Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
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Nov 13, 2013

Stern Advice-How to make sure your adviser really puts you first

NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The brokerage industry is
reaching out to consumers with a new “Investors First”
initiative designed to win the hearts and minds of those who are
skeptical of Wall Street advisers.

The initiative, unveiled last week in Washington by the
Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, a trade
group representing the nation’s largest brokerage firms,
currently consists of a pamphlet for consumers encouraging them
to work closely with their investment professionals. But it’s
just the first of a series of steps that SIFMA says it will be
rolling out to “demonstrate our commitment to putting customers
first.”

Nov 5, 2013

Stern Advice-How 401(k) lawsuits are bolstering your retirement plan

NEW YORK, Nov 5 (Reuters) – Jerome Schlichter, the St. Louis
attorney credited with literally making a federal case out of
401(k) fees, just filed his 14th class action against a company
he claims mismanaged its employees’ retirement savings.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in
Massachusetts against Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co,
states that the firm “larded” its 401(k) program with overpriced
and inferior investments and engaged in “blatant self-dealing”
by making money selling its own services to the plan.

Nov 5, 2013

How 401(k) lawsuits are bolstering your retirement plan

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Jerome Schlichter, the St. Louis attorney credited with literally making a federal case out of 401(k) fees, just filed his 14th class action against a company he claims mismanaged its employees’ retirement savings.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts against Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co, states that the firm “larded” its 401(k) program with overpriced and inferior investments and engaged in “blatant self-dealing” by making money selling its own services to the plan. MassMutual, headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts, could not be reached immediately for comment.

Oct 30, 2013

Stern Advice-How to make smart benefits choices for 2014

NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) – If you have been waiting years
for a decent raise, you will probably have to keep waiting – the
average salary increase in the United States planned for 2014
will be only 2.9 percent, according to a Towers Watson survey.
And rather than being shared equally, that raise will be aimed
disproportionately at workplace stars.

This is all the more reason not to leave money on the table
when selecting your employee benefits for 2014, something most
workers are doing right about now. But the majority of workers -
roughly 60 percent – simply let their benefit choices ride from
one year to the next, and do not bother re-evaluating whether
they should be switching to new plans for healthcare coverage or
other benefits, says Karen Frost, a vice president and
healthcare expert at Aon Hewitt.

Oct 23, 2013

Stern Advice – Time to buy pumpkins, set charity strategy

By Linda Stern

NEW YORK, Oct 23(Reuters) – If you’re waiting until
Thanksgiving kicks off the season of goodwill, stop waiting.
Halloween is a more appropriate time to plan your charitable
strategy for the rest of the year.

That may be especially true in 2013, when sizeable stock
market gains and new taxes on the wealthy are pushing some
people to increase their philanthropy and to do so in a
strategic way.

Oct 9, 2013

Till death (not retirement) do us part

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Statisticians have noted a rise in “gray divorces” lately. Spouses who stayed together through decades of sickness, health, richness, poorness, child rearing and parental health troubles are breaking up, just as they are supposed to be entering their own happy golden years.

No doubt some have unhappily “stayed together for the kids,” but something else is at play here. Spouses who have compromised for years see retirement as a last chance to do what they want.

Oct 9, 2013

Stern Advice – Till death (not retirement) do us part

NEW YORK, Oct 9 (Reuters) – Statisticians have noted a rise
in “gray divorces” lately. Spouses who stayed together through
decades of sickness, health, richness, poorness, child rearing
and parental health troubles are breaking up, just as they are
supposed to be entering their own happy golden years.

No doubt some have unhappily “stayed together for the kids,”
but something else is at play here. Spouses who have compromised
for years see retirement as a last chance to do what they want.

Oct 2, 2013

How to shop during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Every October, my book group drops its strictly literary agenda and spends a weekend shopping the outlets at the Delaware shore. We love the fall weather, but there’s another reason for the timing: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the malls sell pink cards for $1 each that get us 20 percent discounts on purchases and raise money for breast cancer research.

So, we get to save money and feel warm and fuzzy. Yet I wonder how much good we are doing. With everything from chewing gum to flashlights to bicycles branded with bright pink coloring, I want to make sure I make good choices, especially because two people whom I loved dearly have died of breast cancer in recent years.

Oct 2, 2013

Stern Advice-How to shop during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

NEW YORK, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Every October, my book group
drops its strictly literary agenda and spends a weekend shopping
the outlets at the Delaware shore. We love the fall weather, but
there’s another reason for the timing: October is National
Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the malls sell pink cards for
$1 each that get us 20 percent discounts on purchases and raise
money for breast cancer research.

So, we get to save money and feel warm and fuzzy. Yet I
wonder how much good we are doing. With everything from chewing
gum to flashlights to bicycles branded with bright pink
coloring, I want to make sure I make good choices, especially
because two people whom I loved dearly have died of breast
cancer in recent years.

Sep 25, 2013

Braving the new world of Obamacare exchanges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Here comes the day the Obamacare enthusiasts have been waiting for and the haters have dreaded: The state health insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act open for business on Tuesday, October 1.

Finally, Americans will start to see their health insurance options for 2014. Here’s a key number: The average cost for the average plan will be $328 a month for one person. That figure covers a wide range of policies and prices.

    • 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 www.twitter.com/LindaStern. And when she expresses opinions, they are her own and not those of her employer."
      Joined Reuters:
      October 2010
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