How Good Is Your 401[k]?

–(– 01/02/2010 – Retirement industry news provided by Financial News USA. Americans increasingly rely on their 401(k) plans for retirement, yet typically understand little about how their plans work, or how they compare with offerings at other companies. Is your 401(k) cheap or expensive? Does it offer good investments or mediocre ones? A generous match or a stingy one? And most important: Will your 401(k), and the way you take advantage of it, get you through retirement without running out of money?

BrightScope, a San Diego startup, wants to help 401(k) participants and administrators answer those questions. It has created a massive database from corporate filings with the Labor Dept., Securities & Exchange Commission, and other sources, to rate 401(k) plans. To mine all that data, it developed a quantitative model that takes into account hundreds of factors — everything from the plan’s investment choices and fees to its structure, including its generosity to employees. [Read the full article]

It has nothing to do with gene-tics. It focuses on so-called Generation X and Y managers in their 20s to 40s, who are taking over the managing jobs of retiring baby boomers at many U.S. companies.

Analysts say the change is hitting critical mass as the decade ends. It cuts across all levels — from the corner office to frontline bosses. The shift will deeply impact how U.S. companies are run and their long-term performance.

Entrepreneurs in their 30s and 40s already excel as the founders of Internet giants like Yahoo (NasdaqGS:YHOO – News) and Google (NasdaqGS:GOOG – News). Forbes magazine said last year that there were 21 CEOs 40 and under who run U.S. public companies worth at least $500 million.

But firms across the U.S. face a bigger changing of the guard as Gen Xers born between 1965-1977 and Gen Yers (also known as millennials) born between 1978-1987 become C-level execs or take lower-level sales, technology and other manager posts. [Read the full article]

Despite reports of growing protectionist sentiment sparked by a global recession, world business leaders believe that foreign workers continue to be good for business and the economy.

A survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit for payments firm Western Union (NYSE:WU – News) found that more than three in four corporate leaders, or 76%, say foreign workers have a positive impact on the economy.

Seventy-one percent agree that foreign workers offer a competitive edge. More than half, or 57%, say the recession hasn’t altered hiring policies tied to foreign workers.

A survey says two-thirds of U.S. consumers plan to splurge on a purchase in the next three months.

The study by customer intelligence firm Market Force Information found that electronics, travel and apparel top the list of what shoppers want to buy.

In terms of popularity, 14.7% plan to buy TVs, Blu-ray players, DVDs and accessories. [Read the full article]

If you converted your traditional IRA to a Roth last year and are having second thoughts, there’s still time to undo the conversion and get a refund of the taxes you paid. With the Oct. 15 deadline approaching, you need to act quickly or lose your opportunity to undo — or recharacterize — your Roth IRA back to a traditional IRA.

Recharacterization is fairly straightforward, but it entails enough work that you should first be sure that undoing your Roth conversion is worth it. You may seek to undo your initial conversion for several reasons: The value of your Roth IRA account is substantially lower than when you made the conversion, you weren’t eligible for conversion but converted anyway or you are in a difficult financial situation and now need the money you spent in taxes.

Taxes due on conversion can be substantial because you must pay tax on the entire value of the amount you converted, unless you had nondeductible contributions within the converted funds. [Read the full article] About Financial News USA

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