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Encore
A blog about living in and planning for retirement

retirement planning - All posts tagged retirement planning

  • Oct 19, 2012
    3:09 PM ET

    401(k) Plan Perks Grow, but Savings Still Lag

    Workers are getting a little more help from their employers when it comes to retirement saving, but many are still falling short in building their nest eggs.

    After suspending or slashing their matches of employees’ 401(k) contributions  during the recession, most companies have restored them. In 2011, the percent of companies making those matches increased…

  • Oct 17, 2012
    6:42 AM ET

    A price-cutting war in your 401(k)

    The jury is still out on Washington’s big effort to wring costs out of America’s 401(k) system by making the industry disclose those costs more clearly. But a wave of recent price cuts by big-name mutual fund companies suggests that the new reform efforts are gaining traction.

    In recent months, MFS, Putnam, John Hancock, Janus and Columbia separately began offering cheaper versions of many of their funds [...]

  • Oct 16, 2012
    6:18 PM ET

    States Try the Retirement-Plan Business

    It’s a major fiscal problem: More than 50% of working-age Americans have no retirement plan coverage at work. For years, policy makers have been searching for ways to address the problem by enticing small businesses to offer their employees 401(k)-style retirement plans.

    Now, legislators in a few states are taking a different tack, backing new initiatives that would shift the responsibility for setting up the retirement plan – and picking investment options – to the government.

  • Oct 8, 2012
    8:11 AM ET

    Employers: Most Workers Don’t Make Good Use of 401(k)s

    Is a 401(k) retirement plan “adequate” if most workers who use it aren’t prepared for retirement?

    That’s the question raised by a new study from benefits consulting firm Towers Watson. The 401(k) system has come under a lot of criticism since the financial crisis hammered workers’ nest eggs. But the study, which polled about 370 large employers, suggests there may be a big gap between how managers and workers view the issue — and that managers don’t necessarily have a high opinion of the hoi polloi.

  • Sep 25, 2012
    8:27 AM ET

    Scared Straight: Boomer Woes Inspiring Millennial Savers

    In the Wall Street Journal today, E.S. Browning finds a silver lining in the financial struggles of the Baby Boomer generation: The boomers’ kids are getting their acts together. Americans in their mid-30s or younger are more likely than they were 10 years ago to be taking part in their workplace 401(k); they’re less likely to have credit card debt, and card balances are smaller among those who have them. What’s motivating them, in many cases, is having watched their parents lose their jobs and hit bottom in the Great Recession. (Browning’s most succinct generation-gap moment, for my money, is this quote: “’What if life throws me a curve ball like that?’ said the 27-year-old radio DJ.”)

    Some point/counterpoint in the Comments section about how if these kids were really smart, they’d be stockpiling gold and silver and preparing for the government’s looming Debtpocalypse. Pithiest reader comment, from one “Donald Dewitt”: “Deferred gratification is difficult – unless the fear of scarcity is greater.

  • Sep 12, 2012
    2:52 PM ET

    Encore: The Key to A Wealthy Retirement? Childlessness

    The Most Obvious Headline of the Week Award goes to this recent take on saving for retirement: How Not Having Kids Can Help You Save For Retirement. But David Bakke of Investopedia, reviewing some research by Bankrate.com and others, does highlight some interesting data. Particularly eye-catching: the cost of raising a single child to the age of 17 was $235,000 in 2011, up 3.5% from 2010 on increases in the cost of schooling, transportation, daycare and food. And that number doesn’t even include college tuition.

     Regarding the overall premise, as a mother of two small children, all I can say is: Duh.

  • Jul 27, 2011
    11:15 AM ET

    A Simple Way to Add $250,000+ to Your Nest Egg

    iStockPhoto

    You’ve probably heard Suze Orman rail against buying all those “little things” on her TV show or author David Bach speak about the ill effects of the “latte factor” on your bottom line.  But how much does spending a couple of bucks here and there on small-ticket items really impact your overall retirement savings?

  • Jul 18, 2011
    4:27 PM ET

    The Single Life: 3 Ways to Retire Well on Your Own

    iStockPhoto

    Being single certainly has it perks. You have just one pair of dirty socks to wash each day, those dinner dishes don’t pile up that fast in the sink, and you get control of the remote 24/7, even if all you want to watch is golf for six hours. But when it comes to saving for retirement, single folks don’t have it quite so easy, a new study finds.

    A study released this month by the Employee Benefit Research Institute found that while 80% of married people are financially prepared for retirement, just 55% of single people are.  The trend persists regardless of education level: For example, while more than 88% of college-educated married folks are financially prepared for retirement, just over 68% of single college grads are.  “When you’re single, retirement planning is often 100% on you,” says Deana Arnett, CFP, a senior planning consultant at Financial Planning Services in Northern Virginia. “You are it, and that’s tough.”

  • May 10, 2011
    11:41 AM ET

    Social Security Payments Go Paperless

    iStorkPhoto

    Attention Social Security recipients: Uncle Sam wants you…to go paperless.

    On May 1, the federal government began requiring new applicants for Social Security to sign up for direct deposit of their monthly benefit checks. The change will also affect new applicants for veterans’ benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Railroad Retirement Board benefits, among others.

    Current recipients must go paperless too—but not until March 1, 2013.

    For most, the requirement should be easy to fulfill. When signing up for benefits, applicants must simply include their bank account number, plus the routing number of their financial institution.

About Encore

  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.