Category - Retirement

1
Disability Insurance: Why You Probably Need It
2
Financial Planning Checklist for Recent College Graduates
3
Losing Faith?
4
Examine Your Retirement Plan’s Stable Value Fund Closely
5
Social Security “Free Loan” Loophole Redux

Disability Insurance: Why You Probably Need It

The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education makes this declaration annually, but the average person could miss it (start planning ahead for Life Insurance Awareness Month, which comes in September).  Kidding aside, the occasion prompted me to realize that I haven’t ever written about disability insurance, which most people understand only vaguely.

Life insurance is something you probably don’t need if you’re single and have no dependents. But if you become unable to work, you still need money to live whether you have dependents or not.  One way to provide for that need is insurance.

If you’re under 60, …

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Financial Planning Checklist for Recent College Graduates

According to the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS), graduating seniors with educational debts carry an average debt load on the order of $20,000. More and more, college students are beginning their working lives with fairly heavy debt loads. It’s more important than ever for newly-minted grads to hit the ground running with a plan for their finances.

Based on the things I’ve observed in my clients (and others), here are nine key things that I think new college graduates should give attention to:

(1) Understand How Your College Loans Work

A surprising number of graduating students don’t understand the …

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Losing Faith?

According to a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and published by the Wall Street Journal, workers’ and retirees’ confidence about their retirement security has deteriorated sharply during the past two years. The survey of 1,257 Americans found that the percentage of workers who are very confident about having enough money to retire comfortably has dropped to 13% this year, a record low. That is down from 18% in 2008, and a record high of 27% in 2007.

According to Jack VanDerhei, a survey co-author, retirees are waking up to what amounts to “a huge gap between what …

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Examine Your Retirement Plan’s Stable Value Fund Closely

retirement funds over timeMany employer-sponsored tax-deferred retirement plans, including 401(k)s, offer a unique investment option called a “stable value” fund. If you’ve invested in such a fund, you should take a close look at what’s inside – its value might not be as stable as you think.

For years, I’ve had some of the money in a 401(k) plan with my former employer invested in something called the “fixed income fund.” The fund documents describe it as a conservative cash-like investment with a $1.00/share price.  Over the years, the fund has always yielded more than a money market fund; its current yield is …

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Social Security “Free Loan” Loophole Redux

Researchers over at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research have analyzed the “interest-free loan” opportunity presented by the loophole in Social Security that I’ve discussed before. Once their findings reach Congress, I’m betting this loophole gets closed.

Alicia Munnell and her colleagues at the Center recently published a short note in which they examine the potential impact of the loophole.  The idea is this: normally, once you retire, your Social Security retirement benefit level is locked in – other than adjustments for inflation, it can’t go higher.  The older you are when you start taking Social Security, the bigger your …

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