Published: August 9, 2017

A recent article in the New York Times describes some choices made by professionals of unique forms of retirement. Each of the individuals profiled in the article stopped what they had been doing for many years, but continued to be actively involved in what most people would call work. One, a doctor, became a "temp" doctor, filling in for other doctors and spending more time on outdoor activities. Another embarked on a years long project of researching and writing a history of his family, while a third used his legal training to work in a nonprofit organization dealing with climate change.

. . . . . .

Published: June 6, 2017

Many people hope to make up for not saving enough for retirement by just saying: "I'll work past retirement age" or "I'll never retire". A recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute on its 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey suggests a different reality. Workers continue to predict a median retirement age of 65, while retirees report a median retirement age of 62. The report indicates that, despite their plans, many people retire unexpectedly.

. . . . . .

Published: March 6, 2017

No; of course not. Some people choose to continue to work full-time after reaching what many would consider retirement age, such as 65. And more than a few people have to work. But others look forward to the absence of daily work. One of my co-workers told me she would be happy to sit on her front porch with a cup of coffee once she was able to retire. But others like at least some aspects of their working life, and want to continue it. An article in the New York Times of Sunday, March 5, 2017 offers examples of people who view continued work as a healthy and enjoyable thing.

. . . . . .

Published: March 4, 2017

There is so much being written about retirement these days, in large part because of the bulge of baby boomers now reaching and past retirement. My experience has been that many people fear retirement, because they think it's the end of their useful life and just a stage of waiting for inevitable decline. But the reaction of many, maybe most, people who have retired is very different: they experience retirement as full of new opportunities and a stage in life that rewards careful planning. Careful planning is arriving on a daily basis through books, articles and other media.

. . . . . .

Published: October 18, 2016

The Social Security Administration has announced changes for 2017. Social Security benefit payments will increase by .3% (3/10s of 1%) next year. The Social Security Wage Base, the amount of income subject to Social Security taxes, will increase from $118,500 to $127,200, which is the largest increase ever in the wage base. (Medicare taxes are imposed on all compensation income.) In addition, based on a "deal" enacted in 1983, the age for full retirement, which has been 66 for the past 12 years, will start to increase next year.

. . . . . .

Published: June 6, 2016

Will Americans choose to work longer than originally planned, to make up for investment losses and the failure to save enough for retirement? A survey sponsored by Willis Towers Watson suggests that at least some will. The article describing the survey mentions two octogenarians still working, Messrs. Buffett and Bogle, but they can hardly be considered representative of workers in general. Well, the survey indicates that a higher percentage plan to work past 70 than was the case just a few years ago. It's clear that there is uncertainty about making retirement successful.

. . . . . .

Published: April 19, 2016

The Department of Labor has included on its website (www.dol.gov/ebsa/) a fact sheet that describes its reasons for issuing a final rule on fiduciary status. As described previously, this is a major change in the rules governing retirement asset investors, and it is sure to generate controversy and litigation. In less than two weeks since the new rule was published, there have already been many articles published, and we can expect many more articles and seminars in the next few months to explain the rules in more detail.

. . . . . .

Published: April 12, 2016

After years of preparation and fierce lobbying from all sides, the US Department of Labor has issued new rules on fiduciary standards for retirement plans and IRAs. Proponents of the new rules point to statistics that show that persons saving for retirement are paying more in fees than they should, and are often being placed in investments that are not appropriate. Opponents say the new rules will result in cutting off services to those with smaller retirement accounts. Debate will continue, but it's important to understand what's changing, and when the changes will take effect.

. . . . . .

Published: April 9, 2016

An article on the Financial Advisor website by Dan Moisand offers another take on the question of how much can be spent during the retirement years without risking insolvency. The author finds the basic "4%" rule not helpful. It's not the case, in his experience [or mine] that clients spend a fixed percentage each year. While people on a fixed income, such as from Social Security and pensions, might spend at a uniform rate because they need to, more affluent retirees have options to vary their spending, and they often do.

. . . . . .

Published: March 28, 2016

An article in Private Wealth magazine discusses the process of determining a sustainable withdrawal rate from retirement savings. Many commentators use 4% as a number, but that can't be right for everyone. The article makes the important point that much depends on how clients view spending: do they plan to spend just what is necessary and then see how much more they can reasonably spend, or do they spend up to their incomes, whatever they are? This will be an important component of determining the correct withdrawal rate.

. . . . . .