May 19, 2015

Political Short-Sigtedness Undermines Retirement Security for Americans

"Politicians, most brokers, and financial firms don't pay attention to really long-range forecasts anymore because there is no money in it for them. Professional retirement planners, however, have to consider long-term effects to better prepare people for saving before retirement and spending during retirement. They have to worry about time spans of 20 to 70 years."
"A few years ago, there was some attention to the long-term obligations that the government has for Social Security, Medicare, government pensions and welfare programs of various sorts. Those unfunded obligations amounted to over $100 trillion." According to Henry Hebeler, "The short-term focus is destroying our retirement."
Until voters demand better from politicians, short term decisions for political expediency will continue to favor the rich who fund political campaigns.  Read more at

Rental Rates Rising Among Retiring Boomers

"A fully paid-off home—once a quintessential part of the American dream, is becoming far less popular among a new generation of retirees. In lieu of the stability and security home ownership (supposedly) provides, more and more retiring Baby Boomers are choosing the convenience and flexibility of apartments and condominiums."
"In fact, a recent study by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies found that rental rates steadily increased among seniors aged 55 to 75 from 2004 to 2013, and that the 75 and older crowd was the only group to see it drop. What’s more, many if not most of these older renters are former homeowners. A survey of apartment managers actually found that 29 percent of Americans transitioning from home ownership to renting were between the ages of 50 and 65."
Maybe it's time to re-think the importance of homeownership...

Toll-Free Securities Helpline for Seniors

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has launched the toll-free FINRA Securities Helpline for SeniorsTM to provide older investors with a supportive place to get assistance from knowledgeable FINRA staff related to concerns they have with their brokerage accounts and investments.
Senior investors can call FINRA's new toll-free FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors (844-57-HELPS or 844-574-3577) from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, and get neutral, knowledgeable assistance with:
  • understanding how to review your investment portfolio or account statements;
  • concerns about the handling of a brokerage account; and
  • investor tools and resources from FINRA, including BrokerCheck®.

3-Step 15-Minute Retirement Plan

Stop fooling yourself. You don't need a Ph.D. in finance to set up a sensible retirement investing plan. Just follow the prudent advice of Walter Updegrave, editor of
Step #1: Pick a savings target.
Step #2: Settle on your investing strategy. 
Step 3: Do an initial assessment. 
Read the details at 

Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia

"Over 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease."  Writer Karen Wittwer describes a resource for families available from Transamerica, in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab. The Caregiver’s Guide to Financial Planning in the Shadow of Dementia "explains what actions to take during the three stages of decline, including how to create an initial financial plan; confronting the leading symptoms of caregiver stress, and how to manage them; and the important topics to discuss when creating and managing a loved one’s financial plan, including sections on how to ask the right questions of financial advisers."
Available for free download at:

May 18, 2015

Find a Job With Good Retirement Benefits

Trying to invest for retirement without the help of a generous employer is like Sisyphus, a figure of Greek mythology, who was condemned to repeat the task of pushing a boulder up to a mountain, only to see it roll down again… over and over… forever.  But young adults starting their careers can make astute decisions about where to apply for positions. “How to Find a Job With Good Retirement Benefits” by Emily Brandon, provides great help about what types of employers are likely to provide pensions, robust 401(k) plans and other pertinent advice at:

May 10, 2015

10 Tricks to raise your retirement living standard

By Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff
1. Work longer, retire later.
2. Move to a low tax state
3. “Downsize” the housee.
4. Increase to 401(k) contributions
5. Contributes to an IRA.
6-8. Make strategic choices when claiming Social Security retirement benefits.
9. Contributes to a Roth, not a 401(k).
10. Annuitize half of your retirement assets.

May 8, 2015

So you think your adviser has your best interests at heart...

"About 80% of investors think their financial adviser has a fiduciary duty to put their interests first, according to a report by Spectrem Group. However, most investors use brokers who must offer investments suitable for the client but who are not bound to a fiduciary standard, the report says." Be sure you understand the difference between a fiduciary and someone who is selling you 'appropriate' products. The difference is critical to your financial well-being and could make a big difference in how much you are paying for financial advice, which is never free. Search for other items on this blog with the key word: fiduciary

April 29, 2015

A chance to help the people of Nepal

The devastating earthquake in Nepal is a reminder of how lucky we are to be safe, well-fed, and secure. The devastation from the earthquake is incredible and many villages which were totally destroyed have yet to receive any outside assistance due to the poor infrastructure, rugged terrain, and the bad weather that will only get worse as the monsoon intensifies. Having traveled in Nepal I wanted to make a contribution, but one that I felt confident would do the most good. So I contacted author Jeff Greenwald ( who has lived in Nepal and has written extensively about the country. He recommends donations to Portland-based Mercy Corps which is a 501(c)3 IRS-approved non-profit. Mercy Corps meets all 20 of the Better Business bureau Wise Giving Alliance standards for charitable accountability as well as Charity Navigator's highest 4 star rating. 88% of funds go to humanitarian programs with only 12% spent on fundraising and administration. Greenwald worked with Mercy Corps in post-tsunmai Sri Lanka. According to Greenwald, "they are already in Nepal, have been for many years, and are excellent with their distribution of funds and resources." According to Mercy Corps, they have 90 people (many of them locals) working to distribute aid. Donations can be made at Mercy Corps' website:
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