9 things to know about Social Security as it turns 80

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#AceNewsReport – NEW YORK: Aug.14: The program was signed into law by FDR 80 years ago Friday. At the time, most people had lost any savings they had during the Great Depression, leaving them with little for retirement. Some companies provided pensions, but they were a rare benefit.

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The program was largely uncontroversial, said Eric Yellin, a history professor at the University of Richmond. It sailed through Congress and was hugely popular all the way into the 1970s, he said.

Things have changed. Now, Social Security is more of a political punching bag. As the presidential election heats up, reforming the program will undoubtedly be a hot topic.

Here’s what you should know to keep up with the conversation.

1. The average retiree gets 12 more years of S.S. benefits than she did in 1940. It’s not just because we’re living longer, but we’re also retiring early, said Gene Steuerle, an expert at the Urban Institute.

2. Current average retiree age: 64

Average retiree age in 1950: 68 That’s because in 1959, Congress created the “early retirement age.” In exchange for reduced benefits, you can retire as early as 62.

3. So what is the retirement age? You have to be at least 66 years old to retire today and get your full benefit. The age is already going up. If you’re 55 or younger today, you’ll have to wait until you’re 67. The Social Security website can help you figure it out.

4. There are fewer than 3 workers for every retiree. In 1960, there were 5 workers paying into the system for every person collecting benefits. It dropped to 3 workers in 2009, according to the Social Security Administration. And now it’s even less. Thank the Baby Boomers and the Great Recession.

5. 60 million retirees get social security checks.

In 1940, the first year benefits were paid, just 220,000 Americans were signed up. Since then the program has expanded to give benefits to spouses, widows and widowers.

6. S.S. never had a huge trust fund. And it was never “raided,” Steuerle said, as many people believe. It’s a pay-as-you-go system, so today’s workers are paying for today’s retirees.

7. But it will still be around for Millennials. While most 20-somethings don’t think they’ll be getting anything when they retire, that’s probably not true.

Even if Congress doesn’t reform the system at all, Social Security will be able to pay full benefits through 2034, and then three-quarters of scheduled benefits through 2089.

8. The tax rate was lower in 1940. S.S. has always been funded by the payroll tax, but back then it was only 2% and was split between you and your employer. You weren’t taxed on any wages above $3,000 ($48,700 in 2015 dollars). Now it’s a combined 12.4% on wages up to $118,500.

9. Today’s average monthly S.S. check is $1,221 and one in three people depend on it to cover 90% of their expenses.

Your benefit is not based on what you’ve paid in. Instead, it’s based on your lifetime earnings.

Original Article: http://wtvr.com/2015/08/14/social-security/

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China’s currency crash is nothing compared to this

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The U.S. dollar has had a breathtaking rally in the last 12 months. China’s recent yuan devaluation is a blip compared to euro, yen and ruble’s fall.

Original Article: http://rss.cnn.com/c/35493/f/676943/s/48fe694e/sc/24/l/0Lmoney0Bcnn0N0Cinfographic0Ceconomy0Cchina0Eyuan0Edevaluation0Eis0Enothing0Ecompared0Eto0Edramatic0Elosses0Ein0Eeuro0Eyen0Eand0Eruble0C0Dsection0Fmoney0Itopstories/story01.htm

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Are Automakers About To Hit The Panic Button?

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#AceFinanceNews – Aug.14: There is a major problem brewing the US Auto industry… and therefore the US economy.

Automakers just unleashed a massive production surge to keep the dream alive…

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With inventories at record highs (having risen for 61 straight months)…

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Which would be fine if sales were keeping up – but they are not…

And now the subprime auto loan market is set to collapse…

And here’s why stock markets should care…

To sum up…

The only way automakers are making sales is by lowering credit standards to truly mind-numbing levels…. that cannot last.

China’s economic collapse has crushed forecasts for the automakers.

Inventories are already at record highs.

And July saw a massive surge in producton.

What comes next is simple… a production slump – just ask The Atlanta Fed.

Original Article: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-08-14/are-automakers-about-hit-panic-button

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CURRENCY: Yuan opens firmer, spot market hugs guidance rate

#AceCurrencyNews – SHANGHAI (Reuters):Aug.14: China’s yuan firmed at open on Friday, after the central bank said on Thursday there was no reason for the yuan to fall further given the country’s strong economic fundamentals.

The People’s Bank of China set the midpoint rate at 6.3975 per dollar prior to market open, firmer than the previous day close 6.399.

The spot market opened at 6.3990 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.3980 in the morning, -10 pips away from the previous close and 0.01 percent away from the midpoint. The spot rate is currently allowed to trade with a range 2 percent above or below the official fixing on any given day.

The offshore yuan was trading -0.82 percent away from the onshore spot at 6.451 per dollar.

(Reporting by Pete Sweeney; Editing by Kazunori Takada)

Yuan opens firmer, spot market hugs guidance rate

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MARKETS: Asia shares set to end week lower; crude oil slumps

#AceMarketsNew TOKYO/SINGAPORE (Reuters):Aug.14: Asian shares were mostly higher on Friday, but still on track for a steep weekly loss in the wake of China’s surprise currency devaluation earlier in the week.

Crude oil futures remained under pressure, plunging to 6-1/2-year lows after data revealed a big rise in U.S. stockpiles, fuelling fears of a growing global glut.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.06 percent, poised to end the week down 2.6 percent.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index fell 0.1 percent, and was down about 0.8 percent for the week.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) set its midpoint yuan rate at 6.3975 per dollar prior to the market’s open, firmer than the previous day’s close of 6.3990. The spot market opened at 6.3990 per dollar and was changing hands at 6.3996 in the morning.

The Chinese central bank set its rate nearly 2 percent lower on Tuesday, a move it said was aimed at making its foreign exchange system more responsive to market forces.

“While assuring a more market-based formation of the daily fixing, the Chinese authorities might have to choose between two possible scenarios,” Citi analyst Minggao Shen wrote in a note. “Limited RMB weakness in coming months with calculated interventions or tolerating more depreciation by intervening less. The spot market movement since late yesterday suggests the former is more likely.”

The PBOC reassured investors on Thursday, saying there was no reason for the yuan to fall further given the country’s strong economic fundamentals, helping to calm investors who pared holdings of risk assets for fear of a currency war.

The dollar was steady against its Japanese counterpart at 124.42, off its two-month high of 125.28 hit on Tuesday. The euro was little changed at $1.1144, having gained 1.6 percent this week.

The dollar came under pressure this week as the market instability caused by China’s devaluation curbed expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s long-awaited interest rate increase would come as early as in its Sept. 16-17 meeting.

But strong U.S. retail sales data on Thursday provided evidence in support of views that the Fed is on track to hike.

U.S. retail sales rose in July and were revised up for June, while the trend of weekly jobless claims pointed to a tightening job market.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures extended sharp losses that pushed oil prices to levels not seen since early 2009, when the financial crisis was wreaking havoc on markets.

U.S. crude settled down 3 percent at a new 6-1/2-year low as a big rise in U.S. stockpiles intensified worries over a growing global glut.

U.S. crude oil was down 0.4 percent at $42.07 a barrel in early Asia trade, while Brent rose 0.06 percent to $49.25, after earlier falling to a low of $49.11, ahead of Friday’s expiry of its front-month contract.

(Editing by Richard Pullin and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Asia shares set to end week lower; crude oil slumps

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