When I decide to start receiving benefits affects my monthly Social Security check for the rest of my life. That is, if I choose to collect checks prior to normal retirement, then the monthly amount is reduced; likewise, if I wait until I’m past regular retirement age, I receive a bigger monthly check. So, among the retirement decisions that I need to make, this one seems fairly significant.
Category: Retirement Planning
I’ve been reading Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics by Richard H. Thaler. A point of interest is the discussion of automatic enrollment in 401k plans. Automatic enrollment may get employees started saving for retirement. But 401k default options associated with this type of sign-up (such as an investment choice of a money market fund and a savings rate of 3%) may be unlikely to help employees achieve the outcomes needed for a comfortable retirement.
According to Thaler, “Both of these default choices — the money market investment option and the 3% savings rate — were not intended by the employer to be either suggestions or advice. Instead, these options were picked to minimize the chance that the company would be sued.”
So, what’s the story about these default options?
Recently, a reader pointed me to How To Retire Early: Your Guide to Getting Rich Slowly and Retiring on Less by Robert and Robin Charlton. She mentioned this book is an example of the type of information that can be helpful to readers as they pursue and achieve financial goals.
According to the book and its charts, the authors accumulated over $900,000 (on a relatively modest combined income of less than $100,000 per year for most of their investing years), retired early at age 43, and began traveling the world. You can see where they’ve been at Where We Be and learn about their investing, frugal living, and retirement journeys.
I had never heard of the Rule of 55 until a couple of months ago when a Certified Financial Planner (Jim Blankenship, CFP) mentioned the possibility in a discussion forum I frequent. I’m not an expert on this rule (or any IRS rule) but here’s what I’ve learned about this penalty-free method of taking a 401(k) withdrawal.