Financial decisions get more difficult as we approach our retirement years. Our lives are still changing at least as rapidly as they used to, and often more so. We have accumulated a lifetime of financial resources and obligations, with new complications arising as we contemplate pensions, Social Security, Medicare, etc. Our earning years may be shortening, but our spending years will go on indefinitely - yet without our knowing how long or how expensive they will be. We may also have children or parents or others for whom we feel some responsibility. There are no easy answers, but in these columns, Chuck illuminates the questions, and indicates where answers might be found - even if these are sometimes off the beaten track.
Why People Over 50 Can't Get Good Financial Advice
Most of the financial information you get is correct. But most of the advice is not correct, or at least not right for you. There are two main reasons for this: the nature of advice providers, and the nature of your financial situation.
Aggressive or Conservative Investing as You Get Older?
Over the past decade or so, quite a few financial institutions and individual advisors have been promoting the idea that, even in retirement, we should all continue to invest aggressively. Why?
Providing Financially for your Special Needs Family Member
If you have a child, sibling, or other family member who is cognitively or physically disabled and unable to provide for him/herself financially, you have a more complex retirement situation than most.
Should You Plan on Signing Up for Social Security at Age 62?
About half of people eligible for Social Security retirement benefits sign up for them at age 62, which is the earliest eligibility age. Many financial experts actually advise this, but in most cases it is not the best choice.
About Those Monte Carlo Analyses ...
If, when I say "Monte Carlo," you think of gambling in Monaco, or a certain model of Chevrolet, then you probably haven't talked with a professional financial advisor about managing your retirement finances. And in some ways, maybe that's just as well.
Turning Savings into Guaranteed Lifetime Income
There are two traditional ways to make sure you never run out of income in retirement: (1) never spend your principal, and just live off the income from your savings; and (2) buy an annuity.
Why You Lose Money in the Stock Market
Stocks go up and down, but over the long haul, the trend has been up - way up - and it has been this way for generations. That being so, why do so many of us actually lose money in the stock market?
When Grown Children Move Back Home
Whether a grown child moves back in with you for your sake or for his or her own sake, it's a big step, and there are numerous issues to consider.
Required Minimum Distributions: What You Should Know
If you own a traditional IRA, or you have a 401(k) or similar account through a former employer, you generally have to start taking money out of these accounts once you get into your seventies, like it or not. The minimum you have to withdraw is called a "required minimum distribution."
Making Loans and Gifts to Family Members
If you do decide to make a family loan or a significant financial gift, be smart about the details, whether your motives are entirely loving, or entirely financial, or somewhere in between. Put the terms in writing.
Keeping Life Insurance during Retirement - Or Not
Do you need life insurance when you're retired? This is not always easy to answer, and you may need to consult a professional advisor, or at least use good software, to help you decide.
What If You Can't Afford To Retire?
If you listen to the ads from financial companies, or read the financial press, or watch financial gurus and hucksters on television, you may think that being financially ready for retirement means investing your money shrewdly.
When a Parent Can No Longer Live Alone
What can you do if a parent or other elderly person in the family has become increasingly infirm, or else has had an accident or medical emergency after which living alone just isn't feasible any more?
What Should Your Withdrawal Rate Be in Retirement?
How much can you safely withdraw from your retirement account on an annual or monthly basis, allowing for some inflation over the years?
Dealing with Financial Fraud: Tips for You, and for Elders
You are Responsible For
In this article, read about general tips for preventing, identifying, and coping with fraud.
How Your Financial Advisor Gets Paid, and Why You Should Care
By understanding the modes of compensation, and what biases they can engender, you can take these biases into account both when selecting advisers and when evaluating their recommendations.
Planning for Long-Term Care
The risk of needing long term care is fairly high. About 30% of men and about 50% of women will need some kind of home health care, assisted living, or nursing care before they die.
Is a Reverse Mortgage a Good Idea?
A reverse mortgage is an arrangement whereby you receive a monthly (or other) payment, while the provider of the mortgage gets first rights to the value of your house when you die or otherwise leave it.
Retiring from a Business You Own
Consider some of the issues involved in retiring from a business that you own. These include ownership interest, value of the business, and succession planning as well as others.
What If You Run Out of Money?
If you, or someone you care about, is retired and running out of money, what can be done? The situation may not be as bleak as it looks.
When You Have to Raise a Grandchild
In most cases, a grandparent steps in to raise a grandchild when something awful has happened, and both you and the grandchild have already suffered.
Retirement Advice for the Rest of Us
Those of us in the middle class are in a bind. We need more help because there is a real risk that we will run out of money before we die. So we really could use good advice. But for the very reason we need it - i.e., our assets are modest rather than huge - is the reason we are not so attractive to people in the business of providing it.