Out of work and under 65? Here’s how to retool your retirement plan

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We reached a milestone last week when the government reported that the U.S. economy has regained all the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Yet for many older workers the recession never ended; long-term joblessness has morphed into de facto premature retirement. Now, millions are performing financial triage on retirement plans that had been based […]

Retirement confidence bounces back, but only among wealthy savers

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Americans who owned stocks in 2013 are feeling better about their retirement prospects than they did just a few years ago. For everyone else, not so much. The longest-running survey of American retirement sentiment shows confidence rose in 2013, the first increase since sentiment plunged following the Great Recession of 2008-2009. But the 2014 Retirement Confidence […]

Retirement trade-offs: Work longer? Play now? Save more? Save less?

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“How’s the rainy day fund coming along?” I get this question every time I talk with my financial adviser. The answer: not so well. And I write about personal finance and retirement issues for a living. At age 60-ish, my wife and I still work and save diligently in our tax-qualified accounts. But the goal […]

Help wanted: Financial advisers who aren’t about to hang it up

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If you’ve ever thought about getting some professional help with your retirement plan, this would be a great time to get going. Financial advisers may be in short supply in the years ahead. A brain drain is about to hit the world of financial planning, according to Cerulli Associates, a financial services consulting firm. Cerulli […]

Why boomer balance sheets are a mess

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Conversations about retirement readiness usually focus on portfolios–how much you’re saving, your investment mix, and whether you’ll accumulate assets sufficient to last a lifetime. But those conversations are missing a bigger-picture question about retirement readiness: How are household balance sheets shaping up as families approach retirement? Research by the AARP Public Policy Institute provides answers. […]

Resolution: Rethink your retirement spending plan

David Blanchett, head of retirement research, Morningstar

This is the time of year when many of us take stock of our financial plans. New Year’s resolutions are in place, and tax season is just around the corner. But when it comes to retirement planning, the resolutions shouldn’t just revolve around how much you’ll sock away this year. It’s just as important to […]

How delaying your Social Security filing can boost portfolio longevity

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A delayed Social Security filing can boost your monthly benefit income substantially. But did you know that a smart Social Security strategy also can boost the longevity of your portfolio? My July column for Morningstar.com looked at an array of resources that can help individuals and couples optimize their benefits. That sparked a comment thread […]

Will middle class lose out in fight over financial advice?

Sheryl Garrett, Garrett Planning Network

If average Americans haven’t been kicked around enough this past decade, now we have this: the middle class is serving as a pawn in Wall Street’s high-stakes lobbying battle against stricter rules for brokers. The fight centers on the so-called fiduciary standard under consideration at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of […]

Half of all workers retire earlier than expected – and not by choice

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Just under half of all workers retire earlier than they expected – and not by choice – according to new research by LIMRA, the insurance industry research firm. The most commonly cited reasons included health problems, job loss or burnout and negative work conditions. The LIMRA numbers confirm annual surveys by the Employee Benefit Research […]

Retirement spending: Why rules of thumb don’t work

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We’ve all heard the rule-of-thumb: To retire comfortably, you need to replace 70 percent to 80 percent of pre-retirement income. Add a couple of percentage points for inflation every year, and you’ll have what you need to meet your expenses in retirement. But the rule-of-thumb never was meant as a way to think about spending […]