A simple guide to help your money last

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on October 08, 2020

Steve Vernon has a great deal of expertise in retirement planning, having written six books on the subject. His latest, Don’t Go Broke in Retirement: A Simple Plan to Build Lifetime Retirement Income (Rest-of-Life Communications), is an excellent source for middle-income people who want a straightforward plan to build a lifetime of retirement income. I believe the book will be very... READ MORE

How to recognize and stop elder abuse

By Jim Miller
Posted on October 07, 2020

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you write a column on how to recognize elder abuse and what to do if you suspect it? —Concerned Relative Dear Concerned, Elder abuse is a big problem in the United States that has escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the National Council on Aging, as many as 5 million seniors are victims of abuse each year, but studies suggest this crime is... READ MORE

Are your dividends qualified or ordinary?

By Charles Lewis Sizemore, CFA
Posted on October 05, 2020

At some point in almost every investor’s life, they’ll be alerted to the fact that they’re collecting “qualified dividends.” That inevitably prompts the natural question: What are qualified dividends? Ultimately, the importance of this distinction has to do with how you’re taxed on your dividends. The tax rate on qualified dividends is 15% for most taxpayers. (It’s zero ... READ MORE

Be sure to ‘opt out’ of paperless notices

By Elliott Raphaelson
Posted on September 08, 2020

On July 27, a new anti-consumer Labor Department regulation went into effect. The new rule gives retirement plans the right to quit mailing workers and retirees important disclosures on paper and simply send a notice by text or email, telling them that key pension information is available on a website. Then it is up to workers and retirees to hunt that information down. The Pension... READ MORE

Having good credit can save you money

By Bev O'Shea
Posted on September 08, 2020

Even if you don’t plan to borrow a dime, a good credit record is valuable. Think of it like a household fire extinguisher: It’s smart to have a good one even though you have no plans to use it. And your credit can influence your life in ways beyond borrowing. Here’s why good credit is so valuable: Flexibility in a crisis, more options If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us ... READ MORE

Candidates on Social Security, Medicare

By Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on September 08, 2020

Unless Congress acts, Social Security will deplete its $2.9 trillion reserve fund by 2035, which means the program would be able to pay only about 79% of promised benefits. Medicare’s finances are even more precarious. Noting that seniors are a large voting constituency, both President Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden have resolved to protect Medicare and Social... READ MORE

Beirut explosion: Avoid charity scams

By Kiplinger Consumer News Service
Posted on September 08, 2020

After any disaster, many Americans open their hearts and wallets. During the pandemic alone, giving reached $10.2 billion by early May, with $6 billion of that coming from the U.S., according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. But scammers often prey on this generosity. For instance, if you’re planning to donate in the wake of the recent explosion that rocked the port of Beirut or... READ MORE

Probate workarounds may aid your heirs

By Liz Weston
Posted on August 14, 2020

A reader recently reached out after his elderly mother died, asking how soon he could distribute the $10,000 she had earmarked in her will for each of her two grandchildren. Because she lived in California, I had to break the bad news: He won’t be able to hand over the money any time soon. Probate is the court process to distribute someone’s estate after their death, even if there ... READ MORE

Preferred stocks are worth a closer look

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on August 12, 2020

Many investors don’t fully understand the advantages and disadvantages of buying preferred stocks. Preferred stock is really a hybrid security more similar to a bond than to a common stock. The primary advantage is consistent high income with less downside risk than common stocks. The primary disadvantage is that when interest rates increase significantly, the value of preferred stocks ... READ MORE

Where to find financial help in hard times

By Jim Miller
Posted on August 10, 2020

Dear Savvy Senior, Are there any financial assistance programs you can refer me to? The coronavirus pandemic has cost me my part-time retirement job and has shrunk my measly IRA account.  Needy Retiree Dear Needy, Absolutely! In addition to the $1,200 federal coronavirus stimulus check that was distributed in April and May, there are many other financial-assistance programs (both... READ MORE