News & Updates

Unique Planning Opportunities Using Social Security Survivor Benefits

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Most of us are aware that Social Security is at its core a retirement program whose purpose is to replace a portion of our career earnings once we are no longer...

Answers to Reader Social Security Questions

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Here are some more reader questions on Social Security that I am sure many of you share. I hope you find my answers helpful. Q: If my husband works until he’s...

Women and Social Security

Wednesday, February 04, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Social Security is a gender neutral system. Benefits are payable to any worker who qualifies as a result of their work history. In the case of married couples, either spouse can...

What People With Government Pensions Should Know About Social Security

Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor As if the Social Security system weren’t complicated enough, additional complications arise for certain retirees receiving government or public sector pensions. These rules, known as the WEP, for Windfall Elimination Provision,...

The Impact of Early Claiming on Social Security Spousal Benefits

Wednesday, January 21, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor I often hold Social Security workshops in my community at which I explain how the system works and discuss various strategies for maximizing one’s benefits. Almost invariably I meet attendees, usually...

The best time to start taking Social Security

Jan 15, 2015|Cliff Goldstein, MarketWatch If you’re nearing retirement, you’ll likely be faced with a decision: Should you start taking Social Security at the earliest age possible, 62, wait until you reach your full retirement age (65 to 67, depending...

4 Steps to a Smoother Tax Season

Wednesday, January 14, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor April 15 is rapidly approaching and now is a good time to start getting ready. The following are some suggested steps to take now while there is still time to ensure...

How to Behave in the Face of Stock Market Volatility

Wednesday, January 07, 2015 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor The stock market, both in the US and abroad, has been turbulent again of late. On Monday, January 5, the Dow Jones Index dropped over 130 points, or 0.75%, and yesterday,...

Answer To Reader Question Regarding Social Security Spousal Benefits

Wednesday, December 30, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Deciding how spouses should coordinate their Social Security claiming decisions when both are eligible for retirement benefits is a complicated planning challenge. I recently responded to a reader question in this...

The Hazards of Investing In High Turnover Mutual Funds

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Morningstar, the Chicago-based mutual fund rating firm, recently reported on the 2014 performance of various funds (“The Winners and Losers of US Equity Funds in 2014”). One of the funds listed,...

Answers to Reader Social Security Questions

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor I welcome reader questions and will post responses in periodic columns. Here are some recent questions and my answers....

The Keys to Understanding Social Security Family Benefits

Wednesday, December 3, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor I recently met with a gentleman, whom I will call Fred, whose situation illustrates the unique Social Security planning opportunities available around Family Benefits. Fred is 68 and remarried later in...

Working While Receiving Early Social Security Benefits

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Deciding when to begin taking your Social Security retirement benefit is a very important decision for several reasons. When you start your benefit affects how much you receive insofar as there...

5 Key Social Security Strategies For All

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor No one ever said you could live like royalty on Social Security. The program was always intended to provide a foundation for retirement but not to completely replace one’s working income....

What Older Divorcees Need to Know About Social Security

Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Sociologists have a name for those who divorce after age 50—“gray divorcees”—and their numbers are on the rise in the U.S. In fact, more Americans in this age group now are...