Road Map for Retirement: Ron Kelemen, a certified financial planner in Salem, Ore., has spent 32 years helping people plan for and leap into retirement. Now, he has distilled the lessons from those decades into a terrific book: "The Confident Retirement Journey." Taking a conversational tone and moving briskly (the book is under 150 pages), Mr. Kelemen first asks readers to identify their vision for later life and then explains how to manage one's finances to make that vision a reality. Among the best features: Would-be retirees who want to know how much savings they will need can follow a nine-step process to calculate a "financial independence number." That's followed by good overviews of investing and estate planning. In all, a valuable road map.
To learn more go to confidentretirementjourney.com.
Claiming Benefits: A recent study on Social Security claiming strategies—and companion quiz—highlights how little many Americans know about maximizing their retirement benefits. Financial Engines, a Sunnyvale, Calif., manager of 401(k)s and IRAs, surveyed 1,008 near-retirees and retirees with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. The study included a quiz about claiming Social Security; only 5% of respondents answered all eight questions correctly, while almost three-quarters (73%) got six or fewer right. Titled "Claiming Social Security," the study doesn't pinpoint what path is best for any one person. But it lays out why people should seek help before filing for benefits and highlights how much an ill-considered decision can cost a household. (Think:six figures.)
To read the study and take the quiz, go to corp.financialengines.com/individuals, click on "Retirement Readiness," and scroll down to "Research and resources."
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