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Preview: washingtonpost.com - Financial Planning Advice From The Washington Post's Martha M. Hamilton - Financial Futures

washingtonpost.com - Financial Planning Advice From The Washington Post's Martha M. Hamilton - Financial Futures





 



Futures and options: What's happening

Sat, 19 Mar 2011 20:20:01 EDT

What's going on this week



Futures and Options

Sat, 12 Feb 2011 15:00:00 EST

}House Judiciary hearing on role of public pensions in state bankruptcies.



Business calendar: January 31-February 4

Sat, 29 Jan 2011 17:16:00 EST

} Startup America, an event to promote entrepreneurship and featuring Gary Locke, Karen Mills, Gene Sperling, Austan Goolsbee, at Eisenhower building.



Residential Charter School for Teen Mothers to Close

Fri, 15 May 2009 00:00:00 EDT

M any of them are from schools where they felt taunted, stressed, overwhelmed by the thicket of challenges that come with being both a high school student and a new mother.
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Media Files:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2009/05/14/PH2009051404190.jpg




Housing Futures Let Investors, or Homeowners, Hedge Their Bets, but They Attract Little Action

Sat, 22 Nov 2008 00:00:00 EST

Your house may be special to you, but to a futures trader dealing in housing contracts, it's just another data point.



A Few Final Thoughts On Planning For Retirement

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

I have spent the past two years focused on a subject that was almost an afterthought for most of my working life -- financial planning for retirement. I knew when I started writing this column that the subject was vast and complex, but I had no idea just how complicated it was.



A System That Needs to Be Retired

Sun, 01 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Sure, you expect to retire someday. But the pretty images on TV of sailing and golfing and traveling the world are colliding with a cold, hard truth: There's a good chance your retirement years could be accompanied by a drastic drop in your standard of living. The reason: Traditional pensions lar...



Safe Ways to Spend The Nest Egg

Sun, 18 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

I admit, I have a mild hoarding instinct. No, I don't have stacks of decades-old newspapers around the house, but I do pick up and hold on to the odd doorknob or electrical cord or fabric remnant, thinking: This could be useful someday.
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Ahead of the Rise in Stocks and Taxes, Switch to a Roth

Sun, 04 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Panic set in almost as soon as I woke up. The night before, I had rolled over about $130,000 from my traditional individual retirement account to a Roth IRA, thinking it was a smart thing to do. I made the move for tax reasons. Money you put into a traditional IRA is exempt from taxes until you w...



Women Pathfinders of the '70s, Falling in a Pension Gap

Sun, 20 Apr 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Women on the leading edge of the baby-boom generation are also at the forefront of other trends -- ones that may work to their detriment in retirement.



Saving Early and as Much as Possible

Sun, 20 Apr 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Taryn L. Cyrus has been saving for retirement since she stepped into the workplace as a fixed-income security analyst with a degree in finance from Howard University.



On Medicare And Scorned By the Docs

Sun, 06 Apr 2008 00:00:00 EDT

When Pamela Baldwin moved from the Washington area, she never thought she would have trouble finding a doctor who would accept her as a new Medicare patient.
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Jumping Out of Stocks Could Sting More Than Staying

Sun, 23 Mar 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Are you an investor convinced that stock prices can go no place but down?



Less a Burden Than an Opportunity

Sun, 09 Mar 2008 00:00:00 EST

Tax time forces you to think about the present, as in, "Whoa, I hope I'm not too late." But it can also be a great time to focus on the future.



401(k) Plans Put on Notice As Investor's Suit Advances

Sun, 24 Feb 2008 00:00:00 EST

The Supreme Court's ruling on the mismanagement of a 401(k) plan last week isn't likely to have broad ramifications for investors saving for retirement. But it does highlight ongoing efforts to expand protections for investors managing their own retirement accounts.



Protecting Your Nest Egg From a Bear

Sun, 10 Feb 2008 00:00:00 EST

What a weird, irresistible urge it is -- this compulsion to sell low and buy high.
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Media Files:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2008/02/09/PH2008020900061.jpg




Tapping the Retirement Kitty

Sun, 27 Jan 2008 00:00:00 EST

Thinking of dipping into your retirement savings to get through hard times? It's a tempting prospect -- and it could become even more tempting as signs increasingly point toward economic troubles on the horizon.



It Might Take 10 to 12 Times Salary for Retirement

Sun, 13 Jan 2008 00:00:00 EST

This year I've resolved to help my daughter get started on saving for retirement. She hasn't worked the types of jobs that have employer-provided savings plans, and a broken jaw and Hurricane Katrina meant a couple of prolonged periods without any work at all.



Your Golden Year For Social Security

Sun, 30 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

Next year the first wave of baby boomers turns 62, making them eligible to claim Social Security benefits -- and many of them will.


Media Files:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2007/12/28/PH2007122803280.jpg




Two Options to Fight Off Inflation

Sun, 16 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

I have a faint memory from elementary school of stuffing coins into slots in a piece of cardboard decorated with the likeness of a Revolutionary War soldier. I was saving to buy a $25 U.S. bond, but since I don't remember actually owning a bond, I'm guessing my nickels, dimes and quarters didn't ...
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TIPS or I Bond?

Sun, 16 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

There are several major differences between TIPS and I Bonds. One thing they share, however, is that you pay federal taxes on them but no state or local income taxes.



Ideas for 401(k) Have-Nots

Sun, 02 Dec 2007 00:00:00 EST

For the past few years attention has focused on making 401(k) and other retirement plans work better for those who have access to them. And the improvements have been considerable. The move to automatic enrollment and default investments that provide better returns increases the likelihood that more...



Helping Others And Your Tax Bill, Too

Sun, 18 Nov 2007 00:00:00 EST

I' m guessing I'm not the only one surprised to learn that Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund is the nation's fourth-largest charity.



A Long-Term Problem

Sun, 11 Nov 2007 00:00:00 EST

For many people, long-term care insurance provides comforting assurance that they will be taken care of if their health falters. But a substantial percentage of older applicants find themselves rejected, and that can be galling.
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Why You Pay Social Security Benefit Taxes

Sun, 04 Nov 2007 00:00:00 EDT

I see Jack Woodard almost every Sunday when I pick up my mother at her apartment building. Woodard works at the building one day a week, and for several months, he's been asking me a question I couldn't answer.



Longevity's Evil Twin: Inflation

Sun, 28 Oct 2007 00:00:00 EDT

First of all: Happy 94th birthday to my mother, Evelyn Sims McNeil.



Watch for the New and Improved 401(k)s

Sun, 21 Oct 2007 00:00:00 EDT

What's in your 401(k)? Chances are that whatever it is, your options may change soon as employers try to come up with ways to improve their offerings to workers.



Low-Paid Means At Risk in Retirement

Sun, 14 Oct 2007 00:00:00 EDT

The rich are different from you and me. They have more money in retirement.
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If You Buy, You Might Pay Dearly

Sun, 07 Oct 2007 00:00:00 EDT

They sound too good to be true. First offered in 1995, equity indexed annuities have attracted buyers by seeming to offer the best of both worlds -- the possibility of high returns when the stock market is booming and a guarantee to protect you in hard times.



FINANCIAL FUTURES

Sun, 30 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

The column will return.



Preparation Can Make A 2nd Home Possible

Sun, 23 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Like many people approaching retirement, Kathryn Scruggs and her husband dream of a second home in which to spend leisure time. Her dream is a house in Lake of the Woods on a 550-acre lake in Orange County, Va., only about an hour and 15 minutes from her home in Arlington.



Spend The Income Or the Assets?

Sun, 16 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

It seems simple enough. When it comes time to live off your retirement savings, it would seem to make sense to spend without chipping away at the nest egg itself. Instead, you would want to switch your portfolio to income-producing investments and live off the income. That way you would have mone...
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Ignoring the Pitches: No Cost, No Obligation

Sun, 09 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Got some money? Have I got a deal for you! And I'm not the only one. Hundreds of thousands of offers -- many way too good to be true -- are crawling through our mail slots and into our e-mail, cellphones and BlackBerrys. Last week's hearings by the Senate Special Committee on Aging and tomorrow's...



What to Watch Out For

Sun, 09 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Here are some tips for avoiding fraud artists: Don't agree to listen to investment advice from someone you don't know, even if it comes with a free lunch or dinner. Do check out anyone who offers investment advice. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offers an online service called Broker...



FINANCIAL FUTURES

Sun, 02 Sep 2007 00:00:00 EDT

The column by Martha M. Hamilton will return.



Same-Sex And Worried About Retirement

Sun, 26 Aug 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Ken Hausman and his partner, Deane Bergsrud, have been together for 27 years, and like many couples their age, they're thinking ahead to retirement. They both have 401(k) plans at work and individual retirement accounts, and Hausman has a pension.
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Life-Cycle Funds: Targets, Not Guarantees

Sun, 19 Aug 2007 00:00:00 EDT

I have a deep and abiding suspicion of easy answers. That's why the idea of life-cycle funds makes me uneasy.



Do's and Don'ts of Life-Cycle Funds

Sun, 19 Aug 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Here are some issues to consider when deciding whether to invest in a life-cycle, or target-date, fund:



Live Long and Prosper

Sun, 12 Aug 2007 00:00:00 EDT

I wish I had known about the longevity annuity a year ago. I might have saved myself some money.



Stretching The Limits Of 401(k)s

Sun, 05 Aug 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Traditional pensions are about as scarce today as pay phones, typewriters, tape decks and other detritus of the previous century.
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FINANCIAL FUTURES

Sun, 29 Jul 2007 00:00:00 EDT

The column will return.



The Do-It- Yourself IRA

Sat, 21 Jul 2007 14:00:00 EDT

About six years ago, John Peterson pulled his retirement accounts out of mutual funds. As owner and president of Profitable Property in Rockville he knows a thing or two about the real estate market. So Peterson took his retirement assets and invested them in property.



Safeguards for Aging Investors

Sun, 15 Jul 2007 00:00:00 EDT

It's official now. I'm past my prime. It's been attested to by four economists who concluded that "the sophistication of financial choices peaks around age 53." The four weighed several factors to come to their decision. They looked at the interest rates consumers paid for home-equity loans and l...



As Fiances' Finances Become One

Sun, 08 Jul 2007 00:00:00 EDT

When I was 19, I left Texas and flew to New York to get married. My 22-year-old husband and I didn't have to think long and hard about what to do with our assets, because we didn't have any.
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Big Ideas for Small Business Retirement Plans

Sun, 01 Jul 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Jeanette Howarth would love to offer better benefits to employees who work for Howarth Excavating and wishes more employees would participate in her company's retirement plan.



Social Security Fixer-Uppers

Sun, 24 Jun 2007 00:00:00 EDT

I just solved the Social Security problem in three easy moves.



A Reality Check On Debt Before Retirement

Sun, 17 Jun 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Borrowing money seemed to make sense when the interest rate on my home-equity line of credit was 4.5 percent. And borrow I did, almost up to the $100,000 tax-deductible limit.



Substantial Penalty For Messed-Up Withdrawal

Sun, 10 Jun 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Sometimes I write about topics that I find a little difficult to get my arms around.
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Retirement Lessons From Those Who Have Gone Ahead

Sun, 03 Jun 2007 00:00:00 EDT

One of the great things about working in a newsroom is that you're surrounded by lots of smart people who love to tell you what they know. Just try to stop them.



Keep Your Money Working Even When You're Not

Sun, 27 May 2007 00:00:00 EDT

This is the kind of subject that requires knocking on wood at the same time you're tapping on the keyboard.



Savings That Start With The First Paycheck

Sun, 20 May 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Remember the first job you got when you were a kid?



Homeowners' Get-Out-of-Debt Instinct

Sun, 13 May 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Free and clear. I love the sound of it, and when I bought my house, I always figured that was how it would be eventually.
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The Off Chance of Retirement Investing

Sun, 06 May 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Emily K. Kessler's job is all about risk. She's not a stunt double, or a fighter pilot, or even a preschool teacher (think of the germs!). She's an actuary -- she studies risk for a living.



Saving for Retirement -- and Everything Before Then

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Didn't you hate the kid who always sat in the front in class? The little so-and-so who never forgot his homework -- and brought in the extra-credit assignment?



Where to Begin

Sun, 29 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Here's some information for savers who are just getting started:



Going Through Withdrawal

Sun, 22 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

After years of putting money away for retirement, you'd think that tapping those savings would be the easy part. Think again.
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Unpack the Benefits Package

Sun, 15 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

To all the soon-to-be graduates out there, I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Benefits.



Cracking the Contents

Sun, 15 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Here are some questions to ask a prospective employer about benefits: · What kind of retirement savings plan do you have? · How many years does it take to vest (be legally entitled to receive pension payments)? · Is there an employer match for a 401(k) or other retirement savings plan? How m...



Your House Doesn't Add Up The Way You Think

Sun, 08 Apr 2007 00:00:00 EDT

In areas like metropolitan Washington, where real estate values have soared dramatically during the past decade, buying that house 20 or 30 years ago often seems like the smartest investment you ever made.



Health-Care Trends You Dare Not Forget

Sat, 31 Mar 2007 14:42:00 EDT

How do you envision retirement? Rock-climbing on weekdays, minus the weekend crowds? Sitting on the back porch knocking off the great books one by one? Or struggling to pay medical bills?
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Special Planning for a Child With Special Needs

Sun, 25 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EDT

When Anne and Robert Tucillo think about retirement, their thoughts immediately turn to their oldest son, 14-year-old Bryan. What will he need, and how will they provide?



Loan Requirements and Where to Learn More

Sun, 18 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Qualifying for a reverse mortgage doesn't require income or credit tests, but it does require that . . .



A Timely Turnaround With a Reverse Mortgage

Sun, 18 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EDT

Before getting a reverse mortgage, Frances Tolson's financial life was a struggle.



New and Improved 401(k)s

Sun, 11 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EST

There may be more change happening now in 401(k) plans than at any time in the 25 years since their inception.
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Raise Your Retirement Literacy

Sun, 04 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EST

Let's say you have $200 in a savings account. The account earns 10 percent interest per year. How much would you have in the account at the end of two years?



Test Yourself

Sun, 04 Mar 2007 00:00:00 EST

Take these quizzes to test -- and improve -- your financial knowledge.



Safety In Numbers

Sun, 25 Feb 2007 00:00:00 EST

How diversified are your retirement savings? I knew I was perhaps too concentrated in Washington Post stock (about 17 percent) and maybe a little light when it came to bonds (4 percent), but I figured I was pretty well off when it came to the rest of my stock investments. After all, I had...



Tracking Down Your Long-Lost Pension Payments

Sun, 18 Feb 2007 00:00:00 EST

At 45, James Vandeputte is still a long way from retirement. But, wisely, he's thinking ahead.
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Resources to Get Started

Sun, 18 Feb 2007 00:00:00 EST




Downshifting, Not Retiring

Sun, 11 Feb 2007 00:00:00 EST

There's a lot of talk these days about a "new retirement" that's expected to flourish as a wave of workers reach their 60s during the next two decades. According to popular wisdom, the road to retirement for these folks doesn't end in the rec room at Leisure World, but instead promises a mix of work...



Could the Market Fall Down and Go Boom?

Sun, 04 Feb 2007 00:00:00 EST

There's a lot you can blame on the baby boomers, the sumo demographic that has given us everything from bell bottoms to those obnoxious "baby on board" signs. But will you be able to blame us for taking the market down when we start to cash out of our retirement plans?



Save for You, Too

Sun, 28 Jan 2007 00:00:00 EST

Forget the kids. Save for yourself. That may be putting it a bit too bluntly, but many financial planners recommend concentrating more on your own retirement savings and less on saving for your children's college education. Most parents are torn between those two goals. Take Valerie Conerly, a 29-year-old single mom in Baton Rouge. She recently got to a point where she could begin to set aside some of her salary as a paralegal. She had been paying $500 a month for daycare. But now 4-year-old Tyler is in pre-kindergarten at a public school, so that money can go into savings. "I don't want to spend it," said Conerly, wisely. ...
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Emotionally Invested

Sun, 21 Jan 2007 00:00:00 EST

It's ridiculous, I know, but I felt nervous when I picked up the phone to sell Washington Post stock.



Age 65 and Not Ready or Able to Go

Sun, 14 Jan 2007 00:00:00 EST

Here's the harsh reality for those of us who have become worker-capitalists, responsible for funding our own retirement: We can't afford to stop working at normal retirement age.



The New Work Perk: A Little Advice for Investors

Sun, 07 Jan 2007 00:00:00 EST

In my fantasies, when the coming labor shortage strikes as boomers retire and fewer people enter the workforce, companies will find themselves forced to offer traditional pensions to lure the best and the brightest away from competitors.



Roth IRAs Save Dessert for Last

Sun, 31 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Andrew C. Baird III is off to a great start, already putting money into an employer-sponsored retirement savings account at age 22. But he wonders whether he would be better off steering his savings into a Roth individual retirement account outside of the workplace.
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About the Roth IRA

Sun, 31 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

The Roth IRA, available since 1998 and named after the late senator William V. Roth Jr., a Republican from Delaware, is becoming a more widely available investment option.



Having a Hard Old Time

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Barbara E. Davis was 57 when the heart attack struck at midnight in April 1996. She had just turned over to look at the clock, and as she turned back, "the pain hit me between my breasts and went all the way through to my back."



Assistance For Seniors

Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Here are some private organizations that provide assistance to low-income seniors:



2 + 1 Adds Up to New Priorities

Sun, 17 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

New babies have a way of reordering people's priorities.
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Playing It Too Safe

Sun, 10 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Okay. This week we learn from my mistakes. Last summer, after getting an early retirement offer from The Washington Post, I had 45 days to decide what to do. That's not much time to figure out your financial future, especially if you're inexpert in these matters. The decision to take the buyout turned out not to be that tough, in part because I had the chance to write this column under contract. But the next decision -- how to take the money -- was harder, and that's where I screwed up. ...



Shopping Tips

Sun, 10 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Annuities can be a useful part of a retirement portfolio. But they're hard to shop for. Many are sold by insurance brokers working on commission whose interests may not be aligned with yours. Here are some tips on finding an annuity:



Borrowing From A Mom and Pop

Sun, 03 Dec 2006 00:00:00 EST

Like many young couples, Tom and Rebecca Miller were struggling to buy a first home for themselves and their young twins, Benjamin and Luke.



Sometimes Age Is a Bargain

Sun, 26 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Forget cheap movies and early-bird meals at Applebee's.
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It's a Deal

Sun, 26 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Here are some places to go for discounts: Seniordiscounts.com is a Web site that compiles discounts offered by many vendors. Amtrak travelers 62 and older receive a discount of 15 percent on the applicable adult fare on most Amtrak trains, although it doesn't apply to sleeper accommodations, the Auto Train, weekday Acela Express or Metroliner service. Banana Republic offers discounts of 10 percent to shoppers 62 and older. Metro offers a senior ID card; apply for it at Metro sales offices or a public library. The card allows riders 65 and older to pay half fare on the subway up to a maximum of $1.95 at any time of the day. Bus rides are 60 cents. Marriott International Hotels offer discounts of 15 percent to clients 62 and older on standard room rates. ...



A New Mission Helping Low-Income Car Buyers

Sun, 19 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Many folks who are fortunate enough to have some financial flexibility view the end of one career as a chance to pursue what's in their hearts or to develop new passions. Some do it through volunteering; others take jobs that wouldn't have paid enough to support them when they were saving or sending kids to college. Still others, such as Robert Chambers, use their entrepreneurial skills to help others....



Pursuing New Passions

Sun, 19 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Here are some tips for discovering new satisfactions at the end of a career:



Money Whys

Sun, 12 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

What does money mean to you? I've been thinking about what it means to me as I try to figure out the best way to find the right financial adviser. And it's one of the things a financial planner should ask every prospective client, according to a book called "Questions Great Financial Advisors Ask ....
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Blind Dates With Financial Advisers

Sun, 05 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

Solicitations from folks who want to tidy up my yard, paint my house or do electrical work go straight into the trash when I find them tucked behind the storm door.



Hunting for a Planner

Sun, 05 Nov 2006 00:00:00 EST

For help finding a financial planner in your area, try these Web sites:



Your Age to Benefit

Sun, 29 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

I'll tell you at the outset that when I started looking into the best age to draw Social Security, I assumed that later was better, because it meant a bigger monthly payment.



Rolling Over Into Retirement

Sun, 22 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

After changing jobs a few times during the course of his career, Scott Vasko is up to his third 401(k) plan and now wonders whether it's time to roll them all into the one offered by his current employer.
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Should You Secure Your Health Care?

Sun, 15 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

My friend Kathy Seddon spent more than three years taking care of her parents during their stay in a nursing home. Her mother, who died at 88, had Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Her dad, a retired preacher who died at age 91, suffered from dementia.



Looking Into The Long Term

Sun, 15 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

When you're shopping for long-term-care insurance, look for:



Parting Gift From a Dead Ex

Sun, 08 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Dead ex-spouses are worth more than living ones. That's not a value judgment or a reflection on my ex-husband. It's just the way a provision of Social Security works.



On the Web

Sun, 08 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

For more information on Social Security benefits for divorced people whose spouses have died, check the Social Security Web site: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/mystatement/widower.htm
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Investment Candy From Strangers

Sun, 01 Oct 2006 00:00:00 EDT

Maybe it was the hot pink envelope that made her suspicious.



A Few Final Thoughts On Planning For Retirement

Sun, 15 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

I have spent the past two years focused on a subject that was almost an afterthought for most of my working life -- financial planning for retirement. I knew when I started writing this column that the subject was vast and complex, but I had no idea just how complicated it was.



A System That Needs to Be Retired

Sun, 01 Jun 2008 00:00:00 EDT

Sure, you expect to retire someday. But the pretty images on TV of sailing and golfing and traveling the world are colliding with a cold, hard truth: There's a good chance your retirement years could be accompanied by a drastic drop in your standard of living. The reason: Traditional pensions lar...



Safe Ways to Spend The Nest Egg

Sun, 18 May 2008 00:00:00 EDT

I admit, I have a mild hoarding instinct. No, I don't have stacks of decades-old newspapers around the house, but I do pick up and hold on to the odd doorknob or electrical cord or fabric remnant, thinking: This could be useful someday.
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