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Carole Fleck


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

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Carole Fleck'sPosts

Is Your Employer Shortchanging Your 401k?

Posted on 03/6/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

Bulletin Today | WorkIf you’re fortunate enough to get a company match in your 401(k) savings plan, you might be feeling lucky. Unless you’re in a plan that’s being shortchanged by your employer. According to a report from the Department of Labor, nearly 73 percent (or 2,677) of the plans it audited last year made the wrong employer match or made some other error. The upshot? A whopping $423.6 million was restored to workers’ 401(k)s last year. Among the more common mistakes: failing to account …

Is the 4% Retirement Withdrawal Rate Dead?

Posted on 02/27/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

Bulletin Today | Money & SavingsMany of us are familiar with the “4 percent rule.” That’s the annual retirement savings withdrawal amount many retirees have relied on over the years in an effort to avoid running out of money. Meanwhile, more experts these days are now dismissing it, saying the 4 percent rule no longer works amid today’s economic realities.  J.P. Morgan appears to be the latest investment house to bash the 4 percent rule, or any fixed-rate withdrawal plan, and replace it with another approach. Today the …

Guess Who’s Working From Home?

Posted on 02/25/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

WorkIf you think women work from home more than men, maybe helping a child with homework after school or cooking dinner in between phone conferences, you’d be mistaken. More men telework and more women spend time in the office. And of those who work remotely, about 1 in 3 have no children, according to a myth-busting report released this week by the Madison, N.J., consultancy Flex+Strategy Group / Work+Life Fit Inc. The researchers surveyed 556 full-time employees in December to …

Cashing Out Your 401(k) and Living Dangerously

Posted on 02/19/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

WorkWe all know that 401(k) savings plans are designed to help us sock away money for our old age. Increasingly, workers are tapping those funds for loans or cashing out altogether. Two reports released this month suggest that our retirement security could be undermined by our pattern of using those savings to ease our financial stress today. An estimated $6 billion annually seeps out of U.S. 401(k) plans because loans taken against them were not repaid fully, according to a …

IRS: Someone Will Be With You … Sometime Today

Posted on 02/17/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

Money & SavingsHello, IRS? Is anyone there? That’s what you might be asking if you call the IRS with questions about your 2013 tax return. The agency says today starts one of the busiest weeks of the tax filing season for the IRS phone lines. So make yourself comfortable and settle in. You’re likely to be on hold longer than the 17.6 minutes customers waited last year to speak with someone. You think that’s bad? Some 20 million people, or 39 percent …

AOL Reverses 401(k) Policy After Blowback

Posted on 02/10/2014 by | Money and Work | Comments

Money & SavingsLike boomers (and all workers, for that matter) don’t have enough to worry about when it comes to saving enough for retirement. Now actions by AOL’s Tim Armstrong may be setting a dangerous example for other companies to follow. First, the chief executive of AOL told employees Thursday he was changing the company’s 401(k) match to a year-end lump sum contribution rather than contributions throughout the year. Leave before Dec. 31, 2014 (voluntarily or involuntarily), and you lose out on …