All posts tagged: Retire

He Said, She Said: What Adulting With Money is Really Like

Honest hour: Adulting isn’t easy. And when it involves a significant other and money, it becomes a thousand times harder. Let me give you an example: In 2016, the self-improvement industry raked in almost $10 billion, according to neuroscience site Brainblogger. My purchases of podcasts, books and membership sites accounted for 10 percent of that figure. I’m may be exaggerating a little, but one thing is for sure: Advice books tell you to keep communication channels open and discuss issues, concerns and, most importantly, “feelings” when navigating your financial map in marriage, but they don’t tell you how wildly different your perspectives on spending can be from your spouse. Seth Herzog is a successful NYC comic, actor and producer. He is also my husband. I am an author, built a booming retail research business and have a production company.  What follows is an oral history of a week’s worth of spending and financial transactions in our household: What does it mean to be “poor?” My take is very different from Seth’s. Seth: You are talking …

How Making More Than My Husband Almost Ruined Our Marriage

Growing up, my father controlled the finances in our family. And when I say he controlled the finances, I mean that he left my mother completely in the dark. Though she had a good job as a special education teacher, he had a higher-paying job as an attorney. That created a power dynamic that allowed him control over their finances until the day he died last year. It was only a few months before his death that my mother realized he had spent most of their savings, taken out a second mortgage on their house (without telling her, forging her name and spending the money without her consent) and had made no plans for her financial well-being after he was gone. She’d allowed the discrepancy in their earning power to give him control over her life, and it cost her dearly. Watching the two of them provided my first lessons in financial planning and marital survival, but not before I had the chance to make mistakes of my own. When my husband and I got …

10 Ways to Keep From Retiring in a Cardboard Box

I’ve never had access to a 401(k) plan — I’ve been working full-time freelance since 2006. I’ve always wanted to retire, no matter how anathema that sounds in workaholic America. Maybe it’s because I’ve also lived in countries where people actually look forward to — and many can afford — a labor-free later life: England, France, Mexico and my native Canada. Not coincidentally, fear of medical bankruptcy  — the greatest single destroyer of Americans’ finances — isn’t an issue there either because they offer single-payer government healthcare from cradle to grave, working or not. I’ve been saving hard for years. I’m married, so I do have the advantage of an additional income and shared costs. If I were single, I’d probably sell my home and rent or use a reverse mortgage. As a journalist who’s been covering personal finance for years for outlets like The New York Times, Reuters, Investopedia and others, I’ve learned a lot about the common financial mistakes people make. I’ve also handled my own money for decades, moving out of my …

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How to Have the Money Talk with Your Parents

Even if you began planning for your Golden Years at an early age, there is one thing about retirement that no one ever warns you about: You might be on the hook for some (or all) of your parents’ retirement. How, you may ask? Well, there is a high probability your parentals will outlive their savings. The median household approaching retirement has a nest egg of just $10,000 to $20,000, according to the Government Accountability Office. Among folks who have saved for retirement, the median amount of their savings is about $104,000 for households age 55 to 64 and $148,000 for households age 65 to 74. That’s equivalent to a payout of $310 and $649 per month, respectively. That’s not even accounting for inflation. And you shouldn’t count on Social Security to give Mom and Dad much of a safety net. Social Security coverage is minimal at best – this year, the average monthly benefit is $1,341, which equates to $16,092 for the year. That’s barely enough to stay out of poverty. [pullquote] The average …

How a Finance Pro Saves for Retirement After Leaving Her Job

As the author of How to be a Financial Grownup, I am the original Financial Grownup. Right after college, I got my Certificate in Financial Planning so I would know enough to ask the right questions. Yeah, I’m that kind of person. I’ve been researching and dishing out advice for as long as I can remember. But now, I needed to give a little advice to myself.  How do I keep investing in a retirement fund after leaving corporate America? This week was the first week in my entire post-college working life that I did not contribute to a retirement fund. I’d recently left my job at Thomson Reuters, a place I’d worked for 16 years as an anchor and personal finance columnist. It was time – I was burned-out to a crisp. I’d run the numbers on what leaving would mean for my new self-employed lifestyle, and things would be fine financially. I had opportunities as part of the release of my book, several paid speaking engagements, offers for freelance writing and anchor/reporter fill-in …

Margit’s Note: Discretionary Dollars

We renovated our apartment recently and I look at my geriatric cat who has a penchant for puking or crapping on beloved sections of new carpet and I think why on earth ever spend money on any thing. Things are silly aren’t they? I mean, things do not bring us joy, no matter what Marie Kondo says. These days, I’d rather spend any “extra” cash that doesn’t go towards food, bills, laundry, doctor bills or this website on things that make a difference in my life and in other people’s lives. Experiences, travel, a trip to Austin with my friend Shelly for my 50th, giving back to people who need it. The state of our country has made me — and a lot of folks I know — regularly spend any extra cash on people asking for help, giving back to worthy causes, setting up monthly contributions, subscriptions to endangered newspapers and not as much on stuff. I can’t tell you the last time I bought a cute pair of jeans, and that’s saying something. …

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The New Man in My Life — My Retired Spouse

“What are you up to today?” This is the question that my husband and I often ask each other over our morning coffee. For most of our 28-year marriage, I knew what my physician husband would be up to — he’d been doing the same things since the day we met. He would be running miles through hospital corridors, performing colonoscopies and liver biopsies. He’d be delivering good news as well as life-changing-in-an-instant bad news. He’d be awakened from a sound sleep and summoned to the emergency room to deal with a “bleeder.” He was dealing in life and death, every day and night. But for the past year, since his retirement, his agenda has taken an almost unrecognizable turn. Now, when I ask that morning question, his answer will startle me. “I’m going to meditate. Do my stretching routine. Maybe go for a bike ride up in the park. Take a nap. Go to the aquarium shop. Read a little.” Who is this guy? I barely recognize him. But I like him. Before he …

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Why I’m Throwing My Own Damn Retirement Party

At 38, and soon to be 39, I am nowhere close to receiving social security checks or living off a cushy pension or a seven-figure Roth IRA. But financial security hasn’t stopped me from declaring my retirement at the end of 2016. That’s right. I said retirement. This is retirement in the tradition of the thirty-something-year-old NBA basketball player who retires from the hustle of the game. (Except I’m neither as rich nor as famous as Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan.) I have been writing professionally for 15 years, and most of that time I’ve been a freelancer. That means that I’ve been floating from assignment to assignment without an employer to call my own. But this year, I am retiring from that writer-for-hire life. I have not made a lot of money, I have not made an indelible mark (whatever that means) and I have not achieved all that I’d hoped to accomplish in my professional writing life. Having written my way to mediocre success, I am choosing now to say to myself, “Good …

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More (and More) Go Gentle Into That Good Night

Another one bites the dust. The recent announcement that More would cease publication was just the latest blow to loyal magazine fans who still enjoy flipping through their favorite glossies. The women’s lifestyle magazine, which aimed at older, affluent “women of style and substance with articles on style, health, work, spirituality and relationships,” garnered both publicity and favor by featuring celebs ages 40 and up, including cover stars Diane Lane, Rachel Weiz and Jennifer Connelly. In 2002, Jamie Lee Curtis made news by appearing on the cover in only a sports bra and underwear, minus makeup or photoshopping. The magazine aimed to go more upscale and a little younger in the past year – Katie Holmes, a mere 37, ditched her makeup for the February cover – but the move failed to nab advertisers. Publisher Meredith Corporation forced it into early retirement after nearly 19 years of publication, making it the first magazine casualty of 2016; the last issue will appear this April. And with up to 15 reported layoffs in November, some predict that …

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What No One Tells You About Planning for Retirement

I put at least 10 percent (or is it 15 percent?) of my salary in my 401K every year. I contribute to a ROTH every other year (or so). I own my home — or will in 28 years. I have enough in stocks to carry me at least a few weeks. Financially, I’m not that bad off… am I? I ask this of my financial advisor, whose primary value seems to be telling me that I should save more. Disappointingly, he can’t make magic of what I have put away thus far. We meet annually to review where I would be financially if I were to retire at an age that increases with every meeting. He routinely poses questions that start with “If you plan to ever stop working…” or “If you’re serious…” My current retirement plan seems to be not to retire. But then, as I’ve seen with my parents, retirement can come unplanned and earlier than you think. They did everything right — scrimping and saving, counting their pennies and on their …

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Margit’s Note: Are We Halfway to the Rainy Day?

  I don’t plan on retiring. Or maybe I’ve just never put much thought into it. Ok, let’s be honest. I actively avoid thinking about it. My mom, a septuagenarian, still works and my Dad, just a bit older than that (though he’s told me he’s 29 for as long as I can remember) only recently retired in the last few years. He still does volunteer work at such a clip that it might as well be a full-time job. They love what they do, it isn’t exactly work, it’s a livelihood. I feel the same way about my work — writing, editing and making fabulous web sites. So why retire? I know — life has a way of interrupting the best laid plans. I’m hopeful I can do what I do until I keel over and, ideally, get paid for it. It’s a terrible course of action. It’s the classic Gen-X approach to retirement: “Gen-X is sleeping through its retirement wake-up call. Starting to turn 50, they’re acting like they’re 30.” Who, me? Don’t …