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Speculation begins – what will next year’s COLA be?

It’s that time of year again, when speculation abounds on next year’s Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for Social Security recipients. COLA is based upon each year’s 3rd quarter (July – September) inflation index known as the CPI-W (the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers). If the current year’s 3rd quarter CPI-W exceeds the corresponding 3rd quarter index from last year by more than 0.1%, then a COLA increase will occur. Although earlier projections were estimating a 2019 COLA increase of about 3%, more recent behavior by the CPI-W leads Bernice Napach of ThinkAdvisor to offer lower projection in this article.

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