2020 Social Security Changes You Should Be Concerned About

Every day, thousands of baby boomers are reaching their retirement age. A report revealed the U.S. population age 65 or older has increased by at least 50 million people in the last ten years.1 With the growth of the retirement population, it has forced the government to redefine Social Security. Here are the major changes coming to the program in 2020:2

  1. Beneficiaries will receive a “raise.” The cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2020 will increase benefits by 1.6%, which is about an additional $24 for the average retired worker and nearly $20 for the average disabled worker per month.
  2. Full retirement age will increase. Those who turn 62 in 2020 will still be eligible to claim reduced Social Security benefits; however, they’ll have to wait until age 66 and 8 months to claim their full retirement age benefit amount. And for those born in 1960 or later, the full retirement age increases to age 67.
  3. More benefits will be taxed. The Social Security wage base will be increased to $137,700 from $132,900 (a 3.6% increase). This means if you make more than $137,700 in both 2019 and 2020, then your Social Security payroll tax will rise to bring it to a maximum of $8,537.40 withheld.

Social Security plays an important part in many Americans’ retirement income. It’s best to be prepared and understand how any changes will affect your retirement strategy. Got questions? Contact us at 651.414.0016 for Woodbury Office or 715.808.8981 for Hudson Office. We’ll help you navigate through the changes to optimize your benefits.

Roasted Garlic Soup with Potatoes, Shallots, and Herbs

Garlic has always been in a supportive role and never the star. Here’s a hearty and aromatic soup where garlic has the chance to shine. Embrace autumn with this delicious and well-balanced recipe.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large heads hard-neck garlic (12–15 cloves each), divided
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 sea salt, divided, plus more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon white wine
  • 4-5 cups rich broth (chicken or vegetable)
  • 4 sprigs each fresh thyme and parsley, tied with twine
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Trim root end off one head of garlic. Set cloves, trimmed side down, in a small, oven-proof ramekin. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Cover with foil, set on a rimmed baking sheet, and slide into oven. Roast garlic about 15 minutes, or until garlic is soft, but not at all brown. Once garlic is done, carefully remove foil and set aside to cool. When cool enough to handle, slide cloves out of their skins and reserve.
  3. Trim, smash, and peel remaining head of garlic. In a heavy bottomed 2- or 3-quart pot, put 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add cloves to pot, along with the sliced shallots, a generous pinch of sea salt, chili flakes, and several twists black pepper. Sauté 2-3 minutes, then turn heat to low and cover; cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove cover, up heat to medium, and sauté until shallot and garlic brown just a bit on the edges. Add white wine, scrape up any brown bits, then pour in 3 cups stock and add potatoes, reserved roasted garlic and olive oil, and tied herbs, along with a 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil, and then turn heat down to a bubbling simmer. Cook until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove tied herbs and carefully puree soup in a blender. Return soup to pot, adding up to 1-2 more cups of broth, depending on your preferred texture. Add sea salt to taste, add a splash more white wine if needed, lots and lots of black pepper, and serve topped with minced thyme and parsley leaves.
  7. The flavor will develop further after a day in the fridge. The soup reheats beautifully but does tend to thicken – keep a 1/2 cup of stock (water will work, too) on hand to thin soup if needed.

Recipe adapted from Brooklyn Supper3

Going Against the Wind

In the fall, it can get windy. For those days or on a course with firm greens, hitting your approach shot high can set yourself up for a missed green. With a few quick changes to your normal swing, you can start hitting the ball lower, rolling it onto the green for a safe and effective shot when you’re playing in windy or firm conditions. Follow the steps below the next time you’re on the range to get your ball flying lower.

  1. Golf ball at the ready, set up in your regular golf stance.
  2. Now, club up 1-2 clubs and put the ball back in your stance slightly. (You’ll need to do some trial-and-error to find the correct distance for each iron.)
  3. As you swing, shorten your backswing so you’re hitting with 75% power, and try not to move your wrists as much.
  4. Lastly, as you rotate through contact, be sure to have your body move away from the target, to create a shallower angle of attack.
  5. Continue to practice this three-quarter shot until you’re comfortable using it on the course the next time the conditions call for it!

Tips adapted from Golf Digest4

Test Your Smoke Alarms, Save Lives

Ever wake up in the middle of the night because of that repetitive annoying beep? Well, that’s the sound of your smoke detector running low on batteries. Three out of five home fire deaths result from fires in homes without working smoke alarms.

Don’t wait until the batteries run low. Take a few minutes to ensure your alarms will sound in an emergency with these tips:

  • Verify that smoke alarms are installed in every room on every floor
  • Make sure that all smoke detectors communicate with each other so that if one alarm sounds, they all will
  • Check or change the batteries at least twice a year
  • Test smoke alarms monthly

Once you’ve tested out your alarms, make and practice an escape plan (if you haven’t already) with your family in the event of a fire or emergency.

 Tips adapted from CDC.gov5

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This document is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or tax advice. One should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own personal situation. Any comments regarding safe and secure investments and guaranteed income streams refer only to fixed insurance products offered by an insurance company. They do not refer in any way to securities or investment advisory products Insurance policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results.  Death benefit payouts are based upon the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The firm providing this document is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any other government entity.

1 https://acl.gov/sites/default/files/Aging%20and%20Disability%20in%20America/2017OlderAmericansProfile.pdf

2 https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2019/10/10/social-security-wage-base-will-increase-36-while-benefits-will-rise-16-in-2020/#37487818b75a

3 https://brooklynsupper.com/garlic-soup/#.VE56KIvF_SI

4 https://www.golfdigest.com/story/hit-and-hold-more-greens-with-this-technique

5 https://www.cdc.gov/family/minutes/tips/checkbatteries/index.htm

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