Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.
Workers are suing employers over 401(k) expenses
Some employers are facing lawsuits for providing 401(k) plans that charge higher fees than the alternatives for similar low-cost plans, according to this article on Money. These lawsuits have prompted many companies to include low-cost index funds to replace pricey stock-picking funds in their plans. Although as a new lawsuit against New York Life Insurance illustrates, even index funds don’t necessarily escape workers' scrutiny when looking for unnecessary costs. The proposed class-action lawsuit, which is just one of several similar suits in recent years, challenges the company’s decision to offer a Mainstay S&P 500 index fund, which charges investors $35 per year for every $10,000 invested. And according to an analysis from Morningstar cited by this article, the typical index investor only pays about $20 per $10,000. Moreover, 401(k) investors often pay lower fees than other investors because plans can pool their assets to gain discounts, according to the article. In this case, New York Life should be able to offer its employees an essentially identical stock index fund from Vanguard that costs just $2 per $10,000 invested, the suit charges. --Money
Retirement accounts: Keep contributing after age 70 1/2?
Retirees who are at least 70 1/2 can continue contributing to their Roth IRAs even if they have to take a required minimum distribution from their traditional IRAs, according to this article on Morningstar. Retirees are allowed to make a "regular" contribution of up to $6,500 this year, provided the compensation income they receive this year enables them to contribute the amount. Their 2016 adjusted gross income should not exceed $132,000 if they are single or $194,000 if they are joint filers. --Morningstar
Does Social Security pay survivor benefits in same-sex unions?
Same-sex couples are eligible for Social Security survivor benefits, with the benefit value based on the amount the deceased spouse was collecting at the time of death or the amount at full retirement age if the spouse passed away before filing for the benefit, according to this article on the Los Angeles Times. The survivor benefit is reduced if the surviving spouses apply starting at age 60, and they have the option to seek a lump sum that is equivalent to the six previous monthly benefits. Those who collect survivor benefits can also switch to their own retirement benefits, an option not open to those collecting spousal benefits. --Los Angeles Times
Why clients might not be able to delay retirement
Although people want to stay in the labor force longer, many of them are compelled to retire earlier than planned, according to a survey by HSBC. Current retirees claim they started building their nest egg at an average age of 31 and left the workplace for good at the age of 59, the survey found. Based on these results, the average number of working years is 28, which implies that many retirees fail to maximize their retirement benefits, as Social Security uses their 35 highest earning years to compute their monthly benefits. --U.S. News & World Report
How clients can get the biggest Social Security check they can
Many seniors fail to maximize their Social Security retirement benefits by filing for their benefits as soon as possible before reaching their full retirement age, according to this article on MarketWatch. Seniors may want to delay their retirement benefits until they turn 70 to get an 8%-a-year increase in their monthly benefit. Clients are advised to seek professional guidance to determine the right time to claim Social Security, as the decision depends on various factors, including life expectancy and income sources. --MarketWatch