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Showing posts from December, 2006

3 costs that can destroy retirement

Retirement security is a holy grail that many investors chase. A recent AARP survey revealed that 74 percent of private sector workers are anxious about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement.
Although increasing savings may seem like the answer, creating a sustainable retirement strategy is a bit more complex. Investors must also plan for costs that can detract from their portfolio's growth. "Taxes, long-term care and inflation all have the potential to eat away at your retirement savings," says Marcy Keckler, vice president of financial advice strategy at Ameriprise Financial in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. "Not planning properly could result in a substantial blow to your portfolio from a sudden need for extended care, or inflation could slowly chip away at your nest egg."
Health care may be the biggest threat. Long-term care poses two problems for retirees. First, the cost can be staggering. Genworth Financial puts the average annual…

Why You Should Always Keep Investing Simple

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A friend recently asked if I would invest $10,000 for him. I shrugged it off but he proceeded to tell me that he needed to make a quick buck to pay for some medical expenses he was about to incur...
Many people view the stock market as a "get rich quick scheme" -- you just need to know how to play the game.
This wasn't the first time I've been asked by someone to invest their money to make some fast cash. I know it won't be the last, either.
In these sorts of situations, I try to tamper their expectations by letting them know that it's really not that simple (or easy). I tell them that even if I were to generate a "quick" 10% annual return on their investment, it doesn't really add up to much in the short term. After all, a 10% return on $10,000 is only $1,000... And that's over the course of 12 months. It's most definitely not going to be enough to cover any major medical bills.
Unfortunately, stories like this are common. The thinking …

Top 6 Things No One Tells You about Retiring

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To make your retirement years truly golden, understand what may be coming your way.
Many of us look forward to retirement as the reward for a lifetime of hard work. While the post-work years can truly be golden for those who plan for them, many retirees are caught off guard by the facts of their new life. Here are six things you should know about before you leave the working world for good.
1. Required minimum distributions can seriously raise your costs
Once you reach age 70 1/2, you're typically required to take money out of your traditional IRA and your traditional 401(k) plan each year. While those distributions start relatively small, they increase as a percentage of your account balance each year after that until you reach age 115. 
Withdrawals from these account types are treated as taxable income, which means you'll owe income tax on the amount distributed. This increase in your taxable income may expose your Social Security benefits to taxation as well. As if that wer…