The Decline of Pensions Leads to Greater Reliance on IRAs and 401(k)s

Pension Plan

-+*Over the last several decades, there’s been a gradual decline of pension plan availability in the United States. There was a time when people worked longer and collected less in overall pension benefits due to shorter life expectancies. Pension benefits paid over 5 or 10 years to a loyal employee who put in 30 years of service didn’t… Read More


Saving Through the Ages

Saving through the ages

Matthew Amster-Burton

-+*Reputable financial advisors, websites and your mom say to save for retirement, college, a down payment for a home and emergencies. A typical response might be, “Yeah, but how much?” and “When?” Libraries of books have been written on this subject. The implication is that determining your proper savings rate involves solving differential equations, brushing up… Read More


How Much am I Paying in Investment Expenses?

Abstract Business Tip of the Dollar Iceberg.

Geoff Considine

-+*This is the seventh installment in our series on how individual investors can assess their financial health. In my experience, I’ve found that many people have no idea how much they’re paying for the privilege of investing. And survey data supports my observations. Ignorance is not bliss. Analysis of investment expenses suggests that many people… Read More


Target Date Strategies Over The Last Five Years

Geoff Considine

-+*The intent of target date strategies is to provide investors with fully-diversified portfolios that evolve appropriately as investors age.  Target date funds have enjoyed enormous growth over recent years, not least because the Pension Protection Act of 2006 allows employers to direct retirement plan participants into these funds as the default investment option.  Consultancy Casey… Read More


Getting Help in Choosing and Managing a Portfolio

Geoff Considine

-+*There is currently $5 Trillion invested in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), $4.7 Trillion invested in self-directed retirement plans provided by employers (401(k), 457, and 403(b) plans), and $2.3 Trillion invested in traditional pension plans offered by private companies.  These numbers are stunning for a number of reasons.  First, self-directed retirement plans (IRAs, 401(k)’s, etc.) dramatically… Read More


An Alternative Approach for Drawing Income from Your Portfolio

Geoff Considine

-+*The question of how to safely generate income from a retirement portfolio is one of the most challenging in financial planning.  In the days when people had traditional pensions, their employers simply promised them a constant inflation-adjusted income for the duration of their retirements.  As we have moved away from traditional pensions and into self-directed… Read More


Sector Watch: Municipal Bonds

Geoff Considine

-+*Municipal bonds are issued by states and municipalities and typically have tax advantages relative to other fixed income assets.  In general, income from muni bonds is tax exempt at the federal level and at the state level for investors living in the issuing state.  Municipal bonds have historically been favored by investors in high tax… Read More


Do We Live in the Golden Age of Investing?

Matthew Amster-Burton

-+*Do we live in the golden age of investing? Moronic question, right? Of course we don’t. The S&P 500 sits at about the same level it did five years ago. Bond interest rates have never been lower, and the Fed says it’s planning to keep them that way through mid-2015. Turn on any financial channel… Read More