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May 1, 2013

Column: Retirees and debt: How to avoid the worst traps

CHICAGO (Reuters) – If you’re strapped for cash or have a poor credit rating, the offer would sound tempting: upfront cash in return for your future pension payments.

But it’s a debt trap, according to a recent expose by The New York Times, a “pension advance” loan charging sky-high interest rates. A Times analysis of these deals found effective interest rates ranging from 27 percent to as high as 106 percent.

May 1, 2013

Retirees and debt: How to avoid the worst traps

CHICAGO, May 1 (Reuters) – If you’re strapped for cash or
have a poor credit rating, the offer would sound tempting:
upfront cash in return for your future pension payments.

But it’s a debt trap, according to a recent expose by The
New York Times, a “pension advance” loan charging sky-high
interest rates. A Times analysis of these deals found effective
interest rates ranging from 27 percent to as high as 106
percent.

Apr 26, 2013

Column: Gambling with your retirement: PBS gets in on the action

CHICAGO (Reuters) – PBS Frontline is shocked – shocked! – to find that investors hold retirement accounts that cost too much and eat into long-term returns, even though financial experts have been hammering away on these issues for years

The public affairs show turned its investigative eye to the financial services industry this week with “The Retirement Gamble.”

Apr 26, 2013

Gambling with your retirement: PBS gets in on the action

CHICAGO, April 26 (Reuters) – PBS Frontline is shocked -
shocked! – to find that investors hold retirement accounts that
cost too much and eat into long-term returns, even though
financial experts have been hammering away on these issues for
years

The public affairs show turned its investigative eye to the
financial services industry this week with “The Retirement
Gamble.”

Apr 24, 2013

Column: Want to buy a business? You can tap your 401(k)

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Mark Schottland’s 401(k) took a beating in the market crash of 2008, and its value plunged 35 percent, to $65,000. But rather than go into a mattress fund, the Nashville resident decided to invest in himself.

Schottland used what was left of his nest egg at the end of that year to buy the Nashville franchise for Dogtopia, a dog daycare and boarding business that had 27 locations nationwide at the end of last year.

Apr 22, 2013

Analysis: Boomer downsizing trend hasn’t materialized yet, but may

By Mark Miller

(Reuters) – When Barbara and Mark Gomperts became empty nesters a few years ago, they found themselves using just a fraction of the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house where they had raised their children in Vienna, Virginia.

They bought a townhouse in nearby Burke that was a third the size of the house they sold. “We just didn’t need as much space to be happy,” Barbara said in an interview. She is using some of their monthly savings to retrain for a second career.

Apr 22, 2013

Boomer downsizing trend hasn’t materialized yet, but may

April 22 (Reuters) – When Barbara and Mark Gomperts became
empty nesters a few years ago, they found themselves using just
a fraction of the 3,000-square-foot, five-bedroom house where
they had raised their children in Vienna, Virginia.

They bought a townhouse in nearby Burke that was a third the
size of the house they sold. “We just didn’t need as much space
to be happy,” Barbara said in an interview. She is using some of
their monthly savings to retrain for a second career.

Apr 17, 2013

Answering Americans’ top five questions about Social Security

CHICAGO, April 17 (Reuters) – Americans want to know how to
get the most from their Social Security benefits, and they have
posed more than 11,000 questions to AARP over the years.

The group of more than 37 million people age 50 and older
has been collecting these queries – and answers to them – in an
online searchable database launched eight months ago.

Apr 11, 2013

Retirement savers go online for low-cost advice

CHICAGO, April 11 (Reuters) – Gary Zeiger could have used an
investment adviser back in the 1990s. As a young techie at a
software company, he got swept up in dot-com stock fever and
lost two-thirds of his 401(k) portfolio when the bubble burst in
2000.

The remainder evaporated later, when a layoff forced him to
tap the account to cover living expenses.

Apr 9, 2013

Obama’s fix would trim Social Security checks

CHICAGO, April 9 (Reuters) – Leah Witherspoon lives on
$1,684 a month from Social Security, which is just a little more
than the average Social Security retirement benefit this year of
$1,261.

The 66-year-old Dallas widow, a former school cafeteria
supervisor, is a typical Social Security beneficiary in another
way: Her benefits provide just enough to get by. But that could
change under an expected proposal this week from President Obama
aimed at slowing benefits growth.

    • About Mark

      "Mark Miller is a journalist and author who writes about trends in retirement and aging. He has a special focus on how the baby boomer generation is revising its approach to careers, money and lifestyle after age 50. Mark is the author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work and Living (John Wiley & Sons/Bloomberg Press, 2010) and edits RetirementRevised.com. Mark is the former editor of Crain’s Chicago Business, and former Sunday editor of the Chicago Sun-Times. The opinions expressed here are his own."
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