It’s August, So It Must Be Make-a-Will Month

So August is National Make-a-Will Month. Who knew? Getting a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, and consequently, too few people do it. A recent survey of more than 2,000 people by the online legal service Rocket Lawyer found that 64 percent don’t have wills. The biggest reason cited by folks: They just never got around to it. Some said they didn’t want to think about death. You might believe that only wealthier families need a will. You’d be …

Silence Could Be Costly in Family Financial Planning

Parents and their adult children say they want to have honest conversations about finances and retirement issues, but they just don’t agree on when to talk, according to a survey released today by Fidelity Investments. And when these discussions do eventually occur, they often don’t get down to the details needed for proper financial planning, the Boston-based investment firm found. Lauren Brouhard, senior vice president of retirement at Fidelity, urges families to bite the bullet and talk – before parents retire …

Is Rising Mortgage Debt Threatening Retirements?

Older Americans are carrying more mortgage debt and have accumulated less home equity than their peers a decade earlier, according to a report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The median mortgage debt for those age 65 and older rose 82 percent to $79,000 from 2001 to 2011, according to the agency. And though delinquencies and foreclosures have decreased since 2012, they had increased fivefold between 2007 and 2011 among older homeowners, the CFPB reports. “A home can be a place of …

Fees Can Sap Over $100,000 From Your 401(k) Plan

Some 52 million Americans rely on their 401(k) savings plans as a key part of their retirement. Now, the Washington-based Center for American Progress says in a new study that high investment fees could cost the typical worker $100,000 or more over the course of a four-decade career. That may force some to stay on the job at least three years longer than they’d planned just to make up for that loss. Given the fact that many older workers are having a difficult …

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 …

Beware the ‘Befriender’

It’s often true that older people feel lonelier as their children leave the nest, their friends move south and their spouses pass away. That’s one reason they’re particularly vulnerable to new “friends” who in truth are out to exploit them. As Katherine Pearson, a professor at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, explains in the Elder Law Prof Blog, these “befrienders” aim to gain the trust – and eventually access to the assets – of their victims. But if you …