By Penelope Wang
October 21, 2016
Chad Griffith

For retirement investors, the third and final presidential debate was a disappointing experience, even if you set aside that threat to the democratic process. Yes, there were moments when the candidates actually addressed important policy issues, including the economy and Social Security. But neither candidate offered specifics. Hillary Clinton, who has talked about expanding Social Security benefits, mentioned raising taxes on the wealthy and lifting the wage cap on payroll taxes as ways to foot the bill. But those measures alone won’t fix the funding gap—the Social Security trust fund will not be able to pay full benefits after 2034. An expanded program would require raising even more revenue. Donald Trump has yet to offer a Social Security plan beyond a promise of economic growth. Let’s hope we get more clarity in the first 100 days of the next administration. Meanwhile, relief is on the way: just 18 days until the election cycle is over.

Best wishes,


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Why 401(k)s Fall Short When It’s Time to Tap Them for Retirement Income

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Can I Tap My Retirement Savings Penalty-Free at 55?

Q.: I want to retire at 55 and was under the impression I had to wait until I was 59½ years old to avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty on my retirement savings. I recently read that if you leave your employer the year you are turning 55, you can take distributions from your 401(k) without penalty. Is this also true for a 403(b)?

–Yvonne Varas, West Babylon, N.Y.

A.: 403(b) plans are retirement savings accounts for certain employees in the nonprofit sector and public schools. The good news is that the withdrawal rules are the same for 403(b) plans and their corporate cousin, the 401(k). READ MORE


“When a country is well governed, poverty and a mean condition are things to be ashamed of. When a country is ill governed, riches and honor are things to be ashamed of.”

–Philosopher Confucius


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