Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
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Jul 1, 2014

Stern Advice-Do you want an annuity in your retirement plan?

NEW YORK, July 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department
has just given a tax break and its blessings to retirement
savers who want to buy long-term deferred annuities in their
401(k) and individual retirement accounts.

The new rule focuses on a particular kind of annuity. These
so-called deferred “longevity” plans kick in with guaranteed
income when the buyer turns, say, 80 or 85 years old. For
example, a 60-year-old man who spent $50,000 on a longevity
annuity from New York Life could lock in $17,614 in annual
benefits when he turned 80, the company said.

Jun 20, 2014

Facing price wars and robots, wealth managers push advice

New York (Reuters) – Jack Bogle, the founder of Vanguard Group Inc and the pioneer of low-cost index investing has won.

Data shows investors have steadily paid lower mutual fund fees every year since 2003. Some 35 percent of all money in mutual funds is managed passively by computer models instead of humans. The average upfront sales fee paid to brokers by mutual-fund investors has fallen 74 percent since 1990, according to the Investment Company institute, a trade group.

May 21, 2014

How investors can get ready for inflation

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Last month was not a good one for inflation hawks, unless they were looking for validation.

The U.S. consumer price index was up 0.3 percent in April, its largest increase in 10 months. And producer prices were up 0.6 percent – their biggest monthly rise since September 2012.

May 21, 2014

Stern Advice-How investors can get ready for inflation

NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) – Last month was not a good one
for inflation hawks, unless they were looking for validation.

The U.S. consumer price index was up 0.3 percent in April,
its largest increase in 10 months. And producer prices were up
0.6 percent – their biggest monthly rise since September 2012.

May 7, 2014

Stern Advice – For richer or poorer, with student loans or without

NEW YORK, May 7 (Reuters) – Young marriage is lovely, but it
has always carried its own challenges of adjustment and
maturation. But newlyweds of the millennial generation face
another layer of stress: an unprecedented amount of student
debt, and in particular, unequal loads of it.

The average 2012 graduate finished with $29,400 in debt,
according to a study released Wednesday by the Institute for
College Access & Success, an advocacy and research group. But
there is still a divide among graduates. The institute found
that almost 30 percent of 2012 grads emerged debt free.

Apr 23, 2014

Stern Advice -Questions to ask your adviser about alternative funds

NEW YORK, April 23 (Reuters) – Ever since they were badly
burned in the 2008-2009 stock and bond debacle, investors have
been pouring money into so-called “alternative” mutual funds,
often at the behest of financial advisers who say those funds
will protect them from the fire next time.

But it is too soon to tell whether most of these funds will
work as suggested. Regulators, including the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority, have expressed concerns about the risks inherent in
the more complex alternatives funds. And a sizeable number of
the investors buying these funds likely do not understand
exactly what they are buying.

Apr 9, 2014

Stern Advice – The benefits of depositing your IRA into your 401(k)

NEW YORK, April 9 (Reuters) – It may sound like something
you would train your dog to do, but the “reverse rollover” is a
maneuver that more retirement-minded workers should try.

The move – taking personal individual retirement account
(IRA) assets and moving them into your company 401(k) plan -
sounds counterintuitive. Why would you do that once you have
wrested your money from a former employer and rolled it over
into your very own personally controlled account?

Mar 26, 2014

Stern Advice: Why you work to pay the babysitter

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Working parents of young children face a disappointing calculus. When they look at the paycheck of the lower-earning spouse – still usually the wife’s – they don’t see much bottom line income.

The taxes on that second income are paid at the couple’s top marginal rate. A family in the middling 28 percent marginal tax bracket could see the second earner’s salary cut by 43 percent or more, once state, Social Security and Medicare taxes are included. If she earns $50,000, they are left with $28,500 from which to pay for childcare (deduct an average of $11,666 a year, according to the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies), commuting and all of the other costs of holding a job, from business attire to buying colleagues’ kids’ wrapping paper at fundraising time.

Mar 12, 2014

Stern Advice – Getting real about retirement

NEW YORK (Reuters) – In the retirement planning space, there are two realities.

The first consists of spreadsheets, calculators and frightening rules of thumb to guide workers and retirees in their saving and spending decisions.

Feb 26, 2014

To save best, think health accounts, Roth IRAs

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Don’t think of the next seven weeks as a grim time of tax-season drudgery; think of them as your special, limited-time offer to enrich your future.

Most tax-favored retirement and health savings programs give you until April 15, 2014 to make contributions that count against your 2013 tax year. That’s such a significant benefit that it would be foolish to ignore it.

    • About Linda

      "Linda Stern is an award-winning personal finance journalist who loves to write about how the big picture affects your pocketbook. A former contributing editor at Newsweek magazine and a long-time Reuters columnist, Stern covers everything from credit cards to retirement planning to investing. As a Washington-based correspondent, she sneaks in as much tax and economic policy as her editors will allow. She tweets at And when she expresses opinions, they are her own and not those of her employer."
      Joined Reuters:
      October 2010
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