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Showing posts from June, 2011

How Long Will Our Retirement Savings Last?

by Walter Updegrave

Should we save our money in early retirement or spend some of it on things like travel that we may not be able to do later on due to health and age? -- Diane Goldstein, West Windsor, N.J.

Funny, how our priorities change. During your career, the focus is on saving enough. Once you retire, your attentions shift to spending enough (but not too much).

It's a delicate trade-off. Live too frugally in the early years of retirement and later in life you could end up with a big pile of savings, as well as a big pile of regrets that you didn't enjoy yourself more when you were younger. Loosen the purse strings too much early on, and you might have to stint in your dotage.

If I could give you a formula for pulling off this balancing act, I would. But there isn't one. I can, however, suggest ways to have fun now without unduly jeopardizing your financial security later on.

Start by recognizing that your ability to engage in more vigorous pursuits can diminish quite a …

A 6-Step Guide to Figuring Out When You Can Afford to Retire

by Steve Vernon

How do you know when you can afford to retire? That's the big question most people ask as they approach their retirement years. The best answer: when you've done the math and the numbers work out. The trouble is, most people just guess at how much money they need to retire -- and they usually guess way too low.

It's time to crunch the numbers to see if your retirement income will cover your living expenses for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live and no matter what happens in the economy. It's a tall order, but nevertheless, that's what you need to do.

Let's start by planning how you'll balance the magic formula for retirement security:

I > E

or

Income > Expenses

To get started, you'll need to choose the age at which you want to retire, taking into account your life expectancy and what you hope to do in retirement. You'll also need to consider your spouse's life expectancy, if you're married.

Now it's time to …

Freedom More Important to Well-Being Than Money

by Laura Rowley

When Bill Douglass and his wife found out they were expecting their first child in 2009, he did something counterintuitive: He quit his job. Douglass left a secure position in corporate communications in New York City to launch his own firm in Stamford, Connecticut.

"I knew I wanted to spend a lot of time with our daughter, especially in her formative years," says Douglass, whose own father traveled frequently on business. "Knowing she was coming was an inspiration to strike out on my own and work from home. My first year in business I only had one client, but because we had been good savers, that gave me the freedom to be able to start my firm."

A new study suggests that from a happiness perspective, Douglass was smart to choose autonomy over money. Psychologists Ronald Fischer and Diana Boer of Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand found that on a national level, individualism and autonomy are more important to well-being than money. The s…

The Banker: You know you’re sick of banking when…

The Banker

1) The more important you are at your bank, the higher probability your urgent emails or calls always “just happen” to arrive on your iPhone or BlackBerry during someone else's meeting.

2) Your boss insists on using his iPhone/BlackBerry, even when his landline phone is right there at his desk

3) People show off their work-sponsored iPads in meetings and then demand to know why there are no hardcopy meeting packs available.

4) Everyone who is someone wears French cuffs and incessantly fiddles with them just in case you didn't notice them.

5) Senior managers use silly exotic terms like “perfect storm”, “black swan”, “fat tail”, and “green shoots” to make their work sound exciting.

6) Senior managers talk about cost control and “jaws” but most of their audience think that’s a movie.

7) Senior managers issue global circulars emphasising the need to cut costs by minimising travel – and then they convene a mandatory in-person conference at a central location for all senior exec…

Your Well-Paid, Middle-Class Job Is in Danger

by Ruth Mantell

Some highly-paid workers may find they need to switch careers.

The job market is changing, and it's not just manufacturing jobs that are disappearing. Even some highly-paid workers may find themselves needing to re-tool their skills in the years ahead.

The ongoing movement of jobs to countries where labor is cheaper, plus the development of new technologies, may mean fewer opportunities for some well-paid positions in the U.S. over the next decade, said Larry Katz, an economist at Harvard University.

"Employment growth has stopped, or even declined, among many middle-class jobs that are high wage" and don't require a college degree, Katz said.

"A lot of traditional middle-class, upper-middle-class jobs have been disappearing. If you look at general managers and middle-management jobs, those are ones that have been in decline and will decline further," he said.

Workers making about $40,000 to $80,000 a year constitute the bulk of labor costs for ma…

5 Retirement Mistakes That Will Haunt You

"You'll regret it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life."

Those words, spoken on a tarmac at the finale of the classic film "Casablanca," could be stretched from the intended affairs of the heart to how we plan for retirement.

There are financial decisions we make that seem a good idea at the time and retirement moves we make half-heartedly. When it comes to ensuring a lifetime of retirement income, bad decisions may not hurt immediately, but once the pain arrives it can last for decades.

Here are five retirement mistakes that will haunt you, and ways to avoid the haunting entirely:

1. Guesswork, Not Legwork

How much will you need to retire?

That straightforward question should be a starting point for people of all ages, at all stages of planning. A great number of people, however, do no more than guess at what they should save.

According to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, a nonprofit organization funded by Transa…

Why Loving Your Work Matters

If you have ever found yourself looking at your career and wishing you were on a path you felt more passionate and energized about, you may also be familiar with the little voice that says, "Work is a four-letter word. It's not meant to be enjoyed. Suck it up, buttercup." Inherent in that voice is the idea that wanting to love your work is somehow unreasonable and even frivolous.

But not only is loving your work not frivolous, it actually pays huge dividends in your life. And many of them aren't even work-related.

Let me start off with my definition of passion: "Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of YOU into what you do." When what you are doing is aligned with who you are and what you're naturally drawn to, it's energizing. And not only is doing the work energizing, it also doesn't drain you like work that doesn't fit. So in a way, you get a double dose of energy, first from the energy you gain from doing the work, and second…