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May 27, 2016

Penelope WangWhen it comes right down to it, the surest way to achieve a comfortable retirement is to earn more income. But it’s also one of the most difficult things to pull off right now, given today’s shaky economy and tight job market. But a bit of planning can make a big difference. If you’re seeking a salary boost, take a look at the 21 job skills that are most in demand right now–and consider these options for acquiring them. Or perhaps your goal is to find an encore career that will allow you to work a few years longer, either full-time or part-time. How to make that transition? Consider diverting some of your savings into a “freedom fund” to help you afford a job change—or even take time off to figure out your next step. It could be the smartest retirement move you could make.

Best wishes,

Penny

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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE

The Five Most Important Years for Your Financial Life

Much of retirement saving and investing can be done on cruise control. Just sign up for a 401(k), set your contribution rate, and keep it going. But there are certain ages when you need to get hands on, and you may not have much time to act. (Full disclosure: written by yours truly.) MONEY

Should I Put Stocks in My Roth IRA and Bonds in My Traditional IRA?

Putting your investments in the right accounts is essential to minimizing taxes on your retirement savings. CPA Michael Piper offers a clear explanation about the advantages of loading up a Roth IRA with stocks, as well as a little-noticed consequence: more risk. OBLIVIOUS INVESTOR

Are You Saving Enough for Retirement? Here’s How to Find Out

It’s a constant worry: Are you really on track to affording a comfortable lifestyle when you retire? It helps to have guidelines. Check out these benchmarks for savers at different ages and incomes. INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY

This Is a Smart Reason Not to Save in Your 401(k)

Conventional wisdom says that you should stash every penny of your savings in tax-sheltered retirement accounts. That’s only partially true, says contributor Dan Kadlec. Here’s why you should put some of your savings in a “freedom fund”— liquid savings you can eventually tap for a career change or even a sabbatical. MONEY

Everything You Need to Know About Using Retirement Buckets

Many retirees love using “buckets”—or designated accounts—for your short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But there’s a lot you need to understand about the right way to set up this system and replenish those accounts. Personal finance expert Christine Benz fields some FAQs. MORNINGSTAR

6 Ways to Have a Happy Retirement

More and more seniors say they are dissatisfied with their retirements, according to a recent survey. This growing unhappiness is shared by both wealthy and not-so-wealthy retirees. Still, there’s a lot you can do to ensure you have a great retirement, starting with these six moves. USA TODAY

The Hidden Risks of Those Popular Medicare Advantage Plans

One-third of seniors are opting for Medicare Advantage plans, in large part because they carry lower premiums than basic Medicare. But there are risks, especially if you need specialized care, warns contributor Phil Moeller. Better read the fine print before you sign up. MONEY

This Letter from Social Security Can Cut Medicare Drug Costs

Speaking of Medicare, some older adults may qualify for a subsidy that can help pay prescription drug costs. You may get a letter about this deal from Social Security, reporter Mark Miller explains. FYI, Miller also has a helpful retirement newsletter, which you can sign up for at his website, retirementrevised.com. REUTERS

Work a Little, Play a Little—A New Retirement Strategy

It’s the goal for many retirees to stay active and engaged through meaningful work or volunteering. But finding the right fit can take some experimenting. Reporter Kerry Hannon offers some useful suggestions and inspiring examples. NEW YORK TIMES

YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED

The Best Way to Tap Your Retirement Accounts

Q: I recently retired and need to start taking withdrawals from my retirement accounts. I’ll start with my taxable accounts, first focusing on money markets. Beyond that, what’s the best strategy?

A: Just as you aimed to save for retirement in the most tax-efficient way possible, you want to think strategically about tapping your funds to pay for it, says Jeff Feldman, a certified financial planner with Rochester Financial Services in Pittsford, NY. READ MORE

WORDS OF WISDOM

"Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth."

--writer Rex Stout

ABOUT PENNY: Penelope Wang is editor at large at MONEY with a focus on retirement planning. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Columbia University School of International Affairs, she was recently ranked among the "top social influencers in personal finance and wealth." You can email her at retirewithmoney@moneymail.com and follow her on Twitter @PennyWriter.

 
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