• 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 …

  • 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 …

  • Retirement Investment 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 …

  • The Retirement Blues

    Charlene writes in: I’ve been contributing 10% to my 401(k) since the day I started my job fourteen years ago, and my employer kicks in 6%. I’m now 36 and I have about $200,000 in there. I should be happy about that. I’m not. Whenever I look at that money, I just see tons of …

  • 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 …

  • 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 For example, Daily Finance recently had an article entitled Forget the 4% Rule: Retirement’s Common Wisdom Is Obsolete: The theory was simple: If you spent a maximum of …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 …

  • 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, …

  • 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 Contributions: When Should They Delay Debt Repayment?

    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 …

  • 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 …

  • Which Retirement Plan Is Right for Me? Traditional IRAs Versus Roth IRAs Versus 401(k)s and 403(b)s

    Kelly writes in: I’m reading about retirement and I see terms like Traditional IRA and Roth IRA and 401(k) thrown around without really explaining what they are or what the differences between them are. Do you have a summary of these plans and how they work? There’s no better time than the present to offer …

  • Don’t Rely on Social Security

    This is a message to all of those people under, say, forty out there. Don’t rely on Social Security for any part of your retirement. When you’re thinking about retirement, assume that you’re going to be paying your own way. That’s not a statement that a lot of people like to think about, but the …

  • Review: The Smartest Retirement Book You’ll Ever Read

    Every Sunday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book or other book of interest. Daniel Solin’s series of The Smartest X Book You’ll Ever Read have turned me off for their title alone, and thus, to this point, I’ve not read them. The title set off a big “questionable investment planning” warning light inside …

  • What Does an Extended Lifespan Really Mean in Terms of Retirement Savings?

    Here’s a number for you. Half of all babies born in the United States this year will live to age 104 or older. In other words, when a person from that generation hits the typical “retirement age” of 65, they’ll still have 40 years of life left. Obviously, this represents a major change from where …