A Winner: Passive Investing in 2014


With the end of 2014, year-end investment returns are coming in, and two noteworthy results are these:

  • Passive investing, especially with Vanguard Group, continues to gain momentum
  • Passive investing, according to preliminary results, produced higher returns than many competing styles of investing.

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What the Big Guys Say about Risk at Retirement


What should your stock allocation be at your retirement date, or in different words, how much risk (variability) should you tolerate near and at retirement? I discussed this issue in a series of posts earlier this year (see links at end), and recently the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published an article (paywall) about it.  Continue reading

Make Money by Managing Investment Risks in Retirement

Managing your trip in a risky environment

Managing your trip in a risky environment

Risk is sometimes the elephant in the investing room, especially for retirees. People understand stocks as ownership and bonds as debt, but risk is hard to grasp and instinctively dangerous.

Later Living has recently published four posts on risk. Risk and high returns go together, so retirees who want high returns must deal with risk. Here are the four earlier posts knit together into one risk story: Continue reading

Killer Moves Can Help Wrestle Lumpy Retirement Spending

Afternoon at a long-term care facility

Afternoon at a long-term care facility

Retirement might be easier if spending needs stayed nearly constant from year-to-year, but they don’t. Long-term care, motor homes, family members in need, and other special plans require lumps of cash at particular times. Continue reading

Retirees Can Wrestle Investment Risk and Win

Peru 2010_0308

Investment risk is good in that it accompanies greater long-term wealth but it is bad if investors sell during a downdraft. Stocks are riskier (more volatile) than bonds yet offer more long-term gain.

Should retirees dial back their risk exposure to, say, 30% stocks, as is sometimes recommended, or can they carry much more risk, perhaps up to 70% stocks? The answer follows their goals and plans. Continue reading

Options Near the End of Life


Last week Mr. Donald Keene asked about a couple who can’t afford good institutional care but doesn’t want to force either one into the role of caretaker for a long terminal illness. What are the options for a peaceful end of life experience for both?

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How to Help Your Kids Plan for Retirement

AA Joint 033+125

Most of us would like to help our children and grandchildren prepare for the changing retirement landscape. Pension plans are under siege and passing away. Although many current retirees receive generous pensions, our children and grandchildren are not likely to share that good fortune.

Their retirements will likely depend on Social Security and whatever income they can piece together from retirement investments and encore careers. To help, we can point out reasonable investment goals. Today we’ll see how Social Security influences investment goals. Continue reading

How Much to Save for Retirement?

Retirement Nest Egg

Retirement Nest Egg

That simple title question suggests a simple answer, yet today’s retirees live out a large variety of answers. Life is unpredictable and it is not easy to save for retirement. Further, people get along on what they have and what they receive from others. In short, if a fellow will settle for a short, brutish retirement, he need save nothing.

Still, looking ahead and envisioning realistic retirement goals, then balancing current spending with saving are very useful activities. They put people in charge of their lives and give them a sense of responsibility, both of which induce maturity, discipline and work. Continue reading

Checking Up on Alice—Portfolio Review

Four Investments, 1997-2012

Last weekend TV viewers watched the beginning of the third season of BBC’s Downton Abbey, a story about an aristocratic family in England in the 1920s. Sir Robert Crawley, Earl of Grantham, with his family and staff, live on investments in a splendid castle.

Last July readers of this blog met Alice, a model retiree, who also lives on investments and manages her portfolio of four different index mutual funds. Moreover, Alice has Social Security and a pension, both of which postdate Lord Grantham. Continue reading