retirement planning


What is a HECM?

Anyone who plans to stay in their house into old age should consider getting a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage. If you already know you are going to need to tap the equity of your house to make ends meet, read more about the new Reverse Mortgages (renamed HECMs) here: https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/mortgages/reverse-… http://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/basics-… Conversely, even if your house is paid off, anyone who is implicitly considering their home equity as a source of funds in case of […]


What is Long-Term Care Insurance?

What is long-term care insurance and does it make sense for you? Long-term care insurance (LTCI) typically picks up the tab for very expensive illnesses that leave you unable to take care of your own “activities of daily living”. You generally need to be unable to care for yourself for quite a while before they’ll step in – a typical elimination period is 90 days. It helps with caregiving for dementia patients, or people who […]


Tax Alpha

No investment advisor can honestly tell you that they can use their expertise to make you an additional 10% return on your investments. However, I can honestly say that I can, in many instances, save you 10% of your investments through good tax planning to get taxes paid on qualified money at the lowest possible bracket. You don’t want to leave a tip to the IRS! How, you ask? I’ve got a lot of strategies. […]


Retirement Income Generators

I’ve been reading a bunch of books on income in retirement. See the last two entries for more in depth discussions of annuities. I enjoyed and would recommend “Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck” by Steve Vernon, FSA. I don’t actually know what the initials FSA stand for, but he mentions in the book that his background is as an actuary, so that gives me a guess as […]


How to NOT Get Ripped Off When Buying an Annuity

As I wrote yesterday, there is precious little good to say about variable annuities. If you want to leave a legacy for your heirs there are better ways to do it. If you want to have income in retirement there are less expensive ways to do it. However, the urge to hold on to your wad of retirement cash, preferably leaving it to your heirs, is super intense in humans. Many people simply want what […]


Why Annuities are So Terrible (and why you might need a specific kind anyway.)

In the (somewhat mythical) “Good Old Days” you would retire from your corporate or union job with a pension. Combined with a check from social security and some of your own savings, you’d be comfortable in retirement. The biggest problem was that you might have a fixed income that didn’t keep up with inflation. But you didn’t worry about running out of money: pensions are for life. Remember the inflation of the Carter Years? I […]


Bond ladders for a prudent pantry

I’ve talked in the past about the benefits of off-loading risk to an insurance company to create a pension in retirement.  When certain cash flow becomes a higher priority than investment growth, I’ve considered single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) to do the job. Another idea is a bond ladder.  It’s a very unsexy solution, but may very well do a better job.  I’m putting this article here while I develop this idea more. A Pseudo-Life […]


“Save Your Retirement”: a book review

The hook for this book by Frank Armstrong III and Paul Brown is in the subtitle.  Notice it’s not “Save FOR your retirement”.  It’s “Save Your Retirement: What do Do if You haven’t Save Enough or If Your Investments Were Devastated” is a book of distilled wisdom compiled by a CFP and professional financial journalist. It’s really mostly the gloss they put on it as an excuse to write yet another book on a tired […]


Thanksgiving Family Money Letter – 2013

2013 Year-End Tax Planning and Financial Wellness 2013 Thanksgiving Family Money letter   November 27, 2013   Welcome to my annual Thanksgiving Family Money letter! I’m attaching the nicely formatted PDF of the letter to an email, but also including the actual text inline here, in case you don’t like to open attachments or spam filters got the email.  (It’s just more readable as a PDF, I think.) I’ve recently completed several continuing education courses, […]


Double Duty Retirement Strategies

When I was doing coursework to become a Certified Financial Planner, the capstone project required that we upload a video presentation as part of a financial plan for a fictional young couple with children. Since the couple are fictional, I figured it was okay to share this advice with anyone who want to see it. Originally published December 27, 2012, on a day when I had a particularly large amount of hair!


Book Review: Julie Jason’s AARP Retirement Survival Guide

ulie Jason’s book is entitled: “The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How to Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad”. It’s a title done by committee. Really it’s a guide to avoiding the sharks swirling around you in retirement. It’s filled with hints of things to watch out for, with sections called “Julie’s Don’t-Be-Fooled Rules”. I liked her clear explanations and approved of her hints and warnings. I think it did good coverage of […]


Three book reviews on investing

I’m reading up on retirement planning both because I’m trying to rationalize why I bought a vacation property (it’s part of my retirement portfolio! Really!) and because I’m supposed to be making a living counseling people on financial matters. (Perhaps I should be quiet about the cottage.) I’ve recently read three books that say the same thing in vastly different ways. The first is “The New Coffee House Investor: How to Build Wealth, Ignore Wall […]