2016 Social Security COLA? Don’t Bet on It

Nearly 60 million Social Security recipients will probably not get a cost-of-living increase next year, according to projections in the 2015 Social Security and Medicare trustees reports. This would be the third time Social Security beneficiaries have gone without a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) since 1975, when automatic raises were put into place. The COLA this year was 1.7 percent, making the average monthly check for retired workers $1,334 as of May. Increases in benefits are tied to the third-quarter average …

Why AARP Backs a New Retirement Plan Advice Rule

Yesterday was the due date for comments on a rule proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor that would protect people with 401(k)s and IRAs from conflicts of interest in the financial services industry. AARP filed our official comments yesterday, one on the new rule and one on the new proposed best interest contract exemption. The rule, proposed in April, requires all retirement plan advisers to provide advice in their clients’ best interest. That is the simple goal underlying the …

Aging in Thailand: Takeaways From a Year Abroad

They clutched their binoculars and scribbled notes in their programs. They paced behind the teller windows and snagged seats just before post time. Some spent the day on their own, but most huddled in groups, talking stats, favorites and odds. For the past year, I’ve studied aging at a population institute in Thailand. As a curious outsider — a farang (Westerner), as they say here — I’ve had the opportunity to observe aging, too. This weekend’s venue? A horse racetrack in …

Making Retirement Saving Even More Valuable by Adding Automatic Emergency Savings

Automatic enrollment for retirement saving is both effective and popular among all income, gender and ethnic groups. It has increased participation, helped people to both start saving earlier and to make appropriate investment choices.This mechanism would be even more useful, especially for younger workers and those with low-to-moderate incomes if retirement savings plans also allowed employees to save for unexpected expenses. Recent research by the US Financial Diaries Project, which looks at the actual income flows of low-to-moderate income consumers …

Generation X Experiencing High Anxiety Around Retirement

Like Billy Joel, I frequently find myself in “A New York State of Mind.” I am a New Yorker — born, raised and educated in the Empire State. Though I no longer live there, I still call it home — which is why I was concerned by the findings of a new AARP survey released last week. The reality is, the New York state of mind is experiencing high anxiety when it comes to saving for retirement — especially Generation …

It’s Not Too Late: You, Too, Can Be a Financial Success

Maggie Lena Walker, born in 1864 in Richmond, Va., grew up helping her formerly enslaved mother wash clothes for others to make a living. Thirty-nine years later, on April 27, 1903, Maggie Walker became America’s first black woman to establish and head a bank. Imagine the discipline, the wisdom, but most of all the money management skills that it took to found and become president of Richmond’s St. Luke Penny Bank and Trust Co., which eventually expanded into seven branches. …