MoneyWise Live


Social Security COLAs

November 20, 2018

We’ve reported that the booming economy is causing inflation to creep up. That in turn is making interest rates rise. Now another consequence of inflation is a welcome cost of living increase for folks on Social Security.  Starting next year— those benefits will go up 2.8%, the largest increase in 7 years and it's affecting tens of millions of Social Security recipients. Financial planner and teacher Rob West has some insights— then he takes your questions at 800-525-7000.

  • This increase isn't even the standard cost-of-living increase of 3%; why all the hoopla?
  • What does a 2.8% increase mean for the average recipient?
  • How many people will get this increase?
  • How exactly is the Social Security COLA tied to inflation?
  • Is tying the increase to the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers a reasonably accurate way to measure inflation?
  • Where do you see Social Security headed in the future?
  • To improve the situation, what’s the answer, people saving more for retirement or getting the folks in Washington to fix things?

Next, Rob and Steve answer these questions at 800-525-7000 or via email at Questions@MoneyWiseLive.org:

  • If you've been retired for 10 years collecting Social Security and have made enough in a home business your accountant told you that you almost had to pay SS back, how much are you allow to make while drawing Social Security?
  • Is a life insurance policy a good way to borrow against for education expenses in lieu of a 529 plan?
  • Where should you keep your emergency fund?  Should it be liquid or in something like a CD?  bankrate.com
  • What does the Social Security Administration look at to access your eventual benefits?
  • Is there a difference between TOD (transfer on death) or POD (payable upon death)?
  • If you're in your 70s, your initial mortgage was $171,000, the house is now valued at $217,000 and you owe $151,000, should you refinance and use built up equity for the refi closing costs?
  • Who do you talk to about dumping a time-share - an attorney or a real estate agent?
  • If you receive a credit card supposedly from Sam's Club that you didn't order, what should you do?

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