Retirement

Personal Capital Review

As I explained in a few previous posts, I am on a quest to roll over my old 401(k) into a new account with better long-term benefits. I got sidetracked a bit on this series, but today I’m going to review online financial advisor Personal Capital. If there’s one thing I learned from trading the …

Eight Best Places to Retire Abroad (and Enjoy the Good Life for Less)

More than 373,000 Americans had retired abroad by 2013, according to the Social Security Administration, and for various reasons. For some, the decision to retire overseas could be based on a desire to experience different cultures and surroundings. Others may want to be closer to relatives or friends. But for a certain percentage of would-be retirees, the decision to …

Roth IRA vs 401k? You May Not Have to Choose

One of the most common retirement questions I get asked is: Roth IRA or 401(k)? Although both are good options worth considering, the answer isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. Also, it’s crucial for you to understand that you may not even need to pick one or the other. If you’re able to …

Where Do Investment Returns Come From?

The whole point of investing is to give yourself the possibility of earning better returns than you can get from a savings account. If you can find a way to make your money work just a little bit harder for you, maybe you can reach those long-term goals a little bit sooner. But where do …

Are 401(k)s Unrealistic? Only If You Are

In the past few days, three different readers have sent me a link to this great article from Fidelity entitled Five Habits of 401(k) Millionaires. The article offers up five suggestions for readers that will help you sock away a lot of money for retirement: 1. Start saving early 2. Contribute a minimum of 10% …

Categories: Retirement

Why Taking a Lump-Sum Payout Makes More Sense Than You Think

When I was in sixth grade, a classmate’s grandma won a million dollars in the lottery. This made the front page of our small town’s weekly paper.  Even as a 12-year-old I knew that buying lottery tickets wasn’t a smart investment strategy, but one detail of the story that didn’t make sense was why the lady …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Can the Saver’s Credit Save You Money on Your Taxes?

For many people, two of the most frightening words in the English language are death and taxes. Even among those for whom the words are not terrifying, they evoke strong emotion. Another word that generates strong emotion is retirement. Unlike death and taxes, that word usually brings a smile to people’s faces. That is, until …

Categories: Retirement, Taxes

Best IRA Accounts of 2015

The best IRA accounts are all about great investing options and low fees. Since tax season is here, now is the best time to make your IRA contributions. Luckily most of the top companies that are home to the same places where you would open up an online stock trading account. In a previous post, …

Balancing Act: Pay Down Student Loans or Save More?

You’re finally there: You’ve graduated from college after many hard years, you’ve got a job in your field, and you’re actually able to balance your budget so you’re not only paying your bills, but you have a bit of extra money left over each month. Now the question is, what to do with that extra …

What Is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor?

If you’re looking for a financial planner, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how they are paid. Financial incentives influence decision-making in even the most critical situations, and your financial planner is no different. How he gets paid can impact the recommendations he makes, and if those recommendations become the foundation of …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

The Million-Dollar Retirement Question

One question I’ve received several times over the years is what I’ve jokingly called the “million-dollar question” to my wife. It comes in several variations, but generally boils down to two types. The question is either this one: How much would I need in the bank to live the rest of my life on the …

What Is Index Investing and Why Does It Work?

There are an almost infinite number of ways to approach investing, but my personal favorite is called index investing. It’s a simple strategy that can yield remarkable results. I use it myself and it’s the strategy I recommend to clients who come to me for investment advice. My goal in this post is to explain …

How to Retire Quickly

Over the last couple of years, Sarah and I have essentially been living on one salary. We’ve been investing every dime of my income (minus taxes and specific professional expenses) since late 2011 and living purely off of Sarah’s income. I like to think of it as if we’re saving 50% of our income. That …

Categories: Retirement

How to Tell If You’re on Track for Your Financial Goals

One nugget of personal finance information that I’ve seen repeated over and over is the notion that if you have a year’s salary saved for retirement at age 35, you’re on pace to retire very nicely at age 65. It actually turns out that the statement is more or less true, if you assume, of …

The Five Most Important Factors for Your Investment Success

If you’re new to investing, it’s pretty easy to feel overwhelmed. There are strange words to figure out, complicated ideas to understand, new decisions to make, and plenty of conflicting advice about all of it. It’s almost enough to make you want to avoid the topic altogether. But here’s the truth: It doesn’t take a Ph.D. …

Building a Nest Egg Out of Acorns

Let’s face it, investing in the future is no easy task. Taking money that you could spend right now and socking it away for decades takes discipline. That bi-monthly 401(k) paycheck deduction, the big fees wealth managers charge, and all those brokerage commissions… who wants any of it? This is especially true for new investors. Shoveling large chunks of cash …

Are Annuities Right for You?

Annuities are not complicated, which is why so many people find them appealing. They come in two basic types — immediate and deferred — with two ways of calculating earnings — fixed and variable. Immediate annuities: As their name implies, these begin paying you as soon as you buy them. Payments are based on your original …

Categories: Insurance, Retirement

Guide to Self-Directed IRAs

The history of retirement plans in the United States is neither as old nor as extensive as most people think. The first private pension fund was introduced by the American Express Co. in 1875 as a means of improving employee retention. By 1900, there were only 13 private pension funds in the entire country, and …

Retiring Abroad? What You Need to Know About Health Insurance

So you want to pack up all your cares and woes and retire overseas. The world is full of possibilities, from hundreds of thousands of miles of warm and habitable coastline to mountain towns and cosmopolitan cities on six continents. Your retirement benefits including Social Security will travel to your destination. However, one thing that …

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