Here’s a review of top personal finance stories, columns and studies from publications, websites and blogs across the country.
How much do I need to save for retirement?
The answer to this question is not simple, and depends on the personal situations of the retiring individual or couple. Various retirement planners and money managers also differ in their recommendations. According to investment firm Fidelity, you will want to have in savings an amount equal to 8 times your salary when you reach retirement. In contrast, Money estimates that they multiplying factor should be at 12 times your income. Remember these estimates, along with other calculating tools available online, can be handy for planning your future, but will vary widely according to your personal financial circumstances.
Read the full article at CNN Money.
Homes languishing in foreclosure process
It is taking almost three years in some states for homes to go through foreclosure. The national average is 382 days to complete a foreclosure proceeding, according to RealtyTrac statistics just released. But property foreclosures in some places are lasting much longer. New York tops the list with an average of 1,072 days to complete the foreclosure process on an owner-occupied home, and many states are not much better. As a result, lenders are considering building costs of foreclosure proceedings into their mortgage loans. In states where the foreclosure takes the longest time, such modifications could end up affecting home prices and mortgage loan costs.
Get the whole story at Wall Street Journal MarketWatch.
401(k) fees explained
Fees charged by retirement account managers typically range from 0.5 to 2 percent of the account balance each year, and sometimes can be as much as 5%. These expenses have a substantial impact on a retirement plan, according to the Department of Labor, which estimates that fees of 1% can reduce an account’s value by 28% over a career. Unfortunately, employees are largely unaware of the effects of these fees, if they are aware of the fees at all, according to AARP.
Read more at Practical Money Skills.
Protecting your gold and silver
Gold, silver and precious metals have always been a popular investment for individuals, especially during periods of economic turmoil. But as more consumers invest in precious metal, there is an increasing need for adequate protection of these valuable assets. Shipments of precious metals are usually insured by the seller and delivered to any legitimate mailing address, whether a home or business. Once in your possession, however, finding suitable storage and insurance is up to you. If vaulted in a bank for instance, the FDIC insurance will only cover the currency value, not the metal value of the coins.
Read more at the CNNMoney HelpDesk.
Dividends stand to take a hit from fiscal cliff
Dividend-paying stocks like utilities and real estate investment trusts (REITs), typically favored by those seeking less risk, have suffered losses in recent weeks. As people fear steep dividend and capital gains tax increases associated with anticipated fiscal cliff changes taking effect in the new year, they are choosing to sell their higher-yield holdings rather than deal with diminished values down the road.
Read more on the dividend tax implications at the Chicago Tribune.
Settlement checks for excessive credit card fees going out
Thanks to a crackdown on improper and prohibited advertising, credit card companies such as Capital One, Discover, and American Express are being forced to pay back consumers to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. The payouts are due in part to oversight by a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The individual refunds are likely only a fraction of the actual fees paid by credit card holders, but be careful not to throw a potential check out with the junk if one arrives in your mailbox.
Read the full article in the Sacramento Bee.
Personal finance experts battle for “most popular” title
As part of its 12 Days of Finance poll, personal finance resource Go Banking Rates is conducting a survey to determine the best personal finance expert of 2012. Poll-takers can select from well-known personal finance experts like Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey, David Bach, Ramit Sethi, Robert Kiyosaki, Clark Howard, J.D. Roth, Jean Chatsky, Philip Taylor, Farnoosh Torabi, Ric Edelman and Liz Weston. Robert Kiyosaki, well-known author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, is the defending winner of the 2011 contest.
Find out more at Credit Union Insights.