04 Sep 2015

Principal Life Agrees to Lower Fees As Part of Class Action Settlement Offering Proprietary Funds

      Principal Life, a subsidiary of Principal Financial, one of the nation’s largest companies in the 401(k) industry, likes to portray itself as the folksy neighbor interested in your financial well-being. But as a recent settlement shows, Principal Life has no qualms about pushing its own, more expensive

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17 Aug 2015

DOL Seeks to End Victimization of Investors

In the never-ending debate about the retirement advisor industry’s adoption of the fiduciary standard–aka, giving a customer an even break–a Department of Labor (DOL) official has cut to the chase and said the fiduciary rule would effectively change the advisory business culture. And that’s exactly why the industry hates the

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31 Jul 2015

How the Decline in Housing Wealth Affects Financial Planning

The unprecedented decline in housing prices suffered as a result of the 2008 recession is still significantly affecting retirement wealth, but it also has great far-reaching implications for the future of retirement planning. The reason: home ownership is the main engine for generating retirement wealth for most Americans. Housing wealth exceeds

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20 Jul 2015

Should Financial Advisors Criticize Capitalism?

Financial advisors today find themselves in a major ethical dilemma: Should they represent their own monetary interests before those of less-sophisticated clients? Or, should they mention, as history has repeatedly shown, that the larger financial system contains more built-in major risks that cannot be hedged and can destroy years of accumulated

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12 Jul 2015

A Bad New Trend for Retirement

As the number of part-time workers continues, more workers are now becoming freelancers to make an income.  But this large shift comes at even larger price: freelancers do not get benefits, including the all-important 401(k) plan and its critical employer match. According to a CNBC report, over 53 million Americans

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30 Jun 2015

How Neo-Conservatism Affects Investors and the Financial Services Industry

Very few industries are as blatantly anti-customer as the financial services industry. And for good reason. Basically, the financial service industry is bi-furcated into two very separate operations that, when they work together, are anti-consumer, while simultaneously being pro-banking and pro-corporate. In everyday life, too many individual investors are routinely

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26 Jun 2015

The GOP’s War Against Retirees

As millions of Americans remain concerned about whether they will have enough money to fund their retirement, they can remain assured that the GOP is intent on making these post-working twilight years as difficult as possible. While retirement once had an appealing ring to it over 50 years ago, that

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09 Jun 2015

Fool’s Mate for Individual Investors

Fool’s mate happens in chess when a player, often a novice, is boxed into a position where any action leads to defeat. That’s the case for individual investors today as evidenced by news stories involving two of the nation’s largest financial institutions. Taken together, these events involving JP Morgan, with

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02 Jul 2014

Millenials Want Social Security Benefits to Remain At Current Levels, Pew Research Finds

While Social Security has become a political football in Washington, Americans still regard it as the corner stone of their retirement and are very concerned about it future financial health. A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press report, the Millenials in Adulthood report, found just 14 percent

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02 Jun 2014

Capital, Austerity, Alienation and Pensions

“To put it badly, there are two ways to become wealthy: to create wealth or to take it away from others. The former adds to society.  The latter typically subtracts from it, for in the process of taking it away, wealth gets destroyed.”  –Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize Winner in Economics,

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