Retirement 101


Not talking about retirement can cost you


The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 5-24-13) Children may be reluctant to ask aging parents about their estate and financial affairs, but information shared can prevent confusion later. You "need to know much more than whether a will exists. Are there powers of attorney or advanced health care directives in place? What does their health insurance cover? Do they have life insurance? Have they made a list of every single account that they owe or collect money from?"
When It Comes To Your Family And Retirement Planning, Silence Is Not Golden (Ken Dychtwald, Huffpost. 11-19-13). One study revealed that our two greatest retirement worries are to be broke and to be a burden. We should talk, but "'worry about causing family conflicts' is the top reason people give for not discussing important financial issues with family members." Thanks for many of the following links.
How to talk to your spouse about retirement (Kerri Anne Renzulli, CNN Money, 9-25-13)
Why traditional retirement is dead (Steve Vernon, CBS MarketWatch, 2-4-13) Statistics to give us pause.
Losing Sleep for Fear of Becoming a Bag Lady (Silver Century Foundation) =
Coordinating Retirement With Your Spouse (Emily Brandon, USNews Money, 6-19-12) Married couples don’t always agree on retirement timing or lifestyle
Retiring to live near your loved ones? (Chris Farrell, NextAvenue, 9-4-15) When the Best Place to Retire Is Near Your Kid: The move can bring you joy, but first run the numbers
Best Places to Retire: What the Latest Lists Say (Richard Eisenberg, NextAvenue, 3-23-15) Some of the Bankrate.com and Forbes choices will surprise you
10 best states for retirement (Corrie Hengst, BankRate
25 Best Places to Retire in 2015 (Forbes)
The Homes Boomers Will Retire In (Richard Eisenberg, NextAvenue, reports on the Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate (BHGRE) survey
How to Navigate Awkward Money Conversations at Your Family's Holiday Dinner (Matt Brownell, Daily Finance, 11-6-13)
How to persuade an elderly relative to stop driving (Joe Blundo, Columbus Dispatch, 11-15-14). Sidebar: Signs that an elderly driver may not be safe driving
Family retirement, inheritance conversations lost in translation (Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times, 11-14-12) “Whether it’s a parent facing a shortfall in retirement income or an adult child weighing the tax implications of an inheritance, too often discussing these issues is considered taboo within families, but real emotional and financial consequences emerge when such conversations don’t happen or lack sufficient depth,” Kathleen Murphy, Fidelity’s president of personal investing, said in a statement. On the topic of whether the children will care for the parents if they fall ill, 97% of nearly 1,000 people surveyed had opinions that conflicted with those of the other generation.
Our financial smarts erode quickly after age 60 (Robert Powell, MarketWatch, 10-17-11)
What to Ask About Your Retirement (Sarah Childress, PBS, 4-23-13)
omer Tsunami: Face your tomorrow here, now ( (Judy Steed, The Star, 4-20-09). Boomers will once again be "transformative" as we age – our demographic clout is so massive that we change society as we move through the stages of life – but not soon enough to benefit ourselves, says gerontologist Robert Butler. The "future belongs those who prepare for it." Don't be afraid of looking ahead, he says; make plans and figure out your best approach to "the big transition."
What to do when parents lose their money minds (Elizabeth O'Brien, MarketWatch 3-26-13)
More NY Times stories on retirement planning.
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Retirement and insurance calculators


AARP Retirement Calculator (free)
T. Rowe Price's Retirement Income Calculator
Calculating your Social Security benefits
Ballpark Estimate (free, Employee Benefit Research Institute)
Fidelity's myPlan Snapshot
Financial Engines (available free through Vanguard to participating 401(k) plans and to retail clients with $50,000 or more in Vanguard assets
Savings and real estate calculators and tools from CNNMoney.com
Immediate Annuities. "We're not crazy about variable annuities, which often come with steep fees and are very difficult to compare for shopping purposes," says Tobie Stanger. "But a fixed immediate annuity may be a reasonable purchase." Immediate Annuities is helpful for calculating those. See It takes work to plan a successful retirement (Herb Weisbaum, Today Money, 4-11-13)

Health Insurance Marketplace Calculator (Subsidy Calculator) (Kaiser Family Foundation) provides estimates of health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With this calculator, you can enter your income, age, and family size to estimate your eligibility for subsidies and how much you could spend on health insurance. You can also use this tool to estimate your eligibility for Medicaid. Here's an explanation of how it works (KFF)
AARP Health Cost Calculator, as described by Ann Carrns (NY Times, 11-20-13)
Car insurance calculators
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Retirement Finances 101

What you need to know about retirement funds and how much you need to save for retirement

When should you talk with your family about the big picture, financially? Will your money last? Are you covered in case of severe health problems? How will you share what's left of your estate?
Equifax’s Instructions Are Confusing. Here’s What to Do Now. (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 9-8-17). And the sidebar: How to Protect Your Information Online
Can The Best Financial Tips Fit On An Index Card? (Chris Arnold, Morning Edition, NPR, 1-8-16)
Talking Personal Finance with Helaine Olen: Parts 1 and 2 (Harold Pollack, The Reality-Based Community, 4-27-13) "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."
The Retirement Gamble (Frontline, 4-23-13) Links to many pieces, including: A New Retirement Rule Aims to Put Customers Before Advisors (4-6-16); John Bogle: The "Train Wreck" Awaiting American Retirement (4-23-13); Five Moments That Shaped the 401(k) (4-23-13)
When Brokers Want to Move Your Money Out of a Very Good Thing (Ron Lieber, Your Money, NY Times, 8-4-17) Everyone should have a retirement plan as good as the Thrift Savings Plan that federal workers use. Here’s what happened when outside advisers tried to pry money loose. That story starts: So far this year, here’s what our friends in the federal government [our Republican Congress] have done for — and to — citizens who hope to find simple ways to save enough money for retirement without anyone robbing them blind:
■ Continued a yearslong fight against a rule that requires many retirement advisers to act in their clients’ best interests.
■ Reversed a rule that would have made it easier for states to create retirement savings plans for people who don’t have one at work.
■ Abandoned a new federal program to help lower-income savers, young ones in particular.
And this is a story about why those rules and safeguards are important -- how some federal employees with an excellent retirement savings plan got rooked into moving to an expensive variable annuities. "Barbara Roper, director of investor protection at the Consumer Federation of America, said that the move to expensive annuities would have violated a 'best interest' standard. She also noted that rules affect the norms of behavior, which means that the brokers might not have even bothered trying to approach the Thrift Savings Plan participants with such offerings if a fiduciary rule standard had been in effect."
The 21 Questions You’re Going to Need to Ask About Investment Fees (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 2-10-17) “The fiduciary rule ultimately comes down to the fact that some people are making a lot of money at the expense of other people who have no idea how much their adviser is getting paid,” Mr. Dunston said
Broker Check, a free tool to research the background and experience of financial brokers, advisers and firms
Does Your Stockbroker Draw Complaints? Here’s How to Find Out (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 4-9-16)
7 Essential Money Questions Sure to Start a Conversation (Ron Lieber, Your Money, NY Times, 8-26-16) What lessons about money did you learn from your parents? What does the word “money” conjure up for you? How many children would you like to have when you retire? Tell me about your financial situation when you first met. What are the most important things in your life? (How would you live your life differently if you were completely secure financially? What would you change if you knew you only had five to 10 years left to live? And what would you regret if you knew you would die tomorrow?) What does the prospect of retirement look like to you?
What’s the magic number for your retirement savings? (Sharon Epperson, CNBC, Feb 2016) To be financially ready to retire by age 67, says Fidelity Investments — the nation's largest retirement-plan provider — you should aim to have 10 times your final salary in savings.
How to win at retirement savings (Ron Lieber, NY Times)
Before You Pay For Financial Advice, Read This Guide (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 6-18-17)
Here's how much the average American family has saved for retirement (Kathleen Elkins, CNBC, 9-12-16) How how much has the average American family saved up? According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) , the mean retirement savings of all families is $95,776. But "nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all," reported EPI. "The median for all families in the U.S. is just $5,000, and the median for families with some savings is $60,000." When it comes to retirement, the rich get richer and the poor barely scrape by, the EPI reported.
Consumer tools and tutorials (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, CFPB) Answers questions about auto loans, bank accounts and services, credit cards, credit reports and scores, debt collection, families and money, money transfers, mortgages, payday loans, prepaid cards, and student loans. See its excellent, informative set of money-related Q&As for older Americans.
Are You on the Right Track for Retirement? (Consumer Reports, 11-22-16) Read about four free tools to help you plan your retirement.
Avoid These Common and Costly Senior Scams (Consumer Reports, 11-22-16)
The triple-whammy facing women in retirement (Aimee Picchi, MoneyWatch, CBS, 10-18-16) In old age, women are more likely than men to live in poverty owing to a lifetime of accumulated disadvantages such as the gender pay gap (when women are paid less than men for doing the same job), according to a study from Financial Finesse. A woman who chooses a mid-career break may end up with a retirement savings shortfall of $1.1 million, the study found.
‘What if You Weren’t Afraid?’ and 4 More Money Questions From Readers (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 9-2-16) Where are we staying in Florida? Can you accept the fact that we can’t live the same life that you do? What would you do if you weren’t afraid? What good is having a lot in the bank if you’ve never let yourself live? What is the most satisfying thing you’ve spent money on?
"The Retirement Gamble" Facing Us All (Martin Smith, important Frontline article, 4-23-13) "Big banks, brokerages, insurance companies and other financial service providers operate under something called a suitability standard — which says they don’t have to give you the best advice, just advice that isn’t too egregiously terrible. You’ll get lots of advice, but chances are it won’t be worth much. Eighty five percent of all financial advisers and financial planners are really just brokers or salesman. Their incentive is to sell you a product that makes them a higher commission, not necessarily a product that maximizes your chances of saving more. Only 15 percent of advisers are 'fiduciaries' — advisers who by law must operate with your best interests in mind."
How Do You Know Which Financial Adviser to Trust? (Jason M. Breslow, article for Frontlline, 5-9-13). "Much of the trouble with the retirement system is that most financial advisers are not bound by law to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. In other words, they are not fiduciaries." And the Labor Department's efforts to reform the industry are facing great resistance.
How to Think About Risk in Retirement (William J. Bernstein, WSJ, 11-30-14) The Best Way to Guard Against Your Greatest Risk: Running Out of Money
Live Long And Prosper: Reviving An Idea For Income In Old Age (Uri Berliner, All Things Considered, 11-27-15) Some financial experts want to bring back the tontine, a tool to help people plan for retirement. For centuries it was used to build bridges and fancy meeting halls and to provide people with income in their old age. "That is, before it was undone by fraud and ghoulish portrayals in popular culture."
In Retirement, a Life of Inexpensive Leisure (Glenn Ruffenach, WSJ, 11-3014) A Study Finds Retirees Spend Much Time on Activities That Won’t Deplete the Nest Egg
Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget Health Care Costs
Economist sounds warning on realities of work, retirement (Deirdre Fernandes, Boston Globe, 11-30-14) "[R]etirement security in the 21st century means working longer, saving more, and passing fewer assets on to heirs."
An all-American recipe for a retirement disaster (Aimee Picchi, MoneyWatch, CBS, 10-29-14) "Keeping investments in cash or cash-related products in today's low-interest rate environment means that many Americans are losing out on potential returns."
What's the difference between a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan? (CNN Ultimate guide to retirement)
Should I Choose a Traditional or Roth IRA? (Miriam Caldwell, About Money)
How To Rollover Your 401(k) (Miriam Caldwell, About Money)
The Special Challenges of Retiring From a Business You Own (Tim Gray, NY Times, 7-25-14) "Preparing to hand your company to your children can create ... worries about financial security, the legacy of your life’s work and the prospects for your offspring. The process can touch everything from spreadsheet-driven company valuations to awkward talks about your children’s limitations. It can demand the technical knowledge of a C.P.A. and the soft skills of a psychologist." Stories of how some retiring parents handled the problem.
Retirement Plans – Understanding the Basics (Oct.2014), from Women's Institute For A Secure Retirement (WISER) Improving the long-term financial security of all women through education and advocacy.
The psychology of retirement saving (Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com, 3-18-14)
Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Your Health (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 3-25-14) . Listen online or read transcript.
Inexpensive Advice for Index and Exchange-Traded Fund Investments (NY Times, 8-22-14) These companies offer help picking and rebalancing index and exchange-traded funds or similar investments, and none charge more than about 0.5 percent of your assets each year for the privilege.
Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 4-1-14). Listen online or read transcript.
How to Financially Protect Your Spouse (Jane Bryant Quinn, AARP Bulletin, June 2014) Faced with decisions about pension benefits? Shortsighted choices now can cause harm in the future.
IRS 401(k) ruling aims to boost retirement income (Anne Tergesen, Market Watch, 10-29-14) New rules nudge older savers to consider annuities
Retirement’s changing expectations (Michelle Singletary, Washington Post 11-18-14) "...people without a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) or a defined benefit plan such as a pension had larger differences between expected and actual retirement" than people who had such plans.
Brightscope (a 401K rating and information company). Check out Financial Q&A's, Ratings of corporate and government 401k, 403b and 457 retirement plans, and News stories.
FAQs About Cash Balance Pension Plans (U.S. Dept. of Labor)
How to go 40 years without a paycheck (Joe Lucey, MarketWatch, 7-7-14) Here's a sobering statistic from the Employee Benefit Research Institute to consider: 44% of all early boomer households are likely to run short of money in retirement. In fact, Allianz Life completed a study which found that 61% of respondents were more scared of outliving their assets than they were of dying.
The Elephant In The Room When It Comes to Family and Retirement (Ken Dychtwald, Huffpost. 11-18-13). The hopes and dreams of today's pre-retirees and retirees are increasingly complicated by three converging family-related trends: We don't retire from parenthood; extended lives means extended needs; and we are stretched and stressed, balancing the trade-offs of our own financial security with the well-being of our kids, parents and siblings. Based on (you can download:) Family & Retirement: The Elephant in the Room (report from a Merrill Lynch retirement study done in partnership with Age Wave)
The Real Reason for Pensions (Vauhini Vara, Currency, New Yorker, 12-4-13)
States and cities grapple with cuts to pensions that workers have already earned (Judy Woodruff interviews several people, PBS NewsHour 12-4-13). Transcript.

Retirement mistakes people make at every age (Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post, 8-25-14). See also Why your baby needs a retirement account
The Creepy Truth About Life Settlements (Dan Kadlec, Money, 11-5-14) Selling your life insurance policy is right up there with taking out a reverse mortgage when it comes to retirement income sources that most people would be better off not tapping. Kadlec discusses the risks, and better options.
Should you pay off your mortgage when retiring? (Rodney Brooks, USA Today, 11-4-14)
Why you shouldn’t use retirement savings to pay off debt (Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post)
Getting Personal (Ed McCarthy, Getting Personal, ThinkAdvisor 5-1-07). An estate plan should include stocks, bonds—and a life story.
Money Matters: Estate Planning Checklist (Paddy Hirsch, MarketPlace)
Retirement today: For many, even former corporate professionals, it’s not happening ( Carol Hymowitz, NY Times, 9-27-13). At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe. Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.
Identity theft and the top 12 tax scams of 2013 ( Peter O'Dowd, Marketplace Morning Report 5-15-13)
The move to assisted living: Navigating the fine line between money and emotions (Liyna Anwar, Marketplace Money, 7-13-12)
Fees for 401(k) retirement plans are higher at small companies (Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 9-9-13) Large firms are able to spread record-keeping and other fixed expenses over a larger base of employees.
Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages? (E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times, 11-26-12)
As boomers age, say goodbye to 3% growth (Matthew Heimer, MarketWatch, 9-10-13)
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Being smart about pensions and annuities

The New Rules of Retirement Planning (Tobie Stanger, Consumer Reports, 2-19-17) Everything you thought you knew about retirement has changed. Take our quiz to better prepare for your later years.
Annuities. CNN Money's Ultimate guide to retirement
Will your pension be there when you need it? (Michelle Singletary, Washington Post, 2-20-17)
Pension Rights Center. Look around this site, which may offer advice you didn't know you needed.
Pension Help America Have a question about your retirement plan? Not sure where to turn for help? PensionHelp America can connect you with counseling projects, government agencies, and legal service providers that offer free information and assistance.
Pension plan basics (Investopedia)
Answers to Questions About 403(b) Plans (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 10-21-16) What are they? And who uses them? Why do they exist? Who regulates them?
The Monk Who Left the Monastery to Fix Broken Retirement Plans (Ron Lieber, NY Times, 6-9-17) When colleagues came to Doug Lynam with small balances in expensive 403(b) plans, he decided that his true calling was in finance--as a "suffering prevention specialist." His professional conversations now feel a lot like confession, he says, with people sharing stories of unpaid debts, betrayals and sure things that were far from it. He listens, and then he must hold the mirror up to those who may not want to see the truth.
Think Your Retirement Plan Is Bad? Talk to a Teacher (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 10-23-16) "Most Americans who save for retirement at work have 401(k) plans, which are generally offered by companies and must by law provide a mix of prudent investment options. But millions of Americans — public school teachers, clergy members, employees of religious institutions or nonprofits, and some charities — are not offered 401(k)’s. Instead they typically must rely on what are known as 403(b) plans, many of which are more lightly regulated." While some school districts and states have begun vetting plans for public school employees, most teachers must still sort through a bewildering list on their own. “What makes me the most angry is that public school employees are not protected the same as their private sector counterparts.”
Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 10-28-16) "Annuities can be hard to fully grasp even in their simplest configuration, where you hand a pile of money to an insurance company, then receive a guaranteed stream of annual income for life. But schoolteachers and other people doing good works are often" being sold a bill of goods, their money tied up in annuities they do not understand.
An Annuity for the Teacher — and the Broker (Tara Siegel Bernard, NY Times, 10-27-16) “People who are in the schools pitching them and positioning themselves as retirement specialists are really there just to sell them one product.” The brokers are doing well; the teachers are not, and are beginning to look elsewhere for advice.
A Roth 401(k) Could Make a Difference in Retirement (Carla Fried, Consumer Reports, 7-26-16) New study shows that Roths aren't just for younger Americans
An HSA Can Help You Save for Retirement (Carla Fried, Consumer Reports, 5-4-16) The Health Savings Account offers a triple tax benefit
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Retirement funds and issues

When should you talk with your family about the big picture, financially? Will your money last? Are you covered in case of severe health problems? How will you share what's left of your estate?

"The Retirement Gamble" Facing Us All (Martin Smith, important Frontline article, 4-23-13) "Big banks, brokerages, insurance companies and other financial service providers operate under something called a suitability standard — which says they don’t have to give you the best advice, just advice that isn’t too egregiously terrible. You’ll get lots of advice, but chances are it won’t be worth much. Eighty five percent of all financial advisers and financial planners are really just brokers or salesman. Their incentive is to sell you a product that makes them a higher commission, not necessarily a product that maximizes your chances of saving more. Only 15 percent of advisers are 'fiduciaries' — advisers who by law must operate with your best interests in mind."
How Much Does Wall Street Charge To Manage New Mexico's Retirement Money? (David Sirota, Josh Keefe, and Lydia O'Neal, International Business Times, 9-27-17) "Since 2013, New Mexico taxpayers have paid at least $14.3 million — or nearly $9,000 a day — to nine financial firms whose donors helped bankroll Republican Gov. Susana Martinez’s political apparatus, according to state records obtained by International Business Times....Those firms also receive performance fees, which can total up to 20 percent of the returns on an investment. But the New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (NMERB), like many pension funds, refuses to disclose the performance fees it pays to investors, despite the fact those investors are managing billions in public money — obscuring what one expert said could be a 50 percent larger total payout."
The Greatest Retirement Crisis In American History (Edward Siedle, Forbes, 3-20-13) "In the decades to come, we will witness millions of elderly Americans, the Baby Boomers and others, slipping into poverty. Too frail to work, too poor to retire will become the “new normal” for many elderly Americans....Corporate America and the financial wizards behind the past three decades of so-called retirement innovations, most notably titans of the pension benefits consulting and mutual fund 401(k) industries, are down-playing just how bad things are already and how much worse they are going to get....Americans today are aware that corporate pensions have been virtually eliminated and that the few remaining private, as well as the nation’s public pensions, are in jeopardy. Even if you are among the lucky few that have a pension, you cannot rest assured that it will be there for all the years you’ll need it. Whether you know it or not, someone is busy trying to figure how to screw you out of your pension." The crisis will come in waves.
A Day of Reckoning for Public Pensions: The Bills are Due, the Coffers are Empty (Elaine Chao, The Heritage Foundation, 10-1-10) "According to a study by the Pew Center, state and local governments today face at least $1 trillion of unfunded pension promises....Private sector pensions are required by federal law (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) to conform to certain minimum pension funding rules. These rules require more accurate measurement of pension liabilities and assets and prevent companies with significantly underfunded pension plans from making new promises they can’t afford to keep. State and local government plans are not subject to these federal laws, and many failed to take it upon themselves to responsibly ensure that they would be able to make good on their promises....Government at all levels has kicked the fiscal can down the road for far too long. Where public pensions are concerned, many jurisdictions are running out of road."
Study Finds Public Pension Promises Exceed Ability to Pay (Mary Williams Walsh, NY Times, 3-17-16) "For years there have been frequent reports of pension systems rife with pay-to-play deals, improper payouts, overly risky investment strategies and other problems. But the Citigroup researchers looked beyond such scandals and depicted the worldwide accumulation of giant, invisible pension obligations as a matter of simple demographics. Most developed countries had baby booms after World War II, and their populations are now aging and enjoying significant gains in health and longevity. Those favorable demographics made it seem that government pension systems could operate forever with minimal funding — or in many cases, no funding at all. Now that is changing as populations age in many places, and the Citigroup report said the numbers no longer work. More and more retirees are receiving benefit payments every month, straining retirement systems even when the individual amounts paid are modest. And now there are relatively fewer younger workers generating the revenue that is supposed to support those systems."
Thanks to Congress, these pension plans could severely cut retiree benefits (Michael Fletcher, Wonkblog, Washington Post, 1-28-15) "Congress passed legislation last month allowing certain financially distressed pension plans to cut benefits for current retirees....The law applied only to multi-employer plans, pooled retirement funds that support the pensions of unionized workers, many of whom are solidly working class. They include truckers, miners, supermarket clerks, custodians and construction workers."
Live Long and Prosper? Insurance Might Help (John F. Wasik, NY Times, 3-11-15) With longevity insurance, you pay a "lump-sum premium at an earlier age, then collect predetermined monthly payments beginning at age 80 through 85." You "weigh the trade-off of tying up your money with the fact that you (or your heirs) could lose what you invested if you die before taking payments." "You are essentially making a bet that you will live long enough to need the money and that your portfolio will come up short."
The Case of the Missing Pension (Carol Matlack, Bloomberg Business, 3-24-16) Tracking down a plan from a former employer can be difficult, but Matlack did find hers. Unclaimed U.S. pension benefits may total as much as $8 billion annually. Abandoned 401(k)s leave billions more in limbo.
Unclaimed Money from the Government (an immensely helpful federal U.S. website). Does this apply to you? You never know. Let's say you tuck some money in a savings account, and then forget it or somehow lose track of it. Most states have some kind of regulation saying that if an account is inactive for a year or two (it varies by state)--meaning, you don't go online to check it out, or you don't deposit or withdraw money over a certain period--the financial institution is required to turn the money over to the state. It is surprisingly easy to forget that you have an account if you have several, and if you want to check to be sure, this is the website to go to. The government provides a great array of search sites and options. And if you head into dementia or mere aging forgetfulness, a young friend or relative might do some searches for you.
Congressional leaders hammer out deal to allow pension plans to cut retiree benefits (Michael A. Fletcer, Washington Post, 12-9-14). A measure that would for the first time allow the benefits of current retirees to be severely cut is set to be attached to a massive spending bill, part of an effort to save some of the nation’s most distressed pension plans.
After the new federal pension rules: What retirees need to know (Mark Miller, Reuters, 12-10-14). See also Pension cuts helped keep the government open, but they hurt many retired women (Joann Weiner, Washington Post, She The People, 12-18-14). Women: That piece is worth reading even if your pension isn't affected.
Brightscope (a 401K rating and information company). Check out Financial Q&A's, Ratings of corporate and government 401k, 403b and 457 retirement plans, and News stories.
The Retirement Readiness Challenge:Five Ways Employers Can Improve Their 401(k)s (Catherine Collinson, White Paper, Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, Dec. 2014) The TCRS annual survey found that many employers recognize
the value of offering retirement benefits; 95% employers that offer a 401(k) or similar plan agree that their employees are satisfied with the retirement plan
their company offers; but only 80 percent of workers offered such a plan agree that they are satisfied with their employers’ plans.
What's the difference between a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan? (CNN Ultimate guide to retirement)
Best Cities for Successful Aging (The Milken Report)
Should I Choose a Traditional or Roth IRA? (Miriam Caldwell, About Money)
How To Rollover Your 401(k) (Miriam Caldwell, About Money)
The Special Challenges of Retiring From a Business You Own (Tim Gray, NY Times, 7-25-14) "Preparing to hand your company to your children can create ... worries about financial security, the legacy of your life’s work and the prospects for your offspring. The process can touch everything from spreadsheet-driven company valuations to awkward talks about your children’s limitations. It can demand the technical knowledge of a C.P.A. and the soft skills of a psychologist." Stories of how some retiring parents handled the problem, with entries such as Retirement Plans – Understanding the Basics (Oct.2014), from Women's Institute For A Secure Retirement (WISER) Improving the long-term financial security of all women through education and advocacy.
The psychology of retirement saving (Eric Rosenbaum, CNBC.com, 3-18-14)
Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Your Health (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 3-25-14) . Listen online or read transcript.
Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 4-1-14). Listen online or read transcript.
How to Financially Protect Your Spouse (Jane Bryant Quinn, AARP Bulletin, June 2014) Faced with decisions about pension benefits? Shortsighted choices now can cause harm in the future.
Retirement’s changing expectations (Michelle Singletary, Washington Post 11-18-14) "...people without a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) or a defined benefit plan such as a pension had larger differences between expected and actual retirement" than people who had such plans.
FAQs About Cash Balance Pension Plans (U.S. Dept. of Labor)
How to go 40 years without a paycheck (Joe Lucey, MarketWatch, 7-7-14) Here's a sobering statistic from the Employee Benefit Research Institute to consider: 44% of all early boomer households are likely to run short of money in retirement. In fact, Allianz Life completed a study which found that 61% of respondents were more scared of outliving their assets than they were of dying.
The Elephant In The Room When It Comes to Family and Retirement (Ken Dychtwald, Huffpost. 11-18-13). The hopes and dreams of today's pre-retirees and retirees are increasingly complicated by three converging family-related trends: We don't retire from parenthood; extended lives means extended needs; and we are stretched and stressed, balancing the trade-offs of our own financial security with the well-being of our kids, parents and siblings. Based on (you can download:) Family & Retirement: The Elephant in the Room (report from a Merrill Lynch retirement study done in partnership with Age Wave)
Retirement mistakes people make at every age (Jonnelle Marte, Washington Post, 8-25-14). See also Why your baby needs a retirement account
Coping When Not Entering Retirement Together (Tara Siegel Bernard, Your Money, NY Times, 3-21-14)
How Do You Know Which Financial Adviser to Trust? (Jason M. Breslow, article for Frontlline, 5-9-13). "Much of the trouble with the retirement system is that most financial advisers are not bound by law to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. In other words, they are not fiduciaries." And the Labor Department's efforts to reform the industry are facing great resistance.
What to Ask About Your Retirement (Sarah Childress, PBS, 4-23-13)
Leisure Inequality: What the Rich-Poor Longevity Gap Will Do to Retirement (Teresa Ghilarducci, The Atlantic, 9-28-[15). In American society, those who live the longest get to enjoy years of relaxation, but those with the shortest life expectancies tend to work into their final years. See also Our Ridiculous Approach to Retirement (NYTimes Sunday Review, Opinion, 7-21-12) "Seventy-five percent of Americans nearing retirement age in 2010 had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts. The specter of downward mobility in retirement is a looming reality for both middle- and higher-income workers....If we manage to accept that our investments will likely not be enough, we usually enter another fantasy world — that of working longer....The chance to work into one’s 70s primarily belongs to the most well off....Get real. Just as a voluntary Social Security system would have been a disaster, a voluntary retirement account plan is a disaster." And more: Fixing the US Retirement System (her testimony before the Senate, 5-21-14). "The individual-directed, commercial, voluntary and tax subsidized employer system has not and will not become an important source of income for most older Americans. American workers need a tier of advanced-funded retirement accounts that have many features of the Social Security system. Americans need a mandatory, universal, advanced funded retirement account that is professionally managed, is appropriately tax-subsidized and pays out annuities."

Getting Personal (Ed McCarthy, Getting Personal, ThinkAdvisor 5-1-07). An estate plan should include stocks, bonds—and a life story.
Money Matters: Estate Planning Checklist (Paddy Hirsch, MarketPlace)
Retirement today: For many, even former corporate professionals, it’s not happening ( Carol Hymowitz, NY Times, 9-27-13). At the height of his corporate career, Tom Palome was pulling in a salary in the low six-figures and flying first class on business trips to Europe. Today, the 77-year-old former vice president of marketing for Oral-B juggles two part-time jobs: one as a $10-an-hour food demonstrator at Sam’s Club, the other flipping burgers at a golf club grill for slightly more than minimum wage.
Identity theft and the top 12 tax scams of 2013 ( Peter O'Dowd, Marketplace Morning Report 5-15-13)
The move to assisted living: Navigating the fine line between money and emotions (Liyna Anwar, Marketplace Money, 7-13-12)
Social Security, Present and Future (Editorial Board, NY Times, 3-30-13) There are rational and acceptable fixes to the program that could preserve it for generations to come, if political will can be found to enact them. "The debate over reforming Social Security will come down to tax increases versus benefit cuts. With retirements at risk, reducing benefits is dangerous, though trimming benefits for upper-income recipients, who live longer and draw larger benefits, could close about 10 percent of the system’s long-term funding gap. Another overdue reform, which would close about a third of the gap, is to raise the level of wages subject to Social Security payroll tax to about $200,000 from the current $113,700. That would bring the taxable wage base in line with rising incomes among top earners."
Will Social Security Be There for You? (Tom Sightings, US News, Retirement, 9-10-13) Officials will probably make more dramatic cuts for future beneficiaries, because as time goes on the financial pressure will increase and younger people don't vote as much.
Fees for 401(k) retirement plans are higher at small companies (Walter Hamilton, Los Angeles Times, 9-9-13) Large firms are able to spread record-keeping and other fixed expenses over a larger base of employees.
Quiz: How much do you know about mortgages? (E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times, 11-26-12)
As boomers age, say goodbye to 3% growth (Matthew Heimer, MarketWatch, 9-10-13)
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Reverse mortgages, pro and con

aka "“Home Equity Conversion Mortgage” or H.E.C.M.
Considering a reverse mortgage? Proceed with caution (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau). Read this first! See also How do I receive money and how much money can I get Q&A's (also the CFPB)
U.S. retirees return to reverse mortgages, big banks stay away (Peter Rudegeair and Michelle Conlin, Reuters, 3-17-14)
Reverse Mortgage Ads May Sidestep Potential Pitfalls (Ann Carrns, Your Money, NY Times, 6-9-15). "...while borrowers don’t have to make monthly payments on the loan, they do have to pay property taxes, homeowners’ insurance and maintenance costs. If they do not, their lender may declare a default and start foreclosure proceedings." These loans are made by private lenders, not the government.
Rejecting nursing home option to stay in own home is exploding thanks to reverse mortgages (Buck Wargo, Complete Senior, 8-1-14) “Assisted living has grown tremendously over the past decade ... Reverse mortgages don’t work so well in assisted living because if you moved out of your home then after a year you have to make due on your reverse mortgage," says Alex Guerrero, the director of operations for San Francisco-based The Elder Care Research Organization. "New rules for reverse mortgages just kicked in August 2014 to help the surviving spouse in case the other dies. If one of the spouses took out the reverse mortgage and died, the new rules allow the survivor to keep living in the home without being foreclosed upon as long as they make tax and insurance payments and maintain the home." You have to be sure BOTH partners don't end up in assisted living or a nursing home. Then you take a loss.
A Kinder, Gentler Reverse Mortgage (Tom Lauricella, WSJ Online, 3-22-14) Tighter regulations should make them safer
Reverse mortgages: Safer, but far from risk-free (Les Christie, CNN Money, 2-7-14)
5 Must-Know Facts About Reverse Mortgages (Dan Caplinger, Daily Finance, 6-21-13)
Reverse mortgage (Wikipedia). Good explanation, particularly in summing up criticism
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Traveling in retirement (and otherwise)

Intervac Home Exchange ("We are all richer when we share")
Home Exchange ("Travel anywhere. Live like a local. Stay for free.")
Trusted Housesitters (U.S., "the win-win for pet lovers that travel")
Housecarers.com ("We have many kind, Responsible pet-loving, Live-in Housesitter members, interested in your area who would love to care for your home and pets and gardens (if applicable)")
Couchsurfing, an online community of travelers who share their spare rooms or couches with strangers for free.
Enjoy housesitting? Let me count the ways! (HouseSitMatch.com)
Airbnb (rent unique places to stay from local hosts in 190+ countries). Save money and time. But be aware also of limitations: Home-Sharing? Don’t Ignore Liability (Ron Lieber, Your Money, NY Times, 4-20-12)
How to Find Cheap Travel Accommodations (Matt Karsten, Expert Vagabond)
Why Bargain Travel Sites May No Longer Be Bargains (Doug Barr, Backchannel, 3-30-17) Aggregators like Expedia have made us lazy — and we may be missing out on the best deals.
Travellers Point, a social networking site for people who want to learn from or share experiences with other travelers. See various categories: Community (forums), Accommodation, Map, Planner, Travel Guide.
Fly-Along Companions Offer a Way for Older People to Travel (Julie Weed, Business Day, NY Times, 9-26-16) The business of providing traveling companions for older adults is still new enough that there are no good statistics on who or how many provide such services. But they are cropping up — not only in the United States but in Europe and Asia — to cater to aging populations who have leisure time and money but diminished capacity for the rigors of travel.
Do you need travel insurance? (Consumer Reports, July 2012) Maybe, if there are gaps in your auto, health, life, or homeowners policies. But buy wisely. "Instead of buying a policy through a travel agent or booking site, go to an online broker such as InsureMyTrip.com, which sells coverage from 21 carriers, including CSA Travel Protection, MedJet Assist, and Travelex." See reviews of travel insurance plans.
Travel Guard (AIG travel insurance for various levels of coverage--for trip cancellation and interruption, for medical expense & transportation coverage, for lost/​stolen baggage, for 24/​7 travel assistance services, etc.)
The Essential Guide to Travelling with a Medical Condition (InsuranceWith) a pretty good guide to traveling with a medical problem or disabilities, plus they sell travel insurance.
Six Tips for Getting Cheap or Free Airline Upgrades (Julie Weed, Business Day, NY Times, 7-11-16)
How to travel the world in retirement and not go broke (Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, 4-24-14)
Six Cost-Saving Tips for Traveling in Retirement Sarah Z. Wexler, Travel + Leisure). Travel off-peak times. Think about getting travel and health insurance. Consider a home swap. And three more.
Top Tier Detergent Gasolines (licensed brands that have passed tests for quality--is your regular brand on the list?) See also AAA article: Not All Gasoline Created Equal
Want to Travel When You Retire? 7 Tips on How to Pay for It (Beth Braverman, Fiscal Times, 8-17-15) "Don Roy of New England Wealth Advisors says he asks clients to think of travel in retirement in three phases, 'the go-go years, the slow-go years, and the no-go years.' Travel funds in the third phase often get redistributed to cover health care expenses or other costs that tend to hit in old age." See sidebar: Retirement Nomads: How One Couple Makes It Work . Check out Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World by Lynne Martin.
My 30 Best Travel Tips After 6 Years Traveling The World (Matt Karsten, author of Expert Vagabond, his blog on how to travel the world, seek experiences over possessions, and open your mind to new possibilities).
Off the Grid. A blog about escaping the rat race, travelling the world with kids, hacking the sharing economy, and taking your kids out of school (eventually to be a book
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Social Security


This section grew too large has migrated to its own page:

Social Security and Veterans Benefits


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Second Chances: Retirement as a second act

For Some Retirees, a Second Act Is Easier Than Expected (Abby Ellin, NY Times, Your Money, 6-6-14)
Retirement Jobs (jobs for people over 50)
Retired Brains
Did Robert Redford get it wrong on retirement? (Catey Hill, MarketWatch, NPR, 9-4-15) Studies differ on the effect on longevity of early retirement. "One thing you can do is understand what does promote longevity — whether you’re retired or working. This means everything from having a purpose in life, to staying mentally and physically healthy, to keeping a robust social network."
14 tips and resources for finding work in retirement (Art Koff, MarketWatch, 8-4-14). Provides information for boomers, retirees and people planning retirement, including a free job board connecting employers looking to hire older workers. By the author of Invent Your Retirement: Resources for the Good Life
Housing and services for seniors and disabled
Easing Into Leisure, One Step at a Time (Robert Strauss, NY Times, 1-2-15) As people live longer — and are healthier and more productive as they age — the opportunity to retire and downsize multiple times increases.
A Two-Step Plan That Strengthens Your Nest Egg (John F. Wanik, NY Times, 9-15-11)
Older Job Seekers Find Ways to Avoid Age Bias (Kerry Hannon, Retiring, NY Times, 1-16-15). Tips on how to overcome age bias and false assumptions about an older worker's expectations and capabilities.
Helping Where Help Is Wanted (Tina Rosenberg, Fixes, NY Times, 1-10-12) Older workers placed by programs like ReServe often do crucial jobs that would otherwise go undone.
Thinking Of Retiring? Consider Your Health (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 3-25-14) . Listen online or read transcript. How retirement affects your health depends partly on why you retired and how active you are when you do.
Never Too Late: More Older Adults Sold On Entrepreneurship (Ina Jaffe, NPR, 4-1-14). Listen online or read transcript.
Coping When Not Entering Retirement Together (Tara Siegel Bernard, Your Money, NY Times, 3-21-14)
Best Cities for Successful Aging (The Milken Report)
Getting Personal (Ed McCarthy, Getting Personal, ThinkAdvisor 5-1-07). An estate plan should include stocks, bonds—and a life story.
Mature Caregivers (in-home care by certified 50+ caregivers)
Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement by semi-retirement expert Nancy Collamer
The Encore Fellowships Network (second acts for the greater good)
A Second Career, Happily in the Weeds (David Wallis, Your Money, NY Times, 6-20-14) After 30 years stuck at a desk job, Charles Noble, 65, spends his days with cows, on his own Movable Beast Farm. "One-third of beginning farmers — defined by the federal government as having been in business less than 10 years — 'are over age 55, indicating that many farmers move into agriculture only after retiring from a different career.'"
Is Working Past Retirement Age An Antidote To Getting Old? (Ina Jaffe, Morning Edition, NPR, 6-5-14) Nearly half of people surveyed who say they're retired are working or have worked in the recent past. And nearly three quarters of baby boomers say they plan to stay on the job past retirement age.
The End of Retirement? (Frank Swain, Future Tense, Slate, 11-21-13) You might have to work into your 80s. But that’s a good thing.
Slomo (a NY Times op-doc), delightful video thought piece about a neuroscience doctor who realized life was a forced trudge, decided to reinvent himself, is now known as Slomo, and lives out his life skating at the beach.
The Retirement Gamble (PBS, Frontline, 4-23-13) Retirement is big business, but is it costing workers and retirees too much, asks FRONTLINE's Martin Smith. Here's the transcript , or watch video of the Frontline program.
Our next big crisis will be a retirement crisis (Brett Arends, MarketWatch, WSJ, 3-3-14) "“The only way out of this box is for people to save more and/​or work longer.”
How entrepreneurship extends boomers’ careers (Andrea Coombes, MarketWatch, 11-14-13)
Many want to work in retirement but not full-time (Nanci Hellmich, USA Today, 6-4-14)
Is 70 the ‘right’ retirement age? (Alicia H. Munnell, MarketWatch, 11-20-13) Why 70 is the new 65.
The Hero's Farewell: What Happens When CEOs Retire by Jeffrey Sonnenfeld. The author discusses four types of CEO retirement transitions: The Monarch's Departure (leaving the throne through death, ill health, or palace revolt; the General's Departure (losing their heroic identity and identifying with heroic stature, they leave behind much of their self-worth, so they are eager to return to office; the Ambassador's Departure (like generals, they stay in the firm when they leave their top office, but needing no battles to prove their heroic valor, they work to support their successor in an advisory capacity); and the Governor's Departure (retirement is often merely a career change, and they tend to take leadership roles, not just board membership, in any new activities they pursue).
Graying Workplace (Brave Old World, Columbia University News21 Multimedia Project). Aging on the Job. Instead of Retirement Trade Your Own Replacements. And many more.
3 new retirement living options (MSN's SmartMoney.com on senior co-housing, university-based retirement communities, and CCRC services brought to your home. (CCRC = continuing care retirement community)
NORC's Aging in Place Initiative. (NORC = naturally occurring retirement communities -- without walls). One page on this site shows location of NORC demonstration communities--more than 40 of them, in 25 states. (Jewish Federations of North America)
Recommended Reading:
The Second Chance Revolution: Becoming Your Own Boss After 50 by Edward C. Rogoff
The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life by Marci Alboher. Until recently, most Americans equated the end of a successful career with the beginning of retirement. No more. Now they want to stay in the game (or better, change the game). They want to leave a mark. Make a difference—and continue to make money.
You Plan Your Retirement, Then You Get the Health Bill (Ann Carrns, NY Times, 11-19-13)
AARP Releases Free Health Cost Calculator
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