Archive for November 2008

November 15, 2008

How To Decide Where To Retire


If you’re a future retiree, it’s never too early to start thinking about where you’ll live when you retire. Here’s how to get started, in five easy steps.
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November 13, 2008

Demand the Truth About Social Security Deficits

In a few weeks, on December 15th, a little known but important document will be released: the annual Financial Report of the U.S. Government. Just like publicly traded corporations, the U.S. Government is audited, and the results are made public. They’re even signed by the Secretary of the Treasury.

You’ve probably never heard of the audit report and may be wondering why. It’s not an accident.
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November 12, 2008

Boomers! Save Those Old (Vinyl) Records—
They May Be Worth A Lot

Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon

Like our younger friends and our kids (and increasingly, our grandkids), we baby boomers listen to our music on CD players or iPods. But unlike them, most of us still have a stash of vinyl albums tucked away somewhere. The old turntable has long since found its way to a remote corner of the attic and probably wouldn’t work even if we tried to dust it off and fire it up again. And since the music we grew up with (now referred to as “oldies”) is readily available in the new formats, there’s little practical reason to save all those old 12-inch records. But we haven’t been able to part with them.

Now, finally, our pack-rat instincts may finally be paying off. According to an article in the northern California Ukiah Daily Journal, “vinyl is vibrant again.”

A few collectible singles and albums fetch $1,000 and even more. But classic rock in general is in high demand, and reggae, punk, and blues, even more so.

As always, if you want to turn your treasures into cash, eBay is an excellent place to start. But if you’d rather hang onto them and wait for them to become really valuable antiques, you can still enjoy them in the meantime. A strange new mixture of old and new technology has surfaced: a turntable with a USB port that makes it possible to transfer the music from vinyl to digital formats. You can get a USB turntable on for around 100 bucks.

November 10, 2008

Retirement Investing Basics: Variable Annuities and Retirement Planning

If you’ve been talking to a commission-based financial planner about your retirement, then it’s quite likely you’ve been encouraged to purchase a variable annuity. Why? Because these contracts typically generate generous commissions for those who sell them. They are, however, a far-less-than-ideal investment for most future retirees. This article explains what variable annuities are, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to use them, if at all, in your retirement planning.
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November 8, 2008

Retirement Investors: Is Your Money Safe with a Stockbroker?

If your retirement money is invested with an FDIC-insured bank, then you know that it’s safe (at least up the FDIC limits of $100,000 or $250,000, depending on the type of account). That’s because FDIC is more than just an insurance company. It’s backed by the “full faith and credit” of the Federal government, meaning that in a worst-case scenario, Uncle Sam will step in. And Uncle Sam has the authority to print money.

But what about money that’s invested with a broker, like Charles Schwab or Merrill Lynch? Unlike banks, brokerages are generally members not of FDIC (the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation), but of SIPC (the Securities Investor Protection Corporation). The two sound similar and fulfill similar purposes, so they’re pretty much the same thing, right?

Wrong. While we don’t want to encourage panic or fear-mongering, we’d like to point out that SIPC is an entirely different animal than FDIC—and a less robust one, at that.
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