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Long-term care policies and your rights

When it comes to long-term care insurance, regular readers will recall my negative feelings on the subject, but with my father approaching two years in a nursing home, I'm beginning to see how insuring this cost can make sense for many Americans. My "go-to-guy" for advice on the subject is Allen Hamm of Pleasanton, who wrote the definitive book: "How to Plan for Long-Term Care."

The choice is yours

Today's question for retirees is the classic, "How much of my retirement account should I leave in cash so I won't have to sell income-producing assets in a down market?" Like so many answers regarding money, "It all depends."

Taxes - Does Anyone Pay them Anymore?

I love what I hear about the new Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. He sounds like the kind of person that will go after what the July 6th New York Times editorial cited as the $385 billion ANNUAL shortfall between what taxpayers owe and what they pay. The Commissioner, like me, is of Finnish descent which means that he traces his roots to Genghis Kahn and the Mongolian hoards.

Financial Insight from American History

The so-called "Prudent Man Rule" defined how someone was supposed to invest when they were charged with managing Other People’s Money. The term "fiduciary" today describes someone who presides over a managed pool of money and who is legally obligated to act in the sole interest of the beneficiaries of that money. The concept has been around for a long time. It goes back to the court case in 1831, Amory vs. Harvard College, which ruled that a fiduciary should act as "any prudent man." So the two terms became intertwined at that point.

Fear of the unknown at retirement age

<p>My wife often asks why I waste time reading “Dear Abby.” She just doesn't appreciate how much it has made me a better person over the years for having applied some of the advice to myself. For example, a letter from a woman last week struck a responsive chord when she said that she had tried to retire but then found herself unhappy with nothing to do. So she went back to work at age 70 and worked for three years before quitting for health reasons. Now recovered, she’s ready to go back to work again, but her husband wants her to quit for good.

A glimpse into the future

Unlike Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman, I've worried all my life and nothing really bad has gone wrong, so it’s a system that has worked for me. Therefore, in a week during which the Dow Jones Average hit an all-time high, I’ll throw a wet blanket on everyone’s irrational exuberance as follows: An economy continuing to grow steadily leads to overheating, inflation and higher interest rates sooner or later. The best guess of people who study business cycles is that we have, perhaps, until the end of the decade to enjoy what promises to be a world-wide economic boom.

Time for the torches and pitchforks

My recent column on High Frequency Trading talked about the President Clinton veto of a law that would have made it harder to initiate class action lawsuits and harder to prosecute individuals within corporations that effectively lied about their company’s financial condition. I was wrong about the year which I said was 2007. It was, in fact, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

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