What’s the Nation’s No. 1 Problem?

It’s the government, stupid. Bill Clinton won a presidential campaign with the motto, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But these days the top issue to most Americans is the government, according to a new Gallup poll.   Some 21 percent of Americans polled in the Jan. 5-8 survey said that the most important problem facing the country today is the government itself - including poor leadership, corruption, abuse of power and general dissatisfaction with Congress and politicians in general. The second most important …

Timing of Fiduciary Rule for Retirement Plans Questioned

If you have a 401(k) or other retirement plan, you may be waiting even longer before new government standards are imposed that require your financial adviser to act in your best interest. The U.S. Department of Labor was in the final stages of preparing a proposal that would establish a so-called fiduciary standard for retirement plan advisers, which means they’d be required to put their clients’ financial interests ahead of their own when offering investment advice. A number of consumer groups …

Need Help From the IRS? Don’t Hold Your Breath

Have tax questions or problems? You probably shouldn’t expect much in the way of help from the IRS these days, according to the latest report from the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the agency. Some of the major findings: The IRS no longer helps elderly, disabled and low-income taxpayers prepare their annual returns. Ten years ago it prepared 476,000 such returns. Only 61 percent of calls to the IRS from taxpayers wanting to speak to someone were answered, …

Support for Obamacare Inches Upward

The Affordable Care Act has taken it on the chin recently, from its controversial role in the recent government shutdown to the website meltdown that came as the long-awaited health insurance marketplace opened on Oct. 1. Nonetheless, a new Gallup poll shows that public support for the law seems to be inching upward. Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter. Obamacare still has its share of critics. The Gallup survey finds that 50 percent of Americans generally disapprove of the …

Don’t Trust the Government? Join the Club

Public trust in the government is near an all-time low – not exactly a shock for a survey taken during a shutdown of the federal government. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter. Only 19 percent of American adults trust the federal government to do what’s right just about always or most of the time, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. More than four-fifths of respondents said they are …

Government Shutdown Scams – the Latest Gotcha

The federal government shutdown has created new opportunities for scammers to revise some tried-and-true schemes — they pose as employees of Uncle Sam at a time when the real ones are on furlough. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter Some examples: 1. Scammers call warning that because of the shutdown, you need to immediately re-enroll in Medicare or risk losing benefits. You may be asked for personal information that needs “verification” or you may be directed to a website …