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.

GE Capital Ordered to Pay $225 Million to Consumers

GE Capital Retail Bank must shell out an estimated $225 million to consumers to settle government claims that it discriminated against Hispanic credit card customers and persuaded other card holders to buy add-on products that promised to cancel part of their debt if they became disabled, lost a job or suffered from another hardship, the Justice Department announced Thursday. “We will continue to take action against marketing tactics that trick consumers into buying credit card products they do not want or cannot use,” …

Who’s Tapping Their 401(k) to Pay Off Debt?

Too many workers are using their 401(k) savings plan as a piggy bank, tapping it way before retirement for reasons such as to pay off debt, remodel their home or take a vacation they couldn’t otherwise afford. New research from the financial services company TIAA-CREF finds that one-third of 1,000 Americans surveyed in May have taken out a loan from their retirement savings plan. And 44 percent say they now regret it. The survey looked at what situations caused workers to tap those …

What’s Dad Worth? $24,103

Sure, dads are priceless. Who else is going to kill flying stinging insects, plug leaky pipes and repair the family car? For all that dad does around the house, Insure.com’s annual Father’s Day Index calculated his value for 2014: He’s worth $24,103, up slightly from last year. Dad’s worth is measured by the typical household tasks he performs and the average wages paid for those duties based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those jobs include plumber at …

Which Retirement Personality Fits You?

The notion of retirement, in which decades are devoted solely to leisurely pursuits, is evolving. In the future we’ll be hard-pressed to find older folks perpetually lazing on the beach, taking up their days with golf or tennis, or lounging around the house. Instead, most retirees will be working. At least, that’s one of the findings from a new Merrill Lynch/Bank of America survey of 7,078 people, including 1,856 working retirees and about 5,000 who are nearing retirement or retired …

Honey, I Took Social Security Too Early

Deciding when to take Social Security is one of the most important retirement planning decisions people make – and many retirees say they got it wrong. As many as 38 percent of 573 retirees surveyed by the Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute, a unit of Nationwide Mutual Insurance, say they regret taking their benefit early, which locked in their lower monthly payment for life, and wish they had waited. When you look at the differences in their monthly payout, you can understand their remorse. Those …

Who Is Taking Early Social Security Benefits?

Financial planners have been advising us to wait as long as possible to collect Social Security to maximize the benefit. A new study finds that many middle-income workers haven’t heeded that call. They were more likely than higher earners to claim their benefit early and live on a permanently reduced payout for the rest of their lives. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study, workers took their benefit early for a variety of reasons: They didn’t expect to live …