Retirement Blog

Friday, March 9, 2012 4:04 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

If you run a small business or are employed by one, there’s a very good chance you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 29 percent of workers employed by businesses with fewer than 100 employees have access to an employer-sponsored plan. That makes retirement planning tough. By comparison, 81 percent of workers at companies with 100 or more employees have access to employer-sponsored plans.
At a hearing this week held by the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, the General Accounting Office released an analysis that said more owners of small businesses don’t have plans because the plans are expensive and offering them carries with it fiduciary responsibilities that small businesses don’t feel qualified to accept.

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Thursday, March 8, 2012 4:57 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

Buying individual long-term care insurance is getting more difficult — yet another retirement-planning handicap.

Prudential has joined the list of major insurers that have dropped their business. Besides Prudential, these include MetLife and Unum Group, which have eliminated some group policies. All say the cost of offering this retirement protection is too high.

Large long-term care insurers still in the business of selling insurance to individuals include Genworth and John Hancock.

In the meantime, the IRS has increased deductibility levels for long-term care insurance policies purchased in 2012. If you run a small business — even one that you or you and your spouse operate part time — long-term care can be a significant tax deduction.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012 3:03 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

If you’re maxing out your 401(k) — getting every penny of the available employer match — you might want to consider opening an individual retirement account. Or better yet, if you don’t make too much money, save in a Roth 401(k), says Doug Zarookian, manager of  Charles Schwab’s Park Avenue office in New York. Zarookian

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Tuesday, March 6, 2012 6:00 am
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

In honor of Older Americans Month, the U.S. Census Bureau sent out a host of facts and figures about people age 65 and older. Here are six of the most significant for people doing some retirement planning. We’re big and getting bigger. In 2010, there were 40.3 million people in the U.S. who were 65

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Monday, March 5, 2012 10:00 am
By Barbara Whelehan · Bankrate.com

In Friday’s blog post, called “Averting retirement disaster,” I described the risk-averse approach to retirement planning that Erin Botsford writes about in her book, “The Big Retirement Risk: Running Out of Money Before You Run Out of Time.” I’ll reiterate: It’s a must-read for those who are approaching retirement. If you don’t want to subject

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Friday, March 2, 2012 6:00 pm
By Barbara Whelehan · Bankrate.com

Employers who offer traditional pension plans worry about risk. In fact, they ranked 18 risks in order of importance in the MetLife U.S. Pension Risk Behavior Index released this week. The top three risks were underfunding of liabilities, asset and liability mismatch, and asset allocation. According to the study, employers “no longer believe they can

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Thursday, March 1, 2012 4:25 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

“Flashing the cash” makes you vulnerable to theft, and that’s especially true of baby boomers with healthy nest eggs. The Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, reported that it had filed a record 146 financial-fraud enforcement actions in 2011 against investment advisers and companies. That’s an increase of 35 percent in just three years. The

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012 6:14 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

Home is where the money is for many middle-income people who are struggling with retirement planning. While many boomers don’t have big retirement savings funds and their pensions are skimpy or non-existent, even after the real estate meltdown, their homes are still a big asset. The National Council on Aging has set up a website,

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012 4:44 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

The Great Recession had a significant effect on many people’s retirement planning, but Barry Bosworth, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution, says it’s probably not the effect you might have thought it was. He has examined a variety of economic studies about the downturn and concluded that for most people older than 50, losing

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Monday, February 27, 2012 2:08 pm
By Jennie L. Phipps · Bankrate.com

Every time I write about annuities or other retirement planning tools that require people to turn over a chunk of their retirement savings in exchange for guaranteed income, a substantial number of readers respond vociferously, writing me things like, “Heck, no. Don’t even talk about it. We’re not interested.” So given that, I was surprised

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