— It’s time for spring cleaning, and that includes getting rid of old bank statements and other financial documents. But don’t just throw them out. Shred instead. Otherwise, identity thieves can use the information to steal your savings. AARP South Carolina and the Better Business Bureau are cosponsoring three free shredding events this month, each from 9 a.m. to noon. The first is Friday, April 20, at Simpsonville City Park, Simpsonville. The other two are Saturday, April 21, at Anderson Mall …

— We have all heard that the savings rate in U.S. is dismal. In fact, the typical working-age household has only $3,000 in retirement assets and retirement age households have only $12,000. Bringing it closer to home – the National Institute on Retirement Security ranks South Carolina 50th worst in 401k savings. Fortunately, we know one of the best ways to help people save is through the workplace. Research shows that individuals are 15 times more likely to save if their …

— By Linda H. Lamb Evon Kirkland McAngus works hard to keep her customers happy and to attract and keep good employees. Her design business employs just 12 people, but she provides three months of maternity leave at half pay. “I try to invest in people, spend time building a team,” said Mc­Angus, an interior designer who runs Westend Interiors in West Columbia. “You want people to stay with you.” That’s one reason she is in favor of a state-sponsored “work …

— AARP South Carolina believes that today, a secure retirement is out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who work for small businesses. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, the conservative estimate of the total U.S. retirement savings deficit is $6.8 trillion. Nearly half of workers age fifty and older have less than $25,000 in savings and investments. The average 401(k) account balance in South Carolina is $20,630, ranked 50th worst in the United States. One of …

— By Curtis Loftis, South Carolina Treasurer The holiday season is here and with it comes the age-old question, “What gift do I give my grandkids this year?” The usual sweater, toy or game may quickly be tossed aside or find its way to the back of a closet. I’m State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, here to offer you a better idea: This year, give a gift that will last. Give the gift of education by helping your grandchild on the path …

— AARP South Carolina believes that today, a secure retirement is out of reach for millions of Americans, especially those who work for small businesses. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, the conservative estimate of the total U.S. retirement savings deficit is $6.8 trillion. Nearly half of workers age fifty and older have less than $25,000 in savings and investments. The average 401(k) account balance in South Carolina is $20,630, ranked 50th in the US. One of the best …

— By Holly Fisher The first year Leonora Myers volunteered with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program, she and the other volunteers used pencils, paper forms with carbon paper, and handheld calculators. More than 25 years later, a lot has changed. This year, Myers is overseeing the volunteers in Aiken, who prepare tax returns using computers and online filing software. The Tax-Aide service is offered free to taxpayers. Myers, 81, a CPA, connected with Tax-Aide in 1990, putting her love of numbers …

— College costs are growing faster than the rate of inflation, presenting huge bills for families—often when parents are trying to save for retirement. South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 college savings program, administered by the Office of State Treasurer, offers a way to invest for a child’s education long before the money is needed. Contributions may be deducted from state taxes, and withdrawals are tax-free, provided the money is used for qualified education expenses. Parents, grandparents and others may contribute to …

— By Linda H. Lamb The woman on the phone was painfully embarrassed. She wouldn’t even give her name to Juliana Harris of the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs. She poured out a story about an online romance that turned out to be a fraud. To Harris, the details were all too familiar. “These romantic scams are difficult to hear about,” Harris said. “The woman got involved with a man online and ended up losing thousands of dollars. “Usually, the …