New 529 Plan Created for People With Disabilities

Tax-friendly 529 savings plans no longer will be just for college. Legislation recently signed by President Barack Obama will allow states to set up similar savings programs to benefit those with disabilities without jeopardizing their federal benefits, such as Medicaid. Money invested in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account — sometimes also called a 529A account — can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified expenses, including education, housing, transportation, health care, employment training and legal fees. Enter …

Two and a Half Inflation Myths

Inflation lately has been pretty tame. Still, the possibility that it could raise its ugly head again, eating away at our spending power and standard of living, is always in the back of our minds. That’s why it’s important to understand inflation to better protect ourselves from its potential impact. Knowing these myths about inflation is a good place to start. Myth one: Inflation is easy to predict. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures inflation and reports consumer …

Banks Ease Terms for Struggling Student Borrowers

Big banks are beginning to cut some slack to distressed student-loan borrowers. Wells Fargo announced a new program this week that will lower the interest rate on loans so payments will be more affordable based on a struggling borrower’s income. The bank will review borrowers’ financial situations to determine whether they qualify for short- or long-term loan modification. >> 8 Hidden College Expenses According to the Wall Street Journal, both borrowers and cosigners will have to show financial hardship to get a modification. Modifications …

Debt for College Hits 70% of Graduates

Most graduates in the Class of 2013 left campus with more than a diploma. Nearly 7 out of 10 also had student loan debt. The average amount: $28,400, up 2 percent from the debt of those who graduated a year earlier. That’s according to a report by the Project on Student Debt at the Institute for College Access & Success, a California-based advocacy group that has been tracking these figures for nine years. >> Hidden College Expenses Education debt is a growing concern …

Welcome to America’s Longevity Capital

The longevity capital of the world, as you may recently have read in the AARP Bulletin, is the Nagano region of Japan, where women can expect to live an average of 87.2 years and men an average of 80.9 years. Experts chalk it up to a healthy diet, regular physical activity, extended work years and aggressive government intervention. Nagano’s counterpart in the United States? It’s Montgomery County, Md., a fast-growing bedroom community just outside of the nation’s capital. Statistics compiled …

Not Everyone Is Living Longer

When it is unveiled in the coming weeks, the Social Security Trustees report will no doubt prompt the program’s critics to call for change, as it does each year. And one of their suggestions will likely be to raise the age of eligibility for Social Security and Medicare benefits. It sounds so reasonable. Isn’t everybody living longer? Unfortunately, the answer is no. >> Sign up for the AARP Advocacy Newsletter The truth is that gains in life expectancy are not …