Tag Archives: opinion

Is China a threat to your retirement portfolio?

Plunging Chinese stock prices may have U.S. investors concerned about their exposure. But, for the most part, they probably don’t need to worry.

Advisors say many U.S. investors, especially those who have diversified, won’t feel a huge bite to their overall portfolio.

For one, most U.S. investors and mutual funds own shares of Chinese companies traded on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, not the Shanghai Stock Exchange, said Patricia Oey, senior fund analyst at investment research firm Morningstar.

While the Shanghai Composite stock index, which tracks China’s benchmark stock market, dropped 8.5 percent on Monday, suffering its biggest daily loss since 2007, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 3.1 percent.

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More American savers skimp on retirement plans

Americans are saving more, just not in their employer-sponsored retirement plans, according to a new analysis by retirement market researcher Hearts & Wallets.

Average annual household savings increased almost a full percentage point to 5.5 percent last year, up from 4.6 percent in 2013, based on Hearts & Wallets’ annual survey of 5,500 U.S. households. (The personal savings rate this May was 5.1 percent, according to the latest release from the Federal Reserve Bank in St. Louis.) But the percentage of household savings that went into employer-sponsored retirements plans like 401(k)s fell 7 percentage points to 22 percent in 2014, and households participating in employer-sponsored plans declined to 56 percent last year from 60 percent in 2013.

“Our research shows that the average saver was more focused on building an emergency fund than saving for retirement last year,” said Laura Varas, co-founder of Hearts & Wallets. The percentage of households that said they set aside money to deal with unexpected expenses grew from 37 percent in 2013 to 45 percent in 2014.

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Here’s How Greece Could Affect Your Retirement Savings

Reaction As Greece Imposes Capital Control

Your 401(k) or IRA will probably be fine

Greek leaders are scrambling to nail down a new bailout dealbefore July 20, when the country would otherwise default on a €3.5 billion bond repayment to European creditors and might be forced to abandon the Euro currency altogether.

As recent stock performance in the U.S. suggests, fears of what a so-called “Grexit” could do to Europe’s economy has spread to American shores. Indeed, U.S. markets may very well be choppy for at least the next several weeks until there’s more certainty about the future.

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Here’s How Inflation Has Eroded American Workers’ Overtime Eligibility

Sheila Abramson serves customers of Langer's Delicatessen in Los Angeles in 2013.

Sheila Abramson serves customers of Langer’s Delicatessen in Los Angeles in 2013.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

President Obama is once again poised to go it alone on labor policy, this time on overtime. The Labor Department is expected in the coming weeks to release a rule making millions more Americans eligible for overtime work — currently, all workers earning below $455 a week, or $23,660 a year, are guaranteed time-and-a-half pay for working more than 40 hours a week. The law may raise that as high as $52,000,Politico reports.

The rule would also change the regulations outlining which employees earning above that threshold are eligible — currently, employers can exempt some employees above that threshold if those workers could be considered “white collar.”

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Give That Teacher A Key To The City!

Teacher Sarah Hagan (center) receives the key to the city from Mark Whinnery, the city manager of Drumright, Okla., and Mayor Deborah Bright.

Teacher Sarah Hagan (center) receives the key to the city from Mark Whinnery, the city manager of Drumright, Okla., and Mayor Deborah Bright.
Courtesy of Melinda Parker

The motivation behind our series, 50 Great Teachers, is pretty simple: Celebrate great teaching and great teachers.

A few months ago, I celebrated Sarah Hagan, who doesn’t so much teach algebra as shout it from the rooftops. Never have I seen more creative math lessons or more engaged students than in her classroom in Drumright, Okla.

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UC Davis students protest proposed tuition hike on anniversary of pepper spraying

Fifth-year UC Davis student and former student association senator Kabir Kapur leads demonstrators as they march through campus to Mrak Hall on Tuesday protesting a proposal to increase tuition at the University of California system by up to 25 percent over five years.

With the University of California regents scheduled to start debate Wednesday on proposed tuition hikes that could total 25 percent over five years, hundreds of UC Davis students protested Tuesday in what has become a familiar ritual on public campuses around the state in recent years.

The demonstration marked the third anniversary of the notorious UC Davis pepper spraying incident, which occurred on Nov. 18, 2011, during a protest on the campus quad by students upset about the increasing expense of a UC education.

Amid The Stereotypes, Some Facts About Millennials

Friends balance on pilings at the beach.

“Millennial” is the buzzword of the moment — with much of the national conversation focused on stereotypes and anecdotes. But are young adults today really all that different from those of previous generations?

A review of data shows that millennials do have characteristics that set them apart. Unlike their parents’ generation, millennials are ushering in an age when minorities will lead the U.S. population. Many of them aren’t too keen on marrying early. They are the most educated generation — but even so, a majority remains undereducated. And since they entered the workforce in the midst of a sluggish economy, many also remain underemployed.

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