As founder and president of Mantell Retirement Consulting Inc. Marcia Mantell assists consultants in business development, marketing, education and communication.
Mantell is the author of “What’s the Deal with Women’s Retirement Planning?” She also writes a regular column for ThinkAdvisor, Connecting the Dots, responding to real-world questions from clients about Social Security and retirement, and also has her own blog, Boomer Retirement Briefs.
In an email, Mantell responded to 10 questions about her professional and personal thoughts.
1. Which market indicator, industry stats, regulatory changes, or advisor trends are you following the most and why?
What your peers are reading
In general, I look at both consumer confidence (Conference Board) and various Small Business Trends (NFIB Research Center). These give me a broad picture of what’s going on in the hearts and minds of consumers and communities.
Every Q3, I also wait for Social Security’s COLA announcement and the associated Medicare Part B premium increase. I look first at the implications for current retirees. Then I can help pre-retired people better prepare for the high costs of health care after retirement. The more people can learn before age 65, the less shocked they are.
2. How has this statistic/indicator changed recently (2021) and how do you expect it to change (2022)?
Frankly, I was surprised at how much the standard Part B premium rose, from $148.50 in 2021 to $170.10 for 2022. That’s a 15% increase in 2021 and a further $21.60 cut in Social Security checks. of retirees. Fortunately, with COLA strong at 5.9%, most retirees should still see a significant increase in their benefits overall.
But healthcare is very expensive. It’s getting harder for many to manage — whether it’s already in Medicare or employer-sponsored plans or the ACA Marketplace plans.
3. What would you advise advisors to do now or in the future?
Assuming that health care costs will only continue to rise in the future, it is critical for people to plan for hefty increases. Consultants can provide important information about rising costs in their environment. And they can strongly encourage customers to use Medicare.gov to monitor their own personal costs.
Customers can (and should) enter their own prescription drugs and get real costs. In addition, customers can shop for Medigap plans or Medicare Advantage plans and get ahead of the Medicare sticker shock that comes at age 65.
4. Who or what key source of information do you follow or follow online to keep up with these or other trends?
Medicare.gov’s “Find Plans” tool is probably my favorite tool. It is updated every October so you can see the following year’s expenses and adjust your retirement income.
I follow the CMS press releases for Medicare premium announcements. I signed up for the Social Security newsletter where they announce annual COLAs.
Another go-to resource for me on a lot of economic data is Bureau of Labor Statistics. And for retirement confidence, it’s always EBRI’s Retirement Confidence Survey. They’ve been publishing it for about 30 years – as long as I’m in the pension industry!
5. Are you changing your work habits at this stage of the pandemic? Why why not?