.. In many states, the use of a witness who is also a beneficiary should be avoided.. In some states, witnesses must actually see the testator's signature going on to the page.. Cost of Preparation.. Simple wills usually cost between $100 and $400.. If the provisions are complicated, or if you are not totally prepared with all the information you need about what you want to pass on and to whom, the cost can be higher.. The taxes and probate costs that may be saved and the knowledge that your assets will be distributed according to your desire may more than offset this expense.. Keeping It Safe.. The will should be kept in a safe place where it can easily be found by the executor.. Be aware that safe deposit boxes are sealed, in many states, upon the death of their owners, and can only be opened either after their contents are inventoried or by court order.. For this reason, it is best to keep an original of the will in an attorney's safe and to give another original to the executor.. Keep a third original at home for access by beneficiaries.. Additional legal considerations.. Power of Attorney:.. There could come a time when you are unable to act on your own behalf in a legal matter.. In such a case, you may grant someone the "Power of Attorney" to act for you by signing a notarized document with the details of the legal matter and the time period for which the document is in effect.. Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care:.. This document expresses your wishes about future medical care and names an individual to carry out those wishes.. State laws differ you should check with a lawyer.. Updating a Will:.. Your circumstances may change after making a will.. Be sure to update your will as necessary, in order to reflect your wishes.. Trusts:.. Trusts avoid probate and allow someone else to manage your assets if you cannot.. The trustee you name holds the assets and manages them according to a written trust agreement.. Trusts have advantages in some cases, but they also cost money.. You should check with a lawyer.. Estate Taxes:.. When one spouse dies and leaves an estate (money, property, etc.. ) to the surviving spouse, federal law applies what is called a "marital deduction" and exempts the spouse's inheritance from federal estate taxes.. When all or part of an estate is passed on to other heirs (including children), however, a federal estate tax must be paid if the total amount of the estate is over $600,000 (as of 2000).. If your estate is fairly large, you should discuss estate taxes with your lawyer.. Resources.. There are many resources available on financial planning and estate planning.. Here are some that you may find helpful:.. The Ernst and Young's Retirement Planning Guide,.. Bob Garner.. Wiley, John Sons, Inc.. 1997.. Chapters include 401(k) plans, social security, taxes, insurance, spending and investing in retirement.. Set for Life: Financial Peace for People over 50,.. Bambi Holzer with Elaine Floyd.. 1999.. Covers how to assess your needs, manage investments, handle taxes and insurance, stay ahead of inflation, prepare your estate and develop realistic financial goals.. IRAs, 401(k)s and Other Retirement Plans: Taking Your Money Out,.. Twila Slesnick and John C.. Suttle.. Nolo Press, 1999.. Discusses distribution, penalties and tax options for various retirement plans including traditional and Roth IRAs.. Estate Planning Made Easy: Your Step-by Step Guide to Protecting Your Family, Safeguarding Your Assets and Minimizing the Tax Bite,.. sec.. ed.. , David T.. Phillips and Bill S.. Wolfkiel.. Dearborn Financial Publishing, Inc.. , 1998.. Includes chapters on ownership and title, wills, trusts and probate.. Your Living Trust and Estate Plan: How to Maximize your Family's Assets and Protect your Loved Ones,.. Harvey J.. Platt.. Allworth Press, 1999.. A guide to using a living trust to create an estate plan, including discussion of the tax laws.. 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