Posts tagged ‘retirement’

Rich Retirement – Smart Retirement

It’s time for a round-up of recent magazine offerings on the topic of retirement, a chief concern of most Baby Boomers I know. Money Magazine’s October 2010 issue includes their Retirement Guide 2011. Penelope Wang’s cover story, “Seven Secrets to a Richer Retirement,” examines the latest research in the field of behavioral finance (a blend of psychology, neuroscience, and economics) and offers up practical advice for long-term retirement planning.

The article’s suggestions cover two phases, “before retirement” and “in retirement.” Among the steps to take before retirement:
Get a Good Picture of the Future You – Research suggests that it is difficult to visualize yourself at retirement age, but doing so in a realistic fashion may help individuals project the type of life they wish to have and better save for it. The article suggests you write down what type of retirement future you want, for example where you want to live, what you want to make time for, what your health concerns are, etc. According to research conducted by Hal Ersner-Hershsfield at Northwestern University, thinking of the grandparent of your sex that “you most closely identified with” can be a great proxy for your future self and calling that person to mind can lead you to budget better and save more!
Try to Beat the Other Guy – Comparing yourself to others and utilizing your natural competitiveness has potential to assist in retirement planning. Whether it’s seeing how peers are saving or those same peers putting pressure on you to meet your goals, commitment strategies can help you build up your retirement nest egg. Two websites mentioned in this section are:, a free website that lets users make a public or private commitment for any type of goal and, a public website run by financial services company, ING, where you can compare your financial status with those of nearly 140,000 other users of a similar demographic to you.
Use Reminders and Checklists – Yale Professor Dean Karlan (one of the creators of the previously mentioned says, “Reminders are one of the simplest, lowest-cost ways to cut through distractions and stay focused on your goal.” He has worked with banks in other countries and looked at the impact of sending account holders text-message reminders (in the library world we call them e-notification), or by postcard. Savers that received the messages put away more money. Checklists are also helpful and many financial advisors use them to help their clients prepare for retirement. Arrange for automatic prompts sent to you at critical times in your life, e.g. tax time, at bonus time, using your digital calendar, and/or place a reminder where you will see it every day. The Money issue includes a “retirement checklist” in a handy foldout.
Think Bite-size Pieces, Not the Whole Enchilada – Instead of focusing on the total sum you may want/need for retirement (sounds like a lot but typically people overestimate how long their savings will last), make your goal the monthly income you want, a figure more people can understand, so they save accordingly. You can estimate your monthly retirement income by using a calculator suggested at (there is a Retirement Income Calculator under “Tools & Resources” in the Retirement Section).

Strategies in retirement:
Make Friends with an Annuity – Many retirees should consider investing in an annuity which kicks off a fixed, regular stream of income for life. While becoming more common, individuals are leery about insurers that sell these policies and fear losing control of their money since this type of investment requires an upfront purchase. The article cautions readers to follow standard investment advice – “it’s not all or nothing” – place just a portion of retirement savings into an annuity.
Take Losses in Stride – This is a tough one as I’ve discovered during the last several years! People feel the pain of losses more strongly than the joy of gains, a phenomenon called loss aversion. Behavioral scientists have determined that loss aversion spikes with age and it can be a problem if it leads you to invest too conservatively. The article suggests combating this tendency by keeping up on your financial knowledge, adjusting your investment mix as you age, and getting some outside perspective in your older years.
Protect the Future You – Your brain undergoes changes as you age that can affect how you manage money. You may follow the tendency to become more optimistic (the positivity effect) becoming more vulnerable to scammers and/or suffer a decline in mental abilities. Preparation now may protect you in the future. Advice here: stay active, simplify your finances, be hard to find, and arrange now for help later (e.g. establish a durable power of attorney).

The issue also has a helpful article on clearing roadblocks that provides advice on how to overcome challenges you may face in retirement (e.g. carrying a big mortgage, your portfolio hasn’t recovered, you won’t have health insurance, you’re still on the hook for college, and you’ve lost your job and time to save money). An interview with retirement expert, Alicia Munnell (head of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College), investment advice, and a “best places to retire” feature round out the rest of the issue. Money recommends the five following college towns with notable lifelong learning programs as best places to retire: Hanover, New Hampshire (Dartmouth College); Lexington, Kentucky (University of Kentucky); Bellingham, Washington (Western Washington University); Durham, North Carolina (Duke University); Prescott, Arizona (Yavapai College).

The October 2010 special “How to Retire Smart” issue of U.S. News & World Report, available in hard copy at the Library and through the Library’s EBSCO full-text magazine database, also focuses on how to get the most out of retirement.  Beginning with a pro/con discussion about raising the retirement age as a means to fix social security, and also including a “Best Places to Retire” feature, this issue encourages Boomers to explore starting a business or to embark on a second, or encore career.  Providing data from a 2008 survey conducted by Civic Ventures, the “Baby Boomers’ Next Act” article has a table that projects where to find encore careers, those later-in-life work opportunities that combine income with social impact.  The article also suggests that Boomers that want to continue working will need to adapt to stay relevant.  Jeanne Meister, coauthor of The 2020 Workplace, points out that the generation that will overtake Boomers in the workplace, the millennials (those born between 1977-1997), will most likely manage and meet co-workers in cyberspace, so marketing and communicating via social networking sites will be increasingly important in the future.  Boomers – if you don’t already have a Facebook or LinkedIn page, now may be the time to start creating your profile!

One interesting concept described in the Next Act article is that of “cohousing,”  an alternative housing model wherein residents in a development agree to socialize frequently, such as by eating meals together several times a week, and to govern the community jointly with some decisions requiring a consensus by everyone.  The homes in the development are typically clustered around pedestrian-only areas and a shared “common house” where social activities take place.  Living in these close-knit communities enables residents to age in place since neighbors can help one another.  According to the article, 119 such communities have been built in the United States.

Other articles focus on savings and investments, including second home bargains, and the U.S. News & World Report  “best places to retire” feature is tied to best places to launch a second career.  Among the locations suggested are:

  • Ames, Iowa
  • Harrisonburg, Virginia
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Lubbock, Texas
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Manhattan, Kansas
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Richland, Washington
  • Rochester, Minnesota
  • State College, Pennsylvania

The remainder of the issue focuses on health and fitness during retirement with data and targets from the Healthy People initiative cited.  Anti-aging treatments and overmedicating are also covered, as well as destinations to visit in retirement.  U.S. News partnered with TripAdvisor to identify places that most sparked wanderlust among middle and retirement-aged Americans.  Their top selections overall were:  Sydney, Australia; Anchorage, Alaska; Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona; Yosemite National Park, California; Havana, Cuba.  The article also has separate top destinations for culture and sightseeing, food and wine, outdoor and adventure, beach and sun, relaxation and spa, romance, and emerging destinations such as Reggio de Calabria, Italy.

If you are one of the 76 million members of the Boomer generation that is approaching retirement, there are great resources available to help you learn about your options and make informed choices.  In addition to reading this blog, don’t forget to visit your local library where all the books, magazines, databases, etc. are free.  And, if you have discovered a retirement resource you’d like to recommend to others, please share by posting a comment below.

November 14, 2010 at 8:15 am 4 comments

Retirement Resources Update

Library Journal, one of the Library’s primary reviewing media has released their “LJ Best of 2009 Business Books” list. Since their focus is retirement, two of the recommended titles specifically are of interest to Boomers:

Frank Armstrong’s Save Your Retirement: What To Do If You Haven’t Saved Enough or If Your Investments Were Devastated by the Market Meltdown. F.T. Pearson, 2009, $14.99

Primarily for those 15 years or closer to their retirement (but with good information for all), this guide offers some of the clearest suggestions for mapping your route to retirement, no matter the economy.

Julie Jason’s The AARP Retirement Survival Guide: How To Make Smart Financial Decisions in Good Times and Bad. Sterling Pub. Co, 2009, $14.95

Jason’s (Jackson, Grant Investment Advisers) straightforward and reasonably priced retirement guide provides a good starting point for those seeking basic but solid investing information.

While many of this year’s best business books focus on the 2008-2009 financial crisis and security-backed mortgage implosion, the Library Journal article also contains an amusing list of “worthy extras.” For example, who could resist reading a book with the following lead in…
Best Financial Guide by an Author Who Doesn’t Get Enough Attention for His Sound Investment Advice: Jonathan E. Pond,
Safe Money in Tough Times: Everything You Need To Know To Survive the Financial Crisis.  Not only does the Library own multiple copies of this title, but it’s also available in CD format so you can listen to the book rather than read it. Or how about a book described as the… Book You May Not Be in the Mood To Read Right Now, But Which is Nonetheless Fascinating  Rich: The Rise and Fall of American Wealth Culture by Larry Samuel.

Even if you are not typically inclined to read business books, you may find some of these items well worth your time. And if you have read any of the recommended titles or have others to suggest for fellow Boomers, please comment below and share your thoughts.

March 25, 2010 at 5:41 am Leave a comment

Getting Real About Retirement

!BbqE-,w!Wk~$(KGrHqMH-C0Equyk1qOWBK)!mnYQYg~~_35Most major news and business  magazines have devoted one or more recent issues to the topic of retirement and U.S. News & World Report   is no exception.  This journal’s outlook is a bit more cautious and pessimistic with their October 2009 Fall Money Issue cover story stressing  “Yes! You Can Still Retire.”   Contrast that to the Fortune Magazine we profiled in our post on August 14, 2009,“You Can Still Retire Rich (Really!)”  I’d like to retire rich but frankly I’m setting my sights a bit lower and, after reading through the issue, I think the magazine presents valid, if conservative, advice on looking at retirement realistically.

The lead article in the issue “Getting Real About Retirement,” contends that the recession of the past year or so is forcing those of us closing in on retirement to reset our expectations for the golden years. While the economy appears to be making gains, it could be a decade or more before lost wealth and other damage is repaired and author Rick Newman points out we may be seeing a drift down in middle-class quality of life. He speculates that for Baby Boomers the economic tension of the next ten years will play out as a battle between spending and saving.

Newman cites John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard mutual-fund firm and author of Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life. Bogle says we’re not going to be able to live the way we used to and we’ll have to be content with a little bit less. In Bogle’s view, imminent retirees are working their way down the “inverse priority” pyramid – the progressively painful list of things they can live without. Most economists expect unemployment to stay high for the next five years and agree that more people are going to postpone retirement.

Other articles in the issue offer advice and guidance on retirement concerns such as best places to live, entrepreneurship, financial planning and investments, careers, and health & lifestyle. For example, here’s a listing of the 2009 “Best Affordable Places to Retire” (in the order they appear):
Columbus, Ohio
Fort Worth, Texas
Asheville, North Carolina
Eugene, Oregon
Kansas City, Missouri
Columbia, South Carolina
Tucson, Arizona
Jacksonville, Florida
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Aurora, Colorado

The U.S.News & World Report Website has an on-line search tool that uses some of the following factors to help readers made decisions about where to live in retirement: strong job growth, low unemployment rate, low business tax rates, reasonable home prices, affordable cost of living, proximity to health care, and ample recreational opportunities. I would add proximity to educational institutions and public libraries to that list!

The issue cites a study we mentioned in a previous Link Logs post, “Boomer Entrepreneurs are Hot!” (July 26, 2009) conducted by the Kauffman Foundation that concludes that we’re going to see an increase in necessity entrepreneurship because people have been laid off and have few, if any, options other than to start their own business.  According to an Urban Institute and AARP Public Policy Institute analysis of late-life working patterns, roughly one quarter of all workers who change careers after age 51 become self-employed.

Kirk Shinkle, author of an article on rebuilding your portfolio, provides some facts about the damage done specifically to the Baby Boomer aged population – the median decline for 401(k) plans that posted losses between January 1, 2008, and early August 2009 for Baby Boomer investors was 19.6%, or a median loss of $12,386   (source: Jack VanDerhei, Employee Benefit Research Institute). To see a full recovery, Shinkle says, will depend on how much one saves and how quickly markets grow but he feels the key will be savings.

One of the shortest articles in the issue, “Making the Most of Frugal Living” has practical information culled from Jan Cullinane’s book, The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life.  Recommended is developing habits such as being more vocal about asking for deals from companies, tracking coupons, and using retailer benefits such as gift registries.

There’s a nice photo essay on NORCs (I had never heard this term) “naturally occurring retirement communities.”  The communities which began about 20 years ago, have grown to approximately 300 in the United States, are located in areas with heavy concentrations of seniors, and are natural in that they are not retirement complexes or facilities that seniors move into. These communities provide support services (e.g. home repair, social activities, volunteer support, access to health and fitness opportunities, discounts at local merchants, etc.) to residents so they may age in place.

There are numerous other articles in the magazine, but I particularly enjoyed the “10 Tips for Living to 100” by Deborah Kotz which gathers information from a host of studies on the subject of health, fitness, longevity, etc. Here’s the summary list:

1. Don’t retire!
2. Floss every day
3. Move around
4. Eat a fiber-rich cereal for breakfast
5. Get at least six hours of shut-eye
6. Consume whole foods, not supplements
7. Be less neurotic
8. Be a creature of habit
9. Live like a Seventh-Day Adventist
10. Stay connected

Has all this information about retirement made you more or less likely to retire while still a Boomer (46-64)?  Do you have any tips to pass on to others about things you/they can live without on that inverse priority pyramid?  Please post a comment below – we look forward to hearing your thoughts.

October 12, 2009 at 8:24 am Leave a comment

Retirement Revolution – PBS Special

pPBS3-6598131regIf you’re looking for more information on retirement from a reputable source, PBS is airing a special entitled “Retirement Revolution: The New Reality,” hosted by Paula Zahn, this evening, Tuesday, Sept. 15. Our local PBS station, KCET is airing the show at 9:00 p.m. The blurb on the program states, “Millions of Americans have had to change their retirement plans in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown.  Retirement Revolution looks at the stories of everyday people who have found ways not only to survive but thrive in this new reality.”

If you are unable to view the program on television, here is a link to watch the show in its entirety online!

September 15, 2009 at 6:43 am 1 comment

Retirement Blitz – Boot Camp and beyond

73fb51c88da034533b122210.L._SL500_AA240_Because several of my close friends recently retired and several more are making plans, it seems that everywhere I turn I see information on retirement. It’s true not as many Boomers as I expected are actually going through with it, but news and financial media are definitely continuing to focus on the changing face of retirement.

For example, when I visited my local Borders several weeks ago, I walked past the magazine section where they displayed the 6/22/09 issue of Fortune Magazine, a “Special Investor’s Issue” devoted to retirement with the cover story labeled “You Can Still Retire Rich (Really!)” Of course I flipped through the contents and was intrigued enough to go back to the Library and read through it more carefully. While access to this issue online is no longer available from the Fortune website, once there you can use the key word “retirement” to retrieve many recent articles on the subject. Or you can visit the Library and read the magazine in its entirety, and/or use the Library’s database subscription to EBSCOhost to access individual articles in the magazine.

Another item that caught my attention was an article in the New York TimesA Boot Camp to Prepare for Retirement.” Two women, Marcia Tillotson and Joy Kenefick who work with Wells Fargo Advisors in Charlotte, North Carolina, have developed a retirement boot camp to help individuals prepare for retirement and decide if they really are ready to stop working. The idea is to put the participants through a series of drills or exercises that mimic what retirement will feel like.

The boot camp lasts about a year and, according to the article, about eight out of 10 pre-retirees who go through the training decide to work longer than they originally planned. The women share a general outline of their program which includes drills on the following: Spending (a cash-flow analysis), Net Worth Statement (looking at your assets and liabilities), Insurance Audit, Goal Setting, Increase Savings, Tax Planning, Charitable Giving, and Estate Planning.

I’m not sure I agree with all their advice (they recommend paying off your mortgage before retirement) but I like the idea of simulating retirement before you actually take the plunge and I think the areas they’ve identified for their drills give one a good framework from which to begin making decisions.

I also stumbled across a free workbook and DVD set offered from the MetLife Mature Market Institute that contains assessment tools, information, and resources to help those contemplating whether or not to retire, and how to move on with encore careers. The workbook is based on methods developed by author and life coach, Richard Leider, author of Repacking Your Bags: Lighten Your Load for the Rest of Your Life. The workbook is a follow-up to the Institute’s January 2009 study, Discovering What Matters: Balancing Money, Medicine and Meaning, and is available free by e-mailing

During these troubled times, a military analogy for retirement planning (boot camp) seems fitting, and the best advice one can give is to arm yourself with as much information as possible, drill on the essentials, and have an escape strategy.

How have you prepared yourself for retirement? Did your plans turn out as expected? Please share your experiences with us – add a comment below.

August 14, 2009 at 1:08 am 5 comments

Redefining Retirement/2

BW Rethink RetireAre you a Boomer reconsidering your retirement plans based on the current economic downturn? The latest issue of Business Week (July 13 & 20) is devoted to “Rethinking Retirement.”

In order to read the entire content of the special report (24 pages), you’ll either need to subscribe to the magazine, borrow a copy of the issue from the Library or read it there, access individual articles through our Library’s full-text database (EBSCOhost), or buy it off a newsstand. However, for a preview of some of the content, you can watch the “Top Business Video” that appears on Business Week’s home page.

Executive Editor John A. Byrne provides an introduction to the retirement topic in a conversation with Suzanne Woolley, Personal Finance Editor. Ms.Woolley is fairly optimisitic and says people don’t have to make drastic changes in the way they spend and save money, but they need to educate themselves about the best low risk strategies to get back on track. She uses the term “life cycle consumption smoothing” in which individuals seek to “smooth” consumption over an entire lifetime so as to maximize the useful value of money that is available. This means that individuals don’t excessively deprive themselves when they are young to benefit old age, nor do they waste money when they are young to the point that they are poor in old age. If people design spending, savings, and investing plans properly using the consumption smoothing concept, they do not experience a sudden change in lifestyle when they retire.

A second video features an interview with Lynne Ford, Head of Retail Retirement with Wells Fargo, and covers the pressures being felt by the sandwich generation, those Boomers caught between caring for both their aging parents and their college bound children.

In the hard copy issue, there are also articles covering tips for stretched Boomers, remedies for ravaged portfolios, a profile on a new retirement destination, Panama, and more.

For more information on retirement, you can click on other LINK Logs postings tagged “retirement” or borrow one of the many excellent books the Library has added to its collection through the LINK project.

Do you have any questions or concerns about rethinking retirement that you’d like to share with us? Please leave a comment or question below.

July 8, 2009 at 9:07 pm Leave a comment

ReFiring and Refining Retirement

This post is the last in a series about new books at the library. Look for the  LINK sticker!


In addition to traditional retirement planning books that focus mostly on finances, the Torrance Public Library owns books that address the entire spectrum of experiences Boomers face upon leaving their jobs.  In the following books, you will find not only financial advice, but books that address your life purpose, finding meaning and joy, maintaining health, and all of the pursuits and activities you can pursue when you finally leave that 9-to-5.

ReFirement: A Boomer’s Guide to Life After 50 by James V. Gambone, PhD

refirementA socially conscious book encouraging Boomers to abandon traditional notions of retirement, and join the reFirement movement, pursuing their values, passions, and a search for meaning.  Gambone offers not only activities for reFirement and a personal game plan to reFire, but also helps readers understand major societal shifts that affect us all.

How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free: Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get From Your Financial Advisor by Ernie J. Zelinski

zelinksiUnconventional widsom from best-selling author Zelinski. This book is filled with funny drawings, quotes, and  practical advice on how to make friends, travel, pursue meaningful activities, and follow your dreams. I especially love the list of things to do, which includes “be nasty to politicians,” “write a fairy tale,” “volunteer,” and “truly communicate with someone special today,” among other practical, creative, whimsical, and intriguing suggestions.

The Boomer’s Guide to a Great Retirement: You Can Do It! by Jonathan D. Pond

boomerAdvice from a financial expert on all financial matters related to retirement. Full of helpful tables, retiree reflections, tips, and worksheets to walk you through the planning process. Although written specifically for Boomers, this book would be helpful for anyone who wants to plan for retirement, regardless of the stage of life you are in!

Other titles you may be interested in:

You’ve Earned It, Don’t Lose It: Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make When You Retire by Suze Orman

The Retirement Catch-Up Guide: 54 Real-Life Lessons to Boost Your Future Resources Now! by Ellen Hoffman

The New Rules of Retirement: Strategies for a Secure Future by Robert C. Carlson, JD, CPA


July 7, 2009 at 10:58 pm Leave a comment

Redefining Boomer Retirement

Librarians love words so it was just my luck that I happened across an article in the Nevada daily newspaper, the Nevada Appeal entitled, “New vernacular for the retiring boomer.” Its author, Carol Perry, contends that Baby Boomers have been associated with a redefinition or outright rejection of the traditional values of previous generations. With the recent meltdown in the economy, Boomers are now redefining the retirement years, including the language and terminology we use to describe them.

Here’s a short sampling of new “lifestyle lingo” that Ms. Perry says is emerging:

boomerang entrepreneur – These people retire from one career job and start up their own business

jhobbie – A boomer will turn his or her hobby into a job

playcheck – Retirees take temporary or part-time work to fund their hobbies or vacations

phase retirement – During the next 20 years there should be more jobs than people to fill them. The solution for employers, and retirees who do not have enough saved to fully retire, is to allow retirees to stay on longer, but with flexible schedules and terms.

Two books that describe new ways to think about retirement are:

Retire & ThriveRetire & Thrive by Robert K. Otterbourg
In this guide, Otterbourg provides a sampling of hundreds of ideas on how to thrive in the retirement phase of life, and is particularly helpful for those coping with forced early retirement or broken careers. The book is loaded with real-life examples of individuals who have created fulfilling post-retirement lives.


Retire RetirementRetire Retirement by Tamara Erickson
An essential guide to planning for an active and involved retirement. The author believes that by 2025, more companies will embrace next-generation enterprises, which she describes as, “Intensely collaborative, continually informed, technologically adept and skilled at on-going experimentation…Companies will adopt flexible relationships and continual active connections to attract both talented employees and loyal customers.”

Do you have any retirement tips you’d like to pass along to others? Please add a comment below and share your knowledge and experience.

June 29, 2009 at 4:11 am Leave a comment

Rethinking Retirement – NPR Series

retirement_200x150NPR’s All things Considered ran an interesting series this week, Rethinking Retirement, on preparing for and struggling with retirement in today’s difficult economic times. Check it out!

June 6, 2009 at 7:19 am Leave a comment



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