Mark's Feed
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

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

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.

Apr 4, 2013

Sequester falsely pits ‘greedy geezers’ against the young

CHICAGO, April 4 (Reuters) – Call it the myth of the greedy
geezer – an argument keeps popping up in Washington that old
people have it too good, and that entitlement spending is
squeezing out programs for the young and the needy. We can
maintain our current spending on programs like Social Security,
or we can have Head Start – but we cannot do both.

This is a frequent refrain of the deficit hawk lobby -
groups like Pete Peterson’s Fix the Debt and the millennial-led
advocacy organization The Can Kicks Back. One of my favorite
quotes: hedge fund guru Stan Druckenmiller told a television
interviewer recently that he is not “against seniors.” Rather,
he said, “What I am against is current seniors stealing from
future seniors.”

Mar 26, 2013

Intel’s new approach to retirement: encore careers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Intel Corp. has something new inside: A $25,000 retiree benefit to help older workers transition into new careers in non-profit organizations.

Last year, the technology giant launched the Intel Encore Career Fellowship – a program offering a paid, one-year, $25,000 stipend to encourage near-retirement employees to put their skills to work in new careers with a social purpose.

Mar 21, 2013

Help with end-of-life talks, from a prize-winning writer

CHICAGO, March 21 (Reuters) – Ellen Goodman spent decades
talking with Americans through her Pulitzer Prize-winning
newspaper column about social change and the women’s movement.
But when her mother became severely ill several years ago, it
struck her there was one profoundly important conversation the
two of them had never had.

“My mother was the kind of person who would talk about your
problems until you were bored with them,” says Goodman.

Mar 19, 2013

Getting past America’s bad case of retirement blues

CHICAGO, March 19 (Reuters) – The economic recovery is not
helping Americans shake a bad case of the retirement jitters.

Workers and current retirees are less confident than ever in
their ability to live comfortably in the post-employment world,
according to the 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey published
Tuesday by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Employee Benefits Research

Mar 14, 2013

Getting a handle on those retirement health “billions”

CHICAGO (Reuters) – We’ve all heard the scary numbers. Experts say Americans need to set aside hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for health care in retirement — $200,000, $300,000 or more. Billions and billions, as the late astronomer Carl Sagan would have said.

But these forecasts are just average figures; it is harder to get a handle on what your own health care spending will really be in retirement. And with so many struggling to save anything at all, what’s the point of trying to plan specifically for health care?

Mar 7, 2013

Are employers with auto-enroll 401(k) plans less generous?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Are employers stingier with their 401(k) matching contributions when they automate the enrollment process?

Auto-enrollment has been a hot trend in the 401(k) world over the last few years. The idea is to nudge workers to save who might not otherwise do so through a simple behavioral change: action needs to be taken to opt out, instead of opt in. A study by behavioral economists Shlomo Benartzi and Richard H. Thaler, released today in Science magazine, says that 56 percent of companies offer some kind of auto-enrollment program, up from 19 in 2005.

    • 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 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."
    • More from Mark

    • Follow Mark