2009 was a lousy year for the Nation; 2010 outlook is better

–(www.FinancialNewsUSA.com)– 01/01/2010 – Retirement industry news provided by Financial News USA. For all their differences, Americans largely agree on two things: 2009 was a lousy year for the nation, and 2010 is likely to be better. Nearly three-fourths of Americans think 2009 was a bad year for the country, which was rocked by job losses, home foreclosures and economic sickness. Forty-two percent rated it “very bad,” according to the latest AP-GfK poll.

That’s clearly worse than in 2006, the last time a similar poll was taken. The survey that year found that 58 percent of Americans felt the nation had suffered a bad year, and 39 percent considered it a good year.

Fewer than half as many people, 16 percent, said their family had a “very good year” in 2009 as said that in 2006.

Behind the gloominess, however, are more hopeful views that seem to reflect Americans’ traditional optimism or, perhaps, wishful thinking. [Read the full article]

If you’re a baby boomer trying to save for retirement, the decision between investing in a traditional or Roth IRA isn’t easy. For most middle-income taxpayers, traditional IRAs offer a tax deduction and tax-deferred growth, while Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars but offer tax-free growth and tax-free distributions in retirement.

Whether you’re in your 40s or 50s, you’re in a period of life when you need to maximize your retirement savings. When making the choice between traditional and Roth IRAs, there are issues to ponder, such as your current and future tax bracket, whether the IRS will permit you to deduct contributions, the current state of your retirement savings and whether you have a retirement plan at work.

If you qualify, the tax deduction allowed by the IRS for a traditional IRA is an enticing perk. Whether you qualify depends on your income and whether you are covered by an employee retirement plan. [Read the full article]

As the calendar turns over to 2010, the group of mutual funds built for investors intending to retire in or around that year has taken important steps toward restoring its tarnished reputation.

Target-date funds were subject to a maelstrom of investor ire and governmental scrutiny over the past year, and none more so than 2010 funds. In calendar-year 2008, that group of funds lost an ungainly 23% on average.

That was a tough pill to swallow for investors preparing to dip into their nest eggs or who mistakenly thought their investments were conservatively positioned so as to avoid most of the perils of a bear market. In fact, all of the target-date 2010 offerings provide some exposure to the equity markets, and those that are most concerned by longevity risk–the risk that investors will outlive their savings–tend to invest upward of 50% of assets in stocks. So, losses among these funds should not have been a big surprise. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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