Uncle Sam Bolsters Support of State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

The U.S. Department of Labor is paving the way for states to sponsor retirement plans for millions of private-sector workers who don’t have such programs on the job. About 68 million U.S. workers don’t have access to a 401(k) or similar workplace account, according to the Labor Department, even though studies show that employees are more likely to save for retirement if their employer offers a savings plan. More than half of the 50 states are either developing retirement savings …

What You Need to Know About Bonds

Ever wonder why prices of bonds and bond funds do what they do when interest rates fluctuate? Here’s what you need to know about how bonds work — as well as what you may think you already know that’s wrong. When you buy a bond, you are merely lending money to a government entity or corporation. Assuming there is no default, they will pay you interest for a period of time and then give you back your principal. Bonds have …

Hearing Loss Solutions Need More Technology, Federal Support

With only a fraction of the estimated 30 million older Americans with age-related hearing loss using hearing devices, “the time is ripe for a technology solution that could be helped along by federal action,” said geriatrician Christine Cassel, M.D., last week in a report on hearing issues before a government advisory council. Cassel, a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), reported her committee’s findings on how technology could help those with mild to moderate age-related …

New Guidelines May Say Yes to Eggs but No to Bacon

The government’s new dietary guidelines, due to be released in the coming months, may contain an about-face on decades of advice not to eat cholesterol-rich food. As the Washington Post put it, the move by the nation’s top nutrition advisory panel “could undo almost 40 years of government warnings” about eating foods high in cholesterol, like eggs and shellfish. A preliminary report by the panel, released in December, stated for the first time that “cholesterol is not considered a nutrient …

President’s Budget Would Trim Estate Exemptions

President Barack Obama’s proposals to increase middle-income tax cuts would come partly at a price to the estates of higher-income households. Under the new budget released Monday, the president calls for turning back the clock on estate taxes to 2009, when an individual could shelter $3.5 million — double that for married couples — from the federal estate tax. Currently, the exemption amount is $5.43 million per person. The top tax rate on estates would also go up under the president’s …

Creating Effective State-Sponsored Retirement Plans

By Gary Koenig, Vice President, Financial Security, and David John, Senior Policy Adviser, Financial Security State-sponsored retirement savings plans can help private-sector workers not covered by employer plans build financial security. How many workers? More than you might think. In 2013, about 55 million private-sector employees did not have access to a retirement plan at work, including more than 7 million in California, 2 million in Illinois, and about 1 million each in Indiana and Maryland. Research shows that middle …