Hello, Congress: Americans want a strong Social Security system

Social-Security-card-slider

Political polarization is at a historic peak. Americans are divided on gun control, abortion, healthcare and privacy, according to a study released last month by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press documenting our increasing ideological rigidity and partisan antipathy. Then there’s Social Security. The public is worried deeply about the finances […]

Retirement and same-sex couples, a year after DOMA ruling

LGBT-marriage-150x220

Something big happened in the world of retirement benefits a year ago today: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. The court’s recognition of marriage equality has transformed life for many same-sex couples. In the realm of retirement benefits, the DOMA ruling opened the door for couples to receive spousal benefits […]

Senate turns up heat on cuts in Social Security offices, services

Senator-Bill-Nelson150px

Until earlier this year, there was a Social Security field office in Gadsden County, Florida, in the state’s panhandle. It’s the kind of place where seniors need to get in-person help with their benefits rather than pick up a phone or go online. “Our poverty rate is nearly double the state average, and we trail […]

How money comes between couples: Q&A with Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury

Money can be a very tough topic for couples. A recent Fidelity Investments survey found that 51% of working couples argue about money, and 38% never resolve their differences. More than one third don’t both know where their important household financial and legal papers are located; four in 10 working couples disagree about the lifestyle […]

When to take Social Security? Employers adding advice to 401(k) plans

Finengines-Social-Security-150px

Deciding when to file for Social Security is no simple task, and most Americans don’t handle it well. But increasingly, help is available from an unexpected source: your employer. The nation’s largest independent investment financial advisory firm is rolling out a service today that walks 401(k) plan participants through their Social Security claiming options, with […]

Surprise: Even affluent retirees live on Social Security and pensions

Social-Security-card-slider

Where do affluent retirees get their income? Portfolios invested in stocks and bonds, you might think – but you’d be wrong. Turns out many are living mainly on Social Security and good old pensions. That’s the surprising finding of new research from a surprising source: Vanguard, a leading provider of retirement saving products like individual […]

Warning: Not all ‘target date’ funds have the same target

Glider-slider

If you contribute to a target date fund in your 401(k) plan, you probably have a sense of how it works. The fund’s balance between stocks and bonds automatically shifts as you age, with less weight on equities as you get close to retirement. But it’s important to read the fine print on these funds, […]

How much are public-sector pensions shrinking? Often, a lot

State-capitol-building-slider

You’d have to be living in a cave not to have heard that many states are bailing out struggling pension plans by cutting benefits. But how will that affect workers in these states? Researchers who have been sorting through the cuts say the picture isn’t pretty. Some 15 million state and local workers – about […]

Senator Rubio’s surprisingly bipartisan retirement saving idea

Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

When Republican politicians talk about how important Social Security and Medicare have been for their parents, it’s time to grab your wallet. These stories usually precede a proposal to cut benefits under the guise of “saving” the programs – and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida tore a page from that playbook this week. Rubio, a […]

Cruise control can drive your 401(k) – just don’t hit the gas

Target-Date--slider

401(k) plans are all about automation these days, especially target date funds, which keep workers’ accounts in balance for an age-appropriate level of risk. It’s the investing world’s version of cruise control, but a study released today finds that many investors are turning on cruise control while putting their feet on the gas pedal – […]