The Danger of Acting on Stock Market Headlines

Over the past five years, U.S. stocks have tripled in value. For example, the Wilshire 5000 total return index increased from 27.50 to 82.62. Yet paranoia about the market has caused many investors to miss out. The chart below shows the return an investor would have received just by owning a total U.S. stock index fund and reinvesting the dividends. A total U.S. stock index fund essentially owns every publicly held company based in the U.S. Though the chart tracks …

AOL Reverses 401(k) Policy After Blowback

Like 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 …

Tools to Shore Up Retirement Savings

The road to retirement may seem uncomfortably short, particularly if you’re in your 50s and haven’t saved much. The latest Federal Reserve data shows that households with people ages 55 to 64 have accumulated a median $120,000 in retirement savings. That amounts to about $400 to $500 a month in income, according to a CNBC report, on top of the average monthly Social Security benefit of $1,294. If you’re 10 to 15 years out from your projected retirement date, it’s …

Social Security’s 78th Anniversary: Then and Now

To help celebrate Social Security’s 78th anniversary, here is a comparison of how the country — and Social Security — have changed since 1940, when Ida May Fuller received Social Security’s first monthly benefit. Since 1940, the number of Americans age 65 and over has quadrupled, more than doubling as a percentage of the population. Sources: http://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html and http://www.census.gov/population/age/data/2011.html   The number of individuals receiving a Social Security benefit, since benefit checks were first issued in 1940, has increased over …

Retire at 62… 65… 70? New Social Security Calculator Shows You the Money

Timing is everything. Good things come to those who wait. Patience is a virtue. Why is a cliché-fest so appropriate when it comes to deciding when to claim your Social Security benefit? The numbers tell the story. >> Slideshow: Top 10 Consumer Spending Regrets And now there’s a fast and easy way to estimate the impact on your own bottom line: AARP’s  interactive online Social Security Benefits Calculator. It’s free and available to anyone, regardless of age. Why is Social …