Getting a handle on what retirement plan failure really means

I’ve certainly used the term “plan failure” more than a few times, which is why a recent blog post by retirement researcher Dirk Cotton caught my eye. In Three Degrees of Bad, Cotton separates out what he calls “three progressive levels of failure.” Those are: (1) loss of “market-funded” standard of living; (2) loss of […]

When should you retire? Consult this checklist of questions

The question sounds simple, but it is tough to answer: At what age should you retire? I get this question from readers and friends more often than any other. It is difficult to answer because it brings into play such a wide range of issues: Do I have enough money to retire? What will I […]

How to plan ahead for retirement healthcare costs

Big, bigger, biggest. Those words capture the retirement healthcare challenge. Healthcare will be one of the largest categories of cost for most retirees–and medical inflation is expected to run 2 to 3 times faster than general inflation. Retirees can cope by tuning up their Medicare coverage, as we discussed in my last column. That can […]

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Working longer: Good aspiration, but not a plan

Many older Americans, asking how they’ll be able to afford retirement, have settled on an answer: Work longer, or never stop working at all. Working longer can make sense as a way to mitigate the risks of rising longevity and declining guaranteed income from pensions and Social Security. Adding even a few years of work […]

Retirement rankings? They’re all over the map

What’s the best place to live in retirement? New Hampshire boasts low taxes and a vital cultural climate. Mexico has warm weather and a low cost of living. The Provo-Orem metropolitan area of Utah, with about 115,000 residents, promises an outdoorsy lifestyle, proximity to Salt Lake City and plenty of opportunities to take classes at […]

Future of retirement planning belongs to the cyborgs

Who will help you plan for retirement – a robot or a cyborg? Pundits have been saying for some time now that the future belongs to robo-advisers – automated portfolio services that use algorithms to manage investments. The robo-services have attracted interest as a way to deploy low-cost advice, but retirement planning guru Michael Kitces […]

Retirement planning for special needs families

The financial planning challenges for parents of special needs children are myriad and complex–and retirement planning presents one of the toughest challenges. The core challenge is balancing the financial needs of retirement with long-term needs of a child with a disability–needs that usually outlive the parents. “If we aren’t asking the right questions, we’re going […]

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How to manage your career like a financial asset

There’s nothing more basic to a retirement plan than your career—income from work makes everything else possible. Many financial planners recognize that truth, at least in theory. But most haven’t taken the next logical step, argues Michael Haubrich, founder and president of Financial Service Group, a fee-only planning firm based in Milwaukee. Haubrich is the […]

New tools for tax-efficient retirement draw-downs coming into view

Control the things you can control. We’ve all heard the mantra when it comes to personal financial planning, and it usually refers to the accumulation side of a retirement plan—factors such as investment cost, contribution amounts and timing. But a growing body of research points to an under-utilized point of control on the decumulation side […]

Is the fiduciary rule fight really about the little guy?

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce wants you to believe it is looking out for the little guy in its fight against new government regulation of the retirement investment advice industry. But that is a facade – as one consumer advocacy group found out when it checked the Chamber’s claims of grassroots support for its battle […]