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The Social Security Administration Has Announced Cost of Living Adjustments & Tax Changes For 2021. Here's What You Need to Know

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, the Social Security Administration released important facts and figures for 2021 - including cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for retirees and tax changes for the currently employed. Those receiving Social Security benefits will see a 1.3 percent COLA increase in 2021. This change will impact around 70 million Americans - including 8 million SSI beneficiaries.1 For the average retiree receiving Social Security benefits in January 2021, this will translate to a roughly $20 increase in monthly benefits - $1,543 up from $1,523. For couples both receiving benefits, the average will increase to $2,596 from $2,563.1 Of note, this year’s COLA increase is lower than the previous two years - although, of course, a cost-of-living adjustment is never guaranteed in the first place. In 2009, 2010 and 2016, COLA bottomed out at zero percent. And in 2016, the COLA was a mere 0.3 percent - substantially lower than the 2.8 percent increase we saw in 2018.2

Retirement Funding
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Are You in Need of Some Warm and Fuzzies? 8 Good Things to Come From the COVID-19 Pandemic

So far, the year 2020 has been difficult for people around the world. Millions have been sickened by the COVID-19 virus, laid off from work and are feeling financially strained. It's been hard to find good news out there, so we rounded up eight good things to come from the pandemic to share with anyone who could use a smile. To spread some positivity, check out some of the good things that have happened this year.

Lifestyle
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As the Coronavirus Continues, Avoid These 5 Retirement Mistakes

The COVID-19 pandemic hit hard in early 2020, and it continues to remain prevalent as we near the end of the year. Whether you’ve just recently retired, or it’s coming up in the next few years, it’s likely the virus has brought about some financial uncertainty regarding your readiness for retirement. Before making any sudden changes, it’s important to remain rational and avoid these five big retirement mistakes below.

Retirement Funding
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The Stock Market and the Economy Are Not the Same: A Guide to Understanding the Difference

When we think of financial health, a few things might come to mind. We may think of our own financial status, our investments, the Dow Jones Industrial Average performance, the stock market as a whole, the economy, the country’s employment status and so on. While some aspects may be interrelated on some level, they are not all one and the same, nor do they all indicate the status of one another. The various ways we can characterize financial well-being speaks to why so many people think of the stock market and the economy’s health as a gauge for each other. However, the stock market does not define economic health as a whole. As we’ve seen with COVID-19, stocks are back on the rise, but many individuals - and the country as a whole - are still facing the effects of business closures, record-breaking unemployment rates and more. So why is this? Below, we outline the major differences between the stock market and the economy and why one can progress while the other tells a different story.

Insights
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What Is a Credit Bureau & What Data Is Included in Your Credit Report?

A credit bureau, also called a credit reporting agency, is a company that collects and stores information about how you manage your credit and finances.1 This data is then used to create your credit reports, which form the foundation of your credit score. Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three major credit bureaus and are often grouped together.2 While they’re not the only bureaus in existence, they are some of the most well-known companies that compete for the business of creditors. Let’s address the data collected by credit bureaus, how they obtain that information to create your scores and reports and how to get in touch with them if something isn’t right.

Insights