MY WIFE VICKY AND I have lately been discussing—yet again—when to claim our Social Security retirement benefits. We’re fortunate to have multiple sources of retirement income, including a defined benefit pension, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs and two health savings accounts.
To date, we had assumed we’d both delay claiming Social Security until age 70, so we get the largest benefits possible. Until then, we’d planned to live on my pension, any consulting income I earn,
COPING WITH FINANCIAL complexity as we age can lead to major problems—and denial isn’t the solution. What to do? One HumbleDollar commenter, in response to a recent article, recommended a book, What to Do When I Get Stupid, by economist Lewis Mandell.
The book has two main themes. First, we should try to create a guaranteed stream of income, preferably one that’s linked to inflation, to cover our core retirement expenses.
MY FAVORITE NOVEL by Jules Verne is Around the World in 80 Days, which I first read as a child. It was published in 1872, and documented Phileas Fogg’s attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days.
The book has been made into a play, six movies and a half-dozen television series, including a recent entertaining PBS series. The Three Stooges even released a feature film version in 1963.
The Wikipedia entry for the novel lists 10 real-life attempts to replicate the fictional journey.
REMEMBER THE OLD sayings that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes” and “the carpenter’s house is falling down”? That’s how I felt last month as I frantically tried to enroll in Medicare.
My 65th birthday was in early September. Medicare has an initial enrollment period that lasts seven months. It starts three months before you turn age 65, includes your birth month, and ends three months after the month you turn 65. Suppose you were born on Sept.
RISING INTEREST RATES are impacting everyone. The Federal Reserve has raised short-term rates at its last five meetings. It hiked interest rates 0.75 percentage point at its September meeting, the third time this year it’s raised rates by that amount. Bankrate reports that current projections see the Fed boosting rates by another 1.25 percentage points before year-end.
These increases affect what consumers pay for mortgages, car loans and credit card debt. As I write this,
MY WIFE RECENTLY ASKED me if there was anything I wanted for my 65th birthday. She was racking her brain for a special gift, but was coming up empty.
I thought for a while, but couldn’t think of anything I really wanted. We have all the stuff we need. We’re blessed with a wonderful family, we live in a great beach town and we have enough assets for a comfortable retirement. We’ve spent 2022 working on our health and fitness,
I HAVE A MILESTONE birthday this month—turning age 65. This has long been considered the standard retirement age.
When the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, 65 was the age at which workers could receive retirement benefits. Many companies’ defined benefit pension plans still use 65 as the age at which employees can receive an unreduced pension. And 65 is the age at which folks become eligible for Medicare.
This is also the median age at which workers expect to retire,
MY WIFE AND I JUST returned from the first extended road trip of our retirement. We were away two weeks, drove 2,800 miles and visited 10 states. The primary reason for the trip was to stay five days on a houseboat on Beaver Lake, Arkansas, with seven friends.
We broke the trip into three phases. The first part took us from New Jersey to northwest Arkansas in two-and-a-half days. Along the way, we stopped in St.
SEQUENCE-OF-RETURN risk has long been a major concern among retirees—and it’s a real danger right now for those who just quit the workforce or soon will. Also known simply as sequence risk, it refers to the chance that the market declines sharply, forcing retirees to sell investments at depressed prices to generate income.
Wade Pfau, a leading retirement researcher, published a paper highlighting the danger involved. As he makes clear, a few years of market losses coupled with portfolio withdrawals can decimate savings,
BOSTON COLLEGE’S Center for Retirement Research just published a study that explores what Americans think are the biggest risks to their retirement—as opposed to what they objectively are. The center found “a big disconnect between how actual and perceived risks are ranked.” That disconnect could be hurting people’s retirement planning.
The study says the biggest risk to retirement is longevity—living so long that we run out of money. But the survey found that the biggest perceived threat is a market drop that cuts into savings,
HAVE YOU GOT children or grandchildren with summer jobs? That means you could put them on the path to financial success—by helping them open a Roth IRA.
My brothers and I always had jobs, including delivering newspapers, bussing tables, mowing lawns and valet parking. My sons also had jobs at an early age, including shucking thousands of ears of corn at our local swim club. Later on, they were lifeguards, along with many of their friends from the swim team.
WHEN I WAS LEARNING about investing, dollar-cost averaging was one of the first strategies I read about. Over the years, I’ve come across a number of articles debating the strategy’s virtues, usually comparing it to a onetime lump-sum investment.
Dollar-cost averaging consists of making a series of periodic investments rather than buying all at once. These purchases occur at regular intervals, regardless of the investment’s price that day. Using this strategy, you can purchase more shares when prices are lower.
WHEN MY WIFE AND I were young, it was common to receive savings bonds for major events, such as birthdays and religious celebrations. We carried on the tradition with our two sons and we’re planning to do the same for our grandchildren.
With our sons, we bought savings bonds to mark significant childhood milestones. We held on to those paper bonds for many years, and gave them to our sons when they graduated college.
FALLING IS ONE of the scariest health risks that seniors face. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than one in four seniors fall each year. The CDC estimates that over three million older people are treated in emergency rooms for falls annually, and more than 800,000 are admitted to hospital.
Most hospitalizations after a fall are to treat head or hip injuries. Falls also cause broken bones, especially in wrists, arms, ankles and hips.
INFLATION IS HURTING all of us—but in different ways. Even as the Federal Reserve tries to tame the inflation beast, it’s also prudent to look at our own spending and see if there are ways we can help ourselves.
What are some of the things my wife and I are doing? We had a recent discussion about the issue and came up with a list of modest changes we plan to make:
We’ll drive less.