Big changes expected in many 2018 Medicare Advantage plans
Retirees are likely to have fewer choices and face greater confusion when they start shopping around for Medicare Advantage plans during the open-enrollment period that starts October 15, according to this article on CBS Moneywatch. That's because there will be major changes in plan structures and fewer insurers offering the coverage in rural areas. Read the article to know what clients should watch out for if they are part of a Medicare Advantage plan or look at getting the coverage during the enrollment period.

Bloomberg News

The top 1 percent have more than 200 times the retirement savings of the typical American
A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that most American households have saved a little or nothing for retirement, with the richest families saving more than the rest, according to this article on CNBC. The top 1% of families had savings worth $1.08 million or more in 2013, or 216 times more than the retirement savings of a median working-age family, which only had $5,000, says the report. "Participation in retirement savings plans is highly unequal across income groups. In 2013, nearly nine in 10 families in the top income fifth had retirement account savings, compared with fewer than one in 10 families in the bottom income fifth."

Funeral insurance: What to know about covering your final expense
A senior insurance analyst says that retirees and pre-retirees may want to buy funeral insurance to provide their families a source of funds to cover the hefty cost of their burial, according to this article on Fox Business. "The cost of funeral insurance varies depending on the amount of coverage you choose and your age. It covers every expense related to your final arrangements, up to the policy limit," says the expert. "In general, a funeral policy is more expensive than a term life insurance policy. So, it’s a good idea to shop both types of policies and compare quotes before making a decision."

The basics of taking hardship distributions from self-directed IRAs
Clients who take early distributions from their IRAs can examine if their distributions qualify as “hardship” distributions so that they would not be charged with an additional 10% tax, according to Forbes. Exceptions are distribution made on account of disability, distribution made to an estate or beneficiary due to the death of the IRA owner, distribution for a “qualified first-time home buyer”, distribution for qualified higher education costs, distribution for health insurance premiums, distribution for unreimbursed medical expenses, distribution due to an IRS levy, distribution as part of substantial equal periodic payments and distribution for a qualified reservist.

12 facts the Social Security Administration wants you to know
Several facts, such as 61% of all seniors are relying on Social Security for half of their income, are among information that Social Security Administration would like people to know to remedy the lack of understanding of the program, according to Motley Fool. Other facts are the average 65-year-old will live roughly 20 years, 43% of unmarried seniors are almost wholly leaning on Social Security, the elderly population will grow by 65% in 18 years and the work-to-beneficiary ratio will be reduced by 21% by 2035. Read the article to learn more facts.

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