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 …

Computer Geeks Make Money. Literally. What You Need to Know

Nobody knows exactly who they are. But a group of computer geeks have created a virtual currency called “Bitcoins” that’s got everybody from the FBI to international bankers to the news media talking. Bitcoins are money that flows on the Internet – money that’s not backed by gold or governments. But it does buy things – like cars, pizza and guns. Starting from zero about four years ago, the Bitcoin economy was said to be worth about $2 billion earlier …

Dreaming Of An Easy Retirement? Calculators Can Help Get You There

We talk about retiring and visions of frolicking on a sun-drenched beach with coconut-infused cocktails give way to anxiety and even fear. Retirement is close enough to smell and taste and touch. But will we ever feel assured that we’ve saved enough to live comfortably and pretty much in the same manner as when we worked? The average retirement age has crept up gradually over the years, from 62 in the mid-1990s to 64 for men, and from 60 to …