How to create your retirement glide path

In investing terms, a “glide path ” describes how a mix of investments changes over time. Typically, the mix gets more conservative — with fewer stocks and more bonds, for example — as the investor approaches a goal such as retirement.

You also can create a glide path into retirement by making gradual changes in your working and personal life in the months or years before you plan to quit work. Retirement can be a jarring transition, especially if you haven’t set up ways to replace the structure, sense of purpose and socializing opportunities that work can bring, says financial coach Saundra Davis, executive director of Sage Financial Solutions, a nonprofit financial education and planning organization in San Francisco.

“People are excited to leave (work), but then once they leave, they feel that pressure of ‘How do I define myself?’” Davis says. “‘Am I important now that I’m no longer in the workforce?’”

In my latest for the Associated Press, learn how to create your retirement glide path.

This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Smart Money podcast on data breaches, and catching up on retirement savings. In other news: How airline elite status saved the day when airline delays and cancellations strike, which airline elite status should you go for in 2023, and how pay transparency may affect your job search or next raise.

Smart Money Podcast: Data Breaches, and Catching Up on Retirement Savings
This week’s episode starts with a primer on what to do if your data is breached.

I Flew During the FAA Fiasco — and Elite Status Got Me Home
Happily for this Nerd, airline ultra-elites get preferential treatment when delays and cancellations strike.

Which Airline Elite Status Should You Go For in 2023?
Do the math and consider personal preferences when choosing an airline elite status program in 2023.

How Pay Transparency May Affect Your Job Search or Next Raise
As states and cities add rules about disclosing salaries, job seekers and workers can put the data to use.

How to tackle holiday debt in January

After years of being in debt, Rachel Kramer Bussel came to a realization: “If I don’t become proactive about it, I will be in debt for the rest of my life.” For Bussel, a freelance writer near Atlantic City, New Jersey, that meant scaling back spending and putting any available money toward the debt principal.

“Starting to see it go in the right direction helped me amp it up,” she says. “I felt like, maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel.” Bussel, whose debt came from credit cards, student loans and back taxes, finally paid off all of her debt, which at one point exceeded $100,000, in 2020.

Paying off debt is a common goal as the new year kicks off. Bills for holiday shopping and other end-of-year spending often come due in January, and this year, rising interest rates make debt increasingly expensive. According to the Federal Reserve, revolving debt, which includes credit card balances, continued to rise throughout 2022, increasing at an annual rate of 10.4% as of October, the most recent numbers available.

In Kimberly Palmer’s latest for the Associated Press, learn strategies to attack your debt in January.

This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Smart Money podcast on investing in 2023. In other news: Small-business trends 2023, privacy hacks that may hurt your credit, and how to avoid hotel resort fees.

Smart Money Podcast: Your Money in 2023: Investing in the Stock Market
This week’s episode is all about investing in 2023.

Small-Business Trends: 6 Predictions for 2023
It’s difficult to predict what 2023 holds, but business owners can use innovative strategies to combat emerging challenges.

Privacy Hacks May Hurt Your Credit + You Won! Can You Hide?
Money News & Moves: Security fails routinely expose your personal financial info. And you can’t even buy privacy.

How to Avoid Hotel Resort Fees (and Which Brands Are the Worst)
NerdWallet analyzed the major hotel brands to find out which ones have the worst resort fees.

This week’s money news

This week’s top story: How to get paid for surviving the Southwest meltdown. In other news: Smart Money podcast on January money moves, and paying off your mortgage early, 4 ways to improve your odds of meeting new year’s money goals, and the path of mortgage rates prior to Fed meeting.

How to Get Paid for Surviving the Southwest Meltdown
In addition to covering some out-of-pocket costs, Southwest is offering at least $300 worth of points to stranded flyers.

Smart Money Podcast: January Money Moves, and Paying Off Your Mortgage Early
This week’s episode starts with a list of money tasks to do in the new year.

4 Ways to Improve Your Odds of Meeting New Year’s Money Goals
Daily life can get in the way of financial resolutions. Focus on your values and high-impact tasks.

Mortgage Rates Have Room to Rise in January, Prior to Fed Meeting
The path of mortgage rates will depend on the inflation outlook and the Fed’s aggressiveness in fighting rising prices.

Sneaky ways inflation affects your money in 2023

By now, you’re probably familiar with the more obvious ways inflation affects your finances. Your money doesn’t go as far at the grocery store, for example. Credit card and other variable-rate debt is getting more expensive as the Federal Reserve raises short-term interest rates to combat inflation. Rates are also rising, albeit more slowly, on savings accounts.

But other ways inflation helps or hurts have gotten less attention. In my latest for the Associated Press, learn some of the major changes to watch for in 2023.

This week’s money news

This week’s top story: Big questions on student debt still loom. In other news: Financial actions speak louder than resolutions, 5 ways to build your credit score in 2023, and how families can get seats together on a plane.

2023 Is Here — And Big Questions on Student Debt Still Loom
As 2023 unfolds, big questions remain around new repayment plans, debt cancellation, bankruptcy rules and more.

Financial Actions Speak Louder Than Resolutions
Skip goals, and go right from intention to action.

5 Ways to Build Your Credit Score in 2023
Here are a few ways experts suggest boosting credit in the new year.

How Families Can Get Seats Together on a Plane
Airlines are making seat selection more difficult and expensive, which can be particularly tough for families.

How to prepare for your next emergency

When a power outage knocked out electricity to a multistate region in 2003, Gabriella Barthlow , a financial coach in the Detroit area, was prepared. She had enough money on hand to buy food for herself and her two young children, plus put gas in her car in case they needed to leave home.

“I was so happy I had that cash,” she recalls. Now, Barthlow encourages her clients to be similarly ready for unexpected events. Power outages, weather interruptions and other disasters can inflict chaos and take a financial toll — often with little warning — but being prepared can help minimize the damage.

In Kimberly Palmer’s latest for the Associated Press, learn steps you can take to make sure you’re ready for the next emergency.

This week’s money news

This week’s top story: 4 questions to ask before you buy a home or invest in 2023. In other news: How to make holiday returns with buy now, pay later, how to prepare for a winter storm, and 5 tasks for your year-end credit card checklist.

4 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Home or Invest in 2023
Ask yourself the right questions first to guide your 2023 money goals.

How to Make Holiday Returns With Buy Now, Pay Later
Buy now, pay later returns can be tricky. Maximize your chances of making a successful BNPL return by following these steps.

How to Prepare for a Winter Storm
When a winter storm strikes, preparation means more than a trip to the store. Here’s how to storm-proof your finances.

5 Tasks for Your Year-End Credit Card Checklist
It’s a perfect time to make sure you’re maximizing your card benefits — and to review your spending habits in case you could do better with a different card.

How to complain and get results

If you feel you have more to complain about these days, you may be right.

The products we use are increasingly complex, which often means they have more ways to malfunction. Companies are still struggling to hire and retain workers, so the customer service representatives who are supposed to help you may not know how. And that’s if you can even get through to a human being after navigating websites, automated chatbots and phone systems that seem designed to thwart you at every turn.

“You’re searching for where to call. Once you get through, you’re going to yell ‘agent!’ in the phone 12 times, and then they send you to the wrong place,” says Scott M. Broetzmann, chief executive of research firm Customer Care Measurement & Consulting in Alexandria, Virginia.

On average, customers made 2.9 contacts with a company while attempting to resolve problems, according to the firm’s 2020 National Customer Rage Study, which polled 1,026 consumers about problems with products or services in the past 12 months. A whopping 58% of respondents who complained got nothing — zero, zilch — as a result of their efforts. So perhaps it’s not surprising that 65% of those who had a problem experienced consumer rage. In my latest for the Associated Press, learn how to complain and get results.