Fouquier ॐ /

We need to talk about the retirement smile.

I’m not talking about that silly grin you daydream about having the day you walk out of your office for the last time. More on that in a moment.

You want to plan for an enjoyable period of retirement, and we all instinctively know that we’ll be in the best physical (and perhaps mental) condition to enjoy those years earlier in our retirement. 

GotCredit /

“Barn, lemmie tell ya. I don’t want to make my kids rich.” 

I’ve had countless men (it’s usually men) say those very words to me. So much so I can almost see it coming and mouth the words as they are being spoken. 

But before just accepting that statement on face value, I like to ask a few clarifying questions.

“So if you had $100 million or more than you could ever spend, you’re saying you would not want to leave any of that to your kids?”

Retirement Readiness

May 8, 2019
Joonas Tikkanen / FLICKR.COM

According to Socrates, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

That’s the gist of my first suggestion to folks with their eyes set on retirement: take a close look at your life now. What aspects of your life do you want to keep, what do you want to change and what do you want to do away with altogether?

Start with the first big question: “what is my current lifestyle?”

401(K) 2012 / FLICKR.COM

Last week I talked about the benefits and limitations of taking your Social Security benefits early…before the so-called “normal retirement age (NRA).”

So now, let’s see what happens if you take your Social Security benefits “on time” or on a delayed basis.

401(K) 2012 / FLICKR.COM

When should you begin taking your Social Security benefits?

Should you opt to begin your benefits as early as possible, usually age 62? Or should you wait until your normal retirement age (NRA), which may vary from age 66 to 67 these days. Or you may want to wait until the last possible minute, age 70.  

The first thing to do … is get your facts straight.

401(K) 2012 / FLICKR.COM

Have you gotten to the age where your investment company is sending you the required minimum distribution amount from your IRA each year?


If you’re like a lot of folks I know, you don’t really need the money, so it’s just sitting in the bank, earning nothing.

If that’s you, you may be wondering if you have other options.

Kat Grigg /

I talk to a lot of parents who want to actually see their adult children enjoy the wealth they will one day pass on to them.


But these same parents don’t want to give themselves broke so that those same children will one day have to take care of them financially. And they also don’t want to create dependency of their adult children on financial gifts they might give them.

The secret to finding balance is having a plan.

Neil Moralee /

No matter who you are or where you work, you don’t have money in a retirement plan. You may have money … in a retirement account.

These terms (“retirement plan” and “retirement account”) are often used interchangeably, but I think that’s not helpful. When one uses the term “retirement plan” for a 401K, a 403B, a 527 or even a WD40, it can mistakenly lead to the belief that you actually have a PLAN for retirement.

GotCredit /

You’ve done a pretty good job of building up your 401K and you think you’ve got plenty of money in there for when you retire.

But…how much can you take out each year? Is there some limit on that?


Answer: Legally, no. Practically, yes.

First, you’ve got to limit your withdrawals to a level that is sustainable. In other words, you want your money to last at least as long as you do.

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana U.S. Sen. John Kennedy wants federal officials to release billions of dollars in unclaimed retirement benefits to states, saying they're better equipped to try to locate the people owed the money.

The Republican senator met with U.S. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta on Wednesday to pitch his idea that uncashed and undistributed retirement benefits be returned to their rightful owners through states' unclaimed property programs.