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Betrayed by Their 401(k)s?

Readers were eager to comment on "The Unretired" (In Depth, Dec. 15), about senior citizens forced to go back to work because of the housing and market meltdowns. Many who weighed in argued that such people should have been more conservative about their investments as retirement loomed. Others blamed the lack of financial literacy that drove so many people to financial planners, who continued to preach aggressive investing. —Heather Green

Over 65, retired, and their money was still in stocks? No sympathy here. Anyone who did even basic research would have known to move to bonds as they entered retirement.

Screen name: Derrick

Average middle-class Americans who worked and saved for decades do not necessarily know a ton about finance. Hence, they go to a financial planner. [Many] planners gave bad advice: "Stocks are safe." "The market is cyclical." "Don't worry." "Put the majority in stocks."

Screen name: Kely

Does everyone have to have an MBA or a degree in economics or finance just to live life? Oh, wait—it was the people with MBAs and degrees in economics and finance who got us into this mess to begin with.

Screen name: PJL

The article demonstrates the fatal flaw in our retirement systems. Self-directed plans such as 401(k)s do not provide a guaranteed income, and the person doing the self-directing is an amateur. A better solution would be to allow workers to fund Social Security to a higher level so the program could provide a livable income during retirement.

Screen name: Billd

Mumbai: The Wrong Response to Terror

In the wake of the Mumbai attacks, some of the citizenry's ideas for change ("Outrage—And A Plea For Business To Lead" (News, Dec. 15) seem preposterous.

The suggestion that the city secede from Maharashtra state is so offensive I won't deign to comment. What takes the cake, however, is the idea of having Mumbai revert to its colonial-era name, Bombay, a British invention. Not only does it reflect a lack of seriousness, it plays to the same divisive politics the article laments. In this crisis, Mumbai deserves better from its chatterati.

Sandeep Inamdar


Facing Up to NASA's Hacker Problem

Regarding "The Taking of NASA's Secrets" (In Depth, Dec. 1): While the problem of network-security breaches is not unique to NASA, attempts to compromise the security of NASA's computer networks are of serious concern to the House of Representatives committee I chair.

The committee has been troubled by the reported hacker intrusions and the lack of a comprehensive means of preventing them, as well as by the failure of current NASA Inspector General Robert Cobb to act as a credible watchdog. Earlier this year the committee included a provision in the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 that directs the Government Accountability Office to undertake a comprehensive, independent review of NASA's information-security controls.

I will be closely monitoring the progress of that review and will continue to press for improvements in the way NASA deals with this problem.

Representative Bart Gordon

Chairman, House Committee

on Science & Technology


Private Equity: Cashing Out and Complaining

"What Have You Done to My Company?" (In Depth, Dec. 8), about the unraveling of department-store chain Mervyns after its founder sold it, has it backwards. A better question is: "What did I do to my company and its people when I decided to take the money and run?"

Bob Keefe


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