News & Articles

Three Reasons for those hefty college tuition bills
Economic View
By N. Gregory Mankiw - Dec. 18, 2015

What should we do about the high cost of higher education? As we pick the next president, that question should feature prominently in the public debate. The economic prosperity of our children and grandchildren hinges on finding the right answer.

Today’s economy leaves little doubt about the value of college. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 the median worker with a bachelor’s degree (and no advanced degree) earned $69,260, compared with $34,540 for the median worker with only a high school diploma. Over a lifetime, that difference accumulates to about $1.5 million.

Increasing educational attainment is also the best way to combat growing income inequality. Over the last 40 years, the wages of skilled workers have increased substantially compared with the wages of the unskilled. Most economists agree that a leading cause is skill-biased technological change — the tendency of new technologies to increase the relative demand for skilled workers. College is the main institution that can offset this trend by turning unskilled individuals into skilled ones.


Medicare Premiums Could Spike
Congress softens the blow, but millions of beneficiaries still face paying more for Part B coverage next year
By Patricia Barry, AARP Bulletin, November 2015

Congress and the White House have acted to reduce an unprecedented hike in standard Medicare Part B premiums for millions of Medicare beneficiaries next year. One in 7 beneficiaries were facing a 52 percent increase in premiums, to $159.30 in 2016 — by far the largest jump in Medicare's history. But a bipartisan deal on the federal budget, signed by President Obama on Nov. 2, has resulted in the premiums for those people being set at $121.80 a month.

While the vast majority of beneficiaries will pay the same Part B premium in 2016 as this year — $104.90 a month — certain groups of people will pay the higher amount, due to an obscure part of the Medicare law that ties the cost of living allowance (COLA) in Social Security benefits to Part B premiums.


Retirement Rewrite
An Honest Look at the Once Golden Nest Egg

Retirement. It’s your story to write. For some, it’s a tale of travel and leisure. For others, it’s an opportunity to volunteer, take up a hobby or pursue new interests. For still others, it might mean dialing down the daily grind or embarking on a less strenuous career path.

The individual narratives will vary, but universally, retirement is a time of transition. It universally requires money. And ensuring the necessary funds are available for the duration of those retired years is almost universally wrought with anxiety.