The Complexity of Working with Medicare, Social Security and Health Savings Accounts

I called the national Social Security phone line last week to discuss survivor benefits. (More on that later.) Of course, the person I spoke with could not actually process my claim.  Instead, he had to schedule a future telephone appointment to do that, with my local Social Security office. The first available appointment time was in August. Keep that in mind if you need to apply for a benefit that cannot be processed online. Before I called to file a claim, I did a lot of research on what I was about to do. Given my circumstances, determining the optimum filing strategy was quite complicated.

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Building My Retirement Spending Plan

I finally got busy this week doing a lot of work on my retirement spending plan. This has been a work in progress for several years as I have acquired TIPS and I-Bonds as part of my Failsafe Retirement Plan grand strategy. But interesting things are happening (including getting older) and the time has come for me to get more specific with a plan for how I am going to use my retirement assets to provide spending money. I’ll try to explain my logic without giving too much away or boring you.

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Don’t Let a Retirement Age Select You

I have advocated for a retirement plan in which the prospective retiree selects – in advance – an age at which he or she will retire. Some would call this retirement goal setting.  I think this makes sense because without a definite target in mind, the date or age of your retirement may select you. Generally, that would not be a good thing. Let me explain what I mean by this.

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Practicing for Retirement Makes Perfect

[Editor’s Note: The following post is from Susan – yes, the very same Susan who is the new woman in my life. Although she is a baby boomer, she is new to the world of baby boomer blogging so please welcome her (and be nice!). For future posts you will know that Susan is the author because her name will appear in the author byline.  Thanks and enjoy]

Hi everybody! I’m very pleased to be a new contributor to this site. Thanks to Mark for inviting my perspectives on this journey!

Retirement!?! Really?! Mark has been contemplating this journey far longer than I. Although an avid saver, I only recently allowed myself to consider what life in retirement might look like. [Read more…]

Playing the Retirement Longevity Game

All retirees and pre-retirees need to think about their life expectancy a/k/a longevity. There are at least two important reasons for this. First, one goal of your retirement plan is to limit the risk that you will outlive your money. Second, anticipated longevity is a key factor in deciding the age at which you want to claim Social Security retirement benefits.

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Second Quarter Net Worth and Retirement Income Plan Review

July has been and will be a busy month for me. I just returned from a two week stay at Lake Barkley in Kentucky. This stay included the ninth in a series of extended family gatherings at the lake. (More about this awesome event later this week.) Towards the end of the month I am traveling to Ithaca, NY for my 45th high school reunion. Finally, I have been busy with an updated assessment of my retirement plan and net worth performance as of the end of the second quarter.

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Personal Debt: Have We Forgotten 2008?

A recent Federal Reserve report contains some disturbing news about personal debt trends in the U.S.  First, total consumer debt is at its highest level since 2011. ($11.5 trillion if you like to read large numbers!) Even worse, the level of consumer debt (mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit card debt) increased by 2.1% during the last quarter of 2013.  That’s the fastest rate of increase since the third quarter of 2007. Do you remember what happened  shortly after that? I sure do, which is why I am so reluctant to trust the equity markets with my retirement money.

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