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Jun 12, 2013

Stern Advice – Women to pay more for long-term-care coverage

WASHINGTON, June 12 (Reuters) – Long-term-care insurance has
always been an expensive product, but now it is getting a lot
pricier – especially for single women who may most need help in
old age.

Providers are raising rates for old policies and new ones -
by as much as 60 percent, according to state filings. But the
latest development is gender-based pricing. Genworth, a leader
in this field, has started selling plans in 31 states that
charge more for women than men. John Hancock is also embracing
gender-based pricing, and other insurers are expected to follow
suit.

Jun 7, 2013

SEC retail fund definition came from USAA

NEW YORK, June 7 (Reuters) – A key part of the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission’s new proposal on regulating
money-market funds came from an idea raised by a single
financial firm, a senior SEC official said.

The SEC proposal, issued Wednesday, would require
institutional funds – those marketed to large organizations and
ultra high net worth investors – to transition from a fixed $1
share price to a floating net asset value (NAV). Retail funds,
aimed at smaller investors, would be exempt.

May 22, 2013

Column: Why pension funds are eating your 401(k)’s lunch

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Pension funds – those old guaranteed-benefit retirement plans your grandma might have told you about – outperform those in 401(k) plans year after year, according to new research from consulting company Towers Watson.

In 2011, the last year studied, defined-benefit plans had median returns of 2.74 percent, while 401(k)s and other defined-contribution plans lost 0.22 percent. It was the widest margin since the mid-1990s, the company said.

May 22, 2013

Stern Advice-Why pension funds are eating your 401(k)’s lunch

WASHINGTON, May 22 (Reuters) – Pension funds – those old
guaranteed-benefit retirement plans your grandma might have told
you about – outperform those in 401(k) plans year after year,
according to new research from consulting company Towers Watson.

In 2011, the last year studied, defined-benefit plans had
median returns of 2.74 percent, while 401(k)s and other
defined-contribution plans lost 0.22 percent. It was the widest
margin since the mid-1990s, the company said.

May 15, 2013

Retiring on 0.25 percent a year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It isn’t like Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have it in for old people – I’m sure they are all very respectful of their elders. (The policy-setting reserve bank presidents typically have to retire when they are 65. Bernanke is 59.)

But their policy of holding interest rates as low as they need to be to keep the economy in modest growth mode is also hitting Grandma and Grandpa particularly hard: At ages when most people try to keep their money “safe” in bank certificates of deposit and bonds, retirees are having to contend with returns that would be considered laughably bad if they didn’t have to cover groceries and Medicare co-pays.

May 15, 2013

Stern Advice-Retiring on 0.25 percent a year

WASHINGTON, May 15 (Reuters) – It isn’t like Federal Reserve
Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues have it in for
old people – I’m sure they are all very respectful of their
elders. (The policy-setting reserve bank presidents typically
have to retire when they are 65. Bernanke is 59.)

But their policy of holding interest rates as low as they
need to be to keep the economy in modest growth mode is also
hitting Grandma and Grandpa particularly hard: At ages when most
people try to keep their money “safe” in bank certificates of
deposit and bonds, retirees are having to contend with returns
that would be considered laughably bad if they didn’t have to
cover groceries and Medicare co-pays.

May 8, 2013

Stern Advice: A tax strategy for all seasons

WASHINGTON, May 8 (Reuters) – Just when you may have thought
that federal tax policy was set – that January’s “fiscal cliff”
deal meant you could go about your financial life with
multi-year certainty – Washington is again talking of
comprehensive tax reform.

Both key congressional committee heads – Senate Finance
chair Max Baucus, a Democrat, and Dave Camp, the Republican
chair of the House Ways and Means Committee – have hinted that
the impending debt-ceiling increase could be the tree upon which
a new tax code hangs.

Apr 24, 2013

Have fun now, retire later

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – By the time you are nearing the pre-retirement years, you’ve probably heard all that nose-to-the-grindstone advice hundreds of times: Work longer. Cinch the belt tighter. Plow as much as possible into your 401(k) because you might live to be 100 and you’ll need that money later.

Yes, but what if? As in, what if you are impatient to start doing some of that travel you planned to do when you retire? What if you don’t want to defer the tennis lessons or woodworking shop or multi-generational family trip until you are 70? What if you don’t expect to live forever?

Apr 24, 2013

Stern Advice – Have fun now, retire later

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) – By the time you are nearing
the pre-retirement years, you’ve probably heard all that
nose-to-the-grindstone advice hundreds of times: Work longer.
Cinch the belt tighter. Plow as much as possible into your
401(k) because you might live to be 100 and you’ll need that
money later.

Yes, but what if? As in, what if you are impatient to start
doing some of that travel you planned to do when you retire?
What if you don’t want to defer the tennis lessons or
woodworking shop or multi-generational family trip until you are
70? What if you don’t expect to live forever?

Apr 17, 2013

New strategies for tuition-panicked parents

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – This is the time of year when high school seniors start to calm down and their parents start to get anxious. The students have received those coveted college acceptance letters, so they know they are going to go somewhere. But how will Mom and Dad scrape up the money to pay for it?

As has been widely reported, the numbers are significant. some schools have breached the $60,000 mark for one year of tuition and fees. The interest rates on federal student loans are slated to double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent come July 1, unless Congress acts before then. And independent financial aid advisers like Fred Amrein in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, say they see schools increasingly optimizing their funds to drive the most money to the students they want the most.

    • 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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