Jill on Money 12/31: Financial resolutions, Social Security and retirement income


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In the New Year's edition of "Jill on Money," we talked about resolutions, because 40 - 45 percent of Americans make one or more resolutions each year. People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't, but keeping resolutions is pretty hard: under half of those who make them last more than six months. I came up with two concrete resolutions for 2012: tweet twice a day and find an intern for the radio show. What's your resolution?

Mike started the show with a great question: what monthly income can be expected from a $400K retirement investment account? When figuring out a baseline number, I like to use a withdrawal rate of 3.5 - 4 percent of the total account value. Seems low, but if you underestimate on the low end, the only downside is you will have more money in retirement - I'll take that risk.

John and "Younger Spouse" both asked about two kinds of Social Security strategies called "File and Suspend" and "Double Dipping". Both are great ways for spouses to boost income in the all-important early years of retirement. As Vince pointed out in his e-mail about his 62 year old mother, many young retirees find that their largest asset is their house and turn to reverse mortgages as a means to extract that equity.

Bill, Jeremy and Suzi had questions about retirement plans: rolling them over, using Roth IRAs versus 401 (k) and brokerage accounts versus mutual fund accounts.

Patrick asked about the dreaded Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) and ways to avoid it. When trying to reduce the impact of AMT, think about normal tax-planning strategies and turn them on their head. In Seinfeld-speak, this would be Bizarro tax planning! Instead of deferring income and accelerating deductions, you should accelerate income and defer deductions.

Finally, Lucy called to talk about how to invest an inheritance from her recently-deceased husband. I always tell people NOT to make any big financial decisions in the early stages of a major life event and that advice goes for Lucy.

Here are web sites and resources mentioned in this week's show (and a few extra for good measure!):

-- 9 Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

-- Immediate Annuity Calculator

-- 5 Rules for Immediate Annuities

-- Immediate Annuities: Security or Snake Oil?

-- Social Security estimator

-- Social Security File and Suspend

--Social Security Double Dipping

-- Retirement Calculator

-- Retirement Plan Required Distribution Calculator 5 Re-Fi Mistakes to Avoid

-- Long Term Care

-- How to generate income from your portfolio

-- Reverse Mortgages: The Basics

-- Reverse Mortgages: Another Look

-- AMT

-- Best CD Rates

-- Where to Stash Your Cash

-- E, EE and I Savings Bonds

-- 529 plan info

-- Best 529 Plans 2011

-- Best Credit Cards 2011

-- Why You Shouldn't Pay Off Your Mortgage (and Why I Did Anyway)

-- Re-Fi Calculator

-- Another Re-Fi Calculator

Thanks to everyone who participated and to Mark, the BEST producer in the world. If you have a financial question, there are lots of ways to contact us:

Call 855-411-JILL and we'll schedule time to get you on the show LIVE

Send an email: askjill@moneywatch.com

Tweet me: @jillonmoney

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