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General Information

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American Association of Individual Investors


Early Retirement

The retirement age has evolved, extending from 65. It can now begin at 50 to 55, known as early retirement.

If you retire at 55 or older, you can withdraw from your employee-qualified retirement plan without penalties. This “55 and over” rule doesn’t apply to other retirement accounts like IRAs, IRA rollovers, or SEP/IRAs.

WARNING: If you transfer your qualified plan to an IRA rollover at 55 or older, you’ll lose penalty-free access until 59 1/2, except for substantially equal periodic payments.

If you’re not yet 55, rolling funds into an IRA rollover and taking substantially equal periodic payments can help you avoid penalties.

To assess early retirement offers, consider these guidelines:

Tip: If your partner’s income covers your needs, consider a “level term” life insurance policy on them for protection.

Tip: Early retirement health benefits often omit dental and optical care, so consider getting them done before retiring.

Tip: Remember to start withdrawing funds by age 70 1/2 if you haven’t already.

Tip: Ensure that your retirement account’s primary beneficiary is your spouse, not your trust, to avoid stricter rules and a five-year timeline for trust beneficiaries. Reserve the trust as the contingent beneficiary.

Financial News

National Organizations

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
601 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20049
(800) 424-3410

American Bar Association Commission on Legal Problems of the Elderly
740 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005-1022
(202) 662-8690

The American Council of the Blind
1115 15th Street NW; Suite 1004
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 467-5081 or (800) 424-8666

American Foundation for the Blind
2 Penn Plaza, Suite 1102
New York, NY 10121
(212) 502-7600 or (800) 232-5463

Braille Institute of America, Inc.
741 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
(213) 663-1111

The Council for Disability Rights
205 West Randolph, Suite 1650
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 444-9484

National Council on Aging
409 3rd Street, SW; Suite 200
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 479-1200

New Eyes for the Needy
P.O. Box 332
549 Milburn Avenue
Short Hills, NJ 07078
(973) 376-4903

Family Caregiver Alliance
690 Market Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 434-3388
Serving the families of people with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions.

National Legal Aid and Defender Association
1625 K Street NW; Suite 800
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 452-0620

National Parent-to-Parent Support and Information System, Inc.
P.O. Box 907
Blue Ridge, GA 30513
(706) 374-3822
Devoted to linking parents of children with special health-care needs and rare disorders.

National Academy of Elder Care Law Attorneys

Government Agencies

Administration on Aging
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20201
(800) 677-1116

National Institute on Aging
Building 31, RM SC27
31 Center Dive, MSC 2292
Bethesda, MD 20892
(301) 496-1752

Social Security Administration
640 I Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21235
(800) 234-5772

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1801 L Street NW
Washington, DC 20507
(800) 669-4000
(800) 669-6820 (NY)

Department of Veterans Affairs
245 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10014
(800) 827-1000

Internal Revenue Service
(800) 829-3676

“The Older Americans’ Tax Guide,” also known as Publication 544, and/or IRS Publication 915, provides you with a number of worksheets to use to calculate the exact taxation of your benefits.

State Offices

Commission on Aging
770 Washington Avenue, Suite 470
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-5743
Fax: (334) 242-5594

Commission on Aging
Department of Administration
Juneau, AK 99811-0209
(907) 465-3250

Aging and Community Services Division
Economic Security Department
1789 West Jefferson Street, #950 A
Phoenix, AZ 85005
(602) 542-4446

Aging and Adult Services
P.O. Box 1437, Slot 1412
Little Rock, AR 72201
(501) 682-2441

Department of Aging
1600 K Street, 4th floor
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 322-3887

Aging and Adult Services Division
110 16th Street, Suite 200
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 620-4147

Elderly Services Division
25 Sigourney Street, 10th floor
Hartford, CT 06106-5033
(860) 424-5277

Aging Division
1901 North Dupont Highway
New Castle, DE 19720
(302) 577-4791

Aging Office
441 4th Street, NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 724-5622

Department of Elder Affairs
Building B, Suite 152
4040 Esplanade Way
Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000
(904) 414-2000

Aging Services Office
2 Peachtree Street, NE, 18th floor
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 657-5258

Division of Senior Citizens
Dept. of Public Health and Social Services
P.O. Box 2816
Agana, Guam 96932
(011) (671) 475-0263

Hawaii Executive Office on Aging
250 S. Hotel Street #107
Honolulu, HI 96813
(808) 586-0100

Idaho Commission on Aging
3380 Americana Terrace, #120
Boise, ID 83706
(208) 334-3833

Department on Aging
421 East Capital Avenue, Suite l00
Springfield, IL 62701-1789
(217) 785-3356

Disability, Aging, and Rehabilitative Services Division
Family and Social Services
402 West Washington Street, Room W 454
P.O. Box 7083
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 232-7000

Elder Affairs Department
Clemens Building, 3rd floor
200 10th Street
Des Moines, lA 50309-3609
(515) 281-5187

Department on Aging
New England Building
503 South Kansas Avenue
Topeka, KS 66603-3404
(785) 296-4986

Aging Services Division
Social Services Department
275 East Main Street, 6 West
Frankfurt, KY 40621
(502) 564-6930

Elderly Affairs Office
P.O. Box 80374
412 North 4th Street, 3F
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
(504) 342-7100

Bureau of Elder and Adult Services
35 Anthony Avenue
State House, Station 11
Augusta, ME 04333
(800) 262-2232 and (207) 624-5335

Aging Office
State Office Building, Room 1007
301 West Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2374
(410) 767-1100

Executive Office of Elder Affairs
1 Ashburton Place, 5th floor
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 727-7750

Aging Office P.O. Box 30026
Lansing, MI 48909-8176
(517) 373-8230

Minnesota Board on Aging
444 Lafayette Road
St. Paul, MN 55155
(612) 296-2770

Aging and Adult Services Division
750 State Street
Jackson, MS 39202
(601) 359-4925

Aging Division
Social Services Department
P.O. Box 1337
615 Howerton Court
Jefferson City, MO 65109
(573) 751-3083

Senior and Long-term Care Division
Department of Public Health and Human Services
P.O. Box 4210
111 Sanders, Room 211
Helena, MT 59604
(406) 444-7788

Department of Health and Human Services
Division on Aging
P.O. Box 95044
301 Centennial Mall South
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2307

Aging Services Division
Human Resources Department
State Mail Room Complex
340 N. 11th Street, #203
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 486-3545

Elderly and Adult Services Division
115 Pleasant Street Annex
Building 1
Concord, NH 03301-3843
(603) 271-4680

Department of Health and Senior Services
Division of Senior Affairs
P.O. Box 807
Trenton, NJ 08625-0807
(609) 292-7837

State Agency on Aging
La Villa Rivera Building, 4th floor
224 East Palace Avenue
Santa Fe, NM 87501
(505) 827-7640

Aging Office
Empire State Plaza, Building 2
Albany, NY 12223-1251
(800) 342-9871

Resources for Seniors
1001 Navaho Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609
(919) 872-7933

Aging Services
600 South 2nd Street, #1C
Bismarck, ND 58540
(701) 328-8910

Aging Department
50 West Broad Street, 9th floor
Columbus, OH 43215-5928
(614) 466-5500

Aging Services
P.O. Box 25352
312 NE 28th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 521-2327 or (405) 521-2281

Senior and Disabled Services Division
500 Summer Street, NE
Salem, OR 97310-1015
(503) 945-5811

Department of Aging
555 Walnut Street, 5th floor
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1919
(717) 783-1550

Office of Elderly Services
50063 Old San Juan Station
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902
(787) 721-5710

Elderly Affairs Department
160 Pine Street
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 277-2858

Office on Aging
P.O. Box 8206
Columbia, SC 29211-8206
(803) 253-6177

Adult Services and Aging Office
Kneip Building
700 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501-2291
(605) 773-3656

Aging Commission
500 Deaderic Street, 9th floor
Nashville, TN 37243-0860
(615) 741-2056

Aging Department
4900 North Lamar, 4th floor
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 424-6840

Aging and Adult Services
120 North 200 West
P.O. Box 45500
Salt Lake City, UT 84145-0500
(801) 538-3910

Aging and Disability Department
103 South Main Street
State Complex
Waterbury, VT 05676
(802) 241-2400

Aging Department
1600 Forest Avenue, #102
Richmond, VA 23219-2327
(804) 662-9333

Adult and Aging Services
P.O. Box 45050
Olympia, WA 98504-5050
(360) 586-8753

West Virginia Bureau of Senior Services
Holly Grove Building
1900 Kanawha Boulevard
Charleston, WV 25305-0160
(304) 558-3317

Aging and Long-Term Care Bureau
P.O. Box 7851
Madison, WI 53707
(608) 266-2536

Aging Division
117 Hathaway Building, Room 139
Cheyenne, WY 82002-0710
(307) 777-7986

Social Security

Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213
To get a Social Security estimate.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s Retirement Information Office
(202) 606-0400
For information about Social Security application forms and/or benefits packages

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management Employee Services and Records Center
Boyers, PA 16017
(202) 606-0500
If you are calling for answers to questions that do not directly involve your or your spouse’s employment history

Call your local Social Security office and ask for:

How Your Retirement Benefit Is Figured
(Publication 05- 10070)

Understanding Social Security
(Publication 05-10024)

The Appeals Process
(Publication 05-10141)

Retirement Benefits
(Publication 05-10035)

When You Get Social Security Resources or Survivor Benefits: What You Need to Know
(Publication 05-10077)

You can order publications from the American Association of Retired Persons by contacting:

AARP Fulfillment
601 E Street, NW
Washington, DC 20049
(800) 424-3410


The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
(202) 326-4000
A federal agency that protects employer-sponsored defined-benefit plans. The PBGC invites people to call their customer service representatives for assistance.

Pension Rights Center

Pension Plan Rights: Understanding and Safeguarding Your Retirement

Concerns about pension mismanagement are common, and it’s natural to want to ensure the safety of your retirement plan. Here’s a breakdown of your rights and steps to take:

  1. ERISA Overview:
    The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) establishes standards for private industry pension plans. Plan administrators are required to provide detailed information, including a Summary Plan Description (SPD), explaining key aspects of your pension.
  2. Key Documents:
    Your plan administrator must provide an SPD, a Summary Annual Report, and an individual benefit statement annually, free of charge. Any changes to the SPD should be communicated promptly. If you haven’t received these documents, request them in writing from your plan administrator.
  3. Termination Concerns:
    While pension plans are meant to continue indefinitely, employers can terminate them. If your plan is qualified, your accrued benefit must become fully vested upon termination. If your employer can’t cover all benefits, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) may provide protection.
  4. Mergers and Changes:
    If your employer merges with another company, retirement plans may merge as well. Your benefits should be at least equal to what you were entitled to before the merger. Stay informed by communicating with your plan administrator.
  5. Leaving Employment:
    If you leave a job with vested pension benefits, you should receive regular information. Keep the plan administrator updated on changes to ensure you receive your full pension benefit.
  6. Understanding Benefit Accrual:
    Pension benefits accrue based on your participation in the plan. Defined rules govern service credit calculations and benefit reductions, providing transparency.
  7. Accessing Benefits:
    The timing and options for receiving benefits depend on plan specifics. If in doubt, consult your plan administrator and review your summary plan description.
  8. Claim Denial and Appeals:
    Understand the procedures outlined in your plan for making benefit claims and appeals. If your claim is denied, the plan must provide written reasons, and you have the right to appeal.
  9. Legal Protections:
    Employers cannot interfere with benefits to avoid payment, and it’s illegal to discriminate against employees for pension-related reasons. Consult a lawyer if you suspect foul play.
  10. Additional Resources:
    The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and the Department of Labor are valuable resources. Request relevant publications and information to enhance your understanding of pension rights.

Remember, staying informed and actively communicating with your plan administrator are crucial steps in securing your pension benefits.

Regional Offices Pension & Welfare Benefits Administration

If you live in Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Puerto Rico, Mississippi, or Florida, contact:

PWBA Atlanta Regional Office
61 Forsyth Street
Suite 7854
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 562-2156


PWBA Fort Lauderdale
District Office
8040 Peters Road
Building H, Suite 104
Plantation, FL 33324
(954) 424-4022

If you live in Rhode Island, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, most of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and central or western New York, contact:

PWBA Boston Regional Office
J.F.K. Building, Room 575
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 565-9600

If you live in northern Illinois, northern Indiana, or Wisconsin, contact:

PWBA Chicago Regional Office
200 West Adams Street
Suite 1600
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 353-0900

If you live in Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, or southern Indiana, contact:

PWBA Cincinnati Regional Office
Suite 210, 1885 Dixie Highway
Ft. Wright, KY 41011
(606) 578-4680


PWBA Detroit District Office
Suite 1310, 211 Fort Street
Detroit, MI 48226-3211
(313) 226-7450

If you live in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas, contact:

PWBA Dallas Regional Office
Room 707,525 Griffin Street
Dallas, TX 75202-5025
(214) 767-6831

If you live in Colorado, southern Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, or Wyoming, contact:

PWBA Kansas City Regional Office
1100 Main Street
Suite 1200
Kansas City, MO 64105-2112
(816) 426-5131


PWBA St. Louis District Office
Room 338, 815 Olive Street
St. Louis, MO 63101-1559
(314) 539-2693

If you live in American Samoa, Arizona, Guam, Hawaii, or southern California, contact:

PWBA Los Angeles Regional Office
Suite 514, 790 East Colorado Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 583-7862

If you live in eastern New York, southern Connecticut, or northern New Jersey, contact:

PWBA New York Regional Office
U.S. Customs House
Room 625, 6 World Trade Center
New York, NY 10019
(212) 637-0600

If you live in Delaware, Washington, DC, Maryland, southern New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, or Pennsylvania, contact:

PWBA Philadelphia Regional Office
Room M300, Gateway Bldg.
3535 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
(215) 596-1134


PWBA Washington District Office
Suite 556, 1730 K Street, NW
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 254-7013

If you live in Alaska, northern California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, or Washington, contact:

PWBA San Francisco Regional Office
Suite 915, 71 Stevenson Street
P.O. Box 190250
San Francisco, CA 94119-0250
(415) 975-4600


PWBA Seattle District Office
Room 860, 1111 Third Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101-3212
(206) 553-4244

When Can I Retire?

Deciding on retirement hinges on two critical aspects: the emotional and financial dimensions. Emotionally, consider how you envision spending your time post-career, a nuanced decision that requires thoughtful reflection.

Now, onto the financial aspect. Given today’s extended life expectancy, contemplating retirement spanning 30 to 35 years prompts a crucial question: How long will your retirement income sustain you? Can it cover 35, 45, or even 50 years, considering potential longevity? Calculate this income, factoring in conservative estimates for interest from safe investments, capping projections at 6%, and ensuring no invasion of principal.

Regarding tax-deferred accounts, remember that withdrawals come with taxes, impacting the income available for you and your spouse. Consider contingencies, such as the impact of one partner’s demise on pensions and Social Security.

To determine your retirement readiness, calculate present and future living expenses, including potential new costs and a 3% annual inflation rate. Account for scenarios in the event of a partner’s passing. In essence, if the surviving partner has sufficient funds for present and future needs, it’s a joyous retirement. If not, continuing to work and save remains a prudent choice. Your financial well-being is key!

Playing Retirement Catch Up

Hit the limit on your retirement plans and eager to boost your savings? While many suggest annuities, I propose a different approach. Instead of paying a 5% commission on tax-deferred investments like annuities, consider no-load mutual funds focused on growth. Opt for a fund with minimal taxable capital gains distributions, allowing your money to grow tax-deferred for years. When you eventually sell, you’ll face lower capital gains taxes, a more favorable outcome than ordinary income tax on annuity withdrawals.

Moreover, leaving money in growth mutual funds or individual stocks benefits your heirs. They’ll only incur capital gains taxes upon liquidation, unlike the ordinary income tax associated with annuities.

In summary, unconventional as it may seem, my advice is to max out your 401K, especially if you’re 50 or older. Accelerate mortgage payments to eliminate that expense when you claim Social Security eligibility. If retirement is a decade away, start dollar cost averaging into growth-focused mutual funds or stocks. Rest assured, you’ll catch up.