Make your money last in retirement

Many people worry about running out of money in retirement. That’s understandable, since we don’t know how long we’ll live, what your future costs might be and what kind of returns we can expect on our savings.

There are several ways, however, to boost the odds that your money will last as long as you need it. In my latest for the Associated Press, how to make your money last in your retirement.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Hot to curtail currency fees when paying for stuff abroad. Also in the news: Social Security myths, which grocery delivery subscription is the best deal, and why your investing plan really matters.

How to Curtail Currency Fees When Paying for Stuff Abroad
Saving a little extra.

Don’t Believe These Social Security Myths
Separating fact from fiction.

Which Grocery Delivery Subscription Is the Best Deal?
Breaking down the costs.

Why Your Investing Plan Really Matters
Taking the emotion out of it.

Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What college students need to know about driving for Uber, Lyft. Also in the news: 4 beach vacations that maximize your points and miles, how to make your day at the ballpark a money-saving win, and how the opioid crisis is leading to elder financial abuse.

What College Students Need to Know About Driving for Uber, Lyft
It could impact your financial aid.

4 Beach Vacations That Maximize Your Points and Miles
Head to the sand.

How to Make Your Day at the Ballpark a Money-Saving Win
Hit a home run without the Major League prices.

How the opioid crisis is leading to elder financial abuse
Advisors are urged to look for potential fraud.

Q&A: When family balks at paying their fair share

Dear Liz: I inherited half a duplex from my parents. They were partners with my aunt and uncle. When alive, all parties shared expenses for the common areas. I rent out my half of the duplex while my aunt still lives in the other half. My cousins now control my aunt’s finances (she is 94 and in poor health). They refuse to reimburse me for common-area expenses such as painting the exterior (the paint was peeling, exposing the wood, and hadn’t been painted in more than 10 years) and repairing and updating the electrical panel, which had frayed and exposed wires that posed a fire hazard. The panel is on their half of the duplex but serves both units. These costs were about $15,000. What can I do? It’s not fair that I pay for everything when both owners benefit from the necessary repairs.

Answer: Your best hope may be to change your approach. Did you ask your cousins to help you pay for the repairs before you had them done, or only afterward? If they had no input into what was done or how, it’s understandable that they would balk when presented with half the bill.

Of course, they might have balked anyway, and that’s why owning property with other people can get tricky: They often don’t share your opinions about what needs to be done and how much to spend. Some prefer to defer maintenance and repairs indefinitely rather than shell out money to protect their investment. Others understand how important maintenance and repairs are but might want to do some of the work themselves to save money (although do-it-yourselfers shouldn’t attempt an electrical panel upgrade, obviously.)

So your frustration is understandable, but your options may be limited. If you can’t work something out with your cousins, your alternative may be to sell your half of the duplex, but that could require going to court to force a “partition” of the property. You should talk to an attorney familiar with the property laws in your state so you can get an idea of your options and their cost.

Q&A: Working after retirement

Dear Liz: My profession was one of the hardest hit by the Great Recession. I retired by default when I turned 62 in 2012. My Social Security payment was reduced because I started it early. I’ve found it necessary to return to the workforce part time to move beyond just surviving and have some discretionary funds. What does my employment mean for future Social Security payments?

Answer: You’re past your “full retirement age” of 66, so you no longer face the earnings test that can reduce your Social Security benefit by $1 for every $2 you earn over a certain limit ($17,640 in 2019).

Sometimes returning to work — or continuing to work after you start receiving Social Security — can increase your benefit if you had some low- or no-wage years in your work history. Social Security uses your 35 highest-earning years to calculate your checks. The amounts are adjusted to reflect changes in average wages, which is somewhat similar to an inflation adjustment. If you should earn more this year than you did in one of those previous years, your current earnings would replace that year’s earnings in the calculation and could increase your check.

Another way to boost your benefit if you’ve reached full retirement age but are not yet 70 is to suspend it. That means going without checks for a while, but your benefit earns delayed retirement credits that can increase the amount by 2/3 of 1% each month, or 8% a year. It may not be practical for you to do this: You probably need the money, and you could be too close to 70 to get much benefit. But perhaps that’s not the case for someone else reading this.

Q&A: Investing books for beginners

Dear Liz: What are the best books for a beginning adult investor?

Answer:The Little Book of Common Sense Investing,” by the late John Bogle, is a terrific explanation of why low-cost index funds are the best choice for most people (a sentiment shared by legendary investor Warren Buffett, who also endorsed the book). If you want to venture beyond index funds, or even if you don’t, “Investing for Dummies” by Eric Tyson, “Investing 101” by Kathy Kristof and “Broke Millennial Takes on Investing” by Erin Lowry are other good reads.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What will long-term care cost you? Also in the news: Social Security myths, the best cities for first-time home buyers, and how to pay less to your credit card company.

What Will Long-Term Care Cost You?
Almost everyone will need it after 65.

Don’t Believe These Social Security Myths
Checking the facts.

These are the best cities for first-time home buyers
7 spots to look at.

Here’s how to pay less to your credit card company
Just pick up the phone.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Why you should shop for a car loan before going to the dealership. Also in the news: The lowdown on new tools to jump-start your credit, 7 Father’s Day gift ideas under $50, and the best beach towns to spend your retirement.

Car Buyers’ Best Cost-Saving Move: Shop for a Loan First
Don’t put yourself at the mercy of the dealership.

The Lowdown on New Tools to Jump-Start Your Credit
The pros and cons.

7 Father’s Day Gift Ideas Under $50
It’s the thought that counts.

Dream of spending your retirement on the beach? Here are the best towns
Spending your golden years on the sand.

Don’t believe these Social Security myths

Researchers tell us that most people would be better off waiting to claim Social Security benefits. Yet most people file early.

More than half apply for Social Security before they reach full retirement age, which is currently 66 and rising to 67 for people born in 1960 and later. More than 30% apply as soon as they can — at age 62. Only about one in 25 applicants waits until age 70, when monthly benefits max out.

Some people have little choice, of course. They may have no savings and no job. Others have better options than applying early, but don’t realize it.

In my latest for the Associated Press, the myths surrounding Social Security.