Stocks for the Long Run? Really?

Most of us have heard that stocks have outperformed bonds in the long run. But what is the definition of long run? So far this century, have stocks really outperformed? To answer that question, I decided to look at how three different asset classes have performed in the new millennium. I examined the performance of stocks vs. bonds from Dec. 31, 1999 through June 30, 2015. I compared the total returns of U.S. stocks, international stocks and investment grade U.S. …

2016 Social Security COLA? Don’t Bet on It

En español |  Nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will probably not get a cost-of-living increase next year, according to projections in the 2015 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports. This would be the third time Social Security beneficiaries have gone without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975, when automatic raises were put into place. The COLA this year was 1.7 percent, making the average monthly check for retired workers $1,334 as of May. Increases in benefits are tied to …

Making Retirement Saving Even More Valuable by Adding Automatic Emergency Savings

Automatic enrollment for retirement saving is both effective and popular among all income, gender and ethnic groups. It has increased participation, helped people to both start saving earlier and to make appropriate investment choices.This mechanism would be even more useful, especially for younger workers and those with low-to-moderate incomes if retirement savings plans also allowed employees to save for unexpected expenses. Recent research by the US Financial Diaries Project, which looks at the actual income flows of low-to-moderate income consumers …

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 …

3 Ways to Cut Your Investment Tax Bill

As tax season draws to a close for another year, you may be among those feeling the pinch from taxes paid on investments. I admit that paying taxes is not exactly my favorite thing, so I always look for ways to be more tax-efficient. Here are three things you can do to keep more of what you earn: First, buy tax-efficient investments. Mutual funds that turn over stocks in the portfolio pass along any taxable gains to their holders. Many active funds …

New U.K. Annuity Reforms Are a Step Too Far

After nearly a decade where the United Kingdom has been the gold standard for retirement savings policy, it is about to take a step that it may regret. The U.K. has a retirement savings system that will enable virtually all of its workers to supplement their state-paid pension with retirement savings. When it is fully phased in, they will have access to a low-cost, diversified savings platform that uses automatic enrollment to encourage participation. However, starting in April, the requirement …