Older Voters Blame Washington Gridlock for Economic Woes

Boomers are so disgusted with our stubborn political leaders that they blame them more often than they blame the economy  for their own precarious personal finances. I was amazed to learn from a new AARP survey that 78 percent of people aged 50-plus feel that Washington gridlock has harmed their money situation compared with 77 percent who cited the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The prolonged political stalemate, and growing concerns over retirement security, drove up an “Anxiety Index” that …

Social Security: Bad Deal or Critical Retirement Security?

The AP reported a so-called “historic shift” yesterday. According to one analysis, some of today’s retirees will have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. So is Social Security a bad deal? No way! Just looking at a few examples misses the bigger picture. When you put money into Social Security, you’re buying inflation-protected, guaranteed lifetime income that is not subject to market risk. That’s not something you can get …

The Takeaway: Anxious Investors Day Trading Retirement Savings

While most Americans with 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts embrace a “set it and forget it” philosophy, some anxious retirement savers are getting increasingly aggressive with their investments, according to the Los Angeles Times. Worried about the toll the past decade has taken on their savings, Americans nearing retirement are day trading mutual funds and stock options in a bid to make up for lost time.

The Takeaway: Retirement Pessimism Goes Global

A new survey conducted by Dutch insurance company AEGON shows retirement pessimism extends far beyond American borders. Participants from eight European countries and the United States showed similarly dismal views on their ability to save and plan for retirement securely. Only 15 percent of workers said they are confident they’re on the right track with retirement savings; 71 percent believe future generations will be worse-off in retirement than current retirees.

The Takeaway: Future 401(k)s Will Look More Like Old-School Pensions

More 401(k) plan sponsors are offering to pay benefits in a form that guarantees a set level of monthly income, regardless of how long you live. And more employers are beginning to offer these plans, Time’s Dan Kadlec reports. “Before long your 401(k) may look a lot more like your dad’s pension,” writes Kadlec. That’s a good thing. Traditional pensions that pay a set monthly income to retirees, based on their wages and length of service, were once the foundation of retirement. Along with …

The Takeaway: Three-Quarters of Minority Retirees Struggling Financially

The majority of Asian, African American and Hispanic retirees in the United States struggle to cover basic living expenses, according to new research from the non-profit Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW).