• The Boomers Go Bust: What Can We Learn?

    This started off as an email to a reader, but I thought that many other readers might find this of some value. Recently, I received a long email from a very distraught woman (that I’ll call Mary) who has finally come to the realization that she will not be able to retire in seven years …

  • New Year’s Resolution Workshop #1: Get Started with Retirement

    Over the next few days, we’re going to take a look at five common New Year’s resolutions that people often adopt for their finances, evaluate some of the traps that people fall into with regards to that resolution, and come up with some real actions that can turn a challenging New Year’s resolution into a …

  • Retirement Plans in a Down Stock Market

    After writing my piece yesterday on fear and the economic situation, a very eloquent reader named “Maggie” wrote to me: I completely agree with your assessment on the economy, particularly if you’re young. There is no crisis that is well served by panic and I don’t think that the current economic situation is anywhere near …

  • Rethinking Retirement

    Yesterday, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine, mostly about what we plan to do for the rest of our lives. I told him about my plans and dreams – writing, volunteer work, local politics, and so on – and I also mentioned how I was saving carefully for retirement. Right then, …

  • The Retirement Perspective: Today’s Dollars Are Far More Valuable Than Tomorrow’s

    Lola had an interesting question about retirement: I asked if, by calculating our monthly expenses, we could multiply that by 200, and if that would be enough to retire. So, if one’s expenses were about $24,000 a year, if having $480,000 would be enough. And you said – rightly so – that this figure doesn’t …

  • The Big Debate #4: Pay Off Debt or Save for Retirement?

    This week, The Simple Dollar is taking a deeper look at five common personal finance debates. Once a day or so, I’ll get a long email from someone pouring out the details of their personal finance situation. Quite often, they’ve reached an age where they’re starting to seriously worry about retirement and have realized that …

  • The Big Debate #1: 401(k) or Roth IRA?

    This week, The Simple Dollar is taking a deeper look at five common personal finance debates. One of the most common questions I get asked about retirement plans is whether or not a person should be putting their money into a 401(k) or a Roth IRA for retirement. The answer isn’t as straightforward as it …

  • Do You Need to Leave an Estate?

    One of the most common topics in personal finance writing is estate planning. Life insurance? A will? A living trust? These are always bandied about and readers are always encouraged to get on board with all of these things. What’s often not asked is whether or not estate planning really even applies to you at …

  • Review: You’re Fifty, Now What?

    Each Friday, The Simple Dollar reviews a personal finance book. Lately, as my parents and my wife’s parents begin to inch towards retirement, I’ve become quite interested in looking at the financial issues they face at this point in their lives. Their situations are very different – the one thing they have in common is …

  • My Retirement Portfolio As I Approach 30

    Very soon, I will be celebrating my 30th birthday, and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at my retirement portfolio as it currently sits. I’ve rounded each amount to the nearest $100 to make the math easier as I evaluate where I’m at and what my future plans may be. My …

  • Retirement Savings: How I’m Doing It

    A number of people have asked me how I’m saving for retirement now that I’m self-employed, and several more asked yesterday when I mentioned that I was signing up for a SEP-IRA. In order to clarify everything, here’s exactly how I’m saving for retirement as a self-employed writer. For comparison’s sake, my previous retirement savings …

  • Increasing Your 401(k) Contributions: Benefits and Drawbacks

    Lately, I’ve had a lot of fun playing with Wachovia’s 401(k) contribution calculator. Ever wondered what sort of impact changing your 401(k) contribution would have? This calculator tells you based on your own information. What’s interesting is that for most people, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. To play with the tool, I created a …

  • Predicting the Future: Will People In Their Twenties Today Collect Social Security In Retirement? And How Should That Answer Change Our Plans?

    One common question I get from people fresh into the workforce and setting up their new 401(k)s is this: how much retirement income should I count on from Social Security? It’s not an easy question to answer because we don’t know what the political future of the United States holds. We do know one thing: …

  • How Much Money Do You Need For Retirement? Here’s How I’m Figuring My Number

    Many people have no idea how much they should be saving for retirement and thus quite often they do whatever their retirement counselor suggests without actually knowing if what they’re doing is right. I wanted to understand the full process better, so I spent some time figuring out what I would need for retirement and …

  • Are Inflation Rates Accelerating? How Should I Plan For It?

    My wife’s grandfather likes to regularly comment on how fast the price of everything seems to be increasing lately. He’s loudly adamant that the rate of inflation is actually speeding up and that prices are doubling faster and faster and faster. He strongly encourages me to estimate high for inflation when I do my financial …

  • Retirement Savings Or Debt Repayment: Which Is More Important?

    A few days ago, on my post about SmartMoney’s “7 Money Mistakes”, LTruslow left the following comment: I have always had a problem with those who believe that you should not invest before paying off all debts and establishing an emergency fund. For many, they would never begin saving for retirement. While an emergency fund …

  • Predicting the Future: Where Will Tax Brackets Go In Thirty Years?

    I try very hard to avoid political discussions on The Simple Dollar because it often winds up in partisan bickering, but I feel that a discussion about the future of taxes and their impact on your personal finance decisions today is vital. First of all, why is it important to think about future tax rates? …

  • The New Roth 401(k) Versus The Traditional 401(k): Which Is The Better Route?

    Recently, a number of readers have asked me about the new Roth 401(k). Is it really a good deal, they ask? In a nutshell, it’s a very good deal for almost anyone eligible for it, but let’s walk through the scenario carefully. What Is A Roth 401(k)? A Roth 401(k) is not all that different …

  • Financial Planning For A Life Of Volunteerism And Social Work

    One of the most amazing people I’ve ever met has chosen a path of volunteerism and social work for her life. She’s taken the gifts and talents God has given her and chosen to forsake several much more lucrative opportunities to participate in a social work program fraught with challenges that I wouldn’t face for …