Most Adults Flunk Social Security Quiz

Most adults likely have heard of Social Security — or seen the taxes for it taken out of their paychecks. But when quizzed on some of the basics of the program, only 28 percent got a passing grade. That’s the finding of a survey by MassMutual, which polled more than 1,500 adults on Social Security rules, including the full retirement age, benefits for ex-spouses and whether benefits can be reduced for government workers. Granted, Social Security can be complicated, particularly …

It’s Not Too Late: You, Too, Can Be a Financial Success

Maggie Lena Walker, born in 1864 in Richmond, Va., grew up helping her formerly enslaved mother wash clothes for others to make a living. Thirty-nine years later, on April 27, 1903, Maggie Walker became America’s first black woman to establish and head a bank. Imagine the discipline, the wisdom, but most of all the money management skills that it took to found and become president of Richmond’s St. Luke Penny Bank and Trust Co., which eventually expanded into seven branches. …

Consumer Agency May Clamp Down on Payday Lenders

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing new rules to restrict high-cost payday and car-title loans that often leave borrowers in worse financial shape. The agency can’t do anything about the interest rates charged — that’s up to the states — although it does have the authority to regulate the lenders making these loans. “Too many short-term and longer-term loans are made based on the lender’s ability to collect and not on a borrower’s ability to repay,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray …

Reaching Across Party Lines to Support Caregivers

Members of Congress announced Tuesday the formation of the Assisting Caregivers Today caucus, a bipartisan coalition that aims to bring more attention to the plight of family caregivers. With the support of AARP and more than 20 other national organizations, Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) had an afternoon news conference to announce their efforts to provide more help for people to live independently as well as to …

Getting Real About Fund Fees

So it’s time to get real about mutual fund fees. Sure, they’re lower than ever for many funds, especially those that track an index. In fact, the average fund fee is now 1.25 percent, according to Chicago-based Morningstar. Still, even this amount is too high and needlessly gives away most of your expected future gains. To understand this, consider the following: You have to frame your gains in real, after-inflation returns. In other words, your portfolio must match inflation just to keep your spending power intact. You …

How to Make Your Financial Dreams a Reality

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to think about the real possibilities of a brighter future — a future that affords us to live in comfort and prosperity. It is in that spirit that we encourage you to evaluate your dream of financial security. >> AARP’s Financial Freedom Program There are several steps you should consider to help you work toward financial freedom as you kick off the new year with a …