A Retirement Reality Check, Courtesy of Gallup

Thinking about your eventual retirement? If you’re relatively well-off, you’re probably confident that your tax-deferred savings will provide your major source of income. But if you’re at the other end of the income ladder, you’re more likely to count on Social Security benefits to tide you over. Those are some of the findings of a newly released Gallup poll that reveals glaring contrasts between how nonretired Americans from different income levels expect to fund their retirement years. The key takeaways: Among …

Jean Chatzky’s 12 Essential Money Rules

“Rules. A life without rules is exhausting and emotionally fraught.” That’s how Jean Chatzky opened her hour long session on financial security and retirement at Life@50+ today. She admitted that rules don’t seem fun – and the audience agreed. But soon she brought the crowd around to the virtues of boundaries, planning and delayed gratification. “Once you start planning, and get the numbers down on the page, things may not be as bad as you think they are,” said Chatzky, …

Financial Makeover Helps One Woman Plan an Independent Future

More than 20 years ago, Celia Nathan’s mother became very depressed. As she was flying from Maryland to Savannah, Ga. to see her mother, Celia read a book a friend had given her about depression. The book described recreation therapy and how it helped those with depression. Celia, always an active person, said she was immediately hooked. “I thought here’s a profession where you’re helping people and also involves recreation!” she told me recently. So she kept exploring the field and …

The Takeaway: Americans Borrowing–and Not Repaying–Billions from 401(k)s

What’s a worse financial plan than taking a loan from your retirement savings? Taking a loan from your retirement savings and not paying it back. Yet a growing number of Americans are doing just that, according to a new study from financial services firm Navigant Economics. Defaults on 401(k) loans totaled $37 billion in recent years.

The Takeaway: Anxious Investors Day Trading Retirement Savings

While most Americans with 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts embrace a “set it and forget it” philosophy, some anxious retirement savers are getting increasingly aggressive with their investments, according to the Los Angeles Times. Worried about the toll the past decade has taken on their savings, Americans nearing retirement are day trading mutual funds and stock options in a bid to make up for lost time.

The Takeaway: Americans Are Misusing Reverse Mortgages, Says Consumer Agency

Reverse mortgages are not being used as Congress intended, according to a new report from the government watchdog agency Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Reverse mortgages were created to provide an income options for retirees. But these mortgages are increasingly being taken out by younger borrowers, which could decrease long-term retirement security. Borrowers also tend to take lump-sum payments that can be used up quickly.