Press Articles

Wall Street Journal

Our review of several Social Security tools last fall singled out . . . Maximize My Social Security for its flexibility.

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New York Times

FOR many retirees, Social Security benefits are seen as hot money on the table, to be devoured as soon as possible. But as with preparing and savoring a fine meal, a careful approach and delayed gratification may yield the highest rewards from the program.

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Chris Farrell, Bloomberg Business Week

As more people work part-time rather than hit the greens, the formula for how much they need to live on is changing. Their tax rate may not fall, and expenses may be higher than planned

Mention the word "retirement," and most people shudder. The term seems synonymous these days with the phrase, "you can't afford it."

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Chris Farrell, Kiplinger

There are tantalizing early-generation glimpses at what will become routine down the road. The three-decade-old investment firm Dimensional, built on cutting-edge academic finance theories on markets and investing, launched Dimensional Managed DC this year. It will design portfolios for employees to provide them with an inflation-protected income stream for life, after they answer a series of questions about their income and retirement goals. ESPlanner has developed a program that combines TIPS and equity index funds to put a floor on retiree living standards.

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Donna Rosato, CNN Money

"Other programs ask you to put in your own retirement income target," explains Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, who developed the software. "We find the spending target for you." The goal: to help you smooth your living standard over your lifetime.

ESPlannerPLUS requires you to answer significantly more questions than T. Rowe's calculator, but you'll get "the most accurate projections of any planning product I've seen," says Rick Miller, a financial planner in Waltham, Mass. Indeed, many financial pros use a version of the software themselves.

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Robert Powell, CBS Marketwatch

People often claim their benefits at the earliest age possible — 62. But experts say it’s best to wait until one’s full retirement age, or even age 70, which is when one is eligible for the largest monthly benefit possible. According to many experts, Social Security beneficiaries often leave a lot of money on the table by claiming early. It’s prudent, therefore, to run the numbers to determine the best age to claim.

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TARA SIEGEL BERNARD, The New York Times

When you want to start collecting Social Security isn’t necessarily when you should begin to collect Social Security. Another new calculator, called MaximizeMySocialSecurity, helps you compare those two options.

This tool, which costs $40 a year, was developed by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, an economics professor at Boston University, who also created the more comprehensive ESPlanner financial planning software.

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Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes Contributor

Financial planners, with a handful of exceptions, completely ignore the economics approach to financial planning. Instead they do targeted-liability planning. They ignore the economics approach for one reason. It doesn’t make them as much money. Here’s why.

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Scott Burns, Asset Builder

BOSTON. Would you be interested if I said there was a way to increase the value of your Social Security benefits by 15 or 20 percent?

Then listen up.

You’ve always known the decision about when, and how, to take Social Security benefits isn’t easy. But Larry Kotlikoff can tell you just how complicated it is. If his name looks familiar, it should be. The Boston University economics professor is often mentioned in my columns because I like his research and we’ve written three books together.

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Wade D. Pfau, Ph.D., CFA, About.com

ESPlanner is based on underlying principles of academic economics. It is based on lifecycle finance, which involves maximization of lifetime expected utility. However, very cleverly, Kotlikoff built the software to simplify a few steps away from formal utility maximization. . . . What Kotlikoff does instead is allow users to specify whether they wish to make spending plans based on the assumption that they will earn the expected return from their investment portfolio, half of the expected return, a real return of zero, or an upside approach which assumes that the value of all stock holdings will go to zero, but will then add upside spending later as stocks are converted to TIPS. That last one was inspired from talking with Zvi Bodie. This is an alternative way of allowing users to estimate their own attitudes toward risk.

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Dana Anspach, About.com Guide

The idea behind consumption smoothing is that we all want to maintain our standard of living throughout our life. Meaning we don’t want to go through a period of time of being poor, then rich, then poor again. Nor do we want to get gradually poorer as we retire.

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