Employees can build savings by changing car-buying habits: Retirement Scan

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Clients can build retirement fund by changing car-owning habits
Instead of spending considerably on expensive cars, clients should instead invest the money in a retirement savings account, where it can grow and help them secure a comfortable retirement, according to this article on U.S. News & World Report. If clients don't need an expensive car for a “reason that pays” – such as taking customers shopping for luxury homes, perhaps -- owning one expensive car after another can be a “retirement killer,” according to this article. Replacing each car for style, fear of maintenance costs, or just to keep up with the Joneses is a major mistake. "Kicking the habit of purchasing expensive cars early in life can not only save extra money per month, but may also allow someone to retire earlier," says a retirement expert.

Clients lose track of an old 401(k)? Help may be on the way
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Steve Daines, R-Mont., sponsored a legislation that calls for the creation of a searchable database that people can use to find their old retirement accounts, according to this Bloomberg article. An industry executive estimates that more than 900,000 workers cannot find their old defined-contribution plans every year, while another expert says that a quarter of retirees seek assistance to locate their traditional pension. Currently, the U.S. Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.'s "missing-participants program" includes a searchable database of traditional pension plans under its care, as the agency has handled about 43,000 individual accounts over the last two decades.

What Social Security isn’t telling you
A study by the Government Accountability Office has found that Social Security fails to provide claimants with the key details of their benefits and a clear explanation of their options, according to this article on CBS Moneywatch. The study has also found that the program's online claims process also provides insufficient information or could unintentionally influence applicants' decisions about the timing of their claims. “The American public is clueless that this decision is so important,” says Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. “It is staggering that so many Americans don’t realize that this is a decision at all. Many think you just claim at 62, or when you stop working. Or when you claim Medicare. Or when you hit full retirement age at 66 or 67.”

4 of the fastest ways to go broke in retirement
People are likely to run out of funds in retirement if they adopt a too conservative or too aggressive approach to investing, according to this article on Money. They also run the risk of outliving their nest egg if they carry too much debt into their golden years. Clients who opt to use their savings to help a cash-strapped adult child also have a bigger chance of having insufficient funds to cover their needs after they retire.

Three best ways to pump up a 401k
401(k) participants are advised to be consistent in their investing to make the most of the plan, according to this article on Forbes. They should avoid pulling the money out of the plan or they face taxes and a hefty early withdrawal penalty. They should also avoid leaving free money on the table by taking advantage of their employer's matching contribution. Workers can maximize their plan's benefits by sticking to an investing plan. “Some investors want to build their own portfolios and adjust their holdings of asset classes over time. Others prefer to invest in target date funds, which hold a diversified mix of stocks and bonds and automatically rebalance to become less focused on growth and more focused on income as savers approach and move into retirement," according to the Investment Company Institute.

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