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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Baby Boomers are Reluctant to Retire

The Gallup organization has been polling baby boomers on a number of different topics and periodically releasing the results and drawing conclusions. A recent conclusion is this: When it comes to our retirement age, baby boomers are acting in accordance with our “live to work” reputation. I think that is kind of sad, don’t you?

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Secrets of Successful Retirement Savers

Millions of baby boomers are like me – still in the accumulation phase of retirement planning. Being in the accumulation phase doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually “accumulating.” That requires being a “saver.” A saver has opportunities to save and sufficient discipline to exploit those opportunities. So what separates the successful savers from the not-so-successful retirement savers?

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Will Your Retirement State Tax Your Social Security?

It doesn’t seem right that anyone should have to pay income tax on Social Security retirement benefits, at least until the benefits paid exceed the amount of money that the recipient paid into the system over the years. But, this ship has sailed and many of us will be taxed on Social Security income. The question for today is whether you might get hit with a double tax whammy – taxed at both the federal and state levels.

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My Simplified Pre-Retirement Budgeting Strategy

I don’t like using detailed budgets because of the time involved in monitoring and entering expenses in multiple categories. Using a detailed budget also conflicts with my continuing goal to simplify my life. On the other hand, I like to know and confirm that my pre-retirement outgo is less than my income. That brings a peace of mind that is important to my “big picture” goal of  increasing my net worth while I am still in the accumulation phase of retirement planning.

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