Getting out early

Sometimes life doesn’t turn out as we expect. A friend of mine lost her job last year after more than twenty years at the same company. She felt confident that her experience would allow her to find a job quickly. She soon discovered, however, that finding work as a 57-year-old was harder than she imagined
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Take care when you name beneficiaries

Q: My wife and I have finally started to get our estate plan in order. We created a living trust to keep our estate out of probate and retitled our accounts to make sure they are properly included in the trust. Someone suggested that we name our trust as the beneficiary of our retirement accounts. It seems like it would help us keep everything nice and orderly. What do you think?
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Am I financially prepared for retirement?

Q: I am 67 years old and I am finally getting ready to retire. I have been pretty good about saving money in my IRA and 401(k) over the years and I now have about $600,000 in retirement savings. In addition, my home is paid off and I have another $150,000 in the bank. I want to be sure I am financially ready to retire. I’m especially interested in how much you think I can safely take out of my IRA each year.
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Time for an IRA checkup

Individual Retirement Arrangements, or IRAs, are a great way to save for retirement. Unfortunately, many IRA account holders put their accounts on autopilot. They fund them every year and they adjust their investments from time to time, but they rarely step back and take a careful look at how their IRAs are set up.
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How Safe Are My Retirement Accounts, Really?

Q: I have a very successful small business. My wife and I are the only employees. Over the years, we have been blessed to save a significant amount of money in our retirement accounts (SEP IRAs, Roth IRAs and solo 401k plan). Much of our net worth is tied up in those accounts. I’m not worried about bankruptcy at this point, but I am worried about protection from other potential creditors, particularly lawsuits. How safe are my retirement accounts, really?
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Financial foolishness

Are you foolish? I know that’s a provocative question. Nobody likes to appear foolish to themselves or to others. However, to paraphrase Forrest Gump’s mama, “Foolish is as foolish does.” We all play the fool sometimes, so it’s a good idea to engage in a little self-reflection occasionally to make sure we aren’t fooling ourselves. Self-reflection followed by self-correction enables us to grow wise despite our foolishness. As a financial planner I am especially interested in helping people escape financial foolishness. In my experience, there are three common ways in which people fool themselves financially.
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Roth IRAs for the Older Investor

Q: I retired last year. I receive a pretty good pension and I would like to contribute some of that money into a Roth IRA. Is that possible? A: You can only contribute what the IRS deems to be “earned income” to a Roth IRA. Unfortunately a lot of the income many retirees receive does not fall into that category. For example, the IRS specifically excludes
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Take a look at index annuities

Q: I went to a dinner recently hosted by someone who was trying to drum up interest in fixed index annuities. She said these kinds of annuities would allow me to benefit from the stock market’s upside while guaranteeing that I wouldn’t lose money if the market went down. It sounds too good to be true, but the products are offered by some very reputable insurance companies. What can you tell me about them?
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