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

IRA-slider

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 […]

When life events intervene in your retirement plan

Clock-150x220

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 […]

Lump sum pension offers: Don’t count on your employer for advice

cash-stack---slider

If you are due a pension from a former employer, there is a good chance you were or soon will be offered a lump-sum payment in exchange for giving up that guaranteed monthly check for life. Should you take it? Probably not, but making a smart decision depends on a complex set of assumptions about […]

State plans for low-income retirement saving gain momentum

Illinois State Senator Daniel Biss.

My home state of Illinois is not the first place that comes to mind for innovative approaches to retirement savings. We are much more infamous for our pension plan for state workers, which is the worst-funded in the country. But Illinois just became the first U.S. state to adopt a promising new approach to a […]

Why pension plan lump sums are a trap for the unwary

cash-stack-50px

If you work for a company with a pension plan, don’t be surprised if you get an offer soon for a lump sum buyout – a deal where you accept a pile of cash in exchange for the promise of lifetime income when you retire. The price tag for these offers is especially attractive right […]

Multiemployer pension benefit cuts: A Q&A on what you need to know

questions-150-px

The last-minute deal to allow retiree pension benefit cuts as part of the federal spending bill for 2015 passed by Congress last week has set off shock waves in the U.S. retirement system. Buried in the $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus” legislation signed this week by President Barack Obama was a provision that aims to head off […]

Longer life expectancies raise the bar on pensions

Clock-280-px---160-px

Americans are living longer. That’s good news for people–but it’s creating challenges in the world of traditional defined-benefit pensions. American men are living an average of two years longer than they were in 2000 (the last time the tables were revised), and women are getting an additional 2.4 years of life, according to new mortality […]

Pages: 1 2

Lame duck Congress tries a lame move on pensions

duck-150px

The mid-term election results have changed the political landscape in a way that threatens the retirement security of middle class households. But we don’t even have to wait for the new Congress to be seated in January to know just how bad things could get. This week, the lame duck Congress pulled a lame move, inserting “Solutions Not […]

The trouble with financial literacy

reportcard-150-px

Financial literacy education is a mom-and-apple-pie proposition – who can be opposed to getting smarter about money? But I’m struck often by just how much the topic rings hollow as a solution to the retirement security crisis we’re facing. This week’s Reuters column looks at two recent studies touching on this topic. The American College of Financial […]

Pages: 1 2

A landmark law at 40: How well is ERISA protecting workers’ retirements?

Ford-signs-ERISA-150px

Every American who has retired with economic security – or hopes to – should know these two dates in our history: August 14, 1935, and September 2, 1974. The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, and 40 years ago today President Gerald Ford signed landmark pension reform […]