Cashing Out Your 401(k) and Living Dangerously

We all know that 401(k) savings plans are designed to help us sock away money for our old age. Increasingly, workers are tapping those funds for loans or cashing out altogether. Two reports released this month suggest that our retirement security could be undermined by our pattern of using those savings to ease our financial stress today. An estimated $6 billion annually seeps out of U.S. 401(k) plans because loans taken against them were not repaid fully, according to a …

Minorities Have Less in Retirement Savings, Survey Finds

After a lifetime of working, millions of Americans, and minority workers in particular, face the prospect of a difficult retirement because they have no access to a 401(k) savings plan. Worse yet, among workers ages 25 to 64, a majority of black and Latino workers (62 percent and 69 percent, respectively) and more than one-third of whites (37 percent) have no retirement savings, according to a study by the nonprofit National Institute on Retirement Security. The report was based on …

There is Nothing ‘Fuzzy’ About Social Security Benefits’ Positive Impact on the Economy

The idea that Social Security benefit payments help support local and state economies and the national economy is obvious to all 57 million beneficiaries who spend their dollars at stores and to the merchants who sell them goods and services. But it is not obvious to many in Washington. In a town focused only on what Social Security payments mean for the federal budget, a new report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute highlights, in actual dollars and jobs, what Social …

States Step Up for Retirement Security

Are you saving (enough) for retirement? The numbers paint a worrisome picture – for Americans, our families and the nation. Three-quarters of Americans age 55-64 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts as of 2010. And, more than 70 million American workers do not have any type of employer-sponsored retirement plan. Clearly, we need some help to get on the road to retirement savings – and more effective ways to save money for our future. This is where the …

Education Crisis: Student Loan Rates Soar

For college students like my son who rely on federal student loans to help finance their higher education, and for older workers who’ve returned to school in an effort to boost their job opportunities, these are anxious times. Just one month before the fall semester begins, Congress on Monday failed to stop student loan interest rates from doubling. Now interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans, which are part of  students’ financial aid package, stand at 6.8 percent. That’s double the …

Retirement Savings: Are We There Yet?

OK, so maybe you won’t be buying a second home in Aspen in retirement. But a new analysis of our 401(k) plans suggests we’re inching closer to other retirement goals, like saving enough money so that we won’t have to wrestle the cat for food when we’re older. Though it may not seem like enough just yet, our 401(k) balances have hit their highest levels in seven years, an average of $81,240 in 2012, according to human resources consultant Aon …