Jean Chatzky: Our Relationship With Money Is a ‘Hot Mess’

Jean Chatzky has a few choice words for how most folks describe their relationship with money: Confusing. Frightening. Chaotic. Stressful. Precarious. “For two decades now, I’ve been watching how we make our money, save it, spend it, borrow it, invest it and protect it,” Chatzky told an audience today at the AARP Ideas@50+ conference underway in San Diego. “And I can tell you that, overall, our relationship with money is a hot mess.” Chatzky, AARP’s financial ambassador, is a best-selling author and …

What Happens to Your Pension When the Company Goes Bust?

Studebaker auto workers found out the hard way in 1963. When the Studebaker Corp. shut down its plant in South Bend, Ind., workers who had been promised pensions saw their hard-earned benefits vanish in an instant. Instead of receiving fixed payments throughout retirement, thousands of employees were forced to take one-time lump sums worth a fraction of what they’d earned. Thousands more received no benefits at all. The Studebaker Corp. had been promising pension benefits to its employees, but in …

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 …

Add Adjusting Your 401(k) to End-of-Summer Plans

Now that we’re past the midyear of 2014, it’s a great time to review your retirement savings plan to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not contributing enough or haven’t rebalanced your portfolio since George W. Bush was in office, you have the remainder of the year to make some adjustments. You probably already know that you can sock away as much as $23,000, which includes $5,500 in catch-up contributions for people 50-plus, in your 401(k) plan. However, if you’re using …

Check Out AARP’s Online Social Security Resources

By  Jean C. Setzfand “How secure do you feel about your retirement?” I may be the only person around using that question as a cocktail-party opener. But even if you’re not constantly surveying everyone you know, it’s likely you’ve seen the recent attention-grabbing headlines about people’s lack of retirement savings. So you won’t be surprised to learn that my unscientific surveys match the more qualified studies, in which folks report feeling “anxious” and “uncertain” about retirement or even that it’s “not possible.” …

A Tale of Two Americas

Today’s sobering statistic: Almost 20 percent of people ages 55 to 64 have no retirement savings. And even among those who have saved, millions are facing a retirement “deficit” – meaning they will outlive their retirement savings by $57,000 on average per household. Why does that matter to the rest of us? Because if millions of older adults haven’t saved enough to be self-sufficient in retirement, they will end up turning to government safety net services – a costly proposition …