• The Future of Taxes

    A few years ago, I wrote an article looking at the differences between a Roth IRA and a 401(k) with regards to how taxes will change in the future. If taxes go up, then a Roth IRA (or Roth 401(k)) is better. If taxes go down, then a 401(k) is better. When I’m offering financial …

  • The Hows and Whys of a Target Retirement Fund

    You’ve finally decided that you need to start saving for retirement. You’ve taken that first step of signing up for a 401(k) or a 403(b) or a Roth IRA. The next step is a doozy, tough. You see tons and tons of investment options. How do you know which one to choose? You turn to …

  • Is Time on Your Side?

    This stunning article from Yahoo! Finance describes in detail the difficult situation that many people in their fifties and sixties find themselves in. From the article: Thirty-four percent of workers have nothing set aside for retirement, according to the U.S. Social Security Administration. A study by the National Institute on Retirement Security found 40 percent …

  • Best IRA Accounts of 2014: Roth vs Traditional IRA

    Updated: February 27, 2014 Most of the top companies that are home to the best IRA accounts are the same places where you would open up an online stock trading account. In a previous post, I ranked the best online brokers so I had a head start when it came to finding the best Roth …

  • Best Online Stock Trading Brokers for 2014

    Updated: April 11, 2014 I’ve had an online stock trading account since I was 13 years old and I’ve used at least a dozen of the best online stock trading platforms. I’ve gained a few “learning experiences” from managing my own account and working as a proprietary day trader in Chicago for several years. There …

  • A Lifetime of Choices

    Once in a Lifetime Stephen writes in: “I am struggling with continuing to save because of the fragility of my life. Both of my parents and my older sister died in their 50s. I turned 50 last year and there are so many things I still want to do in life. Lately, I have been …

  • Falling Short on Retirement Savings

    It’s a fear that many of us have. For some, it’s a reality. You’re close to retirement age, but when you sit down and run the numbers, it’s pretty clear that if you retire at 65, you’re going to have to make some very tough choices. No matter how you slice it, the money simply …

  • How to Approach Retirement Catch-Up

    This article first appeared at U.S. News and World Report Money. It’s pretty well established that if you start saving about 10% of your income for retirement starting at age 25 or so, you’re going to be in excellent shape for retirement when you hit age 65. This fact should be emblazoned on every single …

  • What You Sacrifice Today for a Better Tomorrow

    The reality of retirement savings comes down to a very simple decision. Each paycheck or each week or each month, you have a choice to make. You can either put a certain amount of money away for retirement, or you can keep it and spend it on other expenses as you see fit. Every time …

  • How to Quickly Figure Out Your Retirement “Number”

    This article first appeared at US News and World Report Money. At some point during each of our professional lives, we wake up to the fact that we really need to be saving for retirement (hopefully, we figure it out when we’re young). We’re all going to retire, and that means we’re all going to …

  • Selling Stocks at an All Time Market High?

    By almost every measure, the stock market in the United States has hit several all-time highs over the last few weeks. This has led several Simple Dollar readers to write in and ask whether or not now is the time to sell. Tom, for example, writes: “With stocks being so high I am getting kind …

  • Four Questions to Ask If You’re Nervous About Signing Up for a 401(k)

    Beth wrote in with a great question: “I have thought for months about going into the HR office and signing up for the 401(k) plan but I don’t even know what I should say when I go there. What should I ask about so that I don’t feel like an idiot?“ Based on lots of …

  • The Fear of a 401(k)

    When I was in high school, my father’s employer launched a 401(k) program. He’d been there for twenty five years (off and on) at that time and was getting fairly close to his retirement, so it wasn’t a huge deal for him. Still, my father has always been pretty careful with his money. Aside from …

  • The Basics of a Roth IRA

    Megan writes in: “What exactly is a Roth IRA? I understand that it’s a way to save for retirement but the Wikipedia entry is basically gobbledygook to me. I basically understand what my 401(k) is so how does it compare?“ A Roth IRA is a valuable tool for retirement savings, so it’s well worth spelling …

  • Retirement Planning in an Uncertain World

    This question gets asked all the time on personal finance websites, books, magazines, and talk shows. People begin to look forward to retirement living and they start asking themselves about “the number.” How much should I be saving for retirement? Here’s the really painful truth. No one can answer that question with any accuracy. No …

  • Worried About Economic Collapse and Your Retirement? Here’s Some Food for Thought

    The last question in this morning’s reader mailbag left me thinking. Let me repeat Alan’s question again, for all to read. “I’ve been putting away the maximum amount I can for retirement for the last six years. I’m 29 and I already have almost twice my annual salary saved for retirement. Problem is I can’t …

  • Are 401(k) Plans a Fraud?

    Over the last two weeks, quite a few readers have passed along a link to Helaine Olen’s article at Salon entitled 401(k)s are a sham: Duped by a DIY retirement dream, the elderly now face staggeringly low living standards and have asked for my thoughts on it. Are 401(k) plans really a scam? I think …

  • Five Very Simple Truths About Saving for Retirement

    Let’s get the scary truth out there: CNN estimates that half of all Americans are saving nothing for retirement. Half of Americans aren’t saving a dime. Why? There are a lot of reasons, but one big one, according to the study’s findings, is that people don’t know how retirement plans work. Another is the perception …

  • Applying Warren Buffett’s 7% Figure to Your Retirement

    A few weeks ago, I discussed a Bloomberg article about Warren Buffett’s projections for the stock market over the long term. Here’s a refresher on what Buffett said: “The economy, as measured by gross domestic product, can be expected to grow at an annual rate of about 3 percent over the long term, and inflation …