What the experts say
A win for public service
A federal judge helped three public-interest lawyers score a “major victory” this week in their effort to get their loans forgiven, said Ron Lieber in The New York Times. The plaintiffs had been taking advantage of the public service loan forgiveness program, which stipulates among other things that borrowers must “work for an eligible” employer. The Department of Education originally said the lawyers were doing so, then changed its mind, “rendering years of payments ineligible.” This threw their personal finances into chaos. Even when the loan forgiveness program says a loan is discharged, it can still be a debacle. One teacher found that his loan servicer, FedLoan, issued a delinquency report that “effectively wrecked his credit” after he fulfilled all his loan obligations. In the case of the lawyers, Judge Timothy J. Kelly declared one of the department’s main legal arguments to be “nonsense.”
Global worries about aging
Americans aren’t the only ones worried about retirement, said Ben Steverman in Bloomberg.com. In the U.S., one survey found, 62 percent of respondents said they worried about having enough to retire on. But that figure was lower than that of several European countries, including Spain (69 percent), France (67 percent), and Italy (65 percent). “Even workers in countries with strong social safety nets fret over their financial futures.” The Dutch had the brightest outlook on retirement, but the average respondent also planned to keep working longer—until age 67. The good news for Americans is that only 30 percent of current retirees say they “do not enjoy the same standard of living” they had when working.
No more ‘Merrill Lynch’
Bank of America announced last week that it is dropping the name Merrill Lynch from its investment-banking arm, said Madeline Shi in BusinessInsider.com. The new rebranding “signals the end of an era.” Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis. Merrill was founded in 1914 and once was the world’s largest retail brokerage. Unlike Bear Stearns and Smith Barney, “whose names disappeared in the aftermath of the crisis,” Merrill managed to hold on to its name for over a decade. But now the investment bank and trading operations will be called “BofA Securities,” while the bank will keep “Merrill” as the brand for its wealth management business.