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Book Description

Get the most out of your retirement!

If you're one of the millions of Americans without a pension plan, your retirement years might seem like a huge financial question mark. Pensionless, by U.S. News Senior Editor for Retirement Emily Brandon, addresses the retirement benefits that are available to you, how to use them correctly, and how to avoid potential pitfalls. Learn how to avoid surcharges on your Medicare benefits, how to increase Social Security and employer-sponsored benefits to help pay for retirement, and how to minimize costs and boost the value of your existing retirement benefits. And you'll learn how to tweak your lifestyle now so that you can live well in retirement without the security of a pension.

Inside you'll find ideas on how to get more Social Security by claiming benefits twice, ways to minimize fees and avoid penalties on retirement accounts, and how to inflate 401(k) balances. Featuring an analysis of the significant changes made to Social Security in the recent federal budget, Pensionless will help you enjoy those retirement years you've worked so hard for.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Introduction
    1. The Golden Age of Pensions
    2. 401(k)s: The New Retirement Standard
    3. Using What You’ve Got
  5. Step 1: Maximize Social Security
    1. Maximize Your Earnings
    2. Select Your Start Date
    3. Important Social Security Ages
    4. Buyer’s Remorse
    5. Coordinate Benefits with a Spouse
    6. Maximize Survivor’s Benefits
    7. Five Strategies to Boost Your Social Security Payments
    8. Claim Disability Benefits
    9. Apply for Family Benefits
    10. The State of Social Security
    11. Working in Retirement
    12. Taxes on Social Security Payments
    13. Collecting Your Benefit
    14. Step Takeaways
  6. Step 2: Make the Most of Medicare
    1. Sign Up on Time
    2. Plan for Costs
    3. Make the Most of Your Benefit
    4. Add a Supplemental Plan
    5. Sign Up for Prescription Drug Coverage
    6. High Income, Higher Premiums
    7. What Medicare Doesn’t Cover
    8. Step Takeaways
  7. Step 3: Boost Your 401(k) Balance
    1. Maximize Your Tax Break
    2. Sign Up As Soon As You Can
    3. Set Up Automatic Contributions
    4. Don’t Stick with the Defaults
    5. Get an Employer Match
    6. How to Get a 401(k) Match
    7. Carefully Select Your Investments
    8. Minimize 401(k) Fees
    9. Important Ages for a 401(k) Plan
    10. Avoid Early Withdrawals
    11. Changing Jobs
    12. Working for an Employer Without a 401(k)
    13. Five Strategies to Boost Your 401(k) Balance
    14. Catching Up When You’re Behind
    15. Step Takeaways
  8. Step 4: Invest In an IRA
    1. Make Sure You Qualify
    2. Maximize the Tax Benefits
    3. Contribute to an IRA for Family Members
    4. Meet the Contribution Deadline
    5. Watch Out for Income Limits
    6. Make Saving Automatic
    7. Avoid the Early Withdrawal Penalty
    8. How Early Withdrawals Hurt Your Retirement Savings
    9. Investment Selection
    10. Rolling Money Over from a 401(k)
    11. 401(k)s versus IRAs
    12. Step Takeaways
  9. Step 5: Add Tax Diversification with a Roth Account
    1. Avoid Taxes in Retirement
    2. Get a Roth 401(k) Match
    3. Spousal Roth IRAs
    4. Meet the Deadlines
    5. Watch Out for Income Limits
    6. Differences Between Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s
    7. Protect Your Roth Accounts When Changing Jobs
    8. More Flexibility
    9. Easier Early Access to Your Money
    10. Fewer Taxes for Heirs
    11. Roths versus Traditional Retirement Accounts
    12. Differences Between Traditional and Roth IRAs
    13. Tax Diversification
    14. The MyRA
    15. Step Takeaways
  10. Step 6: Minimize Taxes Before and After Retirement
    1. Seven Ways to Minimize Taxes While Saving for Retirement
    2. The Order of Saving
    3. Choose Low-Tax Investments
    4. Great Investments for Taxable Accounts
    5. Great Investments for Retirement Accounts
    6. Drawing Down Your Retirement Savings
    7. Taking Required Minimum Distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs
    8. Rolling Over to an IRA
    9. Distributions from Roth Accounts
    10. Inheriting an IRA
    11. Three Tips for Taking Required Minimum Distributions
    12. Use a Smart Draw-Down Strategy
    13. Consider an Immediate Annuity
    14. Keep Up with Inflation
    15. Maintain Your Emergency Fund
    16. Managing Risks in Retirement
    17. Four Retirement Account Taxes to Avoid
    18. Minimize Taxes on Your Social Security Benefit
    19. Consider State Taxes
    20. Step Takeaways
  11. Step 7: Cut Costs and Fees on Your Retirement Investments
    1. Choose Funds with Low Expense Ratios
    2. Minimize Transaction Fees
    3. Choose No-Load Mutual Funds
    4. Watch Out for Administrative Costs
    5. Avoid Actively Managed Funds
    6. Choose Low-Cost Index Funds
    7. Avoid Chasing Returns
    8. Take Advantage of 401(k) Fee Disclosures
    9. Ask for Better 401(k) Options
    10. Cutting Costs Is Worth the Effort
    11. Step Takeaways
  12. Step 8: Control Your Housing Costs
    1. Pay Off Your Mortgage
    2. Reverse Mortgages, Renting, and Other Solutions
    3. Retiring Abroad
    4. Deciding Where to Live
    5. Three Tips for a Sunbelt Retirement
    6. Picking the Right Spot
    7. Retirement Spots to Avoid
    8. Staying in Your Current Home
    9. Step Takeaways
  13. Step 9: Reduce Your Cost of Living
    1. Expenses You Can Eliminate in Retirement
    2. Be on the Lookout for Discounts
    3. Personal Finance Savings
    4. New Retirement Costs to Budget For
    5. Children and Grandchildren
    6. Predicting Your Life Expectancy
    7. Step Takeaways
  14. Step 10: Reinvent Your Life
    1. Choosing When to Retire
    2. Unexpected Retirement
    3. Alternatives to Traditional Retirement
    4. Coordinating Retirement with Your Spouse
    5. Deciding How to Fill Your Days
    6. Step Takeaways
  15. Appendix A: A Retirement Planning Checklist
    1. Decide When to Start Social Security
    2. Sign Up for Medicare on Time
    3. Finish Funding Your Retirement Accounts
    4. Review Your Plan to Spend Your Savings
    5. Consider Consolidating Your Retirement Accounts
    6. Remember Required Minimum Distributions
    7. Decide How You Will Spend Your Time
    8. Important Ages for Retirement Planning
    9. Five Websites Every Retiree Needs to Visit
  16. Appendix B: Glossary
  17. Appendix C: How to Get a Pension
    1. A Guide to Getting a Pension
    2. Keep Track of Your Pension
    3. Frozen Pension Plans
    4. Early Retirement and Buyout Offers
    5. Evaluating a Lump Sum Pension Payment
    6. When Pension Plans Fail
    7. Find a Lost Pension Plan
    8. Pension Plans Transferred to an Insurance Company
    9. Cash Balance Pension Plans
    10. Watch Out For Pension Envy
    11. Five Ways to Cope With Pension Envy
  18. Acknowledgments
  19. About the Author