Showing posts from March, 2012

Retirement Secrets of Successful Investors

What can we learn about retirement planning from successful investors? Plenty! Bank of America and Merrill Lynch recently published their Affluent Insights Survey of 1,000 investors with assets of $250,000 or more, and the results are indeed insightful.

Any time successful people are willing to share their point of view, I'm interested to see what I can learn. You'll see that these secrets aren't rocket science and can be used by anybody, not just the privileged, to get ahead financially. In fact, these "secrets" are just common sense, offering guidelines on what to do -- and not do -- when it comes to your money. Let's take a look.

Secret No. 1: Redefine retirement

The successful investors consulted for the survey are changing the definition of retirement. Almost three-fourths of respondents who aren't yet retired view this upcoming life stage as a second act during which they plan to work full or part time. Almost 30 percent intend to cycle between work an…

Getting a Cool $1 Million for Retirement

I always hear that if someone starts investing in their 30s and earns 8% a year, they can retire with $1 million because of compound interest. Is this true and, if so, where can I find investments that will earn that return? -- Denise, Sacramento, Calif.

There are many paths to a million-dollar nest egg.

A 30-year-old who saves $500 a month and earns a return of 8% a year on those savings would end up with just over $1 million by age 65.

Similarly, if that same 30-year-old earned $40,000 a year and saved 12% of salary each month, she would also have roughly $1 million by 65, assuming 2% annual raises and an 8% annual return.

There are plenty more ways to reach $1 million, depending on when you start, how much you put away on a regular basis and how you invest what you save.

You can also estimate how many years it might take you to reach the seven-figure mark by going to our Millionaire Calculator and plugging in your age, projected investment return, the amount you've already saved and…

6 Reasons Why You Should Never Retire

Threats to retirement security are everywhere. The list is topped by the recession-fueled impact on retirement confidence: People haven't set aside nearly enough money to fund their retirements. Next on the list is the regular drumbeat from critics that the Social Security system is running out of money and won't be able to honor its current promises to people nearing retirement. Perhaps the third stake in the heart of retirement is that people are living longer and longer, raising legitimate fears they will outlive their money.

All well and good, perhaps. But these concerns have obscured the compelling arguments against ever retiring, except for physical reasons. The short list of reasons never to retire include:

1. There is no physical reason to retire.

2. Continued work can support healthy aging, including better physical and mental health.

3. Well-being and happiness are boosted when people are engaged in challenging and meaningful activities. Work is a major place to find suc…

Early Retirement Without a Fortune

For many people who suffered lackluster investment returns after enduring a highly volatile stock market, retirement has become an elusive goal. Some financial experts recommend that workers postpone retirement as wages stagnate, 401(k) portfolios underperform and pension plans go the way of the rotary phone.

However, some people have discovered that retirement is not as hard as it looks. With a bit of careful planning and dedication, that time of leisure can come earlier than 65 -- much earlier in some cases.

Bankrate profiled four people who managed early retirement at ages ranging from 33 to 52. None of them had the advantages of a family fortune, a lottery jackpot or an initial public offering, or IPO, windfall to support them. Instead, these retirees learned the importance of patient savings and cost-cutting while ignoring risky bets and avoiding trendy get-rich-quick schemes.

Satisfying early retirement

Scottsdale, Ariz.
Age: 62
Retired at 52

Bob began saving for retirement at 30, s…

5 People Who Turned $1,000 Into $1 Million

Most millionaires are self-made millionaires, but becoming one is something that still seems out of reach for most people.

In many cases, we dismiss the idea of building a million-dollar business because, well, you need a lot of money for that, right? You've got to spend money to make money, don't you?

As it turns out, you don't really have to spend that much.

I spent the last few weeks interviewing dozens of millionaire entrepreneurs. Many of these individuals started businesses with less than $1,000 and are now earning more than $1 million per year in revenue. All of them bootstrapped their own business with no outside cash and a minimal capital investment from their own bank account. Here is a brief primer on bootstrapping a business.

So how does one start with very little money and turn that into $1 million per year? Here are five stories of regular people building million-dollar businesses.

PostcardMania. Joy Gendusa was a freelancer who wanted to buy some postcards to adv…

Departing Goldman banker slams 'rip-off' culture

By Douwe Miedema and Lauren Tara LaCapra

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs faced an unprecedented assault from one of its own on Wednesday after a banker published a withering resignation letter in the New York Times, calling the Wall Street titan a "toxic" place where managing directors referred to their own clients as "muppets."

It was the latest blow for the investment bank. The company -- dubbed a "great vampire squid" in a 2009 article in Rolling Stone magazine -- has been embroiled in the biggest-ever insider trading scandal on Wall Street. And just weeks ago, a top judge criticized Goldman for big conflicts of interest in an energy deal.

In an opinion column in Wednesday's Times, Greg Smith, who worked in equity derivatives, said Goldman (GS.N) had become "as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it.

"It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different m…

7 Ways You're Wasting Money Without Realizing It

Wasting money doesn't necessarily mean you're bad with money. You don't have to be a shopaholic or a frivolous spender to spend more money than you should. Often, there are leaks in our budgets that could easily be fixed if we knew what to look for. Some of the biggest money mistakes can be eliminated without even making a big change to your lifestyle.

So before you vow never to eat out again or take a vacation, see if you can plug these money leaks that you may not have even noticed.

1. Investing in expensive mutual funds. Unlike your gas or electric bill, mutual funds don't send you a monthly statement showing how much they cost. Even though the cost is hard to see, mutual funds that charge high fees are just eating away at your returns. High fees, which can include trading costs and the fund's management fees, can go unnoticed because investors don't get a bill for the fees. Instead, the fees are simply deducted from your account, reducing the overall return o…