A digest of news from publications around the nation about finance, investing, and retirement
If you’ve been lending a financial hand to your adult kids –
from covering their car insurance or cell phone bills all the way to paying for
their rent or down payment on a home – you have plenty of company. But
financial planners caution that your generosity may be unwittingly jeopardizing
For most retirees, figuring out
how much money to withdraw from savings every year is a difficult-to-impossible
math problem. But the issue goes much deeper: fears about what the future might
bring make this decision overwhelming. Extreme caution is a popular solution.
Vanguard recently reported that retirees with very modest savings turn around
and reinvest a third of the money they’re required to withdraw under IRS rules
after age 70½. People saved all of their lives to make sure they will enjoy
retirement. So why are they so reluctant to spend the money for the purpose it
While it’s hard to put an exact figure on how much elder
financial abuse costs older Americans – in part because much of it goes
unreported – estimates range
widely from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually. What’s more, large numbers
of older people are unaware of some of the common scams that swindlers use on
them, according to data from
AIG Life & Retirement.
Click on any story about someone
who started saving in a 401(k) plan on her first job. Or read about a guy who
opened a Roth IRA with his first high school summer job earnings. Fast forward
15 years to your own age, and these people are now sitting on a tidy sum that’s
many times what you’ve managed to set aside. But take heart. It’s true that the
earlier you start, the less you have to save each month. Yet getting started
late is better than never starting at all. A few examples of successful savers,
age 50 and over, could be the inspiration you need.
Financial planners and regulators
are increasingly warning consumers to think twice about buying a popular
annuity that promises better-than-average returns but carries high fees. Sales
of indexed annuities, as they are known, have soared in recent years. But they
are extremely complex, carry high fees and surrender charges, and often fall
short of their promised returns.
If you look only at the nation’s low, 3.7 percent
unemployment rate, it would be easy to assume that the economy is humming and
that Americans are feeling great about their finances. But data from recent
surveys suggests that many people are actually feeling three big financial pain
points: caregiving and family assistance; health costs; and not enough savings
but too much debt.