Retire at 70, Business Group Urges

Morning Business Memo…

When will you retire? The traditional answer may be 62 or 65, but an influential group of business CEOs is pushing a plan to gradually increase the full retirement age to 70. "The recommendations are based on what's best for the country," says Business Roundtable President John Engler. His group's plan would raise the full retirement age for both Social Security and Medicare. The changes would not affect anyone is now 55 and older. "Implementing changes now and implementing them gradually over a long period of time realizes dramatic savings down the road without putting an impact on individuals," says Engler.

Under the Business Roundtable plan, Medicare recipients would be able to enroll in the traditional program or in private plans that could adjust premiums based on age and health status. "America can preserve the health and retirement safety net and rein in long-term spending growth by modernizing Medicare and Social Security in a way that addresses America's new fiscal and demographic realities," said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and chief executive of casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp.

The AARP says most Americans now retire at 62 and the proposed change would amount to a "dramatic benefit reduction." Seniors have it tough enough already, says the AARP's David Certner. "Unfortunately many of them are not able to even find jobs or in no physical conditions to work jobs until age 70."

Fewer homes entered the foreclosure process last year. But there were many local and regional variations from the national trend. "We saw 25 states nationwide, actually, had increase in foreclosure activity from 2011 to 2012," says Daren Blomquist of the foreclosure listings firm RealtyTrac. Foreclosures rose in many states where the process has court supervision: "Those states tend to be the states with the longer foreclosure process."

Five years after the housing collapse began big banks are still cleaning up the mess. Bank of America says its fourth-quarter earnings shrank as it cleaned up old problems from its mortgage unit. The bank made $367 million in the last three months of 2012, down from $1.6 billion in the same period a year ago. The bank had said it expected earnings to be "modestly positive." It took big charges related to a settlement with the government-backed mortgage lender Fannie Mae and a separate agreement in which it and other banks settled government accusations of wrongful foreclosure practices.

Richard Davies Business Correspondent ABC NEWS Radio

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