Monday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Baffled by points and miles? Let the 80/20 rule guide you. Also in the news: How to turn around car payment trouble, 7 ways to make your money last in retirement, and 8 ways to save on wedding gifts.

Baffled by Points and Miles? Let the 80/20 Rule Guide You
The Pareto principle.

Car Payment Trouble? How to Turn It Around
Taking back control.

7 Ways to Make Your Money Last in Retirement
Budgeting for the future.

8 Ways to Save on Wedding Gifts
Great presents that won’t break the bank.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: 7 ways to make your money last in retirement. Also in the news: 5 money strategies for military deployments, 9 housing and mortgage trends for the rest of 2019, and how to protect yourself from gas pump skimmers.

7 Ways to Make Your Money Last in Retirement
Strategies for the long haul.

5 Money Strategies for Military Deployments
Managing the homefront.

9 Housing and Mortgage Trends for the Rest of 2019
What’s hot in the market.

How to Protect Yourself From Gas Pump Skimmers
Be on the lookout.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: What you need to know about working in retirement. Also in the news: 5 reasons to keep renting, how one couple paid off $33K of debt in 18 months, and how to opt of out Chase’s new binding arbitration rule.

What You Need to Know About Working in Retirement
Things to consider as you make your retirement plans.

5 reasons to keep renting
The flexibilities and amenities.

How I Ditched Debt: ‘It Made Our Marriage So Strong’
One couple’s story.

How to Opt Out of Chase’s New ‘Binding Arbitration’ Rule
You have until August 7th.

Q&A: Finding a financial planner

Dear Liz: Your column on delaying Social Security suggests using a certified financial planner on an hourly basis to review one’s retirement plans. I have struggled to find one who charges this way. They almost all want to control your money for a fee. The one I found after some effort charges $500 to $600 an hour. Please make some recommendations. I don’t mind if the CFP is not local. I just want someone who is certified, reputable, with a reasonable hourly fee.

Answer: There are a growing number of options for people who want “advice only” financial planning from a fee-only, fiduciary advisor:

XY Planning Network is a network of planners who offer flat monthly fees in addition to any other options, including hourly or assets-under-management fees. Monthly fees are typically $100 to $200, with some planners requiring an initial or setup fee of $1,000 to $2,000.

Garrett Planning Network represents planners willing to charge by the hour, although many also manage assets for a fee. Members are either certified financial planners, on track to get the designation or certified public accountants who have the personal financial specialist credential, which is similar to the CFP. Hourly fees typically range from $150 to $300, with a consultation on one topic such as Social Security-claiming strategies or a portfolio typically taking two or three hours. A comprehensive financial plan may require 20 hours or more.

Advice-Only Financial is a service started by financial blogger Harry Sit to connect people with fee-only advisors who just charge for advice and don’t accept asset management fees. Sit charges $200 to help people find fiduciary CFPs who are either local or willing to work remotely. The planners typically charge $100 to $400 an hour.

Another option for those who don’t have complex needs would be an accredited financial counselor or financial fitness coach. Those in private practice typically charge $100 to $150 an hour, although many work on a sliding scale, said Rebecca Wiggins, executive director of the Assn. for Financial Counseling & Planning Education.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: How to extend your (working) life. Also in the news: Renaming your budget, growing your garden with only a little green, and why you should check your investment portfolio once a month.

How to Extend Your (Working) Life
Preparing to work past retirement age.

If ‘Budget’ Sounds Like a Bummer, Try Renaming It
Whatever helps you stay on track.

Grow Your Garden With Only a Little Green
It could save you money at the grocery store.

Check Your Investment Portfolio Once a Month
Ignorance isn’t bliss.

How to extend your (working) life

Many people plan to work past normal retirement age, by choice or necessity. But most aren’t taking the steps that could increase the odds they’ll be able to do so.

When asked what they’re doing to ensure they can continue working past 65, fewer than half of employees polled in the 2019 Transamerica Retirement Survey of Workers say they’re trying to stay healthy. Similar numbers cited performing well in their current positions (43%) or keeping their job skills up to date (40%). More than 1 in 4 say they aren’t doing anything to ensure they remain employed longer. In my latest for the Associated Press, why the workers of the world need to wake up.