The Savings Game

  • A few moves to make during market jitters

    A few moves to make during market jitters

    It’s normal to worry about your portfolio when the stock and bond markets become volatile, and when you see your portfolio fall significantly in value. It’s natural to wonder what to do, if anything, to protect your portfolio. The best general advice is to keep focused on long-term objectives....

  • 529 plans, by the numbers

    529 plans, by the numbers

    The cost of a college education continues to be shocking. The average cost of tuition and fees for the 2017–2018 school year was $34,740 at private colleges, $9,970 for state residents at public colleges, and $25,620 for out-of-state residents at public universities, according to the College Board....

  • What to know about RMDs

    What to know about RMDs

    I’ve received several questions from readers about required minimum distributions from IRAs and 401(k) plans, so I’m taking this space to address them. Q: I am 72, and I expect to retire in 2019. When will I have to take required minimum distributions? A: The answer depends on the retirement account...

  • How to get timing right on filing for Social Security, Medicare

    How to get timing right on filing for Social Security, Medicare

    Several readers have sent me excellent questions and I will answer a few of them this week.  Which way to go? A 61-year-old widow wrote that she is still working, needs more income and is wondering whether she should apply for Social Security survivor benefits or for benefits she earned with her...

  • More retirees filing for bankruptcy

    More retirees filing for bankruptcy

    A new study from the Consumer Bankruptcy Project indicates that the rate of bankruptcy among Americans ages 65 and older has tripled since 1991. More people ages 55 to 65 also are filing for bankruptcy. I am not surprised. People are going into retirement with more debt, including much higher mortgage...

  • Minimizing risk through diversification

    Minimizing risk through diversification

    Many readers are concerned about volatility in the stock market, as well as about receiving reliably consistent interest or dividends with their investments. Although the stock market has performed well for more than five years, there is no guarantee that it will continue to show comparable positive...

  • You probably won't get more money unless you ask for it

    You probably won't get more money unless you ask for it

    The U.S. unemployment rate is at a 10-year low. In fact, we're at or very near the level known to economists as "full employment." If you have a job, good news! It is a great time to ask for more money. Wages are a negotiation. You are an asset to your employer, and it would cost money to replace...

  • Hybrid policy can keep insurance rates from rising

    Hybrid policy can keep insurance rates from rising

    Many who have long-term care insurance have experienced sticker shock recently as insurance companies that sell these traditional policies have significantly increased their premiums. Even companies that had not previously raised their rates for existing policies have hiked their premiums. If you...

  • A few financial lessons I've learned while writing this column

    A few financial lessons I've learned while writing this column

    I’ve been writing this column for eight years and writing about personal finance for more than a decade. In that time, my husband and I been through many personal financial milestones. We’ve had two children; bought, rented out and then sold an apartment; bought and renovated a house; switched...

  • Should you help your kid buy a home?

    Should you help your kid buy a home?

    With the mortgage bubble now a decade in the rear-view mirror and lending standards tightened, real estate has returned to its historic place as a solid choice for building wealth. However, the younger generation is encountering two major obstacles in the quest to become homeowners: too much debt...

  • Investing during volatile times

    Investing during volatile times

    Many investors are nervous about investing in the stock market because of the recent volatility. This is understandable. But it is necessary to take a long-term approach no matter how close you are to retirement. If you are far from retirement, don’t be too concerned about the recent volatility....

  • Be cautious when buying long-term care insurance

    Be cautious when buying long-term care insurance

    When people live past 65, there is a high probability that they will need some form of long-term care. A major problem for many insurance companies in the long-term care industry is that they are not profitable or are losing money. People are living much longer now than when many of the LTC policies...

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