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About Laurence J. Kotlikoff
From 1977 through 1983 he served on the faculties of economics of the University of California, Los Angeles and Yale University. In 1981-82 Professor Kotlikoff was a Senior Economist with the President's Council of Economic Advisers.
Professor Kotlikoff is author or co-author of14 books and hundreds of professional journal articles. His most recent books are Jimmy Stewart Is Dead (forthcoming February 22, 2010, John Wiley and Sons, Spend 'Til the End, co-authored with Scott Burns, Simon & Schuster, The Healthcare Fix (MIT Press), and The Coming Generational Storm (co-authored with Scott Burns, MIT Press).
Professor Kotlikoff publishes extensively in newspapers, and magazines on issues of financial reform, personal finance, taxes, Social Security, healthcare, deficits, generational accounting, pensions, saving, and insurance.
Professor Kotlikoff has served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Harvard Institute for International Development, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Swedish Ministry of Finance, the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Italy, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Government of Russia, the Government of Ukraine, the Government of Bolivia, the Government of Bulgaria, the Treasury of New Zealand, the Office of Management and Budget, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Labor, the Joint Committee on Taxation, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, The American Council of Life Insurance, Merrill Lynch, Fidelity Investments, AT&T, AON Corp., and other major U.S. corporations.
He has provided expert testimony on numerous occasions to committees of Congress including the Senate Finance Committee, the House Ways and Means Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee.
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Get What’s Yours has proven itself to be the definitive book about how to navigate the forbidding maze of Social Security and emerge with the highest possible benefits. It is an engaging manual of tactics and strategies written by well-known financial commentators that is unobtainable elsewhere. You could try reading all 2,728 rules of the Social Security system (and the thousands of explanations of these rules), but academia’s Kotlikoff, the popular press’s Moeller, and public television’s Solman explain the Social Security system just as comprehensively, and a lot more comprehensibly. Moreover, they demonstrate that what you don’t know can seriously hurt you: wrong decisions about which Social Security benefits to apply for cost individual retirees tens of thousands of dollars in lost income every year. (Some of those people are even in the book.)
Changes to Social Security that take effect in 2016 make it more important than ever to wait as long as possible (until age 70, if possible) to claim Social Security benefits. The new law also has significant implications for those who wish to claim divorced spousal benefits (and how many Social Security recipients even know about divorced spousal benefits?). Besides addressing these and other issues, this revised edition contains a chapter explaining how Medicare rules can shape Social Security decisions.
Many other personal-finance books briefly address Social Security, but none offers the full, authoritative, yet conversational analysis of Get What’s Yours.
Get What’s Yours explains Social Security benefits through basic strategies and stirring stories. It covers the most frequent benefit scenarios faced by married retired couples; by divorced retirees; by widows and widowers. It explains what to do if you’re a retired parent of dependent children; disabled; an eligible beneficiary who continues to work. It addresses the tax consequences of your choices, as well as the financial implications for other investments. It does all this and more.
There are more than 52 million Americans aged 54 to 69. Ten thousand of them reach Social Security’s full retirement age of 66 every day. For all these people—and for their families and friends—Get What’s Yours has proven to be an invaluable, and therefore indispensable, tool.
If this sounds like a revolution in financial planning, you got it. So do The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Time, Consumer Reports, and other top publications that have been featuring the authors' economics-based "consumption smoothing" approach to financial planning.
Spend 'Til the End substitutes economic wisdom for the "rules of dumb" that currently pass for financial advice. In the process it indicts the investment and financial-planning industry for giving most people saving and insurance targets that are much too high and then convincing them to invest in risky mutual funds and expensive insurance policies. The result is that most people are scrimping and saving during the years when they could be spending and enjoying their money -- and with no sure payoff.
Easy to read, this book is packed with practical and often shocking advice on whether to work, how to pick a career, which job to take, where to live, what sort of house to buy, how much to save, when to retire, which kind of retirement account to use, whether to have kids, whether to divorce, when to take Social Security, how fast to spend down your assets in retirement, and how to invest.
Every financial decision we make about our education, careers, jobs, lifestyles, marriages, retirement ages, Social Security, taxes, or investments affects our living standard – the income we get to spend and enjoy over our lifetimes. Yet, most of us make these decisions with no clear idea about their living‑standard impact. We typically rely on crude rules of thumb or take questionable advice from friends and family, media gurus, self‑described experts, and advisers who are frequently little more than self‑interested salespeople. We end up losing boatloads of money, feeling unhappy, and putting ourselves at risk. This book puts an end to that vicious cycle.
Money Magic provides readers of all ages and income levels with a clear framework for making financial decisions that will enhance their living standards, lifestyles, or both. It examines universal money questions, including whether to switch jobs, where to live, how much house to buy, how to divorce, when to retire, when to take Social Security benefits, when to tap 401(k) accounts, whether to pre‑pay mortgages, whether to downsize, whether to annuitize, whether to do a Roth conversion, and how to invest.
Drawing on the hard‑nosed science of economics, years of research, and modern technological tools, Money Magic offers flexible, practical advice to help readers make costless financial moves that will leave them far richer, happier and safer than they might have dreamed.
In 2030, as 77 million baby boomers hobble into old age, walkers will outnumber strollers; there will be twice as many retirees as there are today but only 18 percent more workers. How will America handle this demographic overload? How will Social Security and Medicare function with fewer working taxpayers to support these programs? According to Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns, if our government continues on the course it has set, we'll see skyrocketing tax rates, drastically lower retirement and health benefits, high inflation, a rapidly depreciating dollar, unemployment, and political instability. The government has lost its compass, say Kotlikoff and Burns, and the current administration is heading straight into the coming generational storm.
But don't panic. To solve a problem you must first understand it. Kotlikoff and Burns take us on a guided tour of our generational imbalance, first introducing us to the baby boomers—their long retirement years and "the protracted delay in their departure to the next world." Then there's the "fiscal child abuse" that will double the taxes paid by the next generation. There's also the "deficit delusion" of the under-reported national debt. And none of this, they say, will be solved by any of the popularly touted remedies: cutting taxes, technological progress, immigration, foreign investment, or the elimination of wasteful government spending.
So how can the United States avoid this demographic/fiscal collision? Kotlikoff and Burns propose bold new policies, including meaningful reforms of Social Security, and Medicare. Their proposals are simple, straightforward, and geared to attract support from both political parties. But just in case politicians won't take the political risk to chart a new direction, Kotlikoff and Burns also offer a "life jacket"—guidelines for individuals to protect their financial health and retirement.
This paperback edition of The Coming Generational Storm has been revised and updated and includes a new foreword by the authors.
This is not your father's financial system. Jimmy Stewart, the trustworthy, honest banker in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, is dead. And so is his small-town bank, Bailey Savings & Loan. Instead, we're watching It's a Horrible Mess with Wall Street (aka the Vegas Strip) playing ever larger craps with our economy and our tax dollars.
This book, written by one of the world's most respected economist, describes in lively, humorous, simple, but also deadly serious terms the big con underlying the big game?the web of interconnected financial, political, and regulatory malfeasance that culminated in financial meltdown and brought us to our economic knees. But it also proposes an amazingly simply solution?Limited Purpose Banking to make Wall Street safe for Main Street.
- This book, as well as the financial fix described within it, have received rave reviews from a veritable who's who of policymakers and economics, plus five economics Nobel Laureates
- Written by a leading economist whose insights on this topic are unparalleled
- Outlines the first and only proposal to fundamentally fix our financial disaster for good
Jimmy Stewart Is Dead will fundamentally change the way you think about the economy, financial markets, and the government.
The shocking statistic is that forty-seven million Americans have no health insurance. When uninsured Americans go to the emergency room for treatment, however, they do receive care, and a bill. Many hospitals now require uninsured patients to put their treatment on a credit card which can saddle a low-income household with unpayably high balances that can lead to personal bankruptcy. Why don't these people just buy health insurance? Because the cost of coverage that doesn't come through an employer is more than many low- and middle-income households make in a year. Meanwhile, rising healthcare costs for employees are driving many businesses under. As for government-supplied health care, ever higher costs and added benefits (for example, Part D, Medicare's new prescription drug coverage) make both Medicare and Medicaid impossible to sustain fiscally; benefits grow faster than the national per-capita income. It's obvious the system is broken. What can we do?
In The Healthcare Fix, economist Laurence Kotlikoff proposes a simple, straightforward approach to the problem that would create one system that works for everyone and secure America's fiscal and economic future. Kotlikoff's proposed Medical Security System is not the "socialized medicine" so feared by Republicans and libertarians; it's a plan for universal health insurance. Because everyone would be insured, it's also a plan for universal healthcare. Participants—including all who are currently uninsured, all Medicaid and Medicare recipients, and all with private or employer-supplied insurance—would receive annual vouchers for health insurance, the amount of which would be based on their current medical condition. Insurance companies would willingly accept people with health problems because their vouchers would be higher. And the government could control costs by establishing the values of the vouchers so that benefit growth no longer outstrips growth of the nation's per capita income. It's a "single-payer" plan, but a single payer for insurance. The American healthcare industry would remain competitive, innovative, strong, and private.
Kotlikoff's plan is strong medicine for America's healthcare crisis, but brilliant in its simplicity. Its provisions can fit on a postcard and Kotlikoff provides one, ready to be copied and mailed to your representative in Congress.
The Vickers Commission was meant to put a stop to this by safeguarding ordinary retail banks from the gambling of investment banks. Laurence J. Kotlikoff shows that the Vickers proposals fail to do this. Even banks deemed ‘good’ can turn bad, since no one can predict which ‘safe’ assets will actually be safe in the future. Moreover, ‘bad’ banks are still left too big and too powerful. If they fail, they will drag ordinary banks down with them, freezing the payment system and creating a recession in the wider economy.
Kotlikoff’s alternative, Limited Purpose Banking (LPB), replaces the current system of ‘trust-me’ banking with the more transparent ‘show-me’ banking. LPB bans banks from holding anything except mutual funds. Mutual funds hold no debt, so they cannot individually, or systemically, fail. The payment system would use on-demand deposits that are backed pound-for-pound by actual cash.
Bankers would not be allowed to lend out their customers’ money without explicit permission and full disclosure of the risks. Large private losses could still take place within the financial system but without endangering the rest of the economy or burdening taxpayers. In short, Kotlikoff’s proposal stops bankers from being able to gamble with other people’s money.