Pension Plan Tweak May Elude Most

The federal agency that insures private pensions is proposing a rule change that would add greater protection for workers who roll 401(k) money into a traditional pension. Workers for years have been able to transfer money from their employer’s 401(k) to its traditional pension plan to buy themselves a bigger lifetime benefit – if the employer allowed it. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation says its new proposal will remove fear among these workers that the amount they roll over from …

More Investors Choosing Target-Date Funds for Retirement Savings

Target-date funds are growing in popularity among investors in workplace retirement plans because they’re so easy to manage. You pick a retirement date, and the mix of investments automatically adjusts to a more conservative allocation as you move closer to that date. No muss, no fuss. If you’re not investing in a TDF, chances are you will be. A new study says that by 2018, nearly two-thirds of all 401(k) savings contributions will go into these funds. TDFs have become …

You’re Over 50. Now What? Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz Tells You

Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz (yep, Chuck’s daughter) doesn’t want you to lie awake at night, worrying about whether you’ll be able to afford to retire. Instead, she wants you to consult her new compendium for advice, not unlike the way patients thumb through a medical reference guide to learn about a particular disorder. The chapter titles in The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty are similar to the questions in Ask Carrie, her syndicated personal finance column. Are you in your 60s and way …

Estate Benefits of Roth IRAs Curtailed in Obama Budget

Buried in the details of President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget are tax changes that could upend many people’s estate and retirement planning. The president is proposing significant changes to the Roth IRA, which has become a popular way for higher-income investors to leave money to heirs tax-free. “The Obama team put this out in an effort to simplify tax law when it comes to retirement accounts,” says Matt Curfman, a financial planner with Richmond Brothers Inc. in Jackson, Mich. “Thank …

Stock Gains Push 401(k)s to Record Highs

Last year’s gangbuster stock market pushed 401(k) savings account balances to record highs, according to two major retirement account providers. Fidelity Investments says the average account balance at the end of last year reached $89,300, a 15.5 percent increase over the year before. For workers age 55 and older, balances averaged $165,200. Many workers roll over their 401(k) into an individual retirement account when they leave a job.  Adding up the balances of those who have both a 401(k) and …

Facebook, Others Scale Back 401(k)s

It’s bad enough that employers are doing away with traditional pensions and adopting 401(k)s that foist all the investing decisions onto workers, leaving them vulnerable to the vagaries of the market. Now, according to an analysis by Bloomberg, it appears that many big companies have gotten stingier with their 401(k) matching contributions and vesting schedules. These include IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp., Caesars Entertainment Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Whole Foods Market Inc.  and Facebook. (Facebook, Bloomberg reports, gave …