Category Archives: Retirement

Retirement and Travel

In the wake of the first 2016 Presidential debate, it seems fitting to focus on your retirement and travel. We have the two most disliked candidates and a bevy of possible downside scenarios. So locking down your best possible retirement and using travel to escape seem like reasonable areas of focus.

Retirement and Travel – first ensure you lock down the best possible retirement.
The easiest way to ensure your best retirement is by not making mistakes. Here is a list of easy ones – probably focus on the last two, being too conservative or too aggressive. 5 Simple Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement
In a similar vein, albeit a more positive spin, Blackrock shares some tips to kill it. It’s Time to Ace Retirement
Then there’s always optimizing your approach. We often talk  dividend investing, lowering fees and leveraging tax incentives that exist.  This great article gives you a pointer that combines all three. Enjoy. Dividend Investing in a Roth IRA
Now this one does not tell you a lot. It does say most likely you should work longer than you think. Of course if you did all the right things, not so much. This is why you should delay your retirement
Then, of course, there’s this option: retiring overseas. I suspect many will think hard about this given the now 50% shot of …. On a Jet to the Best Foreign Retirement Possible

Retirement and Travel – now, escape the mayhem and turn off your devices.
In this toxic political environment, and the inevitable aftermath, your travel thoughts likely turn overseas. So, bookmark this one to avoid any unwanted ‘ugly American’ moments. These are the worst faux pas you can make in 17 different countries
Use every trick in the book to save money and enjoy a great trip. 4 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About 5 Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know About, Right from the Mouth of Flight Attendants and How to Get the Lowest Airfares
I feel pretty savvy when it comes to online bookings, but this was news to me. How online travel agencies are ‘dimming’ results on hotel searches
Then, of course, there’s the option to travel and not retire … try this on for size … it’s a fun read, anyway. 11 Insane Perks of Being an Emirates Flight Attendant

Your Retirement Game Plan

Labor Day Weekend seems like the ideal time to think about Your Retirement Game Plan. What better thought for the holiday weekend than considering when you no longer have to work? So, this time we give you as much current thinking as possible on the most vital steps to take in planning for your future, long, healthy retirement: Your Retirement Game Plan.

Your Retirement Game Plan – doing the right things during the accumulation phase.
Active vs. passive, stocks or bonds, self-serve or advisory, there are many choices. Robo-advisors are the latest wave, and this article gives good insight into the implications. Wealthfront vs. Vanguard: Which is the Better Choice for Retirement Investors
You have read here before about the power of compounding. It never hurts to reiterate, the more you can save, the earlier … the better. The Power of Compound Interest
Of course, you should also invest wisely. Use all the tools at your disposal to get the best possible outcome. Why you might want more than one IRA

Your Retirement Game Plan – generate income during your retirement.
If you choose to be a more active investor, dividend stocks are a good way to generate income and maintain capital.  The nice thing about this one is it gives a way to set a portion of your savings here. Setting Up a Solid Dividend Portfolio with Only $10,000
Not only that, there is a constant stream of analysis out there to help. This one is a bit dated, but gives you a good idea of what you can find. Dividend Stock Yields 19%, Way Below Book Value, Major Growth, Reports This Week
I will continue to harp on the QLAC (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract) until you get one. The one thing none of us know is how long we will live. This is insurance against that. Learn more about it, please. How Retirement Savers Are Stretching Their IRAs: The QLAC Archipelago
Stay up to date on developments in the retirement industry, too. Try this on for size: “The first person who will live to be 150 years old already has been born.” – Michael Kazanjian, Lincoln Financial Group’s vice president for annuity and retirement plan services marketing. Retirement income innovations aim to ease longevity’s strain on assets

Your Retirement Game Plan – know your future expenses.
We discuss the “4% Rule” and other ways to consider managing your savings during retirement, i.e. the distribution phase. Lately the literature is turning to a more enlightened view, that expenses change over time in retirement. It makes sense, right?  It is worth a good, hard look as a preferred alternative to boilerplate ideas. How to Invest in Retirement
This is the tricky part, unusual expenses. Imagine, while 28% never see one, 19% get hit with four or more. 17 unexpected expenses in retirement

Your Retirement Game Plan – understand what you are up against.
Sometimes it is worth looking back. This entertaining article shows how we just don’t know what we don’t know. The One Factor to Explain Them All

Longevity Quandary

With each installment, I find the best thinking on retirement, and this week is a treasure trove of commentary on the longevity quandary. Michael Phelps presumably just wrapping his competitive swimming career is a great model for longevity. Both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt competed in four Olympic Games … and neither won a medal the first time. There may be an analog here because that is not what you remember about either of them. The lesson for the rest of us is to work harder, longer on your savings because you will be retired longer.

Leverage the longevity quandary by watching expenses in your retirement accounts.
Sad to say I would not think to ask a Department of Labor employee for advice on retirement. This former one, however, makes a series of worthwhile points about common mistakes. I encourage you to read it. 10 Retirement Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making
We always harp on costs. When you consider the longevity impact on costs, it is even worse. So you must strive to lower your total investment cost structure. It can be as easy as having a simple, effective strategy and sticking with it. A financial planner says most people don’t need to pay someone to manage their investments

Leverage the longevity quandary by ensuring you save enough for retirement.
Here is a really good, comprehensive piece on just what challenges longevity brings, and ways to address them. The Longevity Paradox
We have mentioned HSAs before, but this drives home the point about. Fact is you will spend a lot of your own money on healthcare in retirement. An HSA is a way to save pre-tax money now, not get taxed on growth, and not get taxed when you withdraw for medical expenses … there is simply no better answer. Why Advisors Need to Know about HSAs
Just in case you forgot, or simply don’t believe me, here’s the latest on medical expenses in retirement. Health Care Expenses for Retired Couples Hit Record $260,000 : Fidelity
On a related note, long-term care insurance is an important thing to consider … just weigh the cost/benefit wisely. These tricks can help tilt the balance in favor of buying. 4 Tax-Friendly Ways to Pay for Long-Term-Care Insurance
Here is an advisor’s eye view of these medical costs in retirement. More importantly, the implications of the DOL fiduciary rule on advice you will get on them. It lays out some hard dollar costs and is promising in anticipating incorporation into plans under the new rule. Add this to your DOL checklist: health, LTC costs in retirement

Leverage the longevity quandary by focusing on building an income stream for retirement.
Switching mindset from accumulating wealth to generating income is a key retirement transition. Longevity, though, may have some bearing on when you make that move. Longevity and Your Retirement
Changing your mindset should begin with understanding your needs. This piece helps you put your retirement income needs into perspective. How to Solve the Retirement Income Equation
Here is some interesting insight on IRAs, and 401(k)/403(b) for that matter. They may not be the best in retirement vehicle for you when you consider longevity risk. IRAs are for retirement planning, not for retirement
Here is a fascinating, refreshing look at the retirement income puzzle. Is retirement spending a level pattern? Should you use a simple rule like the 4% rule? This says no. What is the “Retirement Spending Smile”

Beating the Heat

With a continuing heat wave nationwide, beating the heat is top of mind for everyone. Do all the normal things, but one sure way to stay cool is by resting assured of your retirement. So, take your weekly half hour to buzz through these good tips from across the web.

Beating the heat, focus on fees in your retirement accounts, don’t get soaked.
In a continuing theme here, its employees now have sued NY Life over excess fees inside their 401(k) plans. Whether or not true, the lesson here is to be sensitive to in house fund options (at least for now) because of these risks. New York Life sued by employees claiming excess 401(k) fees Money managers with in-house 401(k) plan options at risk of employee lawsuits: lawyers
While this is not spot on with fees, it is worth considering. 3 Retirement-Savings Mistakes the Average American Makes
Here’s the flip side of that issue, and a good perspective on it, too. Employers and the boards overseeing retirement plans need to keep a sharp eye on fees. This also provides a good reminder for you of FeeX as a resource for understanding your own cost structure. As 401(k) suits mount, check your own plan

Beating the heat, be sure you are saving more for retirement.
So, how much is enough? This article reviews the various rules of thumb and helps you judge for yourself. How Much You Really Need to Save for Retirement? You be the Judge.
Here’s an interesting twist on retirement income, back to the old ‘how much do I need to save’ question. There are a few tips and tricks worth reading in here. Is $1 Million Enough to Retire On?
It does not seem to be a big topic in the Presidential race, but it should. Here you will see how “experts” are saying Social Security will run dry by 2034 without intervention by Congress. Lest we forget it is 2016 now, and nothing will be done before 2017, that’s for sure. Social Security projected to run out
Some really good news, younger people are saving more systematically. 401(k) Bonanza: Why More Americans are Feeding Their Retirement Accounts

Beating the heat, lastly focus on building an income stream in retirement.
If you read one thing today, read this. It highlights and links to a paper by the CFA Institute that suggests you create a virtual annuity with your retirement nest egg. It is a fascinating concept well worth consideration and discussion. Theory to Practice: Siegel and Waring on Retirement Spending Rules
Good news from plan sponsors: they are embracing lifetime income solutions.  These are likely to be a cornerstone for any good retirement plan. Sponsors Warming Up to Lifetime Income Solutions
If nothing else, this article provides interesting background on the structure of REITs. This one, the largest, happens to have a pricing glitch that may yield you 7.5%. The Better 7.5% Yield


We express solidarity with our friends in France, and with all who would disavow acts of brutality. We feel for the people of France, and all impacted by last night’s awful event in Nice.

There is high uncertainty in the world, from these too often terrorist acts to still fragile economies and a host of backlash political events. This lends ever more credence to our focus on helping you take control of your own retirement planning and related retirement success. For now, we will keep our posts consistent in format, zeroing in on fees, increased saving rates and generating income.

Improving your retirement, first focus on fees.
This is an old, old article, but very detailed and interesting. Hidden 401(k) Fees Are Stealing Your Nest Egg
This article nicely lays out for you some fees to beware of when investing. Understanding Investment Fees: From Brokerage Commissions to Sales Loads
While not spot on to our topic, the notion of doing smart things early, including watching fees, certainly is valuable advice. 5 ways to overcome obstacles between you and retirement

Improving your retirement, next focus on saving more.
Most people need to save more than they already do. Now you need to save more than you even thought because of market volatility and other factors. Market volatility raises the bar for retirement income savers
One other driver for the need to save more – the cost of being retired … most notably the cost of medical expenses in retirement. Do not forget a vital, big cost that is coming. 5 ways retirees can control long-term health-care costs
While it is little consolation, realize that you are not alone, and likely not in the worst position with respect to your accumulated savings. Guess How Many Americans Over 55 Don’t Have Any Retirement Savings

Improving your retirement, lastly focus on building an income stream.
We are not the only ones who understand that dividend stocks help build income with principal in retirement. Plus, with interest rates stubbornly low, negative in some places, dividend stocks offer an attractive alternative. That market interest drives down dividend yields. You need to be sharper to find the best options. Retirement Strategy: 3 Dividend Themes Still Ripe for the Picking
If you are interested in going deep on this, i.e. finding and buying dividend gems, this is a great article for you. How to Use Finviz to Find Bargain Dividend Stocks for Free
While it may be the flip side of income, avoiding taxes is another way for you to net more money in your pocket after tax. So, it is always a good idea to optimize your Social Security strategy, too. Here are some good tips. 5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Your Social Security Benefits

Independence Day

Independence Day, July 4, is broadly celebrated here in the US, and what better time to consider where you stand with respect to your retirement prospects. Take some quiet time this long weekend to pull together your entire retirement portfolio. Think about it as a balance sheet and income statement for yourself. What are your assets? What are your liabilities? What does/can your monthly income and expenses look like given that? Once you have done this, you can project how it might look in different scenarios, increased savings, market downturns, etc. I encourage everyone to do it. As we launch into the Independence Day long weekend, we share some of our best finds on the internet below.

Independence Day: Strengthening your retirement prospects.
This article is a little long winded, but it does make several interesting points and hones down to a proposal. How does your investment mix compare? The Simple Retirement Portfolio that Spanked the S&P 500
This portfolio is way simpler than the last, simple one. Not only that, it keeps the focus on dividends. 4 Stock Retirement Portfolio with 6.0% Yields and 100% Upside
We are always on the lookout for well performing dividend opportunities, this may be one. Outperforming Unique High Dividend Stock Yields 10%, with Estimates Rising
With so much of our focus on fees, this is a welcome war in the investment space. Fidelity Takes on Vanguard in the Fund Fee Wars, and Investors Win

Independence Day: What’s happening with the global economy?
The global central banks have used a steady diet of easy money to pave the way out of the 2008 downturn. Are we really in a better place now? How was our return on investment? What do they have left if things turn truly sour? “The Global Economy Can No Longer Rely on Debt” – BIS Warns Central Bank Actions “Have Started to Backfire”
Then there is Brexit … big deal or not? anomaly or not? Have a look here. Is Brexit the First of Many Dominoes? A Few Charts
Just in case you thought you were ill prepared, this dismal review of US savings should make you understand just how bad we are at this … the fact that you are looking and trying definitely sets you apart. These statistics about American’s savings habits are staggering

Independence Day
This seems like the perfect time to consider this great infographic. See the Exact Moment the World’s Biggest Cities Were Born

Heat Wave Respite

It is hot outside, stay in the cool air and take a heat wave respite with some cool reading about the economy and your retirement.

Heat wave Respite: A few quick ideas to improve your retirement.
First a quick checklist for you. I may not agree with all these, nor may you, but it is directionally correct. 51 things not to do if you want to be better off financially
Most of you, like me, are over 50 now. So, suck it up and take this advice. 3 Steps to Building Wealth in Your 50s
It is always a good time to start saving money. Perhaps these tips will work for you. 2 Ridiculously Simple Tax Strategies That Can Each Save You $100,000+ Over Your Lifetime
Here is an interesting mix of two favourites, have an investment strategy you can stick with and consider dividend stocks as a means of building retirement income. A Simple Method for Buying Low and Maintaining Diversification

Heat wave Respite: A quick scan of the global economy
The most fascinating and consequential event on the schedule is the June 23 “Brexit” vote in Britain. It seems too close to call; I simply cannot imagine an exit. We shall see. One thing that seems to be consistent, at least here, is that Brexit is masking a real, looming issue with European banks. Forget Brexit, It’s the Banks Stupid! makes the most interesting point “Whatever the outcome of the Brexit referendum next week, it would appear that nothing can stop a systemic crisis developing in Europe.” Brexit is Getting the Blame
This is a fascinating, negative, and likely first-time event in the US economy. US Negative Interest Rate Bets Surge to Record High
It is always worthwhile putting things into perspective. Here, you can look at the global economy over the past 5,000 years. That is right, 5,000 years (or so they say). How about the lowest interest rates ever? US stocks at 60-year highs vs. Europe? Plenty of other fascinating or scary facts embedded here. Visualizing “the 5,000 Year Long Run” in 18 Stunning Charts

Pre-Summer Break

We lower the intensity level this week for a pre-Summer break by giving you a small dose of retirement and economic reality followed by a large dose of miscellany. I hope you enjoy.
Pre-Summer Break: A quick look at your retirement and the economy
We start with the retirement gem of the week, This Simplest Investing Advice is the Best Ever for All Investors
Here is a good, quick overview of the smart-beta ETF world. The Newest Way to Beat the Market
I like pieces like this because it gives you two sides of a coin. In this case, the contra-side is provided by a friend for whom I have the utmost respect, Jonathan Satovsky. Boost Retirement Savings with These New and Simple Strategies
Roth IRAs are a great tool, but your HSA may be an even better retirement tool. Here’s a quick comparison. Why an HSA is Even Better Than a Roth IRA
You may have seen the dismal jobs report this week, it caused mayhem in equity and currency markets, driving the Dollar down around the globe. Here’s some disheartening color commentary on it. 312K Full-Time Jobs Were Lost in the Last Two Months, Offset by 118K Part-Time Hires
Finally, a somewhat transitional piece for you, bridging the gap from retirement to fun facts. The Made Hedge Dictionary of Trading Slang
Pre-Summer Break: A whole lot of interesting finds from around the web.

I love these map pages that distil information into a single view.  Any number of these will make you scratch your head, but try #12, if no other. 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
Photos, too, can help shed light on things. Try the Iran one here, or the 1980 Moscow Olympics, remember, the boycott? Thought-Provoking Historical Photographs You’ve Never Seen Before
If you are a big fan of green energy, this one is heartening … just cover Spain with solar. Here’s how much of the world would need to be covered in solar panels to power the Earth
Just because guys can’t get enough of this stuff – presumably Putin has these all down pat. The rest of us should try the zip ties and ninja ones …  20 Illustrated Guides Every Manly Man on Earth Should Know

Retirement Focus

You may not read my weekly updates, but I implore you to read this one article to improve your retirement focus today. Technically Speaking: Importance of Duration Matching

Retirement Focus: Keeping your eye on the cost of investing.
This is an interesting level set on leveraging the changing market to your advantage.  More investors seeking financial advice are turning to lower-cost options
Never forget, fees are everywhere … and commissions often, too … so keep a sharp eye, always. Are You Letting Fees Destroy Your Retirement Savings?

Retirement Focus: Generating income in retirement.
ETFs tend to keep your costs low, and dividend stocks tend to throw off income without need to focus on appreciation. Combine the two, ETFs and dividend stocks, for a powerful combination. 5 Dividend ETFs for 2016
Of course, if you are so inclined, there is plenty of guidance out there for buying individual dividend focused stocks. Many of these have been shared before, so look, but here is a timely article to consider. Don’t Sell in May: Buy These 4 Dividend Growers Instead

Retirement Focus: Stay aware of the environment.
Demgraphic trends are global, not unique to the US. That means massive implications for world markets and select industries, too. These 6 charts explain the world’s looming demographic crisis
That does have real implications for your Social Security benefits, too. So much is said about Social Security, from it’s fine to it’s a disaster, it is hard to know what is true. This may help you put it into perspective. This Scary Social Security Trend Can’t be Ignored Any Longer

Optimizing Your Retirement

With tax season and tax freedom day behind us, let’s refocus our energy on Optimizing Your Retirement. There are three core philosophies we expound most often: keeping your investments efficient by optimizing costs and returns, focusing on income generation during retirement, and staying focused on the interrelated topics of longevity, healthcare costs, and making your nest-egg last.

How can you be as efficient an investor as possible?
Optimizing your retirement starts with keeping control over the costs in your portfolio. That includes all your buckets of money, 401(k), IRA, 403(b), investment accounts, everything. Some are harder than others to determine, but do your homework and get the best bang for your buck.  Expense ratio continuously impacts the NAV of a fund and How to Increase Your Retirement Savings Without Saving More both provide great tutorials
On a reasonably timely note, taxes, too, are a drag on your retirement savings … a cost, and a big one. 7 tax strategies the rich don’t want you to know

Focus on income generation during retirement.
We talk often of dividend paying stocks, and that is one great way to generate income. Don’t fall into the trap of monitoring current yields, though, because your yield is relative to your basis. That way you can take credit for appreciation, too – that’s a great start to optimizing your retirement! Dividend Stock Investors: Pay Attention to Your ‘Yield on Cost’
Here is another interesting analysis tool for selecting your dividend paying stocks, value. Dividend Growth Investors: Create Your Own Sense of Value
Good news is that the ETF world is responding, too. New High Dividend ETF with Free Cash Flow Focus by Pacer
Be smart about your Social Security, too. Ready to retire? Don’t rush your Social Security start date

Stretch your retirement savings as far as possible.
Recognizing that most people will not, really have enough money when they retire, when optimizing your retirement it may help to have some examples to follow. How to Retire and Live to 100 with $875,000 in Net Worth
There are behavioural tricks, too, to help stretch your nest-egg. 3 Easy Moves to Make Your Money Last Your Lifetime
Of course just plain saving money helps, too, i.e. be as thrifty as you reasonably can.  One great way is with ebates, the website and app automatically applies coupon codes and gives you cash back on purchases you plan to make anyway … sometimes even in the store. Check it out and sign up now, you will be glad you did. ebates This seems like a similar service, but only for the Chrome browser This Lazy Online Shopping Tool Actually Saves You a Ton of Money
Clearly, apps, bots and websites will be your best friend when it comes to saving money, and it gets easier every day. Hotel Tonight is another app we have used, and while it means doing short notice bookings (they sell unsold rooms at steep discounts), it often works out well. How to stay in luxury hotel rooms all over the world for less and Google Flights Now Shows Cheaper Fares From Different Services