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Mar 5, 2015

Watch that free money for IRA rollovers

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Back in the day, you could walk into a bank to open a new account and walk out with a free toaster.

Today, you can get anywhere from $50 to $2,500 for rolling over a 401(k) into an Individual Retirement Account, or just by moving an IRA from another financial institution.

Feb 24, 2015

Fiduciary standard for advice is long overdue in U.S.

CHICAGO (Reuters) – When you are planning for retirement and ask for advice, whose interest should come first – yours or the financial expert you ask for help?

That is the question at the heart of a Washington debate over the unsexy-sounding term “fiduciary standard.” Simply put, it is a legal responsibility requiring an adviser to put the best interest of a client ahead of all else.

Feb 19, 2015

Boomer entrepreneur trend could be slowing with age

CHICAGO, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Nancy Kessler spent much of her
career as a museum curator, but she also has had a lifelong love
of working with older people. During one stint working with
Alzheimer’s patients, she noticed a gap in one type of
caregiving: “There is a lot of wellness and physical therapy but
not much intellectual stimulation.”

Last year, she decided to do something about that. Following
a layoff at age 58, she launched Memoirs Plus, which specializes
in writing memoirs for seniors. The idea of her business is to
provide her clients with intellectual stimulation and a creative
activity that helps them tell their life stories.

Feb 12, 2015

How Social Security can help you play catch-up on retirement

CHICAGO, Feb 12 (Reuters) – More Americans over 55 are
finally getting back to work after the long recession. The
strong national employment report for January released last week
confirmed that. The unemployment rate for those over 55 was just
4.1 percent in January, down from 4.5 percent a year ago and
well below the national jobless rate. The 55-plus labor force
participation rate inched up to 40 percent from 39.9 percent.

That is good news for patching up household balance sheets
damaged by years of lost employment and savings, and also for
boosting future Social Security benefits.

Jan 29, 2015

College is not just for the young

CHICAGO, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Stanford University welcomed 25
unusual students onto its campus this month – all in their 50s
and 60s.

They are the inaugural fellows of a new program, the
Distinguished Careers Institute (DCI), designed for people who
want to follow more than one career path in their lifetimes and
who want to go back to a college setting for more training. It
is the forefront of a new movement for universities to look
beyond typical 19-year-old undergraduates.

Jan 21, 2015

Only small victories for retirement in Obama’s speech

Chicago, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Remember Mitt Romney’s huge IRA?
During the 2012 campaign, we learned that the governor managed
to amass $20 million to $100 million in an Individual Retirement
Account, much more than anyone could accumulate under the
contribution limit rules without some unusual investments and

Romney’s IRA found its way, indirectly, into a broader set
of retirement policy reforms unveiled in President Obama’s State
of the Union proposals on Monday.

Jan 15, 2015

Will Illinois’ plan to get workers to save for retirement work?

CHICAGO, Jan 15 (Reuters) – My home state of Illinois is not
the first place that comes to mind for innovative approaches to
retirement savings. We are much more infamous for our pension
plan for state workers, which is the worst-funded in the

But Illinois just became the first U.S. state to adopt a
promising new approach to a big problem in the nation’s
retirement saving system: the lack of workplace saving options
for low-income workers.

Jan 8, 2015

Defending Social Security: Next on Obama’s to-do list?

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Since the midterm elections, President Obama has taken decisive action on immigration reform, climate change and relations with Cuba. Now, the new Republican-controlled Congress has handed him another opportunity to act boldly – by leaving a legacy as a strong defender of Social Security.

House Republicans signaled this week that they are gearing up for a major clash over the country’s most important retirement program. In a surprise move, they adopted a rule on the first day of the new session that effectively forbids the House from approving any financial fix to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program unless it is coupled with broader reforms. That would almost surely mean damaging benefit cuts for retirees struggling in the post-recession economy.

Dec 23, 2014

Thinking of a retirement account rollover? Think twice

CHICAGO (Reuters) – John Turner wondered if he should roll over his federal government retirement account into an individual retirement account. So he called 15 IRA providers to get some guidance.

That may sound like overkill, but Turner wasn’t really contemplating a rollover. He was calling IRA providers to test the truthfulness and value of their advice on rollovers from workplace retirement accounts to IRAs.

Dec 18, 2014

After the new federal pension rules: What retirees need to know

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The last-minute deal to allow retiree pension benefit cuts as part of the federal spending bill for 2015 passed by Congress last week has set off shock waves in the U.S. retirement system.

Buried in the $1.1 trillion “Cromnibus” legislation signed this week by President Barack Obama was a provision that aims to head off a looming implosion of multiemployer pension plans – traditional defined benefit plans jointly funded by groups of employers. The pension reforms affect only retirees in struggling multiemployer pension plans, but any retiree living on a defined benefit pension could rightly wonder: Am I next?

    • 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."
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