How to Make Your Financial Dreams a Reality

In his “I Have a Dream” speech, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to think about the real possibilities of a brighter future — a future that affords us to live in comfort and prosperity. It is in that spirit that we encourage you to evaluate your dream of financial security. >> AARP’s Financial Freedom Program There are several steps you should consider to help you work toward financial freedom as you kick off the new year with a …

Coalition Urges Labor Department to Protect Retirees’ Nest Eggs

Public interest groups have joined forces in a coalition to prod the U.S. Department of Labor to revise rules requiring financial advisers to act in their clients’ best interests when offering retirement investment advice. SaveOurRetirement.com, a website created by the coalition, is urging the Labor Department to update the so-called fiduciary rule. Without that safeguard, advisers to retirement plans could sell financial products that pay large commissions yet hurt their clients with unnecessary fees, poor returns or excessive risks, the coalition said. “Right now, …

Illinois Is First State With New Savings Plan for Workers

Illinois will become the first state with a broad-based effort to automatically enroll private-sector employees without retirement plans into a new savings program. Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation on Sunday that creates the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program. Employers with at least 25 workers and no retirement plan will be required to offer employees the option of enrolling in Secure Choice, which allows employees to invest in a Roth IRA through payroll deduction. Employees can decline. “This turnkey program will make it …

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 …

Are ‘Lazy Portfolios’ Right for You?

If you think investing has to be complex and require constant monitoring, then think again. As it happens, the best strategy for growing one’s nest egg over the past decade may have come down to being lazy. Let me explain. About a decade ago, Paul Farrell wrote the book The Lazy Person’s Guide to Investing (Business Plus, 2004). He’s been tracking the performance of these portfolios ever since, which can be viewed live at the MarketWatch Lazy Portfolio page. Eight of the portfolios …

Free Resources for Managing Your 401(k)

Need help with retirement? The do-it-yourself investor can find plenty of online resources to help with retirement and other types of financial planning. Fidelity Investments in Boston offers a variety of tools, including some to help you devise a plan to pay off debt or decide whether to convert to a Roth IRA. Baltimore-based T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator can project how much you will need in retirement vs. how much you will have, while Valley Forge, Pa.-based Vanguard’s Retirement …