Weekly Roundup Sept. 9 - 13, 2019

Anne Stanley

Among the best stories from Retirement Daily for Sept. 9 - 13: 401(k) loans, vision care resources, and the Medicare Plan Finder gets an upgrade.

Adviser Keith Whitcomb writes in his guest column this week, "For decades, experts have been providing advice on whether a 401(k) loan is a good idea or a bad one. Opinions have ranged from emphatic endorsement to absolute prohibition. A root cause of this divergence is the multi-faceted nature of evaluating the loan. It is a swirling confluence of tax-advantaged investing, borrowing, and a self-dealing overlay that just feels like you are taking money out of one pocket and putting it into another. To help determine when the loan is appropriate, I've found it beneficial to segregate the evaluation into two pieces -- an investment decision and a financing decision."

Whitcomb cuts through the confusing myths and advice regarding 401(k) loans and shows you how to consider them from investing and financing vantage points in Are 401(k) Loans Investments?.

And in case you missed them, here are more great stories from Retirement Daily:

Keep an Eye Out for Good Vision Care

From Jeanette Pavini: As I wrote in my column last week, Smile: How to Get Dental Care, the costs of vision care, like dental care, may keep going up and your insurance coverage for these services may be going down or disappearing -- just when you need it most. So where can you go to get the treatment you deserve when your insurance falls short? Let's focus on resources for vision care -- beyond reading glasses.

Tip of the Week: Medicare Plan Finder Gets an Upgrade

It looks like it's going to get easier to compare coverage options and shop for Medicare health and drug plans, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). In August, the CMS launched "a modernized and redesigned" Medicare Plan Finder, a tool on Medicare.gov that allows users to shop and compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. The updated Medicare Plan Finder walks the more than 60 million people with Medicare coverage walks users through the Medicare Advantage and Part D enrollment process from start to finish and allows people to view and compare many of the supplemental benefits that Medicare Advantage plans offer.

New Investments and Products for Retirement

The following are new investments that those saving for or living in retirement might consider for their portfolios. This week: A new ETF that focuses on peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding.

Best Ways to Create Tax-Efficient Income in Retirement

In a guest column this week, advisers David Buckwald and Greg Dillon run down tax efficiency for all types of retirement assets, including traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and Social Security and more. They write: "While you're working and setting aside some earnings for your retirement, the value of diversification is well accepted. Holding a mix of asset classes can help you reduce the impact of vicious stock market declines, such as investors experienced in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009. Smaller losses, in turn, will leave you with more assets to benefit from a subsequent rebound and may lead to greater wealth accumulation over the long term. When the paychecks stop and it's time to tap your holdings for living expenses, another strategy can prove just as valuable: tax diversification. Holding different types of accounts will give you more sources of spending money and more flexibility in drawing down your assets. With astute planning, you can use this flexibility to reduce your tax bills in retirement, even if that may mean sometimes straying from the conventional wisdom.

Ask Bob: Social Security and Time Out of the Workforce

Question: How can I determine what my Social Security benefits will be? I was a stay-at-home mom after my two children were born in the 1990s. My husband is 12 years older than me. He took benefits early as we had minor children. My husband was born in 1944 and I was born in 1956. How do I determine my benefit amount if I claim now? If my husband dies, would I get one-half of his benefit? That would be a larger benefit than mine so why shouldn't I go ahead and claim now?

New Retirement Research

Here are some of the latest reports, surveys, and studies related to retirement, including research into Social Security benefits rules, background checks for long-term care providers, and predicting the risk of heart attacks.


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Robert Powell, CFP®