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Kim Blanton Squared Away Blog Writer

I’m a veteran financial and economics reporter, most recently for The Boston Globe, who has also written for The Economist and other publications. I uncovered scandals during the savings and loan crisis in Texas back in the late 1980s, trekked around the world to cover finance and economics in the 1990s, and ventured into Boston neighborhoods to cover the recent subprime mortgage crisis.

While covering subprime mortgages, I began to see the importance of financial behavior and literacy. Wall Street excesses certainly fueled the crisis, but a poor understanding of complex financial products also played a major role. I interviewed dozens of homeowners in the grip of foreclosure who had agreed to home loans that they did not understand and that their brokers did not or could not explain to them. The consequences for these individuals – and the country – were disastrous.

I use the same dogged reporting skills to cover financial issues of growing importance today, including the personal crisis that concerns millions of Baby Boomers: Retirement.

Recent Content

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The Cost of Having a Disability in COVID

In COVID’s early months, millions of workers’ incomes dried up as the unemployment rate skyrocketed. But older Americans were somewhat shielded from the downturn. That’s because they either are …In COVID’s early m…In COVID’s early months, millions of workers’ incomes dried up as the unemployment rate skyrocketed. But older Americans were somewhat shielded from the downturn. That’s because they either are over 62 and on Social Security or receive federal disability benefits every month at higher rates than young adults. And just like everybody else, they got relief checks from Congress to soften the blow from the pandemic. Yet, despite the reliability of a government check, older Americans with disabilities suffered from “acute financial insecurity,” according to a new study that seeks to under…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

The staff at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College who put together this blog hope our readers have a safe, joyful and delicious Thanksgiving with family and friends. To start getting a…The staff at the Cen…The staff at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College who put together this blog hope our readers have a safe, joyful and delicious Thanksgiving with family and friends. To start getting an email with each week’s blogs on topics ranging from Retirement and employee benefits to economic research, consider signing up here. Squared Away writer Kim Blanton invites you to follow us on Twitter @SquaredAwayBC. This blog is supported by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. 

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Tis the Season to Shop for Medicare Options

Americans are fighting back against soaring food prices by shopping at discount grocers, buying lower-cost store brands, or giving up their favorite gourmet items. Yet Medicare beneficiaries usually d…Americans are fighti…Americans are fighting back against soaring food prices by shopping at discount grocers, buying lower-cost store brands, or giving up their favorite gourmet items. Yet Medicare beneficiaries usually don’t shop around for a less expensive insurance policy or a higher quality one. It’s also advisable for retirees to review their current plans to make sure they still include the right doctors or prescription drugs for treating any new medical conditions. Open enrollment for Medicare Advantage and Part D plans started Oct. 15 and ends Dec. 7. Over their lifetimes, retirees will spend an averag…

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Spouse in Nursing Home Raises Poverty Risk

When nursing home care uses up a widow’s savings, the federal Medicaid program will kick in and cover her bills for care. But it’s more complicated for couples. If one spouse moves into a nursing …When nursing home ca…When nursing home care uses up a widow’s savings, the federal Medicaid program will kick in and cover her bills for care. But it’s more complicated for couples. If one spouse moves into a nursing home and the bills start piling up, the person who is still living in their home can face serious financial hardship and even poverty. This is a significant risk facing the one in three married people in their early 70s whose spouse will eventually wind up in a nursing home, researchers at RAND found in a study on the financial impact on couples rather than individuals. It’s not unusual to pay r…

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Paid Sick Time Spreading in the COVID Era

The pandemic has done good things for paid sick time. Today, 77 percent of all employees in the private sector get paid time off for short-term illnesses and preventive medical care. That’s a modest…The pandemic has don…The pandemic has done good things for paid sick time. Today, 77 percent of all employees in the private sector get paid time off for short-term illnesses and preventive medical care. That’s a modest four points higher than in 2019 but at least it’s going in the right direction. However, coverage remains low at the bottom of the wage scale where workers are much less likely to have any type of employer benefits. Just 55 percent of workers with earnings in the bottom 25 percent of all workers receive paid sick time, according to a 2022 report by the Economic Policy Institute.  Even their co…

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