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In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

11 Retirement Benefit Changes Coming in 2012

By Emily Brandon





Senior, son (or daughter)? Need to know info


JewishWorldReview.com | (USNWR) Seniors will get significantly bigger Social Security checks in 2012 and face only modest increases in Medicare premiums. Workers will also be eligible to defer taxes on more money in their 401(k) plans and get more disclosures about the fees and expenses they are paying. Here's a look at how retirement benefits will likely change in 2012.

Bigger Social Security checks. Social Security recipients will get a boost in payments next year for the first time since 2009. Social Security checks will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, with the typical retiree receiving about $43 more per month.

Higher Social Security taxes. The maximum amount of earnings subject to Social Security tax will increase to $110,100 in 2012, up from $106,800 in 2011, and result in about 10 million workers paying higher Social Security taxes. Also, the temporary reduction in workers' Social Security taxes from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent of earnings in 2011 is scheduled to end this year under current law.

A small increase in Medicare Part B premiums. The standard Medicare Part B premium will be $99.90 in 2012, up $3.50 from 2011 for people who signed up for Medicare in 2009 or earlier. Retirees who signed up for Medicare Part B in 2010 or 2011 and were charged the standard premium for new enrollees of $110.50 or $115.40, respectively, will see their premiums decline to $99.90 in 2012. High-income Medicare recipients whose modified adjusted gross income is greater than $85,000 for individuals or $170,000 for couples must pay higher Part B premiums, ranging from $40 to $219.80 per month more than the standard rate. But even most high earners will pay less in Medicare premiums than they did last year.

Slightly better Medicare Part D gap coverage. Medicare Part D plans have a coverage gap that begins once an enrollee spends $2,930 on prescription drugs and lasts until catastrophic drug coverage kicks in after the retiree has spent $6,658 on medication. Brand-name drugs purchased in that gap will be discounted by 50 percent and generic drugs by 14 percent in 2012, up slightly from 50 percent and 7 percent, respectively, in 2011. "Every plan is now offering a certain level of coverage in the coverage gap, which in previous years was a big concern for some people," says Juliette Cubanski, a policy analyst at the Kaiser Family Foundation. "As part of the health reform law, the coverage gap is being phased out over time. That improves the value of the Part D benefit for every plan that is out there."


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Higher 401(k) limits. The contribution limit for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan will increase to $17,000 in 2012, up from $16,500 in 2011. However, catch-up contribution limits for those age 50 and older will remain $5,500 next year.

401(k) fee disclosure. Retirement savers can expect to get additional information about the costs and fees that are deducted from their 401(k) account. The Labor Department issued a regulation in 2010 that requires most 401(k) plans to disclose the fees associated with participation in the 401(k) plan and costs of each investment option to plan participants by May 31, 2012. "Because employers have to produce this for participants, they are paying more attention to their fees. It's causing them to look for lower-cost investments and recordkeeping solutions," says Robyn Credico, senior retirement consultant at Towers Watson. "Participants will see a line item of fees on their statements. They were always paying it, but it will be more transparent for some participants."

More 401(k) investment advice. A new Labor Department rule that goes into effect on Dec. 27, 2011, says retirement plan administrators will now be able to give advice to account holders if they meet specific requirements that ensure unbiased recommendations. "More employers are offering advice and offering more methods," says Pamela Hess, director of retirement research at Aon Hewitt. Advice dispensed through a 401(k) or IRA must be given by an adviser whose compensation does not vary based on the investments selected, or given using a computer model that an independent expert certifies as unbiased.

More 401(k) match reinstatements. Most of the companies that suspended their 401(k) match during the recession have now restored them (75 percent), according to a Towers Watson survey of 260 companies that eliminated their match in January 2008 or later. The reinstatements primarily took place in January 2010 and January 2011. "We're expecting to see a continuation of that trend in 2012," says Credico.

Increased IRA income limits. IRA contribution limits will remain at $5,000 in 2012, and $6,000 for those age 50 and older. For singles and heads of household with retirement plans at work, the tax deduction for traditional IRA contributions will be phased out when their modified adjusted gross income is between $58,000 and $68,000 in 2012 ($92,000 to $112,000 for couples), up $2,000 from 2011. For those without a retirement plan at work, the income cutoffs will increase by $4,000 to between $173,000 and $183,000. The income limits for making Roth IRA contributions will grow by $3,000 ($4,000 for couples) to between $110,000 and $125,000 for singles and heads of household and $173,000 to $183,000 for couples in 2012.

Increased access to the Saver's Credit. Workers with slightly higher incomes will be eligible for the Saver's Credit next year, a tax credit worth up to $1,000 ($2,000 for couples). Those who have modified adjusted gross incomes of up to $28,750 for singles, $43,125 for heads of household, and $57,500 for married couples and contribute to a retirement account such as an IRA or 401(k) will be able to claim the credit, an increase of $500 to $1,000 in income from last year.

Higher pension insurance limits. The maximum traditional pension benefit insured by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation will be $55,840.92 for a 65-year-old retiree in 2012, up from $54,000 in 2011 and the first increase since 2009. As in previous years, the maximum insured amount is higher if you delay collecting your pension beyond age 65, and lower if you claim your pension early or elect to receive survivor's benefits.

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