Heed the warning label on mutual funds – passive is better

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The warning is posted in fine print at the bottom of all mutual fund advertisements: “Past performance does not guarantee future results.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requires it. But when it comes to actively managed mutual funds, that warning should perhaps be updated to: “Strong performance almost certainly guarantees worse performance in the […]

Decade after landmark pension law, changes still needed

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Next week marks the 10th anniversary of a landmark federal law with a hopeful name – the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Has the law lived up to its name? The anniversary is an apt time to consider changes still needed to improve the retirement security of American workers. The track record of the Pension […]

Tapping retirement accounts early: the ins and outs

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401(k) accounts aren’t designed as piggy banks to be tapped for non-retirement expenses. But stuff happens. Since the Great Recession, loans from 401(k) accounts have been rising. Some 17.6 percent of plan participants had loans outstanding last year, compared with 15.3 percent in 2008, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI). A much smaller number […]

Retirement planning 101 for young people

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I am asked often what young people can do now to start building for a secure retirement. The question itself is a great start – frankly, I never gave this much of a thought until I was well past 40. I have five short answers. First: start saving as soon as you can – even […]

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When not to save for retirement

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Everyone should save for retirement – that is a mantra we have all heard endlessly. But for many people, saving for retirement actually should be fairly low on the financial priority list – well behind the more immediate goals of building a rainy day fund and reducing their consumer debt. That is evident in new […]

Why a mandatory retirement saving plan still isn’t dead in the U.S.

Teresa Ghilarducci

In today’s New York Times, I examine the prospects for a universal, mandatory retirement saving system in the U.S. The idea has long been left for dead, since the concept of employer mandates has been toxic ever since passage of the Affordable Care Act. But some states have begun implementing mandatory programs of their own, […]

Beefing up advice options in 401(k) plans

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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 […]

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

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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

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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 […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan

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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 […]