Beefing up advice options in 401(k) plans


Would you like some advice with that 401(k) plan? Two of the leading companies in online investment advice launched initiatives this month aimed at getting more personalized financial advice to workplace retirement savers. Betterment, a leader in the “robo-advisory” automated portfolio market for retail investors, announced plans this month for a new technology-driven offering for […]

Wanted: More African American financial planners

Lazetta Rainey Braxton

Lazetta Rainey Braxton is a rare bird in the financial planning profession. She is African-American, a group that accounts for no more than 2 percent of all planners. Braxton, 42, is working to change that. She runs her own registered investment advisory firm in Baltimore called Financial Fountains. She also is president of the Association of […]

Why haven’t 401(k) managed accounts gained more traction?


Retirement savers who get professional help with their 401(k) portfolios stand a good chance of seeing better outcomes than those who don’t. But that doesn’t mean plan sponsors or participants are rushing to adopt one-on-one advisory services. The U.S. Department of Labor gives defined contribution plan sponsors three options for a qualified default investment alternative […]

Young workers in target-date funds hit hard by market drop


As the stock market has whipsawed for the past two weeks, young workers who have all their retirement funds tied up in long-range target-date funds may have been the hardest hit. The average 25-year-old fully invested in a 2060 target-date fund series saw a 10 percent decline in account value from the market’s recent peak […]

White House throws in the towel on auto-IRA, and turns attention to the states


The White House is throwing in the towel on its stalled initiative to extend retirement saving accounts to millions of workers who currently aren’t covered by employer plans. Instead, the Obama Administration is turning its attention to helping states close the coverage gap. That’s one headline that surfaced at the recent White House Conference on […]

Medicare premiums to jump in 2016, but Social Security benefits stay flat


Retirees are facing a double-whammy next year: no inflation adjustment in their Social Security benefits and a whopping 52 percent jump in certain Medicare premiums. The Medicare premium hikes will hit only 30 percent of beneficiaries – those who are not protected from a “hold-harmless” provision in federal law that prohibits any premium hike that […]

How the new fiduciary rules will affect rollovers


The fiduciary fight isn’t over yet—but we’re getting close. Barring an unexpected upset, the U.S. Department of Labor soon will finalize regulations redefining the term “fiduciary” for purposes of the advice clients get from financial advisors. These long-overdue reforms have been debated to death, and despite the short-term disruption, they’ll be good for the standards […]

Supreme Court same-sex ruling opens the door for Social Security’s valuable spousal benefits


Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage will give a huge boost to the retirement security of LGBT Americans. That will be especially true in the realm of Social Security – where it pays to be married. The ruling will affect everything from access to spousal pension and retirement accounts, health benefits and more. […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan


Financial plans typically assume a normal retirement age in the mid-60s or beyond, but life events have a way of intervening. Half of all retirees say they left the workforce earlier than planned, according to the 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The key culprits include health problems or disability […]

A new type of annuity for life’s biggest unknown


How much money you will need to save to enjoy a secure retirement depends on the ultimate unknowable: How long will you live? The possibility of running short is called longevity risk, and the Obama administration last year established rules to foster a new type of annuity, the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract (QLAC), that would […]