Money and Work

As a senior editor for AARP Media, Carole Fleck covers personal finance, the economy, older worker, retirement planning and other news affecting people 50-plus.

Social Security Benefits to Rise 1.7% Next Year

Social Security benefits will rise by 1.7 percent starting in January, the Social Security Administration announced Wednesday. That’s a tad higher than this year’s 1.5 percent increase. It’s also the fourth straight year that the cost-of-living adjustment was below 2 percent for nearly 59 million retirees, disabled workers and their families. The adjustment amounts to about $22 a month for those who receive the average monthly benefit of $1,302. >> See AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins’ statement on the COLA “The …

Elder Financial Fraud Just Keeps Getting Worse

A new survey is bringing renewed attention to the hideous crime of elder financial fraud — and the results show just how underreported it is. In a survey of 2,000 people, only 5 percent of people age 65 and up admitted to being swindled. Yet 19 percent of younger respondents (ages 40 to 64) said they knew of a family member or friend who’d been a victim of elder financial fraud, according to the survey by the Minneapolis-based life insurance …

Are You Saving Enough for Health Care in Retirement?

You’ve heard this before, I know, and yet it remains as disturbing as ever. Health care costs, along with housing, are likely to be your biggest expenses in retirement. Boston-based Fidelity Investments found that premiums, deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses could cost a 65-year-old couple retiring today a jaw-dropping $220,000 – and that’s in addition to Medicare premiums. Some boomers are heeding that forewarning: In a survey of 1,002 workers age 50 and older, 62 percent say they’re socking away money for …

Securities Arbitration Is Flawed, Investor Group Claims

Investors who bring disputes involving suspected broker misconduct, unsuitable investment advice and other complaints to arbitration may not be getting a fair resolution because the pool of arbitrators lacks diversity, according to a report released Tuesday by a group that represents claimants. Most of the arbitrators who serve the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the self-regulator for the brokerage industry, are men who have a “socioeconomic status that put them out of touch with the average investor,” said the report …

Good News for Older Workers

Older unemployed workers saw welcome gains in the job market in September as employers expanded their payrolls by a higher than predicted 248,000 jobs. The national unemployment rate for people ages 55 and older fell last month from 4.6 percent to 3.9 percent, a bigger drop than the rate for workers overall, the government said. For men ages 55 and older, the jobless rate dipped to 4 percent in September from 4.4 percent the previous month. Last year at this time …

Free Financial Advice? What’s Not to Like?

Need financial advice on estate planning, retirement savings or something else? You can get it for free. From Sept. 27 through Nov. 8, hundreds of financial planners will be available to meet one-on-one with people in 25 cities in an annual event called Financial Planning Days. The initiative, in its fifth year, is sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the Financial Planning Association, the Foundation for Financial Planning and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses Financial …