Author Archives: David

It’s not the plan. It’s the planning.

Plan may be a noun. But to us, it’s always a verb. It’s action and change, response and recalculation. “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” – Yogi Berra “It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” – J.R.R. […]

Terms and Acronyms

(This is a work in progress. We are adding to it and cleaning it up as we go. Please feel free to make suggestions!) Agencies SSA == Social Security Administration CBO == Congressional Budget Office BLS == Bureau of Labor Statistics IRS == Internal Revenue Service DOL == Department of Labor (regulates a lot of […]

What is the Social Security COLA (Cost Of Living Adjustment) and How Is It Computed?

How is the COLA for Social Security Computed? It’s important to recognize how big a deal this is.  Social Security benefits automatically increase with inflation.  Almost no other product or pension available to the public does that.   This is huge.  If you were getting a fixed dollar amount every month forever, when prices go […]

“Mutual Funds” – open, closed, ETF – what’s the difference?

“Mutual Fund” – a pooled investment structure, with professional management and typically holding a diversified portfolio allowing multiple share holders to own a slice of such a portfolio easily. But we often hear people talking about mutual funds and comparing them to Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and Closed-ended funds (CEFs). First, note that ETFs and […]

US Treasury Series I Savings Bonds

US Treasury Series I Savings Bonds US Savings bonds are bonds you purchase directly from the US Treasury.  They are a little different from buying ordinary treasury bonds, in that you buy them directly from the treasury, and you cannot sell them to anyone else — you hold them until you redeem them, again, directly […]

Social Security Benefit Basics

Sure, you get a periodic statement from the SSA indicating what your benefit will be if you continue working to 62, to your full retirement age (might be as high as 67) or to 70. And they tell you those benefits in today’s dollars.

But how did they come up with those numbers?

Can My Former Employer Force Me To Take My 401k Balance Out?

When you leave an employer, you typically have three choices as to what to do with money in the (now) former employer’s retirement plan. Note that there are actually many many types of employer-based retirement plans (including defined benefits/pensions, annuities, etc) and we are mainly addressing the most common, the 401k plan here. You may […]

(Coronavirus) CARES Act and RMDs

A quick note about annual Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs and 401ks and other retirement accounts — The CARES act, which passed last week and was signed into law on Friday has made a lot of headlines, especially for the “stimulus checks” — the $1200/person which is simply being sent to most Americans.  (It phases […]

SECURE Act changes retirement savings rules

Of course, these are subject to change… But for most folks the main planning challenges/opportunities are going to be around the new 72 age for Required Minimum Distributions, and the elimination of the “stretch” distributions for inherited IRAs. (These, specifically, affect nearly everyone with any retirement account. The rest of the changes affect much smaller […]

Your Social Security number isn’t suspended. Ever.

Scammers have been working overtime lately. Don’t fall for it. Don’t call them back. Don’t give them money. Don’t give them information.   If you want to confirm that your SSN is okay — call the Social Security Administration directly, visit an office, or just start by logging on to your SS account online directly. […]