Choices for Starting Social Security Benefits (Spreadsheet)

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. Here’s a framework (and spreadsheet) for making this decision.

Why 401(k) Default Options May Not Be Enough

Many employers automatically enroll their employees in retirement plans. While that’s helpful, the default options within 401(k) plans may fool you into thinking that you’re saving enough. Learn why these defaults have been set and what you should do about them to become more financially secure.

My Reaction to How to Retire Early (Book)

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.

The Basics of Self-Directed IRAs

Self-directed IRAs allow nontraditional investments such as rental properties and private placement securities to be held inside a retirement account. Here are the basics to know if you’re considering these types of investments within an IRA.