Retirement

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 …

Categories: Retirement

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 …

Categories: Retirement

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 …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

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 …

Categories: Retirement

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 …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Is This Everything You Need To Know About Financial Planning?

Here’s an interesting article I discovered over at the Vanguard site about the basics of retirement planning. In it, the article quotes a section of Scott Adams’ 2002 book Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel: Everything you need to know about financial planning Make a will. Pay off your credit cards. Get term life …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

More Than 25 Percent of Americans Are Making a Huge Financial Mistake

What mistake? According to the Arizona Star, more than 25% of Americans are raiding their 401(k)s to stay afloat. The only way this even looks like a good idea at all is if you’re looking only at the very, very short term. If you look beyond that, making this move is pretty clearly worse than …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

Retirement Investing Obsession

Vitaly writes in: My problem is that I can’t stop looking at my retirement accounts. Whenever I see an investment option that’s doing a little bit better than whatever I’m doing, I start to feel sick to my stomach and I panic and I have to switch my investments over. Then a week later I …

Categories: Investing, Retirement

401(k) From Scratch

Debbie writes in: I’m a 28 year old single mom. I just got a great job as an administrative assistant, one that I was extremely lucky to get. During orientation we were asked to sign up for the 401(k) plan. I don’t know anything at all about 401(k) plans, but I have enjoyed your site …

Loved Ones in Decline

A few years ago, my grandmother passed away pretty suddenly. She had been in somewhat ailing health for years, but she was still well enough to take care of herself at home, handle her own grocery shopping, and so on. The last time I saw her, I was struck by her frailness. My grandmother had …

Categories: Retirement

Now and Later: The Great Retirement Question

Over the last few months, I’ve read several articles that center around the idea that people should be saving every possible dime that they can for retirement. For example, Daily Finance recently had an article entitled Forget the 4% Rule: Retirement’s Common Wisdom Is Obsolete: The theory was simple: If you spent a maximum of …

The Different Meanings of Saving for Retirement

My parents and Sarah’s parents are roughly the same age. Their retirement-age experieces are much different than each other. My parents are both retired in the traditional sense. They have a limited fixed income made up of Social Security and some pension money. Their house and vehicles are long since paid for, and since their …

Categories: Retirement

How Important Is It to Start Early?

I get a lot of emails from people in their forties and fifties who are suddenly panicking about their retirement savings. Often, they don’t have any or they have very little, yet they still want to retire at age 65. At the same time, I also get emails from people in their twenties who are …

Help! I Don’t Know What Retirement Plan You’re Talking About!

Connie writes in: Roth, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), FERS, TSP – what on earth does it all mean? I know they all have to do with retirement savings, but it’s all just a word salad to me. This is going to be something of a “dictionary” post where I spell out, as simply as I can, …

Categories: Retirement

Review: A Commonsense Guide to Your 401(k)

Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance or other book of interest. Also available is a complete list of the hundreds of book reviews that have appeared on The Simple Dollar over the years. One common request I get is more discussion on the specifics of retirement plans. For me, whenever someone mentions …

Retirement Planning: Contributions & Debt Repayment Tips

A few weeks ago, I put out a call on Twitter and on Facebook for detailed posts that people would like to see. I got enough great responses that I’m going to fill the entire month of July – one post per day – addressing these ideas. On Facebook, Tyler wanted to know, “Should I …

Some Thoughts on the Long Term

A few days ago, Donald left a provocative comment on my recent article How to Get Rich Quickly!. Although I think his tone is a bit aggressive, he does bring up an interesting point: Yes this is good advice – work for 45 years, squirrel away your income the whole time, and when you are …

The Truth About Retiring at 65

In 1935, when the Social Security Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Roosevelt, the new law established a national retirement age of 65. At that age, people could begin receiving Social Security benefits and, in the minds of generations of Americans since, effectively set the psychological “retirement” age. There’s an important fact …

Categories: Retirement

How Long Is Your Long Run?

When I think about the long run, I’m usually thinking about what I would call “retirement.” It’s a state I hope to reach in my fifties or sixties or so where I can spend my time working on projects that may or may not result in any sort of financial gain, but simply projects that …