Non-Traded REITs – Warning, Danger Ahead

Are you looking for income? One solution often pitched is private and non-traded REITs (real estate investment trusts). REITs raise money to buy income-producing real estate. In this low-yield environment, they are touted as having high yields and no market risk, and as alternatives to bonds. These days, REITs are selling like hotcakes. According to Investment News, sales doubled to $20 billion in 2013 from a year earlier. Sales were likely to be robust for 2014 as well, though the Wall …

Those Pension Cuts and What You Need to Know

Congress recently carved a hole in a 40-year-old pension law that has prevented employers from cutting benefits earned by those already retired. This change applies to people covered under multiemployer plans that are in critical financial shape. Here’s what you need to know: What is a multiemployer plan? This is a pension covering workers and retirees from more than one employer in the same or related industries, such as trucking or construction. (Most of them were established under collective bargaining between …

Making Social Security Work for Women

Social Security is gender neutral, meaning men and women earning the same amount in their careers should receive the same size benefit. In reality, a woman’s benefit on average is lower than a man’s — $1,103 vs. $1,417 in 2012 — because her work and personal experiences are rarely the same. Women tend to earn less — an average of 78 cents for every $1 a man makes. They are more likely to be in low-paying jobs without pensions and to …

Millennials Continue to Struggle for Success

Part of the promise of the American Dream is that each generation will do better than the last. Has that happened with our adult children, the millennials? Well, “yes and no,” reports the U.S. Census Bureau. Our children are better educated as a generation, yet more are living in poverty and they have lower rates of employment.  “Young Adults, Then and Now,” released last week by the Census Bureau, examines the nation’s current 73 million young adults, 18 to 34 …

Your Bond Income Could Be an Illusion

One of the saddest messages I am most often required to deliver to new clients is that their bond income is merely an illusion, and a tricky one at that. In fact, in most cases, their actual income is a tiny fraction of the amount shown in their brokerage statement. If you own individual bonds (not bond funds), this is probably happening to you as well — and costing you dearly. And this can occur indefinitely without your ever noticing. To better understand this, …

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 …