Pakistan's biggest media house and the country's spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, have been embroiled in conflict recently. Geo TV alleged that ISI tried to kill the network's anchor, who was shot and badly injured in April. Now, government regulators have intervened, banning Geo for two weeks.
Six Americans have been detained in Honduras for the last month, jailed on suspicion of smuggling arms. The Americans claim the guns they carried were for personal protection against pirates as they cleared logs to give locals better access to fishing sites.
Some highlights on the May unemployment report:
"[It's] exactly the same as it has been for the past couple of months... it's not spectacular, we're getting better... no surprises."
Jo Ling Kent
"This may be when the Feds starts to think more aggressively about raising those rates eventually... it's interesting... Manufacturing jobs. Good."
Kent on the ECB and negative interest rates:
"This could be an opportunity for small and medium businesses in Europe, pushing money into their hands... could be good for US companies like Boening and big companies like that..."
There’s an anecdote Mary Beth Franklin likes to tell about the office of the Social Security Administration having a dartboard with her face on it.
Franklin, an author and contributing editor at Investment News, has spent years exposing helpful secrets about how people can maximize their Social Security dollars. She says that’s information you likely won’t get if you give your local SSA office a jingle – at least, not without the run around – and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to understand the right moves to make concerning Social Security. Even the estimate of benefits statements that used arrive in the mail every year were cut from the SSA’s budget in 2011.
And so, Marketplace Money and Mary Beth Franklin have come together to present to you the unofficially unofficial Franklin Guide to Scheming a Stellar Social Security Strategy in 6 Easy Steps.
No, really, they’re pretty easy.
Step 1: Recognize that Social Security isn’t what it used to be (read: simple).
“You retired at 62. You took your Social Security benefits. End of story,” says Franklin. “But that was in the days when people actually quit work at 62. They might’ve had a pension and they probably weren’t going to live 30 years in retirement like a lot of today’s retirees will.”
Step 2: Commit to making a Social Security strategy.
Franklin says, “Now in an era of disappearing pensions, [and] record low interest rates where you’re getting diddly squat on your CDs at the bank, you really need to make the decision of how and when to claim Social Security in a way that’s going to benefit you. And what will surprise most people is your decision… could mean the difference of thousands of dollars a year on your benefit. And for a married couple, we are talking the difference of more than $100,000 over their joint lifetime. That’s real money.”
Step 3: Know the basics rules of claiming Social Security.
“Anybody can claim a Social Security retirement benefit as early as age 62, but their benefit will be permanently reduced for the rest of their lives,” explains Franklin. “ If your normal retirement age is 66 and you take it at 62, you get a permanent 25% hair cut. If your full retirement age is 67 and you take it at 62, you get a 30% hair cut. This is a big deal considering Social Security for most Americans going forward is going to be the only source of guaranteed, cost-of-living adjusted retirement income they’ll ever see.” To determine your normal retirement age (also known as full retirement age), use this simple tool found at www.ssa.gov.
Step 4: Understand that playing the waiting game isn’t for everyone.
Holding out on claiming Social Security to increase benefits generally works, according to Franklin. However, “the idea of delaying a SS benefit until it’s worth more later is a little bit like the lottery: You must be present to win. If you’re in a state of health where you may not make it to the average life expectancy, which is closer to 80 or beyond for most people, don’t delay. It’s not going to be in your best interest. But if you’re relatively healthy you can expect to live a long and delaying your benefit until it’s worth more later is really smart.”
Step 5: Remember there are huge benefits of waiting to claim, if you can afford to.
“For every year you postpone collecting your Social Security benefit beyond your full retirement age up until age 70, you get an extra 8 percent per year,” says Franklin. “That means if you wait til 70, you’re going to get a 32 percent bump in your Social Security benefit and that means you’ll have a larger benefit going forward, and each year when you get an annual cost of living adjustment, it’s going to be that much bigger.”
Step 6: Don’t worry too much if you pick the wrong strategy.
There are a couple of options should you need a “do-over,” says Franklin. “If you are in 12 months of first claiming Social Security benefits, you can change your mind, say ‘Nevermind I am going to withdraw my application for Social Security benefits,’ but you have to pay back everything you’ve received. But if you missed your 12 month window, you may be out of luck. People also don’t realize that once they’ve reached their full retirement age (66), you can voluntarily suspend your benefit. Now that means you wouldn’t get any benefit temporarily, but if you suspend your benefits, you earn those 8 percent per year delayed retirement credits between 66 and 70.”
Click the audio player above for more on successfully strategizing your personal Social Security plan of attack, including information on how to factor in medical expenses and what young people should think about long before retirement age. And if you’ve got your Social Security strategy all figured out, tell us how you did it. Leave a comment below or tweet us @LiveMoney.
The state had been the only one to have its voter-approved same-sex prohibition go unchallenged in the courts. On Friday, seven couples filed suit to change that.
For smokers hoping to quit, text messages with tips and reminders may be just as effective as phone counseling, a study finds. Texts doubled the success rate compared with people who didn't text.
The agency has probably been on Twitter before, but its first public tweet was cloaked in tongue-in-cheek humor.
The humble tip jar is getting an upgrade. Gone are the days when you could just slip in a dollar or two without the cashier noticing how much you think their job is worth.
Instead, welcome to the brave new world of electronic tipping, where life is more complicated, interactions are awkward and the pressure is high. Electronic tipping is now sweeping into coffee shops, bars, bakeries and delis across the country as mobile payment apps grow in popularity.
San Francisco-based reporter Rachel Levin recently wrote about the interaction between technology and tipping for Pacific Standard magazine.
"Maybe there's a tip jar next to the counter but increasingly you're seeing an iPad swivel towards you prompting your finger to press either 15 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent or sometimes, in cautionary bright yellow: 'No Tip'," she says, "which no one wants to press because you'll feel like a jerk."
Jerkiness aside, consumers are being asked to tip more and more frequently these days and not everyone is happy about it.
"People like baristas and bakers and sandwich makers are seeing an upside. They're getting more tips, which is great for them, but from the customer's perspective it's creating a stressful awkward moment up there at the counter."
Even as mobile payment systems like Square, Shopkeep and Revel are growing in popularity, some companies are bucking the trend and eliminating the need for the snap-judgement tip.
"People are silently appreciating the technology where it's used by, say, Uber taxi where you don't have to pay a tip. Tip is included, 20 percent automatically deducted from your account," Levin says.
"So you hop out of the Uber taxi without doing any mental math or figure out how much change to ask for and you just go on your way and say thank you."
But the 'automatic tip' scenario comes with its own set of problems since conventional wisdom is that tipping is supposed to be used as a reward for good service.
But Levin says that's not always the case.
"It turns out that our motivations for tipping are not for rewarding service necessarily," she says. "Economist Michael Lynn at Cornell says it's to win the approval of the server. So now when that server is standing before you, that creates the pressure for you to bestow a bigger tip."
The unemployment rate didn't budge from its 6.3 percent mark in May, and employers added fewer jobs than economists expected.
Employers created a substantial number of new jobs for the fourth straight month and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.3 percent, the lowest rate in more than five years.
Those two sentences don't seem to be in complete agreement, and yet their conclusions were drawn from the same data. The government and business numbers that are reported every day, and especially the monthly jobs report from the U.S. Labor Department, all depend on context; the reaction to them is in the eye of the beholder.
Try our jobs number headline generator above and you can see what we mean. Pick whether you think the jobs report is happy, sad or mixed... and it'll spits out a headline to match you're thinking.
After Bernard Jordan's nursing home in Sussex couldn't sign him up for an organized trip, the 89-year-old put on his medals and headed out on his own. The nursing home reported him missing.