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.

Brooke Astor’s Grandson Tells Senate Panel of Financial Abuse

The Senate Special Committee on Aging held one of its periodic hearings on financial abuse of older people the other day, this time inviting a relative involved in one of the more spectacular headline-making cases in recent years to testify. The grandson of socialite Brooke Astor, who blew the whistle on his father for plundering millions from his grandmother’s estate, told the Senate panel Wednesday that his grandmother’s greatest legacy may be the national attention focused on elder financial abuse. “While my grandmother …

Coalition Urges Labor Department to Protect Retirees’ Nest Eggs

Public interest groups have joined forces in a coalition to prod the U.S. Department of Labor to revise rules requiring financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests when offering retirement investment advice. SaveOurRetirement.com, a website created by the coalition, is urging the Labor Department to update the so-called fiduciary rule. Without that safeguard, advisers to retirement plans could sell financial products that pay large commissions yet hurt their clients with unnecessary fees, poor returns or excessive risks, the coalition said. “Right now, …

Job Gains for the 55-Plus: Not Too Shabby

Employers capped a year of solid hiring by adding 252,000 jobs to the economy in December — and older workers welcomed those gains. The national unemployment rate for people 55-plus dipped by 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent last month, a bigger monthly decline than the rate for workers overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Better still, workers 55 and older saw their jobless rate fall over the past year from 5.1 percent in December 2013. Older women seemed …

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 …