Money in a Minute: Headlines for April 15, 2011

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In today's news: More Americans than ever aren't saving for retirement, more aren't working, foreclosures are down, prepaid card usage is up, and the white iPhone may finally arrive.

RETIREMENT: 40 percent of Americans say they can’t afford retirement

More than half of all Americans – 56 percent – are not saving for retirement right now, mostly because high food and gas prices are crippling their budgets. Meanwhile, “almost 40 percent of working Americans said they will never afford retirement,” CNN reports.

JOBS: More Americans leaving the workforce

Unemployment may be dropping, but it could be because so many Americans have stopped looking for work. “Only 45.4 percent of Americans had jobs in 2010, the lowest rate since 1983 and down from a peak of 49.3 percent in 2000,” USA Today reports. “Last year, just 66.8 percent of men had jobs, the lowest on record.”

HOUSING: Foreclosures off 30 percent this year

While home sales are still sluggish, there’s a bit of good news. “The number of foreclosure notices filed during the first three months of 2011 fell 27 percent compared with the first quarter of 2010,” CNN reports. “Only 681,000 properties got hit with some type of filing – a notice of default, a scheduled auction or a foreclosure sale – during the quarter.”

BANKING: As free checking fades, prepaid cards make sense for some

With banks tightening their rules and hiking their fees, prepaid cards are making a comeback. While they’re not free, they’re increasingly becoming cheaper than some checking accounts. “A March 2011 study found that prepaid cards might be a sound financial decision for people – even outpacing checking accounts in some cases,” MSNBC reports.

TECH: Apple is said to ready white iPhone following 10-month wait

When Apple unveiled its iPhone 4 last year, it offered a choice of colors: black or white. But unspecified “manufacturing trouble” – rumored to be paint that peeled under the phone’s heat – delayed it until now. “Apple will start selling a white version of its iPhone 4 in the next few weeks,” Bloomberg reports.

Stacy Johnson

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