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February 17, 2017

Penelope WangAs we wind up yet another week of surprising and unsettling Washington news, I’m reminded, for some reason, of a line from the movie “The Madness of King George” (worth seeing if you get a chance): “No life is without its regrets yet none is without its consolations.” That’s true for retirement planning too. There are always winning investments that you missed, or career paths that you failed to follow. But if you get enough of the basics right, you will still be in decent shape. So don’t delay putting a lump sum of cash into investments, if you have the money. And get used to living on less, while you save. That way, you will be on track to a comfortable retirement that will offer not only consolations but plenty of enjoyment.

Best wishes,

Penny

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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE

Why Dollar-Cost Averaging Is A Lousy Retirement Strategy

If you happen to have a large sum to invest—congrats!—you’re likely to be told to dollar-cost average. Putting in small amounts over time minimizes the risk of buying at a market top. But it turns out, that’s not the best way to invest. As contributor Walter Updegrave explains, in the long run, it’s better to invest your money all at once. MONEY

The Real Reason Big Savers Retire Early

You probably already know that it’s crucial to save as much as you can as soon as you can, especially if you’re aiming to retire early. That’s in large part because you’ll gain advantages from compounding over time. But there’s another key reason that saving a lot can ease your path to early retirement, says financial planner Michael Kitces. You avoid the risk of lifestyle creep. NERD’S EYE VIEW

Advice for Retirees Rattled by Trump

The recent news out of Washington has proven unnerving for many retirees, or anyone hoping to retire soon. Columnist Michelle Singletary rounds up some commonly asked questions and gets answers from financial experts. Spoiler: Failing to shore up your finances may be a bigger risk than future moves by Congress. WASHINGTON POST

The One Thing Americans Get Right About Retirement

Most people are pretty confused about how much they should save for retirement, a recent survey shows. But they can identify a successful person they’d like to turn to for advice—Warren Buffett. Check out other highlights from the survey. In case you didn’t already know, retirement is the most expensive purchase you will make. MONEY

Spending from a Portfolio in Retirement

For retirees, figuring out how to tap your different accounts for income is a complex problem. Pretax accounts first or after-tax? And which assets to spend first, bonds or stocks? CPA and blogger Mike Piper offers some insights and a strategy—keep in mind, marginal rates matter more than tax brackets. And in a low-return world, how much you tap is as important as which account you pull the money from. OBLIVIOUS INVESTOR

Social Security Begins to Increase the Retirement Age

The majority of baby boomers are still entitled to receive their full Social Security benefit at age 66. But for retirees who turn 62 in 2017, you will need to wait an extra two months to get full payments. That’s because the full retirement age is gradually moving up to 67. Writer Emily Brandon lays out the details. US NEWS

This Retirement Tax Trick Could Be Incredibly Useful in 2017

As more baby boomers head into retirement with pretax savings, Roth IRA conversions are becoming popular. This strategy lets you convert pretax 401(k) or IRA savings to after-tax money. The bonus: If you change your mind, you have until October of the following year to undo the conversion, and maybe reconvert later on. This could be valuable if Congress lowers tax rates or stock prices tumble from the recent record levels. MONEY

The Biggest Surprises in Retirement

Many people head into retirement with great expectations—you’ll finally travel or start a new career. But chances are, you’ll encounter the unexpected. Writer Glenn Ruffenach asked readers what surprised them most in retirement. What was unexpected ran the gamut from great to awful—check out their stories. THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

More Older Women Are Having ‘Way Too Much Fun’ to Retire

Women’s career paths are starting to look more like men’s—even in their 60s and 70s, a growing percentage are continuing to work. As Claire Cain Miller reports, some women feel invested in their careers after getting an education and climbing the rungs, while others have found new roles after taking time off. Either way, they’re enjoying themselves too much to stop. THE NEW YORK TIMES

YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Do I Need Medicare Part B While I’m Still Working?

Q: I’m turning 65 and have signed up for Medicare Part A. I plan on working at my company for the next two years. It offers group health insurance that is primary to Medicare. Is there an advantage to enrolling in and paying for Medicare Part B or am I better off declining Part B and signing up for it when I retire from my employer? –John

A: You’re in good company. Nearly 20% of Americans age 65 and over are in the labor force, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You become eligible for Medicare coverage at age 65, and will typically get Part A hospital coverage free, but the extent to which you need Part B coverage will depend on your employer plan. READ MORE

WORDS OF WISDOM

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing.”

--President Abraham Lincoln

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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