Personal Finance

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Up until very recently, we’ve all been watching the almost daily pronouncements of new all-time highs in both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. But many investors may be in for a rude awakening: an account statement that shows an annual return less than the major indexes—and less than what the investor …

Rayes | Photodisc | Getty Images

If you make one New Year’s resolution this year, pledge to pay closer attention to your credit card. “Next year is shaping up to be the biggest year for credit card changes since the Credit CARD Act came out and shook things up in 2009,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com. One of …

George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A shopper makes a credit card purchase at an H&M store.

Any shopper who’s been to the mall this holiday season has heard the pitch: Do you have one of our store credit cards? If you sign up today, you’ll get an extra 20 percent off your purchase. Plus rewards! Maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to turn a deaf ear to these offers. Racked.com dug into …

Shannon Fagan | Stone | Getty Images

Ah, the holidays. Time for rest and relaxation with family and friends. Or is that just the Hallmark version? Some 57 percent of full-time employees say they plan to work at some point over their purported holiday break, according to a new survey, mostly checking or answering emails. Almost half of them expect tospend two …

Walter B. McKenzie | Getty Images

Happy holidays? Not exactly. A new survey by Principal Financial Group finds that nearly 60 percent of Americans expect the holidays to stress their budgets, and 47 percent view the economy as “unhealthy to some degree.” And the percentage of people who think the economy will stay the same or worsen is 2 points higher …

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. Capitol building, Washington.

The latest assault on private pensions may be coming from the U.S. Congress. Lawmakers on Wednesday were finalizing a deal to shore up the government’s pension insurance fund with provisions that would raise premiums and allow troubled pension plans covering more than one employer to cut retiree benefits. As of midday Wednesday, the reform provisions, …

Peter Dazeley | Getty Images

The golden years are going to feel a bit tarnished for almost one in five Americans. In a personal finance survey published today, 18 percent of the respondents said they expect to be in debt for the rest of their lives. That is double the percentage who expected that in May 2013, the last time …

Source: SpeakUp
Ray Gillenwater (left), former BlackBerry executive and founder of SpeakUp, with SpeakUp co-founder Keith Barney

In October, when Adam Herscher posted an in-depth essay about why he decided to leave his $255,000-a-year job at Microsoft to start his own software company, he was aiming to tap into Seattle’s start-up community to build his network. He didn’t expect the overwhelming number of comments from corporate workers around the country, asking for …

Cabania | Getty Images

Taxpayers, it’s time to sharpen your pencils. Between uncertain tax breaks and the Affordable Care Act, the end of the year is again bringing a complicated set of tax considerations. The moves you make now will have a decided effect on your tax bill for 2014. Alison Flores, a principal at The Tax Institute at …

Musketeer | Getty Images

In my forties and fifties, my friends and I assumed we’d all retire at 65. Didn’t everybody? Then, still going full tilt in my early sixties, I thought retiring at 65 seemed too early. Yet data shows most American workers retire at 63 or 64, and we can claim Social Security benefits at 62. So …

Media For Medical | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Our brains are a problem. We’re wired to respond to the immediate threats and gratifications of a simpler and more dangerous world. Our short-term bias inhibits our ability to deal with longer-term issues—challenges that won’t become real for 30 to 50 years. Challenges like preparing for a financially secure retirement. Shlomo Benartzi, a professor at …

Tom Grill | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

Looking for a magic bullet that will help you stick to a budget and stay on track with saving? Easy, says a new survey released Monday by Fidelity Investments: Make a financial New Year’s resolution. About 51 percent of the survey respondents who made financial resolutions a year ago said they feel better off financially, …

Nancy Brown | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Louisa Hellegers spent more than 40 years in publishing before deciding to retire from the field in 2009. But at just over 60, she wasn’t ready to transition into a leisurely retirement. “I didn’t think I was done working. I really had no idea what I was going to do, but I didn’t think that …

iStock | Getty Images Plus

There’s something about the idea of year-end tips that sends people into panic mode. It’s an annual conundrum—one that, to hear etiquette experts tell it, consumers still haven’t gotten the hang of. “There’s always that big question mark, every year,” said Diane Gottsman, owner of The Protocol School of Texas. We’re not sure who needs …

Cnythzi | Getty Images

It’s never been easy to get a mortgage if you’re self-employed. But a recent analysis of mortgage data shows just how much harder it is. Getting lenders to quote you a rate is tougher if you don’t work for someone else, according to a report Thursday from real estate researcher Zillow. Though they typically have …