The Federal Reserve inadvertently published a forecast by staff economists showing they expect a quarter-point increase in interest rates this year. The mistake prompted criticism about the central bank's ability to prevent information leaks.
Securities and Exchange Commission member Daniel Gallagher doubts the U.S. Department of Labor is listening to public comment about its proposed fiduciary rule, he says in a letter to Labor Secretary Thomas Perez. "It is clear to me that the [department] rulemaking is a fait accompli and that the comment process is merely perfunctory. ... I am convinced that the rule, when finalized, will harm investors and the U.S. capital markets," Gallagher wrote.
Academic-minded observers say that stocks are overpriced right now, based on a wide variety of metrics. Chris Brightman of Research Affiliates has shown how different methodologies lead to the same conclusion. Investors would be wise to lower their expectations for returns.
Some experts have touted health savings accounts as a solid retirement vehicle as well. But others have noted that these accounts mainly benefit younger, healthier plan participants, who don't require a lot of medical services, and high-income participants, who benefit more from the tax advantages.
Columnist John Rekenthaler takes a look at the probe into whether fund companies are using improper tactics to compensate brokers who distribute their products. "I can't say that I am outraged. The potential damage caused by these allegations pales in comparison to the existing damage caused by the 35-year-old 12b-1 fee," he writes.
Social Security not only needs more support to stay alive but also should be expanded because it is the only consistent aspect of Americans' retirement planning, author and professor Robert Kuttner writes. For many people, "Social Security is all there is," he notes.
Social Security faces problems, but it isn't going anywhere despite the grave challenges cited in its trustees' annual report, according to Jamie Hopkins. Because nearly one-third of retirees get almost all their income from the program, the social cost of letting it disappear would be too great, he writes.
Three experts offer advice to baby boomers who want to improve their retirement picture. Their solutions: Be willing to take on more risky investments that pay higher dividends, take advantage of catch-up contributions to retirement accounts, and reduce your income needs by paying down debt.
Financial planner Ray LeVitre urges all Americans to get a written financial plan if they hope to save successfully for retirement. Such plans should encompass investments, pensions and Social Security. He offers tips on working with an adviser toward that goal.
The retirement contribution limits for Simplified Employee Pensions can be complex for self-employed workers, Matthew Frankel writes. He explains the rules and how self-employed individuals can figure out how much they contribute.