Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Drill for Planning Your Retirement

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

The Drill for Planning Your Retirement

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON - Every time one of my children says, "Back in your day," I wince.

After watching an old black-and-white sitcom, my son actually asked me if there was color television back in my day. His sisters thought it was funny. Me? Not so much.

I will say this. Back in the day, retirement was a lot less complicated. It was pretty much black and white - simple. I try not to curse, but seriously, retirement planning these days will take you there. Figuring out all the various parts and rules of Medicare alone requires a bottle of aspirin and some choice words.

There are a lot of books on retirement planning. For this month's Color of Money Book Club selection, I've chosen "The Charles Schwab Guide to Finances After Fifty: Answers to Your Most Important Money Questions" by Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz with Joanne Cuthbertson ($25, Crown Business).

"For many of us, it isn't until about age 45 or 50 that the impending reality of retirement hits home," Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz writes. "So the first thing to realize is that you're not alone."

Indeed, you are not.

A Federal Reserve report found that many households are not prepared for retirement. "Thirty-one percent of non-retired respondents reported having no retirement savings or pension, including 19 percent of those ages 55 to 64," the Fed said in releasing its latest data on the economic well-being of U.S. households.

Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz and Ms. Cuthbertson, who is publishing director at Schwab, have put together a comprehensive guide that will help you plan for retirement. The focus is on the 50-plus crowd, but there's something for everyone.

Ms. Schwab-Pomerantz starts out by listing her top 10 financial recommendations for every age. The tips are simple - track your spending, make a budget, reduce debt - but clearly need to be said given the results of the Federal Reserve survey.

The beauty of this book is how it's written and organized. The question-and-answer format makes it easy to skip around. …

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