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Planning to Retire

December 2008


Audio: Retirement Resolutions

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As we finish up the last of the holiday cookies, it is time to reform our bad habits for the New Year. Many resolutions this year will undoubtedly involve getting personal finances in order. Over the weekend, I spoke with WTOP in Washington about New Year's resolutions for retirement. Here is a ...

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Starbucks May Cut 401(k) Match

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Current Starbucks Corp. employees get a gradually increasing 401(k) match, depending on how long they have been with the company. Matches begin at 25 cents for each dollar contributed up to the first 4 percent of pay for workers with less than 36 months on the job and gradually perk up until they ...

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President Bush Signs Pension Relief Bill

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President Bush signed legislation today that offers a measure of tax relief to retirees next year. The Worker, Retiree, and Employer Recovery Act was also passed by both houses of Congress earlier this month.

The bill allows retirees to avoid making withdrawals from depleted 401(k)s, IRAs, and ...

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New Year's Resolutions for Retirement

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Buck up: Your New Year's resolutions are going to require more sacrifice than usual this year. Layoffs, benefit cuts, and disappearing 401(k) balances have lashed workers in 2008. Yet everyone still has to provide for retirement. Here are some ways you can resolve to get your retirement plan back ...

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Delay Retirement

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The best way to recoup market losses is to work longer. That gives your retirement accounts time to recover before you begin to draw them down. "Even before the financial crisis, people should have been considering working longer because they are going to live longer," says Alicia Munnell, director ...

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Get Your 401(k) Match

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The most common 401(k) match is 50 cents per dollar up to the first 6 percent of pay. If you make $50,000 a year and manage to tuck away $3,000, you can get an extra $1,500 added to your nest egg tax free (until retirement). But some financially struggling companies like General Motors, Kodak, and ...

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Avoid Early Withdrawals

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As unemployment rises and healthcare costs skyrocket, it's more tempting than ever to borrow from your retirement savings to make ends meet. About 18 percent of Americans have prematurely made withdrawals from their retirement accounts because of the recession, according to a Bank of America ...

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Scrutinize 401(k) Fees

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All sorts of fees—including administrative, transaction, and investment management charges—can whittle away your nest egg over time. If a worker invests $5,000 annually in a 401(k) over a 35-year period and pays 1.5 percent of the account balance in fees (using constant 2008 dollars and assuming an ...

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Determine Your Risk Tolerance

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After losing $2 trillion in their retirement accounts this year, consumers have a right to feel a little spooked about keeping their nest eggs in the stock market. The key to weathering this financial crisis is to find a level of risk in your portfolio that you can live with that also helps you ...

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Rebalance Your Portfolio

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If you were invested 50 percent in stocks and 50 percent in bonds at the beginning of the year, your portfolio almost certainly doesn't have those proportions anymore, because you have probably taken big losses in stocks. "The temptation this year is going to be to stay where you are or get rid of ...

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For Retirement Security: Get a Pension

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Simply finding a job in 2009 will be challenging for many people. “But if you can, seek an employer offering a traditional pension,” advises Beth Almeida, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security. “Pensions offer what Americans are looking for: the security and peace of ...

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Downsize Expenses

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Every year Americans make resolutions to skip the daily latte and pack a lunch for work. Cutting small expenses can, indeed, add up over time. A bigger immediate bang for your efforts can be found by downsizing from two cars to one, moving into more inexpensive housing, or relocating to a part of ...

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Bump Up Your Contributions

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Face it. Without a traditional pension, the only paths to a secure retirement are to save more, cut expenses, or both. That's not easy to do when immediate expenses are demanding a portion of your paycheck before it even clears the bank. If you do manage to get a raise next year, consider diverting ...

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Money-Related New Year’s Resolutions

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Many Americans will try to save extra cash and develop better money habits next year. I asked Olivia Mitchell, director of the Boettner Center for Pensions and Retirement Security at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, what her New Year’s resolutions will be. Her response:

1.

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How Your 401(k) Compares to Your Peers

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Have you ever wondered how the size of your nest egg compares to what your friends or coworkers have saved for retirement? U.S. News recently updated a tool that gives you a sneak peek into how much cash Americans have stashed away in their 401(k)s and the investments they have chosen, by age ...

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Retirement Security? Bah, Humbug

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Some researchers think the U.S. can no longer afford to provide the type of retirement security many middle income Americans enjoyed during the post-World War II decades. Beth Almeida, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, disagrees. She writes on her blog:

 “Our ...

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At What Age Does Age Discrimination Begin?

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Work experience is a valuable asset in finding a new job - up until a certain point. Then many employees find that age rapidly becomes a liability.

Age discrimination has been illegal in the U.S. since 1967. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist in a more subtle form. About 80 percent of executives ...

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Air Bags for the Elderly

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Falls are a significant source of injuries for elderly people. A Tokyo-based company, Prop, thinks it knows how to prevent some of these traumas: a wearable set of air bags. The New York Times reports

“The device looks something like a fishing vest with a fanny pack attached. When its built-in ...

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‘Tis the Season to Ski

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Winter is the most wonderful time of the year for skiers. Retirees are increasingly taking up the sport for fun and exercise. Baby boomers age 55 to 64 currently make up 9 percent of all skiers and riders, up from 5 percent during the 1997 ski season, according to the trade group the National Ski ...

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Ski Town Deals for Retirees: Package Deals

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Family passes, group rates, or deals on combining lessons, rentals, and lodging are numerous and confusing. Get out your calculator and spend a few minutes comparing options online to find out which rate is really the most economical for you.

Here are five more key areas where you should always try ...

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Ski Town Deals for Retirees: Ski Gear

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The price of skis, boots, and insulated jackets can quickly bust any budget. Seniors over age 65 get a 10 percent discount at the national chain Modell's Sporting Goods when they ask and show ID. It could pay off to inquire about a discount at the local ski shop, too.

Here are five more key areas ...

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Ski Town Deals for Retirees: Season Passes

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If you're planning to ski for more than a few days, long-term passes are usually the way to go. An unlimited adult pass with no blackout dates can cost as much as $1,450 at Park City Mountain Resort in Utah. But retirees can get discounts on these, too. Passes for seniors age 65 to 69 are going for ...

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Ski Town Deals for Retirees: Lift Tickets

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Many ski resorts discount lift tickets for senior citizens. The price reductions tend to get better as you age. A one-day lift pass at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid, N.Y., is $60 for a senior age 65 to 69 on a nonholiday, $14 off the full adult price. But once seniors hit age 70, lift tickets ...

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Credit Card Rewards in Your Retirement Account

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Savvy consumers who never carry a balance on their credit cards have been known to make a little extra cash by using rewards credit cards with no annual fee. A new credit card offers to deposit those rewards into your retirement account.

Fidelity Investments launched a retirement rewards credit card ...

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Kodak Suspends Its 401(k) Match for Employees

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Eastman Kodak Company today joined General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co., real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, and Frontier Airlines in suspending its 401(k) match for employees. The employer matching contribution will be temporarily axed for 2009. The camera company also announced that executives ...

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How Old Do You Feel?

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We are almost never satisfied with our current chronological age. Children desperately want to be seen as older than they are. And older people go to great lengths and expense to appear younger. Throughout our lives we refuse to be defined by our actual age because we feel like a different number ...

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Retirement Savers are in a Holding Pattern

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Despite recent market turmoil, about 68 percent of Americans have not changed the way they save, invest, or manage their retirement assets in the last three months, according to a recent Bank of America survey of 1000 adults. At first, this appears to be good news. Many retirement savers are ...

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7 Ways You Can Still Retire During a Recession

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It's never a good idea to retire in a year when your portfolio is down. But baby boomers willing to save more, spend less, and work longer should still be able to retire. Yes, it will require some sacrifice and a heaping portion of the "B"-word—budgeting. Here are seven difficult, but not ...

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President Bush Will Downsize in Retirement

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When President Bush retires in January he will trade in his quarters at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for a four-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath house in the Preston Hollow neighborhood of Dallas. The 49-year-old single-story house also boasts a wet bar and fire place.

The county appraises the ...

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Survey: Retirees Have Less Sex

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Retirement allows you ample opportunity to do the activities you enjoy. Many retirees report spending increased amounts of time traveling, eating out, exercising, volunteering, working on hobbies, watching TV, browsing the internet, conversing with family members, and even sleeping. In fact, a new ...

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