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.

Shop ‘Small’ for the Holidays

As the holidays approach, owners of “mom and pop” stores want to remind shoppers in pursuit of the perfect gift to support local businesses. Small Business Saturday is the kickoff to the holiday shopping season for independently owned businesses, which include restaurants, bakeries, bookstores and other merchants. This year it falls on Nov. 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. >> Best Ways to Spend $200 The event was developed to encourage consumers to back America’s …

Top 10 Unbelievable Excuses for Calling In Sick

The job-listing site CareerBuilder released its 2014 roundup of the year’s 10 most dubious excuses that bosses have heard from employees. It’s hard to believe, but here are the doozies your colleagues are dishing out when they call in sick:   I  just put a casserole in the oven.   My plastic surgery for enhancement purposes needed some “tweaking” to get it just right.   I was sitting on the toilet for so long that my feet and legs fell …

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 …