By Karen Damato
May 12, 2017

This week saw plenty of fireworks in Washington, as President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. But there was no big news on two matters of significant financial interest to people planning for and in retirement: a possible overhaul of the tax code and repeal and replacement of Obamacare. Amid a backdrop of weighty money questions—Is your tax bill headed up or down? Will you face higher premiums or new limitations on your health coverage?—it’s critical to focus on what you can control to achieve a solvent and satisfying retirement. That includes being a diligent saver and a savvy investor; having a deep conversation with your spouse, if you are married, on what may be your differing goals and timetables; and recognizing that it may take some time and experimentation to transform into a happy retired you. Embrace the challenge!

Best wishes,

Karen

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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE

Most Seniors Flunked a New Retirement Quiz. Could You Do Better?

Nearly 75% of people ages 60 to 75 got a big fat F on a recent online quiz on “retirement income literacy,” contributor Walter Updegrave reports. Some of the questions posed by the American College of Financial Services are admittedly nerdy. Still, if you’re a loyal reader of MONEY and this newsletter, I bet you’ll get a passing grade. MONEY

6 Questions Bond Investors Should Be Asking Right Now

With interest rates likely to climb this year, you want your fixed-income holdings to be ready. Writer Michael A. Pollock offers some smart tips. For instance, even though short-term bond funds are generally less risky than long-term funds, they could still experience price drops that exceed the income they generate for you. For savings on which you can’t stomach any losses, go with a money market fund or bank account. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

More Older Couples Are ‘Shacking Up’

The number of people over 50 who live with a partner outside marriage jumped 75% from 2007 to 2016, according to Pew data cited here. Many older couples say they simply see no reason to make it official with a marriage certificate. And there are sometimes compelling financial reasons to say no to nuptials, such as to preserve Social Security benefits based on a prior marriage. THE NEW YORK TIMES

What U.S. Military Need to Know About Their New Retirement Plan

Starting in January, almost 90% of active-duty military members have an important choice to make: They can stick with their current pension plan or opt in to a new program that combines a slimmer pension with matching contributions to a 401(k)-like savings plan. Which way to go? Contributor Dan Kadlec offers tips and highlights a new tool that military families can use to weigh their options. MONEY

How Long Does it Take to Vest in a 401(k) Plan?

You know that nice employer match that shows up in your 401(k) with each paycheck? Depending on your plan’s rules, you might lose some of those dollars if you leave the company. Check your plan website or documents for the scoop on “vesting.” U.S. NEWS

Social Security’s Website Is About to Make a Big Security Upgrade

We all want protection from cyber criminals. But last year, the Social Security Administration moved to beef up security of its online “my Social Security” accounts in a way that would have frozen out seniors who don’t text. The agency quickly reversed course—and a more flexible requirement for two-factor authentication kicks in June 10. MONEY

The Ins and Outs of Applying for Social Security Benefits

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Let’s say you’ve already decided when to claim Social Security. Next up is the question of exactly how to do that. Like everything else about Social Security, that’s not necessarily simple. Writer Robert Powell explains. USA TODAY

Working Longer: Good Aspiration, but Not a Plan

Lots more people are working into their late 60s and beyond. Among men between 65 and 69, last year 38% were working, up from 27% in 1990, according to data cited here by writer Mark Miller. The labor-force participation for women from 65 to 69 was 30%, up from 18%. Aiming for a later retirement can make sense—but keep in mind that a job loss or family problems could throw a monkey wrench in your plans. MORNINGSTAR

See the Cities Where You Can Be Happier With Less Money

Here’s food for thought for your where-to-retire conversations. Gallup recently studied the relationship between income and happiness for people across the country, to identify the income levels at which people reach peak satisfaction. Atlanta shows up as the bargain among 12 metro areas, at $42,000. Check out the numbers for the rest. TIME

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