New Rules for Retirement

U.S. News & World Report:  The rules of retirement have changed over the past generation. Individuals must now take more personal responsibility for their retirement finances, even as life expectancies increase and personal savings rates remain low. “Each succeeding generation is looking at a less secure retirement, with today’s seniors being the best off,” says Mark Miller, publisher of and author of The Hard Times Guide to Retirement Security: Practical Strategies for Money, Work, and Living. “This has to do with everything from the decline of defined-benefit pensions to the diminution of Social Security and health benefits, not to mention the worst economy since the Great Depression.” Here are some key ways your retirement will be different from that of previous generations of retirees..

Tax Friendly States for Retirement

Yahoo! Finance:  Where’s the best state for you to retire? Here’s a good place to start your search: These five impose the lowest taxes on retirees in the contiguous U.S., according to our research. All these retiree tax heavens exempt Social Security benefits from state income taxes. Many of them exclude government and military pensions from income taxes, too, or offer blanket exclusions up to a specific dollar amount for a wide variety of retirement income.

What You Need to Know About Roth IRAs  

Since its introduction under the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, the Roth IRA has become a popular retirement and estate-planning tool among U.S. taxpayers. According to a study done by the Investment Company Institute, Roth IRA assets increased to $215 (estimated) billion as of December 2009.  However, many individuals are prevented from participating in the Roth IRA because of the stringent qualification requirements.  Here we revisit some of these requirements and explore some qualification opportunities that may be available to certain individuals.



Working Longer May Not Close Retirement Gaps

Yahoo! Finance:  Deferring retirement, even for several years, won’t guarantee even a bare-bones retirement for millions of older Americans, according to a detailed study by the Employee Benefit and Research Institute (EBRI).  In fact, the lowest-earning 25 percent of Americans would have to work until age 84 so that 90 percent of them would have even a 50-50 chance of having enough money to afford basic living expenses and out-of-pocket medical care.

Making Smart Choices With Your IRA

U.S. News & World Report: Individual retirement accounts held an estimated $4.7 trillion in 2010, which is just over a quarter of all retirement assets in the United States. Some 49 million Americans had at least part of their nest egg stashed in an IRA last year. How well you choose IRA investments and minimize taxes using these accounts will play a big role in how prepared you are for retirement. Here are 10 things you should know about your IRA.

Have A Happy Retirement Together With A Retirement Plan

Yahoo! Finance:  Consider this statistic: A third of all couples retire within a year of each of other.

Though there are a number of explanations regarding age and money, the answer that researchers keep coming back to is that couples really do enjoy spending time together, says Courtney Coile, an economics professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

It doesn’t matter if you want a house full of grandchildren, or quiet walks on the beach with your partner, to make the most of your golden years, set lifestyle goals, understand your cash flow, and create a plan for asset allocation, longevity risk and wealth transfer.

How Social Security Payments Have Already Been Cut

Yahoo! Finance:  Policy experts have focused on alternative ways of eliminating Social Security’s 75-year financing gap, but lost in the debate is the fact that even under current law Social Security will provide less retirement income relative to previous earnings than it does today. Combine the already legislated reductions with potential cuts to close the financing gap, and Social Security may no longer be the mainstay of the retirement system for many people.

Protecting Your Retirement Savings

U.S. News & World Report: Many of us worry about what could happen to our retirement investments if our plan were to be terminated or mismanaged. Creditors can also come looking for your retirement money. Here are some protections designed to help you keep your nest egg intact.

Life Insurance Explained

U.S. News & World Report:  Many people obtain life insurance when they first have children and then forget about it, except when the premium bill comes due. But an effective financial plan includes reexamining your life insurance needs throughout your life to ensure that the assets you’ve accumulated are protected and to provide additional opportunities to create wealth. Keep in mind that you never want to become insurance poor—overbuying insurance can be counterproductive as well.

Taking Early Social Security Benefits

Arizona Republic:  For most of us, Social Security requires few decisions and minimal involvement. Employers deduct payroll taxes automatically, or you make payments on self-employed income through the Internal Revenue Service. The government takes over from there, sending out yearly statements providing a glimpse of what your future benefits might be.

But there is one critical decision that recipients must make, and it’s tricky: What’s the right age to start tapping retirement money?

For many people, the answer to that question is “as soon as possible.”

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