Archive - December 2009

1
Smart Social Security Tips for Women
2
My New Year’s Resolution Challenge to You!
3
Should You Take or Postpone Your First RMD?
4
401(k) – Good For Many, But Not Necessarily the Employee
5
20 Answers to Your Questions about 529 Plans

Smart Social Security Tips for Women

The US Department of Labor estimates that almost 90% of women will end up solely responsible for their financial well being.  Given that women tend to earn less than men over their lifetimes to begin with, and may spend a good deal of time out of the workforce to care for families, women facing retirement may have fewer retirement resources, maximizing Social Security benefits available is critical.

The first thing for women (and men for that matter) to understand is how Social Security benefits are calculated in the first place.  To be eligible for Social Security, you need to have …

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My New Year’s Resolution Challenge to You!

I am a huge fan of short and long term goal setting and the use of to-do lists.  We can be much more productive if we organize our objectives and our time.  I wouldn’t set out on a major vacation without an itinerary nor would I try to cook a complicated dish without a recipe.  Without goals or to-do lists we are too easily distracted.  We waste a lot of time and end up going down the wrong path.

I encourage everyone to start with a list of about 20-30 long term goals.  From this list identify about 10 things …

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Should You Take or Postpone Your First RMD?

when water drops collide by laszlo-photoIn the first year that you’re required to start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRAs and other retirement plans, you have a decision to make:  Should you take the RMD during the first year, or should you delay it to the following year?

The Rule

This decision comes about because of the special rule regarding your first RMD:  In the year that you achieve age 70½, you don’t have to take the first distribution until April 1 of the following year.  For each subsequent year thereafter, you’re required to take your RMD by December 31 of the year…… Read More

401(k) – Good For Many, But Not Necessarily the Employee

girls on horseback low tide by mikebairdOkay, the title might be a little misleading in regards to how I really feel about 401(k) plans… I do think that these plans are (or can be) good for a lot of folks, as long as they use them correctly and follow sound investing principles.  But that’s not what this post is all about. I recently read a very good article that echoes a sentiment I’ve written about before:  this article speaks to how the 401(k) plan is one of the places that the average Joe Employee is getting ripped off – you can see the actual article hereRead More

20 Answers to Your Questions about 529 Plans

Below is a reprint of an interaction that I had with an anonymous individual several years ago on a web bulletin board, as I thought the 20 questions that the individual listed might be interesting to you.  I’ve reviewed the list and updated responses where laws have changed or where I was more snarky than necessary in my response.  Let me know if you have more questions to add to the list!

Keep in mind as you read this, the questions are one individual’s specific concerns about his situation.  The person asking the question has simply put this list of …

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