Washington, D.C. - The Labor Department has decided to delay and reconsider a proposal to expand its definition of the term "fiduciary." The DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration said in late September that it would repropose its rule on the definition of a fiduciary. The rule would have made investment advisors more accountable for the retirement planning advice they gave to businesses and employees.

Various industry groups, including the American Institute of CPAs and the Financial Services Roundtable, as well as members of Congress, had expressed concerns about the proposed rule change. The AICPA sent a comment letter and testified against the proposed changes. The institute pointed out that many CPAs perform business valuation services for employee benefit plans, and the proposed change would be incompatible with the Internal Revenue Service's requirements for an independent appraisal of employer securities. It would also increase the cost of valuations for employee stock ownership plans and restrict the number of specialists willing to do valuations of ESOPs.



San Francisco - A new survey by Charles Schwab & Co. found that 53 percent of married Americans and more than 69 percent of singles said that they believe it is easier to make major financial decisions for retirement when there is no spouse in the picture. However, the survey found that singles are on average actually less prepared and less confident than married couples when it comes to being financially prepared for retirement.

According to the survey, 85 percent of married Americans are already saving for retirement, compared with 67 percent of singles across all age groups. Thirty-eight percent of married Americans expressed confidence in their retirement readiness, compared to just 32 percent of single people. Both married and single respondents saw potential drawbacks to retirement planning without a spouse.

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