Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Bob's Blog on Retirement & Beyond

Economic Risks from Outside the U.S.

January 11, 2011

I try not to  miss the monthly economic commentaries by John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute. This month’s is another good one, putting the outlook for both 2011 and 2012 into perspective. Makin’s looking for about 3.4% GDP growth for 2011, with 4% in the first half of the year declining to less than […]

Mantises, Pigs and Gluttons

January 11, 2011

Bill Gross of PIMCO is unusually entertaining in his latest monthly Investment Outlook to clients and the public. Gross takes readers on a journey beginning with a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel that apparently draws an analogy between humans and mantises. He progresses through Moby Dick, the Buddha, the Dalai Lama, and others. All this does come […]

Describing a Bear Market Rally

January 11, 2011

David Rosenberg, formerly of Merrill Lynch and now with Gluskin Sheff, has joined me in being skeptical of the stock market rally’s length and strength. Like me, he believes the rally is the result of artificial government and Federal Reserve stimulus and shows no signs of being sustainable. Here are a couple of choice entry’s […]

Bank Fees are Back; What to Do

January 10, 2011

The financial crisis devastated bank balance sheets, and financial regulation is supposed to protect consumers from high and hidden bank fees. In response, banks are boosting fee income by changing their fee income structure. Their imposing new fees and charging fees on people who were exempt from them before. For example, many banks are eliminating […]

Warnings on Commercial Real Estate

January 6, 2011

The economy is doing better, and few sectors are more tied to the strength of the overall economy than commercial real estate. We never had the crash in CRE, because lenders avoid foreclosing on bad loans. They “extend and pretend” by changing the terms of the loans. Investors are looking at recent growth rates in […]

Medicare Won’t Pay for Advance Planning

January 6, 2011

Last week newly-issued Medicare regulations said doctors would be compensated for time spent discussing with patients end-of-life medical treatment options and preferences. The provision was not included in a proposed version of the regulations issued last July, and thus avoided the public comment period. Some critics believed the provision was snuck into the final version […]

The Value in Annuity Guarantees

January 3, 2011

Variable annuities lost consumer confidence after the stock market crash of 2000. The insurance industry revamped the annuities with new benefits, known generically as Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefits (GLWB) or Guaranteed Minimum Withdrawal Benefits (GMWB). The riders make a complicated and expensive product even more complicated and expensive. There’s no doubt the riders also give […]

Maybe All IRA Converters Should Defer Taxes

January 3, 2011

The last-minute tax changes Congress made in 2010 make one decision easier. Taxpayers who converted a traditional IRA or employer plan into a Roth IRA in 2010 have a choice. They can include the converted amount in gross income in 2010 and pay taxes at their 2010 rate, or they can defer recognition of the […]

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