Jean Chatzky: Our Relationship With Money Is a ‘Hot Mess’

Jean Chatzky has a few choice words for how most folks describe their relationship with money: Confusing. Frightening. Chaotic. Stressful. Precarious. “For two decades now, I’ve been watching how we make our money, save it, spend it, borrow it, invest it and protect it,” Chatzky told an audience today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. “And I can tell you that, overall, our relationship with money is a hot mess.” Chatzky, AARP’s financial ambassador, is a best-selling author and …

Interest Rates Are Low Until You Do the Math

I often hear that interest rates are awful and that it’s the worst time ever for retirees needing to live on fixed income. Yet when you look at after-tax, inflation-adjusted returns, a different picture emerges. Many people smile when I tell them that back in 1980 they could have earned 12 percent on a 10-year U.S. Treasury or certificate of deposit (CD). Depositing $10,000 would have returned $1,200 a year. But if a third went to taxes, that gain would …

Those Free Financial Dinner Seminars May Give You Indigestion

Ever get those invitations for a free financial seminar at a restaurant? “Nothing will be sold – we only want to educate you on your financial future,” is the typical pitch. Most specify that “financial professionals may not attend.” However, I recently received one that didn’t exclude me, and decided to see what I might learn about my financial future. Here’s my experience and what you need to know. First, this wasn’t just some seminar at a local restaurant; this …

Planning for a Strong Financial Future

By Lee Baker, CFP One of my favorite things as a child was reading comic books. To be honest, if I had more free time, I would probably read them now. Like me, most of you probably remember the Charles Atlas ads in comic books and other magazines. You know the story: A bully kicks sand in a skinny kid’s face. Deciding to do something about it, the skinny kid sends for a free book from Charles Atlas that promises …

Some Lucky Workers Getting More Company Cash in Their 401(k)s

Remember when AOL announced recently that it would pay its 401(k) matching contributions to employees in a lump sum at the end of the year, rather than during each pay period, potentially costing employees’ retirement nest eggs thousands of dollars? If workers left in November, they’d lose out on nearly a year’s worth of company contributions. Those who stayed forfeited any gains made throughout the year. The tech company was forced to reverse its policy after an outcry by employees. (Criticism …

Facebook, Others Scale Back 401(k)s

It’s bad enough that employers are doing away with traditional pensions and adopting 401(k)s that foist all the investing decisions onto workers, leaving them vulnerable to the vagaries of the market. Now, according to an analysis by Bloomberg, it appears that many big companies have gotten stingier with their 401(k) matching contributions and vesting schedules. These include IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp., Caesars Entertainment Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Whole Foods Market Inc.  and Facebook. (Facebook, Bloomberg reports, gave …