Early Retirement?

Do you dream of retiring at 55?  Ever thought about what it would take to actually make this a reality?  For many it means cutting all extraneous costs such as meals out or travel, but there are other ways to help take a few years off your career.  Maya Kachroo Levine for Forbes highlights these strategies to begin in your twenties:

–Don’t start spending more because you’re making more
–Start saving more, and maxing out multiple retirement accounts
–Look for side work that you can sustain in the long term
–Focus on owning your home outright
–Find a sacrifice that you’re willing to make that most people deem, “necessary”
–Set up passive income streams.

For more, read her complete article, 6 Steps You Can Take In Your 20s To Help You Retire Before 60.


Money Managers In Your Best Interest

Are you in the market for a financial planner?  Turns out that there are numerous kinds to choose from and even with current laws stating that they must do what is in your best interest, that’s not always what happens.  Before you sign on the line, read this detailed article from the New York Times.  Before You Pay for Financial Advice, Read This GuideIt offers links to further information and even a fiduciary pledge.

Are You Paying Your Broker’s Retirement?

3guyswalkNo one appreciates a hidden fee, but do you know exactly where your invested money is going and the amount of fees you are paying your broker?  President Obama is currently pushing for new rules in the finance industry that would help put investors interests first.  Of course, even the financiers need to make a living and have money for retirement, but just how skewed is their take versus your returns?  Might be a good question to ask next time you’re in their office.


The Real Costs Of Managing Your Retirement

Say What You Will, Grandchildren Are A Blessing

DSC06693According to a recent study from American University, women are prone to quit working and help with childcare when their children have babies.  This is a trend that began to grow in 2008 and has increased since.  The author appears to think this trend has a negative effect on the financial outlook for these families when the women retire “early.”  But what about the health and happiness benefits of grandchildren or the fact that a few less years in a high stress job might add to your lifespan?  Possibly we should all take a breath and remember that money isn’t everything.

How Grandchildren Botch the Best-Laid Retirement Plans

Scratch That, Reverse It!



When I say “Reverse Mortgage” do you envision Fred Thompson talking about how your home has equity that you can use to live on in old age?  In the past, this kind of investment has been viewed as risky at best, but now there may be something to it.  Home equity could be just another part of your portfolio, and an important one at that.

Love Them or Loathe Them, Reverse Mortgages Have a Place

Close to Retirement? Questions to Ask Now

Health Insurance 3d concept illustration



Do you know at what age you will become eligible for medicare?  What is your sign-up       window, and can you defer enrollment if you are still working and covered by an employer insurance plan?  Turns out, knowing these answers is very important and may save you a good deal of money in the long run.


Ten Tips for Advising Clients About Medicare

States’ Busted Budgets Not Caused by Union Pay

This is what David Lenohardt wrote in the NYT on March 1. His major points:

Government workers receive compensation that is similar–with somewhat lower salaries and somewhat better benefits on average–to that of private sector workers with similar qualifications.

Government pay is skewed too heavily toward pensions and health insurance.

Health plans for union workers and retirees are much more likely to require little or no co-payment, which leads to lots of medical treatments that don’t make people any healthier, and to huge costs.

Many government workers receive pensions that start at age 55 and still let retirees draw a full salary elsewhere.

Only recently have teachers’ unions started to cooperate with serious efforts at teacher evaluation, and they are still not giving their full cooperation.

The cause of our looming federal and state deficits . . .is Americans’ collective desire for low taxes and generous government benefits. . . Eventually we will have to pay for the government we want.

I have a friend that retired from the state, receives his pension, and was rehired as a contract employee by the same agency:  working full time and receiving his pension from the same agency.  Texas has a defined benefit retirement plan so that retired employees receive a guaranteed benefit rather than a value based account as in a typical 401K account. Steven Greenhouse discusses the differences between retirement plans.

In Texas, the Margin Tax and a cigarette tax were supposed to make up income deficits created from reducing the property tax , and to date, the Margin Tax has  increased revenues modestly but not at the levels expected at enactment.   (David Gilliland, Texas Margin Tax).

One result for Austin has been the expected layoff of 1000 teachers and the expected closure of exemplary inner city, low income schools. ( AISD News Release)