During Black History Month, Experience the Joy of Self-Education

One of my greatest joys over the past couple of years has been engaging in conversations with authors as host of AARP’s Black Community Book Club. From Nikki Giovanni to Terri McMillan to Russell Simmons to Leonard Pitts Jr., it’s been like conversing with living history. In reading these authors’ books and talking with them, it occurs to me how invaluable it is to delve into the knowledge and gifts of people who are enhancing the lives of others. Whether …

Perceptions About Social Issues Among African Americans/Blacks Age 50 and Over

In 2014, we conducted a study to examine the importance of key social issues facing African Americans/blacks who are age 50 and older, and also to gauge their optimism in regard to these social issues. The figures and associated infographic were recently updated. >> Visit AARP Research for Information, Insights, and Trends Impacting Americans 50+ The key findings from the study show: Access to high-quality health care and having a financially secure retirement are the most important issues facing age …

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Money invested in an Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account — sometimes also called a 529A account — can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified expenses, including education, housing, transportation, health care, employment training and legal fees. >> …

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 …