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Retirement


  • Survey: 71% of Americans are Behind on Retirement Savings (11 comments)

    Knowing you aren’t saving enough for retirement isn’t a great feeling, but at least you are not alone. A full 71 percent of Americans say they are behind on their retirement savings and more than half, 54 percent, believe they will never pay off their debt fully, according to a new national survey commissioned by Experian together with Get Rich Slowly and other top U.S. personal finance blogs. Entering retirement with a large debt load…

  • How Many Jobs Is Too Many Jobs? (9 comments)

    As I write this, I am on vacation. And I’m not just working for GRS while on my break. I’m posting on social media for six other clients, and writing freelance pieces for two other websites. So when I say I am on vacation, I really mean that I am working in a house that is not my own, with a lovely view of a beach. Since being laid off from my traditional full time…

  • Father Knows Finances (5 comments)

    The world celebrated Father’s Day on Sunday (or is it just an American thing?) and it got me thinking: What’s the best financial advice your dad ever gave you? My father was never big on dishing out guidance, although when I was in college he did tell me it was always a good idea to nurse a beer rather than chug it. When it came to money, I only remember two things: When I got…

  • Elder Financial Abuse: Signs, Symptoms and Preventive Measures (11 comments)
    This article is by GRS contributor Chris Kissell.

    It’s a form of abuse that often unfolds in silence. Its victims are often reluctant to report it. And it is likely to become even more commonplace as our society ages. What is financial elder abuse? Financial exploitation of elders occurs whenever someone dishonestly hijacks the resources of an older adult for personal gain, such as: Belongings Assets Benefits Other resources Exploiters target seniors because the…

  • 11 Things to Know about Bonds (18 comments)

    Bonds can be great low-risk investments but chances are you have never purchased a bond … and probably never will. Same with me. I simply don’t have the capital to commit over $100,000 to purchase the typical bond. But I do believe there are reasons to learn about bonds nonetheless, even if it’s an investment you don’t think you’ll ever make. Never say “never,” right? Well, the fact is… You may already be invested in…

  • Performance reviews and asking for a raise (25 comments)
    This article is by GRS contributor Richard Barrington.

    More and more, companies are dispensing with traditional annual employee reviews. They say this is out of sensitivity to a new generation of employees who find reviews stressful. The real reason may be that dispensing with employee reviews saves companies money — albeit at the expense of their employees. Microsoft and Dell are among the high-profile companies that have made news recently by dumping annual employee…

  • Financial goals when the going gets tough (30 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    Last month, the December 2015 Consumer Confidence Index ®, showed improvement over the previous month: “Consumer confidence improved in December, following a moderate decrease in November,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “As 2015 draws to a close, consumers’ assessment of the current state of the economy remains positive, particularly their assessment of the job market. Looking ahead to 2016, consumers are…

  • How to Open a SEP-IRA (16 comments)

    Learning how to open a SEP-IRA, a self-employed individual retirement account, doesn’t have to be complicated. Here’s the experience of Lisa Aberle, a Get Rich Slowly contributor who had been working as an independent contractor since 2010, along with working a full-time job, and in 2014 left that full-time job. That meant she no longer had access to a company-sponsored retirement plan and had to figure out the remaining path to retirement as a sole…

  • How to Hire a Financial Planner (or Not) (61 comments)

    Millions rely on financial professionals to do their investing for them but not everyone knows how to hire a financial planner the right way — or when to say no to one. On the surface, the rationale for hiring a financial planner or advisor seems valid. People feel intimidated by the whole investing thing. It seems like a jungle out there and, to boot, most people know someone who lost it all with bad investments….

  • Honey progress report: 2015 wrap-up and 2016 goals (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    Now is the time of year to look back, celebrate your accomplishments, and set goals for the upcoming year. Sharing those goals publicly — whether in the comments, in the GRS forums, or to your friends and family — can make you feel more accountable. With that being said, here’s how this year stacked up in the Honey/Jake household! Updated reckoning in chart form: 2012-present Please note…

  • How to Live Comfortably in Retirement (18 comments)

    Retirement lifestyles depend on your financial success — but financial success is part reality and part perception. In fact, if you moderate what you perceive as financial success, you could improve the financial reality of your future. It’s particularly important to consider this as you approach retirement, but this dynamic actually starts well before you’re ready to retire. It has to do with what kind of lifestyle you think you need. People tend to raise…

  • How to maximize returns while minimizing investment risk (7 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Back in 2005, someone wrote that Priceline.com would be a good stock in which to invest. At the time, I used Priceline because I traveled frequently. I also knew of Peter Lynch’s investing-for-success strategy, which boils down to buying stock in companies you do business with. I looked at the stock, which traded for around $20 to $25 at the time, thought about it … and…

  • Pay off student loans or invest — how to move toward funding retirement (30 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    In my recent post, “Why investing can be better than paying down debt,” Dianecy’s comment raised a question faced by many: What do you do about investing when you have student loans? It is quite the dilemma, actually, because the best time to start funding your retirement is when you’re still in your 20s. And as anyone who has been reading Get Rich Slowly for more…

  • Starting to Save for Retirement at 40 (27 comments)

    There’s something about reaching the big 4-0 that often causes you to re-evaluate your direction in life. And when you do, it’s hard to escape the fact that your day of retirement is indeed approaching faster than you ever thought possible. If you’re one of those who eliminated debt and made investing for retirement a habit since your 20s, there’s very little to do other than enjoy your 40th birthday and continue on with what…

  • Maneuver toward retirement: What to do in your 30s (25 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    For most people in their 30s, life can feel like a breathless uphill run on a downward escalator. Everything seems to expand: families, homes, social circles, career responsibilities, and income. Managing it all requires more of your immediate attention, so it’s not surprising that retirement planning tends to fall lower on the list of high priorities. For many, just making it through the day is all…

  • Money mistakes to avoid in your 40s (11 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Suba Iyer.

    With age comes wisdom, so they say — but it also comes with more complicated lifestyles. By the time we reach our 40s, we expect to be savvy, certainly capable of making good financial decisions, and generally well on our way to reaching our goals. But from what I can see, it’s often not the case. We are still in our 30s, but our friends and…

  • Are you planning to retire to another job? (25 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    People are living longer, healthier lives. Consequently, they need more income to cover a longer life span than initially expected. That may be what’s fueling an interest among boomers to continue working after retirement instead of pursuing a life of leisure. But it could also be that boomers just like to work. A recent AARP survey determined that 37 percent of nearly 5,000 workers age 50 to…

  • How to Invest in Index Funds (8 comments)

    This is the third installment of a three-part series examining index funds. In Part I, we looked at the managed mutual fund market. In Part II, we looked at how an index is calculated and what an index fund is. In this installment, we’ll consider how to evaluate index funds and where to buy them. Despite the fact managed mutual funds still dominate the mutual fund landscape, there has been a steady migration of assets…

  • What is an index fund exactly? (11 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    [This is the second installment in a series examining index funds. In Part I, we looked at the managed mutual fund market. In this installment, we will look at how an index is calculated and what an index fund is. In Part III, we’ll consider how to evaluate index funds and where to buy them.] In the first part of this series, we saw that mutual…

  • Investing 101: A primer on mutual funds (7 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    [This is the first installment in a series examining index funds. We’ll discuss the managed mutual fund market first to form a basis of comparison with index funds. In Part II, we will look at how an index is calculated and what an index fund is. In Part III, we’ll consider how to evaluate index funds and where to buy them.] We can’t predict the future…

  • Overcoming the fear of investing (28 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Investing is the most important element of our financial future — but sometimes it takes a while before we really get it, so to speak. Fortunately, I think it’s fair to say most of the readers here at Get Rich Slowly get it. But I’m willing to bet that there are still a few who might get the concept but have yet to put it into…

  • Your teen’s summer jobs could be their first million (24 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Few things are as much a part of growing up in America as getting a summer job. And here’s why most agree a summer job is a good thing to have as part of your coming of age: You get a good introduction to the rest of your life, which more likely than not will involve a job — working for someone else. You learn about…

  • Do you practice retiring? (18 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    I know quite a few people who are approaching retirement right now. And from talking to them, one thing is clear to me: There’s a lot of apprehension about making this transition. The pressure to make the right decisions doesn’t stop just because you’re nearing retirement. In fact, from what I can tell, it seems to intensify. There are still a lot of important decisions to make:…

  • Alternatives to the multi-generational survival tool (32 comments)
    This is a guest post from former GRS staff writer Donna Freedman.

    A whole lotta folks are way too comfortable with credit card debt, according to the “Generations Apart” study from Allianz Life. Nearly half of the Generation Xers and Baby Boomers surveyed consider plastic to be “a financial survival tool.” Guys, guys, guys: The credit card is not a superhero. Sure, one swipe saves the day, but it’s only that day. What will…

  • Retire at 40: A 24-year-old in pursuit of financial freedom (13 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    The way Thomas Frank looks at it, everything in his young life has been leading him to get better at controlling his finances. In high school, he saw a cool video game he wanted to buy — no, had to have. It took him three weeks to earn the $350, but he actually spent it buying cool clothes and hanging out with friends instead. His key…

  • What the Chinese stock market crash can teach you (9 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    By some accounts, China’s stock market has been in free fall. In less than a month, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index (SSEC) — the Chinese equivalent of America’s S&P 500 stock index — saw a 30 percent drop in value. Media reports have ranged from indifference to breathless comparisons with the great stock market crash of 1929, followed by dire predictions for you and yours….

  • How Social Security can help you catch up on retirement savings (36 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    I was chatting with my dad on Father’s Day (he prefers phone calls to Father’s Day gifts), and everything seemed ordinary at first. He asked how Jake and I were enjoying our house and whether I still liked my new job. However, I was in for a surprise. When I asked him how his work was going, he said, “Oh, I retired a couple of weeks…

  • How to pick an index fund (12 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Ryan Takach.

    Stock-picking can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the ability to monitor the market and your investments consistently. Managed investments — such as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) — have become a popular choice because they provide exposure to a wide array of securities that would otherwise be out of reach for the average investor. So many reasons to love index funds The fund…

  • Ask the Readers: Are you planning to care for an aging parent? (36 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    A few weeks ago, I got an unexpected invitation to lunch from my husband. His afternoon meetings had been rescheduled and he was coming home early. We went to a little Subway store in a shopping center near my office. The patio area in back has a beautiful view of the picturesque homes on the large canal by the bay, and it’s perfect to just talk and…

  • Ask the Readers: Have you ever opened a retirement account to reduce your taxes? (40 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    As we finished up our tax return this year, it turned out that we owed. Great. We don’t have to scrape the money together. We had planned for the extra liability when an unexpected consulting gig came together for my husband at the end of 2014. But nonetheless, it stings when you have to write a check to the Internal Revenue Service. (And besides, you just want…

  • Ask the Readers: What rate of return are you seeking and how much risk will you accept? (20 comments)
    This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

    We spent a fair amount of time exploring investments in the month of March. We looked at how to ladder certificates of deposit (CDs), scrutinized the decision to include gold in your portfolio, and even considered the growth of hedge funds. Over the months and years, we have discussed rental properties, peer-to-peer lending and everyone’s favorite, the index fund. There are a lot of reasons to invest…

  • Financial benefits of being over 60 (16 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    Do you dread getting older? There is no need to. Getting old is not all creaky joints and hearing aids. Above and beyond the joys of travel and sleeping in, there are many benefits awaiting those who cross the bridge of the great 6-0. I mentioned in an earlier post that our life expectancy is increasing with every passing year. Not only are we living longer, but…

  • Personal finance and the long game (15 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    When you think about it, personal finance is about playing the long game. Sure, it’s about other things as well. It’s about paying off debt. It’s about spending less than you earn. But when you think about it overall, it’s about making choices that are harder in the short term for the good of the long term. Here’s what I mean…. Saving for retirement Saving for retirement,…

  • How can retirement affect your health? (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    My neighbors shake their heads and think I am certifiably crazy, but I have noticed that they are careful how they say it. You see, when we get snow, I am always out there shoveling the sidewalks for three or four houses each way down the street from ours. “Why risk offending the Energizer Bunny with the shovel?” I hear them thinking. “He might stop, and…

  • The rise of alternative investments (25 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Financial Sam.

    Back during the dotcom collapse of 2000, I was losing money in the stock market like a champ. I was a second-year financial analyst who had a serious case of confusing brains with a bull market. When I turned to my VP and told him I was still bullish about the stock market, he almost slapped me upside the head. “We’re in a bear market, son….

  • How to Ladder CDs (24 comments)

    How to build a CD ladder? It’s a great question — unless you have no idea what a CD “ladder” even is. Let’s start at the beginning. A CD ladder is a method of staggering the maturity dates of certificates of deposits so you can invest your money safely and still keep some of it easily available for emergencies. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) insures certificates of deposit (or time deposits) just like they…

  • Retirement Travel and Frugal Living (47 comments)

    Retirement travel is in. Out is the era of spending unending retirement days on a golf course in plaid pants and interminable games of bridge with the blue-rinse set.

    The new generation of retirees is looking for more adventure, with more activity … and lower costs. Few strategies deliver like the recreational vehicle (RV) retirement lifestyle. A few years ago, my wife and I got a glimpse of it in the most unexpected…

  • Finding Retirement Security (55 comments)

    You’ve seen them before: 10 mistakes that could ruin your retirement, 6 things to avoid, and so on. But many of those lists are copies of each other. Make no mistake: Common sense is common sense, and there’s only so many ways to catalog it. The common sense behind any successful savings or investment plan? Rhythm, or doing the same thing month after month. When that rhythm gets disrupted, it can take months, even years…

  • Honey Progress Report: 2014 wrap-up and 2015 goals (48 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Honey Smith.

    The new year is a time to look forward; but in order to do that, you need to know where you’ve been. Before I set my goals for 2015, I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss anything that happened last year. Updated reckoning for me in chart form: 2012-present Please note that I have consolidated some separate accounts of the same type into one category…

  • What should your investment priorities be in 2015? (27 comments)
    This article is by staff writer William Cowie.

    I love snow — not the powder-lining you might long for on an overpriced ski slope, but the simple, white stuff that blankets the neighborhood. Our neighbors and friends all think I’m crazy, with the possible exception of the five or six families that happen to live on either side of us whose sidewalks get shoveled for no other reason than my exuberance for exercising out…

  • How to evaluate mutual funds to boost your returns (14 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Robert Brokamp.

    I’m a bit of a nut about Christmas; I even have a daughter named Noelle. So this time of year can be a bit of downer for me. The tree gets disassembled, the Bing Crosby CDs get packed away, and the holiday cards stop coming. Regarding that last one, however, the void in my mailbox will soon be filled by a different type of tiding —…

  • Keeping my New Year’s resolutions — what didn’t work for me (and what did) (12 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong.

    At the beginning of the year, I made four main resolutions, financial and otherwise. Max out my retirement Speak up more Consume less Save for a medium-term goal Of these goals, I achieved one and four. Two and three? Well, I did okay. In reviewing my goals, I realized there were a few goal-setting tips that worked well. But first, here’s what didn’t work for me….

  • Heed the Ghost of Yourself Yet to Come (28 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Robert Brokamp.

    Back in July of 2013, I decided to move on from the turtle-logoed pages of Get Rich Slowly in order to devote more time to other professional and familial responsibilities. However, a few months ago I managed to find time to once again join this merry band of bloggers, which gives me the opportunity to pass along the results of a survey I included in my “farewell”…

  • How to Save for a House (64 comments)

    How to save for a house? It’s a common question among newly married couples, but this was not our first marriage milestone. My wife and I didn’t wait too long after our wedding to create a family. We were parents one week before our first anniversary. Our apartment was too small for a third human, so we endeavored to buy a house. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of cash on hand since we moved…

  • Are you holding yourself back with these money lies? (35 comments)

    This article is by Suba Iyer, who currently writes for FiveCentNickel.com. In 2009, I was all excited to start looking for a house to buy. I had been working in a well-paying job for almost five years at that point and I figured I shouldn’t be throwing money down the drain renting. Well, reality came crashing down when I finally looked at my savings. It wasn’t even enough to be a good emergency fund, let alone a down payment….

  • Average 401(k) Balance by Age (44 comments)

    Saving for retirement isn’t easy, but 401(k) accounts are a universally popular way to save thanks to hands-off investing features and contributions drawn directly from your paycheck. But how do you know if you’ve saved enough? How is your retirement savings plan shaping up against people your same age? Here’s the data: Average 401(k) balance up to age 25: $4,048 Median: $1,385 Average 401(k) balance ages 25-34: $22,187 Median: $8,363 Average 401(k) balance ages 35-44: $60,528 Median: $23,944 Average…

  • What can we learn from Gen Y’s view of money? (25 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Recently, Fidelity released another survey about millennials and money. They found that 47 percent of us are saving for retirement. To me, that stat was really telling about our generation’s view of personal finance, and it’s not unlike other findings. When TIME wrote about the survey, they reported: “Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies found that 71% of millennials eligible for a 401(k) plan participate and that 70% of…

  • Ask the readers: Should we get married sooner to lower our taxes? (61 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Landen and his fiancé are planning to get married in the fall of 2015 and they’re starting to think about how to blend their financial lives together as they tie the knot. There are always a lot of decisions to make when you get married: Will you keep your finances separate or merge them together? Will you add each other onto your existing bank accounts or close them…

  • 9 reasons you may never retire (45 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. My mom passed away a little less than a year ago. All her life she was the picture of health: She walked every day and ate super-healthy. The extended family dreaded going there, because they knew there would be no sugary goodies, only healthy (boring) eats. We used to joke and say she was so healthy they’d have to shoot her on the Day of Judgment ……

  • 5 key retirement factors your financial plan may not address (29 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp. If you love cat pictures, today is your lucky day. Because I’m back! As longtime readers will recall, I contributed to Get Rich Slowly from 2009 to 2013. I often wrote about more “technical” (i.e., boring) topics, such as taxes and IRAs. In order to provide a reprieve from the technical-ness, J.D. occasionally sprinkled in cat pictures. I tried not to take it personally. Photo: ZUMA…

  • How I budget with a variable income (22 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. It seems like everybody’s goal lately is to leave their job and become a freelancer. And that’s great! Freelancing gives you flexibility and control — and, plus, you get to work from home in your yoga pants. But as someone who has transitioned into that role full-time, there are certain things I do miss about having an employer: 401(k) match Insurance benefits Free coffee Office buddies Income…

  • I was intimidated by investing, but here’s how I got started (33 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. The first time I felt the intimidating pressure of adult responsibility, I was three months out of college. It was my very first job interview, and I was wearing an old sweater and a pair of ill-fitted slacks, sweating. My would-be boss, the man sitting across from me, was only five or six years older than I was, which made me even more nervous. I’d never met…

  • Approaching retirement: What now? (40 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Retirement, that magic day you’ve had in your sights for decades, is finally coming into view. You may be in your 40s or 50s, and the big day may be next month or in a few years. Whatever your age and whenever the day, the time is coming for the big question: What do you do now? I faced that question a few years ago, and I…

  • Reader Stories: How I am financing retirement (39 comments)

    This reader story comes from long-time reader and commenter Bill McFadin, aka Cybergeezer, who commented that he had submitted a story months ago that never ran. We asked if he would resubmit the article, which he kindly did. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader…

  • Reader Story: Update on a dad in need of retirement help (27 comments)

    This guest post is by reader Mike in New Hampshire. Mike wrote an Ask the Readers article last year, looking for ideas to help his dad get set for retirement. He wrote to us recently and asked if he could update their story. We were only too glad to provide a forum for them. It has been a little over a year since I wrote in looking for suggestions on how I could help my…

  • Ask the Readers: Do singles need to plan differently for retirement? (35 comments)

    This article is by editor Ellen Cannon. I’ve been single since I was divorced in my 30s, and I’ve been planning my retirement on the assumption that I will be single till the end of my days. I’m feeling comfortable financially with where I am in my plan. Yet when I was offered the opportunity to talk to Jacob Gold, a Certified Financial Planner and retirement coach with Voya Financial, about women and retirement, I…

  • Dissecting retirement savings (34 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Lisa Aberle. When I finally and completely quit my once-full-time job in May, something changed: Neither my husband nor I have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan. With a significant drop in income, we’re looking at maximizing our now small retirement account contributions. So, how can we get the biggest bang for our buck? Before we talk about that, let me fill you in on my retirement contribution history….

  • Ask the Readers: Are the “golden handcuffs” real or self-imposed? (44 comments)

    This article is by editor Linda Vergon. Last December, Honey Smith was in the throes of some major life changes – her husband started his own business, only to sell it and start a new job, adding to the pressure to move and possibly buy a house. She wrote about it in her blog post “When the right choice isn’t obvious” and basically asked the readers which direction she should take. “I’ve been steadfastly against…

  • Becoming friends with your future self (25 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. I fight splurges less often than I used to, but the urge still pops up occasionally. Sometimes, it’s okay to splurge; but mostly, I find myself wanting to resist temptation. There are a few questions I ask when I’m mulling over a purchase: Do I have money saved for this? Do I feel like I’m stealing money from a financial goal? Am I simply being impulsive? Will I…

  • The pursuit of passive income: Is it time to become a landlord? (63 comments)
    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson.

    If you visit personal finance or investing blogs on a regular basis, you’ve probably read countless articles on the virtues of passive income. After all, many personal finance experts believe that passive income is the key to early retirement, financial independence, and permanent wealth. But, what is it exactly? A definition: Investopedia describes passive income as “earnings an individual derives from a rental property, limited partnership or…

  • Coming to terms: retirement vs. financial independence (58 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D. recently launched the Get Rich Slowly course, a year-long guide on how to master your money. Last Sunday, I shared the transcript of a recent conversation between me and Mr. Money Mustache. We talked a lot about retirement and what it takes to get there. “You and I are both supposedly retired, and yet we’re doing this work here where…

  • A conversation with Mr. Money Mustache (30 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. As part of the Get Rich Slowly course, I interviewed 18 of my favorite financial experts. Combined, these interviews comprise over eight hours of audio and more than 200 pages of written transcripts, all of which are available as part of the…

  • Another visit with the real Millionaire Next Door (16 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money, where he recently wrote about how to be happy. It was sunny last Friday afternoon, so I decided to go for a ride. Because Kim has been riding motorcycles all her life, I took a training class last August and now own a used Honda Rebel. When the weather’s nice in…

  • How to get started investing (33 comments)

    This article is by staff writer William Cowie. Confession time: Despite a financial and business education more comprehensive than most, I never invested. I grew up poor and just couldn’t wait for my first “serious” job and those big bucks. It was so bad, I decided to drop out of college in my senior year. “None of this ivory-tower crap is going to make me any more money,” I told everyone who would listen. Fortunately,…

  • Financing your bucket list (39 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mitch Anthony. Mitch is a sought-after financial services consultant, popular speaker, and host of The Daily Dose radio program. His RetireMentors column appears regularly on CBS marketwatch.com. Mitch earned Financial Planning Magazine’s “Mover & Shaker” award for his pioneering retirement and financial planning work. He has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, and The New York Times. His book Storyselling for Financial Advisors was acclaimed…

  • The one-page guide to financial freedom (74 comments)

    This year, I learned a lot about money. I think the biggest breakthrough I had in 2013 was to connect the ideas of personal and financial freedom. I spent a week in Ecuador talking with folks about this subject, and then I spent a couple of months putting my thoughts onto paper. I’ve done a lot of writing and thinking and speaking on this topic. But you know what? I’ve come to realize that the…

  • Success Stories (and the People Who Hate Them) (125 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. J.D.’s non-financial writing can be found at More Than Money. I spent last week in St. Louis for the third-annual Financial Blogger Conference. In two short years, Fincon has grown into more than just a gathering of bloggers. The place was packed with 500 bloggers, authors, journalists, sponsores, and financial professionals. Naturally, the workshops and main-stage speakers were outstanding. Our keynote…

  • Reader Stories: How we saved one year’s salary in Roth IRAs in grad school (56 comments)

    This reader story is from Emily, a graduate student living in North Carolina who blogs about transitions in young adulthood and living well on less at Evolving Personal Finance. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. My husband, Kyle, and I recently…

  • Thoughts on Financial and Personal Independence (88 comments)

    Note: This article is from J.D. Roth, who founded Get Rich Slowly in 2006. After a year off, J.D. is once again writing here at GRS. His non-financial writing can still be found at More Than Money. ¡Saludos de Ecuador! For the past two weeks, I’ve been enjoying my third trip to that seldom-remembered continent, South America. I love this place, and love it more each time I visit. My past trips have been personal…

  • Top 10 High Interest CDs that can double your interest income (15 comments)

    This guest post is by Richard Barrington, CFA, senior financial analyst for MoneyRates.com. The latest cruel trick played on savers is that while mortgage rates have started to rise, bank deposit rates haven’t budged. If you want higher interest rates on your deposits, you’re going to have to do something about it yourself. According to the FDIC, five-year CD rates (certificates of deposit or CDs) are currently averaging just 0.75 percent nationally. Fortunately though, not…

  • How to Retire Abroad on $500 a Month (76 comments)

    For as long as I can remember, I have known that I wasn’t fit for the corporate world. Like J.D. Roth, the founder of Get Rich Slowly, I am an introvert, not a fan of authority and even less of structure. So even before I graduated college, I had my mind on one big goal: leave the corporate world as soon as possible. I was working for a big IT multinational in business school; those…

  • Reader Stories: Why, at 25, I made retirement my first priority (48 comments)

    This reader story is from Adam M. Shearer, whose story was prompted by comments from another post. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. After I was challenged in the comments on a recent article, I was drawn into reassessing my personal…

  • Easy ways to give your 401(k) a tune-up (34 comments)

    This is a guest post from Jeff Rose, CFP. Jeff is well known among bloggers for his various causes: The Debt Movement, The Roth IRA Movement and The Life Insurance Movement. He also blogs at Goodfinancialcents.com. As it stands right now, there is just over $4 trillion in 401(k) plans. That’s trillion with a capital “T.” If you’re working for a company, then you’re probably one of the 67 million Americans who have a 401(k). It was included as…

  • Five factors for your asset allocation (16 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. When you think of your portfolio, visions of stocks, bonds and cash likely dance in your head. Generally, the mix of those investments is based on some measure of risk tolerance, with a little bit of time horizon calculation thrown in, and — voila! — you have yourself…

  • 5 ways to cut costs to save more for retirement (48 comments)

    David Bakke is an author and blogger for the personal finance resource Money Crashers, where he discusses tips for saving money for retirement and generating long-term wealth. When it comes to saving for retirement, many Americans are woefully behind. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 56 percent of those surveyed said they had less than $25,000 in retirement savings, and 30 percent doubted they’d have enough money to retire. However, regardless of your situation,…

  • SEP IRA vs. Self-Employed 401(k) (46 comments)

    A couple of months have passed since my 30th birthday, and that means getting started on some of my money resolutions for the year. One of those resolutions was choosing an additional savings plan for retirement. Currently, I have an IRA that I’m planning on — and getting close to — maxing out for the year. Last time I wrote about my financial goals, I planned to save more for retirement by opening a self-employed 401(k)….

  • Ask the Readers: How can I help my father get financially set? (74 comments)

    Dealing with family members who aren’t as financially savvy or frugal as you are is a common problem. Reader Mike in New Hampshire wrote to tell us his dilemma, and he wants your thoughts on what he should do. Here’s his story (and here is the update to his story): In college I majored in Communication and Journalism, so when it came time to choose electives to meet the requirements for math and science I…

  • Where to put your next investment (16 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Let’s say you’ve decided to add a new investment or two to your portfolio — maybe a stock, maybe a bond, maybe a mutual fund that invests in either or both. But now you’re confronted with another decision: In which account should you buy them?…

  • All you need to know about saving for retirement (71 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Like many important entities – including Weird Al, the Empire State Building, and CombustionSafety.com — he’s on Twitter. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the “Tyranny of the 401(k) Industry Complex.” The post was a commentary on an episode of PBS’s “Frontline,” which argued…

  • Ask the Readers: What will make you feel financially secure? (78 comments)

    If you’re a regular reader of Get Rich Slowly, you are focused on getting out of debt, saving, retirement goals – all of those money issues we all deal with. But at what point would you or do you feel financially secure? I think my own sense of financial security came once I had paid off all of my debts (excluding my mortgage) and had enough money to save a chunk each month. Certainly, having…

  • The tyranny of the 401(k) industrial complex (68 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Like many living beings – including turtles, snakes, and llamas — he’s on Twitter. If you never watch PBS’ “Frontline,” you’re missing out on some of the best journalism on TV. I don’t agree with every viewpoint they advocate, but each episode is thought-provoking and well…

  • How to audit your own investments (23 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Lisa Aberle. I’ve hinted before that I was a passive investor. And by passive, I mean that I have always set up a 401(k) and IRAs, then promptly ignored them. But since 2013 is the year I want to learn more about investing, I knew I needed to evaluate our current investment portfolio. Am I saving enough for retirement? Am I diversified? Is the risk of my investments appropriate for my…

  • I’m 30! Am I where I should be with my finances? (85 comments)

    “I can’t believe I’m going to be 30!” I told my Dad at the beginning of the year. I said the same thing when I turned 20, so I knew he would reassure me that 30 actually wasn’t that old. “Nope, 30’s old,” he said. Getting older doesn’t bother me; I actually embrace it and all the experiences that come along with it. That’s also something I say just to make myself feel better. But it’s…

  • The stock market has recovered, but have you? (27 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. The financial media world is all abuzz with U.S. stocks — as measured by the Standard & Poor’s 500 — surpassing where they were in October of 2007, right before the Great Recession and a more-than-50 percent plunge. It took more than five years, but…

  • Oops, I may have broken my nest egg (42 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Financial success can be due to making good decisions or avoiding big mistakes. In many cases, the biggest mistakes happen after good decisions, because the stakes have become higher. As an example, let’s consider the dilemma of Motley Fool reader Jim, who emailed us this…

  • Taking the semi-retirement plunge without drowning in debt (60 comments)

    After spending months working 60 or 70 hours per week, realizing that life is all too short, and preparing for our kids to come home, it’s time for a new financial paradigm of my own: I’m semi-retiring. I had always been perplexed by those who, say, retired early to travel to exotic locations. I like working and don’t really like traveling, so my dreams involved some sort of fulfilling employment until I couldn’t work anymore….

  • The most powerful ways to secure your retirement (34 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Whether you can retire, and whether your money will last after you retire, starts with a very simple maxim: spend less than you have. However, once you start actually crunching some numbers, you find that the equation of retirement is actually quite complicated, with many…

  • Ask the Readers: Can you retire without a pension or 401(k)? (57 comments)

    This short reader post from GRS reader A Single Saver caught our eye. A 401(k) or IRA fund seems almost mandatory by personal finance standards, and yet, here a reader writes how her retirement looks good without them. What do you think? Would you be able to provide a retirement for yourself without retirement investment accounts? Can a single woman retire without a pension or a 401(k)? That was my dilemma. As a contract worker,…

  • Evaluating Financial Advisors (70 comments)

    Hiring a financial advisor is difficult. Common questions include: How much do financial advisors make? How much of that is my hard-earned money? What’s a reasonable fee? Way back in the ’90s — a primitive time when a mobile phone could only be used to talk to another phone — I was a broker (i.e., salesman) with Prudential Securities. While we all used the title “financial advisor,” the majority of efforts were spent providing investment…

  • Getting rich slowly on my own terms (47 comments)

    Over the last six months, I have had several articles published at Get Rich Slowly. However, I have never had the pleasure of formally introducing myself. My name is Holly Johnson, and I am a 32 year-old wife and mother of two young children. I work alongside my husband at a small family owned mortuary in the rural Midwest. I began my own journey out of debt a little over two years ago, and it…

  • A few things to consider before becoming an expatriate (23 comments)

    This post is from Justin Boyle. Justin is an experienced English tutor and writing coach who works as a designer in the tech industry. He lives in Austin, Texas, and finds a lot of things interesting, especially food, finance, education, gadgetry, software, art and travel. He never stops thinking about food. He is probably eating right now. There are plenty of possible reasons you could want to leave the U.S. Perhaps you’ve always dreamed about making the sand…

  • Reader Story: From recession to best financial shape of my life (53 comments)

    This guest post from William Cowie is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. William has contributed to ConsumerismCommentary.com, BudgetsAreSexy.com and other personal finance blogs. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Fresh out of college in South Africa in…

  • How to Pick the Best Darned Account for You (9 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Happy World Wide Invest Better Day! What, you’re not familiar with this holiday? Well, it might because we at The Motley Fool invented it, and today is the first time we’re going to…

  • Reader Story: Finding Hope In The Bleakest Of Situations (99 comments)

    This guest post from Sam is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Sam writes at Financial Samurai and is one of the esteemed colleagues with whom I’m exchanging ideas this weekend at the second annual Financial Blogger Conference. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want submit…

  • The Many Roads to Retirement (89 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. “Work, work, work, work, work, work. Retire.” That’s how New York University professor Sewin Chan described the traditional retirement path at a symposium several years ago. However, that path may be changing. Her…

  • Is Your Money in the Right Place? (51 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks, and likes carrots. When it comes to investing, you have two big decisions to make: What to buy, and where to buy it. As for the former, you have all kinds of choices:…

  • The Retirement Outlook for 20-Somethings (159 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Tim Sullivan. Over Memorial Day weekend, a few friends and I took an RV to Banff, Canada. I’m from Chicago and have only been in the Pacific Northwest for a few short months. We Chicagoans are flatlanders and the geographical splendor of the snow-caps that now surround me is a source of a daily inspiration. While we were heading through Glacier National Park, I sat at the coffee table…

  • Why You’ll Likely Need Less in Retirement (129 comments)

    Ultimately, retirement planning is like a math equation — you input several variables and estimate whether what you’ll have will pay for what you will need in retirement. The challenge is that many of the variables are future values that are unknowable today. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make some educated guesses. So let’s examine the “what you’ll need” part of the equation – that is, how much the retired life will cost you each year —…

  • Make the Choice Not to Decay (88 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. It’s that time of year — time to weed out all the stuff in the Brokamp household to get ready for the first yard sale of the season. It’s a great way to…

  • What is a Roth IRA? A Short and Simple Guide (85 comments)

    Note: This post is part of the Roth IRA Movement event organized by Jeff Rose at Good Financial Cents. Today, dozens of financial bloggers are posting articles about Roth IRAs. This is mine. Most of us know we should save for retirement, but sometimes it’s tough to get started. If your employer sponsors a retirement plan — especially if it offers a generous match to your contributions — that’s usually the best place to begin….

  • Ask the Readers: How to Retire Early? (124 comments)

    Though many readers of this site have modest financial goals, others are more ambitious. Many want to get rich. (That’s not surprising; after all, this blog is called Get Rich Slowly.) But I think most GRS readers are aiming at something in between. For instance, Charlotte wrote recently to ask about a goal that many of us have. She wants to know how to make early retirement a reality. Here’s Charlotte’s message: My husband is…

  • How One Decision Can Help You Retire Faster (154 comments)

    This is a guest post by Dee Bauer from SmallHouseLife.com, where she shares information about abundant living in small spaces. Do you sometimes wonder if you’ll ever be financially stable enough to retire? Or maybe it’s not so much about retirement as it is about financial independence. Personally, I don’t want to wait until I’m in my 60s to enjoy financial freedom and extended leisure time! As a result of one decision, my husband and…

  • 11 Things You May Not Know About Retirement Accounts (59 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks, and photocopies his face and other body parts. I don’t know you personally (yet), but my guess is that you own an IRA or employer-sponsored retirement account such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Such…

  • What Really Makes Your Retirement Accounts Grow (77 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. As far as investing goes, 2011 won’t be a particularly memorable year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 began the year at 1,257 and ended the year at the exact same spot. So if…

  • How to Buy a Pension with a Lifetime Annuity (47 comments)

    This is a guest post from Mike Piper, a long-time GRS reader and the author of Oblivious Investor, where he explains how exciting things like 401k rollovers and tax brackets work. Previously at GRS, Piper wrote about earning extra income with a small blog. Would retirement planning be easier if you had a pension? It’s a silly question, I know. For most people, the answer is, “Yes, of course.” Here’s a less-silly question: Did you…

  • 8 little-known facts and benefits of Roth IRA savings (105 comments)

    This is a guest post by Jeff Rose, a Certified Financial Planner. Rose is also the author of Good Financial Cents, a financial planning and investment blog. He’s also working on his book entitled Soldier of Finance, which combines his military background and financial planning experience. Most Americans want to save for retirement, but most don’t know how to start. Putting money into a savings account is ideal for short-term goals and emergency funds. But…

  • What Will You Get from Social Security? (99 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as good manners. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I’m a big advocate of crunching retirement numbers to…

  • Engineer Your Retirement (50 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as hygiene. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I get plenty of email from readers, usually filled with…

  • Extreme Early Retirement in Practice: How Two People Did It (165 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and other things that are supposed to be important but he often forgets about, such as hygiene. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I regularly recommend that people spend time with a good…

  • Ask the Readers: I’m Getting Older — Should I Save or Should I Travel? (112 comments)

    Long-time GRS reader Sheila (aka PawPrint) dropped a line earlier this year because she’s facing a financial dilemma. She and her husband want to be responsible — to save for retirement — but they’re afraid that doing so means they won’t be able to pursue other passions, such as travel. Sheila writes: My husband is nearly 60. As we watch friends and relatives succumb to cancer (mostly) in their late sixties, I wonder about our…

  • Book Review: Early Retirement Extreme (212 comments)

    For over five years now, I’ve spent most of my waking hours reading and writing about money. I’ve learned a lot. Using this knowledge, I’ve been able to get out of debt, build savings, and even begin pursuing my passions. What’s next? As time passes, I find myself thinking more about financial independence and early retirement. No surprise then that over the last couple of months I’ve been obsessed with Jacob Lund Fisker’s Early Retirement…

  • Your Retirement Account Survival Guide (55 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a blog, Twittering thing, and a piece of carpet that was once in Elvis’ jungle room (no joke!). Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. An IRA is a simple little thing. It’s a common, garden-variety retirement vehicle,…

  • All About Asset Location: How to Make the Most of Your Accounts (68 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. When he submitted this, Robert advised, “File this under the ‘long and tedious but…

  • Living Below Your Means Is Like Saving for Retirement Twice (81 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He also has a newly reinvigorated blog, and you can have your day interrupted once or twice by his Twittering. Robert contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Hello, GRSers. Today, let’s revisit something I tacked on to the end of my…

  • What To Do with an Old 401(k) (68 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale at Childwild.com. When a friend of mine changed jobs recently, she discovered she had half a dozen old 401(k)s trailing her from her past jobs. She wanted to get on top of her financial planning, but wasn’t sure what to do with all those old investments. she asked me for advice. Truth is, I…

  • The Most Important Factor in Retirement Savings (67 comments)

    “Wanna see something neat?” Kris asked the other night. She was holding the year-end statement from her work-based retirement plan. “Sure,” I said. “Show me the money.” She handed the statement to me. “Look at my account balance,” she said. “Look how it’s grown. It went down a little bit in 2008, but because I kept contributing, the balance has gone crazy during the last two years.” Kris’s retirement account took a hit in 2008,…

  • Caring for Aging Parents (156 comments)

    As more of my friends enter middle age, they’re talking less about how to care for their kids and more about how to care for their parents. Our mothers and fathers are nearing (and, in some cases, surpassing) seventy years of age, and not all of them are financially prepared. A GRS reader named Shauna recently wrote with a typical scenario: My husband and I are in our early thirties and finally getting our finances…

  • Don’t Get Rich Any Slower Than You Have To (66 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. This is one of those boring articles about investing that is actually very important. To liven things up, J.D. has illustrated this article with photos of one of his cats. It’s quiz time, folks….

  • Two Stories About Retirement Planning (106 comments)

    I never know where the personal-finance lessons are going to come from. Today, I heard two stories about retirement from my own family. First, my wife told me that her retirement program at work might be cut. Next, I learned that my family’s box company has had a bizarre retirement crisis of its own. Don’t count your chickens Kris came home frustrated tonight. She’s worked for the state government for almost twenty years (eight of…

  • Reader Story: Making the Move to Semi-Retirement (52 comments)

    This guest post from Jacq Jolie is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. You can read more about Jacq’s story at Single Mom Rich Mom. On 31 December 2009, I finished what I hope will be…

  • Yes, You WILL Get Social Security (127 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. We hear a lot about the doubts over the future of Social Security. Here are a few I’ve come across: “Three-fourths of those 18 to 34 don’t expect to get a Social Security check…

  • When Will You Be Able to Retire? (52 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Permit me to introduce a new term into the financial planning lexicon: goals-based budgeting. (Well, a Google search turned up a few other instances of its use, but they’re on government websites, so no…

  • What is Retirement? (76 comments)

    I just returned from my annual weekend trip to Oregon’s Opal Creek Wilderness area. Every year, I join five other friends to hike into the forest, pitch our tents on the banks of the creek, and sit around the fire talking about life. We drank a lot of whiskey this year, and spent a lot of time at the swimming hole. Paul and Tim at rest above the Opal Creek swimming hole This year, we…

  • Choosing a Target-Date Fund (35 comments)

    So, you find the lazy way to invest very appealing: You like the simplicity and the long-term results. But you don’t want to bother with building your own lazy portfolio of index funds and adjusting it as you get older (same as creating your own target-date fund). At this point in your life, you just want a set-it-and-forget-it solution, at least until you feel more comfortable building your own investment portfolio. Target-date funds seem perfect…

  • Ask the Readers: Should I Invest or Prepay My Mortgage? (181 comments)

    Kelley wrote recently with the sort of dilemma I get asked about all of the time: Is it better to invest or to prepay a mortgage? We’ve covered this topic in the distant past, but it’s time to review the debate for current readers. First, let’s look at Kelley’s e-mail: My husband and I are on the right track. At age 25, our only debt lies in our home mortgage. We have the six-month emergency…

  • The Snowball: How Compounding Affects Money, Knowledge, and Life (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Happy anniversary to…well, all of us, I guess. This post marks my one-year (and five days) anniversary of being a contributor to Get Rich Slowly. It’s been a hoot. My very first post was…

  • Poll: How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement? (54 comments)

    This post contains an excerpt from Chapter 13 of Your Money: The Missing Manual, my new book from O’Reilly Media. It’s also a part of National Financial Literacy Month. For the past several months, GRS has been running a new poll in the sidebar every two weeks. Mostly, these are curiosities to me. But the poll that just concluded produced an interesting tidbit of information. The most recent poll — which ran simultaneously at Money…

  • How to Be Happy in Retirement (63 comments)

    The March 2010 issue of Consumer Reports Money Adviser has an interesting article on how to avoid regrets during retirement. The article, which draws on a survey of nearly 25,000 subscribers, is simultaneously comforting and cautionary. While only about 20% of folks who haven’t yet retired are highly satisfied with their current retirement planning, 70% of actual retirees report they’re highly satisfied. According to the author, the lesson is: While many of us tend to…

  • Outsourcing Life: Unconventional Advice for When You’re Financially Secure (309 comments)

    This is a guest post from Erica Douglass. After selling her online business for a million dollars at age 26, Erica “temporarily retired”. She now writes an online business blog at erica.biz. This is very much an article about advanced personal finance techniques, and doesn’t necessarily reflect my own philosophy. You’ve pulled yourself out of debt, are saving a reasonable amount of income for your retirement, have built an emergency fund, and your daily needs…

  • The Roth IRA Made Easy (76 comments)

    Starting a Roth IRA is one of the easiest — and best — steps you can take to save for retirement. But you should understand the Roth IRA rules before investing in them. I know I’ve written a lot about the Roth IRA in the past, but I still get questions all the time. People find them intimidating. For example, Lynn wrote last week: I’m a 36-year-old single mother of two. I want to start investing…

  • Should You Stop Funding Retirement to Focus on Debt? (81 comments)

    This article is by GRS staff writer Adam Baker. In addition to his work at Get Rich Slowly, Baker blogs over at Man Vs. Debt, where he compiles the most famous and inspiring quotes on debt. This article is a part of National Save for Retirement Week, and a sort of follow-up to yesterday’s post about the choice between retirement or a down payment. Whether you should halt your retirement contributions in order to focus…

  • Which Comes First: The House or the Nest Egg? (85 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week A few weeks ago, J.D. asked me to consider writing a post on retirement for National Save for Retirement Week. As it was intended, National Save for Retirement Week made me reflect on the state of my and my husband’s retirement accounts. Currently, our retirement savings are a tad pitiful. I have a 403(b) through my…

  • Pay yourself first (63 comments)

    This article is the fourth of a fourteen-part series that explores the core tenets of Get Rich Slowly. It’s also a part of National Save for Retirement Week. One of the oldest rules of personal finance is the simple admonition to pay yourself first. All the money books tell you to do it. All the personal finance blogs say it, too. Even your parents have given you the same advice. But it’s hard. That money…

  • Free eBook! The Get Rich Slowly Guide to Roth IRAs (27 comments)

    In early 2008, I put together an e-book. I collected my series of articles about the virtues of the Roth IRA, cleaned them up, added new information, and drafted a 30-page document to serve as a sort of introduction to this important retirement plan. The great folks at Web Warrior Tools took my work and made a polished e-book. For the past 18 months, it’s been available for $7 from their website. But this information…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Should You Save for Retirement? (154 comments)

    How much should you save for retirement? Carla dropped me a line because she’s puzzled where the standard “save 10% of your income for retirement” advice originated. She’s afraid that ten percent isn’t nearly enough. Carla writes: The financial experts always say to save 10% for retirement (for example, in your review of The 1-2-3 Money Plan). Buy why 10%? It doesn’t make sense to me. I’m 25. If I retire at the normal age…

  • The Best Ways to Boost Your Retirement (50 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. With the S&P 500 still down more than a third from its 2007 high, we’re all a little unsure about our retirement plans these days. So it’s time for some good old-fashioned elbow grease….

  • How Much Is Your 401(k) Costing You? (48 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. I don’t want to dump on your boss. She/he/it gives you a job (assuming you still have one). Besides a paycheck, you also get some benefits. One perk might be a retirement plan such…

  • Why I Love the Roth IRA (49 comments)

    This is a guest post from Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the advisor for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. Want tax-free investment growth? Want more control over your retirement savings? Want to leave a bigger inheritance? If so, you should consider contributing to or converting existing retirement savings to a Roth IRA. For…

  • How to Live Well on Less in Retirement (65 comments)

    Though I’m not close to retirement myself, one GRS reader recently sent me a link to an article from the monthly newsletter from AARP (the American Association of Retired Persons). In the April 2009 issue of AARP Bulletin, Elizabeth Pope wrote about how to live well on less money. Pope profiles three families who have structured their personal finances in order to pay for necessities — and luxuries — now that they’re finished working. One…

  • How much money should you save? (52 comments)

    As an editor at CNNMoney, Walter Updegrave has answered hundreds, if not thousands, of reader questions on everything from retirement to advice on saving money. Lionel from San Diego wrote in with a question that all of us have: What percentage of income should someone save in order to be considered financially responsible? I’m wary of spending now because of the bad economy, but I don’t know how much I should be saving on a monthly…

  • Financial Independence: The Final Stage of Money Management (46 comments)

    This is the last of a five-part series about the “stages” of personal finance. These stories have intentionally been less polished than most articles at Get Rich Slowly. This is a chance for me to think out loud, to explore an idea with you in an informal way. In February, I wrote that I was entering the third stage of personal finance. As I made my way out of debt and began to save, I…

  • How Much Do You Need to Save for Retirement? (104 comments)

    I’ve had several conversations in the past month with people who are wondering how much to save for retirement. They’re worried they won’t have enough. (And the recent market turmoil only makes matters worse.) The problem is that nobody seems to agree on what assumptions to make when planning for retirement. How much should you assume for inflation? For investment returns? For rising health-care costs? How long should you expect to live? Conventional wisdom Most…

  • Yes, You Can Achieve Financial Independence (33 comments)

    In the midst of our rush to earn money, our scramble to save for retirement, our focus on frugality, it’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing this. What is the goal? What is it we’re trying to accomplish by getting rich slowly? For me — and for many others — the answer is Financial Independence. Your Money or Your Life defines Financial Independence as “having an income sufficient for your basic needs and…

  • How to Invest in a Bad Economy (63 comments)

    Yesterday, USA Today published a piece describing how you should invest in a bad economy. Though the market is in shambles, the authors write, it’s no time to panic: Enough. The stock market — and your savings — have gone down steadily, day after day, for more than a year. You’ve lost thousands this month alone. It’s time to do something. But…what? Should you shift more money into stocks? Put it all into a savings…

  • The Saver’s Tax Credit for Retirement Savings Contributions (30 comments)

    When you don’t have much money, it can be difficult to save for the future. Last month I highlighted San Francisco’s Earned Asset Resource Network, a non-profit organization providing financial assistance and education to those who need it most. Believe it or not, the U.S. government also has ways to encourage people to save. The Saver’s Credit for Retirement Savings Contributions is one of those: One way for low and moderate income Americans to save…

  • How to Cope with a Lousy 401(k) Plan (42 comments)

    “The Mole” is a certified financial planner and public accountant who, in his spare time, provides a behind-the-scenes view of the financial planning industry for Money magazine. In his most recent column, The Mole explains how to deal with a bad 401(k) plan. “401(k) providers don’t actually care how they make money,” he writes, “just as long as they make a tidy profit.” The providers can make money by: Offering good choices to employees, but…

  • Indian Beggar Saves 200 Pounds of Coins, Opens Bank Account (41 comments)

    Richard from Richer and Better just sent me an amazing story from Calcutta (Kolkata), India. Sixty-year-old Laxmi Das began begging on a street corner in 1964, when she was only sixteen years old. Crippled by polio, she’s spent her life begging for change. But she didn’t spend it all. She saved what she could. In buckets. From the article: “I saved for the days when I cannot beg,” she told the BBC. “I knew one…

  • Thoughts on Retirement and Financial Independence (66 comments)

    This may seem strange coming from a fellow who’s not yet forty, but I’ve been thinking a lot about retirement lately. Now that I’ve repaid my debt, now that I’ve begun to save money, I’m curious how much a person actually needs in order to retire. How do you know when you have enough? Too many experts It seems like every expert has a different answer. Some say that you need 70% or 80% or…

  • How to Take a Sabbatical (56 comments)

    In his book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss proposes that we shift our focus from end-of-life “macro” retirement to more frequent mini-retirements, which might be spaced throughout a working career. Consider it a type of sabbatical, but one that you can take multiple times throughout your working life — and not reserved for academics or the super rich. Ferriss took time to speak with me about his notion of mini-retirements. Last week, I published the…

  • Using Mini-Retirements to Get More Out of Life: An Interview with Timothy Ferriss (45 comments)

    On a cool Thursday morning last July, I woke early to walk into the hills outside Wells in Somerset County, England. After three-quarters of an hour, I reached a point with a broad vista of the surrounding countryside. I leaned against a fence post and took in the view — I could have sworn I was looking at Hobbiton. After a few minutes of silent contemplation, I walked back to town. I took a brief…

  • A Real Millionaire Next Door (136 comments)

    Kris and I love our neighborhood. People are friendly and helpful, yet mostly mind their own business. It’s a perfect combination. One of our favorite neighbors is the old guy next door. Let’s call him John. John is a 71-year-old retired shop teacher who lives in a modest ranch house on half an acre, the same house he’s had for over forty years. He has an old barn filled with salvaged lumber, outdated appliances, and…

  • Early Retirement Requires Financial and Lifestyle Planning (31 comments)

    As I continue to achieve my short-term goals, my attention is turning increasingly to long-range plans. What is it I want to do with my life? I’ve always toyed with the idea of early retirement, and lately I’ve been reading more about the subject. Three books that have helped me so far are: Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek, which explores the notion of “mini-retirements”. (I recently recorded a phone interview with Ferriss on this subject…

  • I Quit My Job — What Should I Do With My 401k? (86 comments)

    When you leave your job, you have several choices regarding your 401(k). These options for a 401(k) rollover are pretty much universal, meaning they apply to every 401(k) and to every job change situation. Your options are: Cash the 401(k) plan and receive a full pay-out I’ve listed this option first because it has the most serious ramifications. First, if you take a full payout, you will have to pay taxes on the plan —…

  • Which is better: a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA? (53 comments)

    When the subject of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) comes up, the one question that seems to cross everyone’s mind is: Which investment vehicle is better, a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA? The subtle differences between the two types of IRAs are the source of all the confusion, but the answer depends largely on whether you expect to be in a higher or lower tax bracket when you start to draw funds out in retirement…

  • The Basics of RRSPs: Registered Retirement Savings Plans (28 comments)

    This morning we have a little something for our neighbors to the north. This is a guest post from Frugal Trader, who writes about personal finance from a Canadian perspective at Million Dollar Journey. J.D contacted me to contribute to his retirement account series with an explanation of Canadian RRSPs. An RRSP is the closest thing Canada has to a 401k or Roth/Traditional IRA. What is an RRSP? RRSP stands for Registered Retirement Savings Plan….

  • Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA: Which is the Best Deal? (23 comments)

    I’m often asked, “Which is best, a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA?” There’s no one right answer. Which option you choose depends on your goals, and it depends on what you think your income will be like in the future. In theory, there’s no difference between the eventual returns. In practice, there are a variety of factors that can affect your decision, of which tax rates are perhaps the most notable. Walter Updegrave at…

  • Book Review: The Automatic Millionaire (60 comments)

    David Bach is perhaps best known for coining the term the latte factor, a phrase that has almost become a joke in personal finance circles. That’s too bad, really, because Bach has some good ideas. And the latte factor is a marvelous concept, applicable to many people who casually spend their future a few dollars at a time. Bach’s most popular book is The Automatic Millionaire. I’ve referred to it often, but never reviewed it…

  • Early Retirement: Couples Who Made It Happen (56 comments)

    I recently mentioned two Liz Pulliam Weston articles in passing. They’re good enough to merit closer attention. Both articles profile couples who found the courage to save money when they were young so that they could enjoy the freedom of early retirement. Weston writes: Think it’s impossible to retire in your 40s? I’d like you to meet some ordinary folks who have done it. “Ordinary” may be a misnomer, because retiring after just 20 years…

  • Book Review: The 4-Hour Workweek (59 comments)

    When I picked up The 4-Hour Workweek, I was worried it was some sort of “get rich quick” book. The first few pages didn’t do much to change my mind. The author, Timothy Ferriss, makes a lot of bold claims, such as: “How do you create a hands-off business that generates $80,000 per month with no management? It’s all here.” But something happened during the first few chapters. When I read a book, I use…

  • Questions and Answers about Roth IRAs (Updated!) (40 comments)

    The series on Roth Individual Retirement Arrangements (Roth IRAs) has covered a number of topics — what they are, how (and where) to open one, and which investments are best. Now, in the final part, we turn to some of your questions. Remember: I am not a financial adviser. I’m just a regular guy trying to gather information to help you. If you need more specific answers, please consult a CPA or an investment professional. All of the questions…

  • How to Open a Roth IRA (256 comments)

    You’ve heard how awesome Roth IRAs are and how starting one now can mean big bucks when you’re older. You’ve even done some research so you have a vague idea of how a Roth IRA works. Now what? How do you actually open a Roth IRA for yourself? The good news is that it’s surprisingly easy to set up a retirement account and begin investing in your future. Here’s what to do… How to open…

  • What is a Roth IRA and Why Should You Care? (97 comments)

      IRAs are tax-advantaged accounts that can hold your retirement investments. It’s easy to get intimidated by IRAs. Here is an example of a common email we receive on the subject of IRAs: “I’m going to open a Roth IRA on my own, and I’d like to know what online sites you or your readers would suggest. I want to invest in index funds, having heard they are the bee’s knees, but books and the…

  • Real-life choices: Retirement savings vs. debt reduction (47 comments)

    I’ve accumulated $3500 and I don’t know what to do with it. As you may recall, I am carrying the remainder of my credit card debt in the form of a home-equity loan (or HELOC). The current balance on this debt is $15,000 and I’m paying a 9.25% finance charge. I intend to have this debt eliminated by March 2008. It’s an ambitious goal. In order to make this happen, I’ve had to forego investing…

  • How Compound Returns Favor the Young (42 comments)

    In an earlier entry about the cost of waiting one year to begin investing for retirement, I posted a chart from AllFinancialMatters that demonstrated the power of compound returns. Vintek posted a math exercise related to the subject. I got this from a book called The Random Walk Guide to Investing by Burton Malkiel. It’s a book I recommend, and I’ll eventually talk about it in the forum. Here’s the exercise: William and James are…

  • Making Early Retirement Happen (2 comments)

    In today’s CNNMoney “Ask the Expert” column, a 33-year-old reader wants to know if he can can count on an early retirement. I’m 33 years old and have $75,000 saved in my 401(k). I make $70,000 a year and contribute 10 percent of my salary to my 401(k). My company then matches the first 6 percent. Am I on track to retire at 55, or should I open a Roth IRA to supplement my 401(k)?…