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January 2020

Why Every Boomer Needs a Retirement Timeline

Musings Business-3081427_1920Think about this statistic for a moment: About 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.

In times gone by, 65 was the magic retirement age -- and it is still the magic Medicare age (that is, everyone who turns 65 is eligible to apply for the government health insurance plan called Medicare). These days, however, age 65 is just one marker on the retirement timeline. As Certified Financial Planner Dana Anspach writes for The Balance, "Certain retirement events are triggered at specific ages... As you age, the rules for specific ages change."

Since retirement is a very personal decision, it makes a lot of sense for every Boomer to develop his or her own unique retirement timeline. However, you should be aware of the triggers to which Anspach refers. It is never too early to plan for retirement (or "rewirement," as I like to think of it), but age 55 is the time to "get serious about planning," Anspach writes.

Think of 59-1/2 as the first big trigger in terms of tax implications. That's the age at which you can begin to withdraw from an IRA or 401(k) without an early withdrawal tax penalty. There are a few exceptions, but since tax law is a moving target, you should consult your accountant or the IRS before making any decisions.

Age 62 is the next big trigger. According to the Social Security Administration, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, you are entitled to Social Security benefits as of age 62. Your benefit amount varies depending on your work history; however, if you decide to draw Social Security benefits at this age, you will receive only 75 percent of the monthly benefit to which you are entitled.

Age 65 is important because, as mentioned previously, you can be covered by Medicare at this age. Medicare can be overwhelming -- it has several "parts," and it is not entirely free. Apply several months before your 65th birthday. Get complete information at . Medicare is unrelated to Social Security benefits; in other words, you can be covered by Medicare at age 65 whether or not you have applied for Social Security benefits. At this age, if you were born between 1943 and 1954, you would receive about 93 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit.

Age 66 is the "full retirement age" if you were born between 1943 and 1954. (Full retirement age varies for individuals born after 1954; visit the Social Security Administration website -- -- to learn more.) This is the age at which you can collect 100 percent of your monthly Social Security benefit.

Age 70 is a milestone for many Boomers, and it also is an important trigger. Under current Social Security Administration regulations, this is the magic age at which everyone, regardless of when you were born, gets the maximum "delayed retirement credit" if you have not yet taken Social Security benefits. As an example, if you were born in 1943 or later and you wait until age 70 to collect your Social Security monthly payment, the twelve-month increase to your monthly benefit is 8 percent. That's significant, especially if you live a lot longer! After age 70 there is no increase in your monthly benefit other than COLA, or Cost Of Living Adjustments, if these are enacted by law.

Age 70-1/2 is a trigger but a new law called "SECURE" enacted at the end of last year changed its importance. This age used to mark the end of when you could contribute to traditional IRAs and the beginning of when you had to start taking an "RMD" (Required Minimum Distribution) from an IRA or 401(k) retirement plan to avoid tax penalties. With this new law, you can now continue to make contributions to traditional IRAs even past age 70-1/2 (you could already do so with Roth IRAs and the law doesn't change that). In addition, under the new law, you do NOT have to take an RMD until age 72, as long as turn 70-1/2 in 2020 or later.

Age 72 is a new trigger date, as indicated above. This is the date all those who reach 70-1/2 in 2020 or later must begin taking RMDs from retirement plans to avoid tax penalties. You should consult an accountant and financial planner to fully understand the RMD calculations and tax implications.

These are the primary trigger ages for a general retirement timeline, but you should add any other ages that are important to you personally. I hope you found this helpful -- and not too confusing! is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!

Are These Your Main Retirement Worries?

Books Man-2546100_1920Retirement is a stage of life that Boomers may anticipate with joy and relief, but it can also be a time of worry and anxiety. In a podcast for Knowledge@Wharton, Wade Pfau, author of the book Safety-First Retirement Planning, says many of those planning for retirement have three main worries:

  1. Longevity risk - "The longer you live, the more your retirement costs. You have to plan for that."
  2. Market volatility - "When you're living on distributions from your assets, market volatility gets amplified and has a bigger impact."
  3. Spending shocks - "Those are the potentially large expenses that may or may not happen. If they do happen... they require additional assets to cover that type of uncertainty."

Obviously, all three of these worries relate directly to the financial side of retirement. Boomers who contemplate retirement also need to consider other aspects of retirement such as personal fulfillment, health and social engagement. Still, for most of us, the ability to afford a comfortable retirement is crucial.

In his book, Pfau offers eight guidelines for what he calls a "safe retirement." First and foremost, he says, is to build a retirement plan around the notion of how long the money should last. "You have to anticipate the possibility of living to an advanced age," says Pfau. "You have to strategize about being able to fund a more costly retirement because you’re living longer." He adds that it is also important "to be efficient in terms of not wasting resources."

Safety and security in retirement involves managing what Pfau calls the "four Ls" -- Lifestyle, Longevity, Legacy and Liquidity. He says, "The lifestyle and longevity are your retirement budget. Legacy is your legacy goal. The most important advice would be to think about liquidity. Liquidity is the idea that you have money to cover unexpected expenses."

You may want to factor Wade Pfau's perspective on a safe retirement into your own retirement planning. Learn more about his book or purchase it below: is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!

Still Working Full Time? Get Ready to Be Fired

OntheClock Keyboard-155722_1920In modern-day America, nothing seems to be as tenuous as a Boomer's full-time job. The federal ADEA (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), intended to protect Boomers from employment-related age discrimination, has been found to be largely unenforceable when it comes to layoffs or firings, even if they appear to be motivated by the employee's age. Consider it one more empty government "guarantee" to protect citizens.

Writing for Knowledge@Wharton, Jeff Pundyk, former publisher of The McKinsey Quarterly, claims: "Mid- and late-career management is being hollowed out by consolidation, technology, the gig economy and globalization, leaving experienced workers unprepared to navigate the new world of work. ...Too often when experienced workers who have developed the skills to rise within an organization find themselves displaced or stuck among a shrinking cohort, their skills, expectations, and experience fail them. And the older they are, the greater the risk — and the tougher it can be to find something new."

Unfortunately, this may sound like very familiar territory to accomplished employed Boomers, who are the most vulnerable to the whims of corporate management when it comes time to jettison highly compensated employees. Pundyk writes "Those who can adapt will both shore up their value within their organization and be better prepared should they find themselves on the outs." He offers some excellent advice for Boomers in his article:

  1. Adopt an "untitled mindset."
  2. Develop a portfolio of projects.
  3. Save for the worst case.
  4. Embrace ambiguity.
  5. Always be learning.
  6. Know your story, and
  7. Tell it.

Read Pundyk's insightful article for further details on each of these strategies.

Pundyk's conclusion: "Having a job no longer solves for stability. It can provide some sense of security for as long as it lasts, but don’t mistake short-term security for long-term stability. With the right mindset, however, stability can come from you, not from your employer."

Excellent observations worth pondering. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.


Check out the new book featuring 156 best and worst brands of the 50s and 60s!


Two New Boomer Books to Start the New Year Right

BooksHappy new year... happy new books! Here are two new books, just in time for the start of 2020, that are written especially for Boomers.

Boomer Brand Winners & Losers

This remarkable book features fascinating stories of 156 best and worst brands of the Boomer era. Relive the days of Cap’n Crunch and Cocoa Puffs, E-Z Pop and Pop-Tarts, cap guns and comic books. Recall the time when automobiles ruled the road and a transistor radio was “advanced technology.” Learn how television played a key role in brand advertising. Discover which brands blossomed and which were a bust. This book is a real "blast from the past" that Boomers will love!

Read a free chapter excerpt here.

Ten Secrets to Losing Weight After 50

Are you over the age of 50 and struggling to lose weight? Have you tried countless diets to no avail? Do diet methods you used in the past no longer work? It’s not your imagination. As you age, you tend to gain weight and it’s harder to lose than when you were younger. Through extensive research and trial and error, author Julie Gorges finally unlocked the secret of losing weight after the mid-century mark. After explaining why it’s so hard to lose weight after 50, she shares 10 things she was doing wrong and what she changed to finally succeed.

Read a free chapter excerpt here. is a Top 75 Baby Boomer Blog.