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Joellen Leavelle's Posts

More broken promises

Last week General Motors announced plans to temporarily suspend the practice of making matching contributions to their employees' 401(k) accounts.  This cut, coupled with the impact of the reeling stock market, only adds to the sense of retirement insecurity felt by workers who have seen the nation's pension and 401(k) account balances plummet by as much as $2 trillion in the past year and a half.

Now, as the Washington Post points out, workers are increasingly finding that they will have to fend for themselves when it comes to their retirement security.

Current economic crisis helps make the case for guaranteed pensions

During the last few weeks, the Wall Street roller coaster has wreaked havoc on the economy and the retirement assets of the millions of American workers with 401(k) plans.

For workers who, like me, are relatively young and decades away from retiring, the current economic crisis doesn't make me terribly anxious about my 401(k). While the economic downturn concerns me, I'm not too worried because I have ample time to prepare for retirement. But I do admit that even I am too afraid to look at the balance in my 401(k) account!

But what about people who are closer to retirement age?  More...

How does the Wall Street meltdown affect my pension?

In the past few days, large companies on Wall Street have been closing left and right, making the people who work at these companies jittery about many issues, including their retirement security.

The good news for these employees is that the money in their pension and 401(k) plans is protected from creditors, so that even when a company goes into bankruptcy, they don't have to worry about their retirement money being used to pay back debts instead.

Social insecurity

Last week the federal minimum wage rose to $6.55 an hour, increasing the annual earnings for a full-time minimum wage worker to $13,624.  While it's certainly the right move for Congress to raise the minimum wage for current workers, it raises an important question about retired workers.  Take a look at our statistics page and you'll see why: The average retired worker's Social Security check is now less than that of a minimum wage worker.

Cashed Out: Congress might make it easier for people to dip into their 401(k)s

In down economic times, it isn’t uncommon for people to feel the urge to dip into their assets to help make ends meet. Therefore, it isn’t a surprise to hear that more and more people are borrowing from their 401(k) plans for a little extra cash. Some people are even paying hefty taxes to permanently withdraw money from their 401(k)s .

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