Defaults Rise in Parent PLUS Loans

Parents who’ve taken out federal student loans to help pay for their children’s college education are increasingly finding themselves in serious financial trouble. Default rates on Parent PLUS loans have tripled in the last few years, according to federal data released this month. Some 5.1 percent of loans that originated in the 2010 fiscal year were in default three years later, according to U.S. Department of Education data released last week. Default rates were highest, at 13.3 percent, for Parent …

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 …

Workers Say Employers Getting Stingy on Pay, Benefits

If the economy’s improving, why do workers say that their employers are getting stingier with pay or benefits, possibly compromising their financial security now and in retirement? In a survey of 5,070 U.S. workers, 76 percent said their company made one change or another in the last two years that weakened their retirement benefits, reduced pay raises, increased out-of-pocket health care costs or premiums, cut back on hours, laid off workers or involved a major restructuring. The survey, conducted by …

Improving Economy? Not for the Long-Term Unemployed

What’s the outlook for people out of work for at least six months? Longer unemployment. Three Princeton University economists examined the status of people who reported they were unemployed for 27 weeks or more between 2008 and 2012 — and then revisited them 15 months later. Only 11 percent had found steady full-time work one year later while 30 percent were still looking. As many as 35 percent had dropped out of the labor force altogether. Another 24 percent were in …

Some Lucky Workers Getting More Company Cash in Their 401(k)s

Remember when AOL announced recently that it would pay its 401(k) matching contributions to employees in a lump sum at the end of the year, rather than during each pay period, potentially costing employees’ retirement nest eggs thousands of dollars? If workers left in November, they’d lose out on nearly a year’s worth of company contributions. Those who stayed forfeited any gains made throughout the year. The tech company was forced to reverse its policy after an outcry by employees. (Criticism …

Is It a Good Time to Find Work? Most Say No

How do Americans view today’s job market? Apparently not favorably. In a Gallup poll of 1,048 adults in March, more than two-thirds (68 percent) said now is not a good time to find a quality job. Only about 1 in 4 (28 percent) were positive about the odds of landing a position, the highest measure since the start of the economic downturn in January 2008. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter Older workers were even more pessimistic. Among those …