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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
Paul McNamara
Sierra Leone 2012

Lessons Learned from a Savings and Lending Group in Southern Sierra Leone

In January 2012, as part of my ACES in Sierra Leone Study Abroad course, our University of Illinois students worked with World Vision of Sierra Leone to assess their project to develop inland valley rice swamps and farmer groups since the war ended. Sierra Leone suffered a horrific 11 year-long civil war through the 1990s but since 2002 the country has been working to rebuild, heal, and get the...

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90+ in the United States: Implications for Retirement Investing

The U.S. Census Bureau and the National Institute on Aging have released a report this month titled "90+ in the United States: 2006-2008" that examines the rapidly growing "oldest old" segment of our population. The report describes the demographic, health and economic situation for America's oldest adults. Some of the main findings of the report include: On average, a pe...

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George Dawson on Money Management

George Dawson grew up around Marshall, Texas on a dirt-poor farm and lived a remarkable life. He died about ten years ago and he was well known for having learned how to read when he was 98 years old. The book Life is So Good tells his story (co-authored by George Dawson and Richard Glaubman) and if you are ever looking for an enjoyable book that is captivating and uplifting you might...

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A New Internet Resource for Long-Term Care Consumer Education

University of Illinois Extension, through the efforts of its Consumer and Family Economics Team and Family Life Team, has launched a new website to help people learn about their long-term care options and be able to take concrete steps to prepare for the possibility of long-term care. The Long-Term Care: Talking, Deciding, Taking Action site is found at...

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People So Fearful They Do Not Take Action on Their Finances

At the Financial Planning Day held here at the University of Illinois on October 8, 2010, Thomas Howard of Harris Investor Services and President of the Illinois Financial Planning Association stated in his remarks that he sees a "public so fearful that they do not take action" with respect to their finances. The U of Illinois Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics Financial Planning...

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A New Long-Term Care Financing Option: The CLASS Act

Working age people will have a new long-term care insurance option to consider beginning in fall of 2012, as a part of the health care reform law signed by President Obama in March 2010. The law includes a voluntary employment-based insurance program for the purchase of community living services (long-term care services) and for the payment of institutional long-term care services. The program...

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What are the important issues on health care reform, and what do they mean for retirees?

Today we welcome guest blogger, Wes Sprague -- a University of Illinois student. For retirees aged 65 and older, Medicare has been an enormous social success. It has helped to vastly reduce the level of senior poverty in America by providing most every retiree over the age of 65 with public health insurance, yet there are still many ways that it needs to be improved in order to...

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More on the Changing Landscape for Post-Retirement Benefits

Legal scholars Richard Kaplan, Nicholas Powers, and Jordan Zucker detail the "increasingly troubled state of employer-provided health benefits for retirees" in a recent analysis. Their paper, published in the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics (Vol. 9, No. 2, 2009), is titled "Retirees at Risk: The Precarious Promise of Post-Employment Health Benefits." (A version of this paper is...

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Global Balance in Your Portfolio

I am writing this from Beijing, China where I am traveling with my 15-year old daughter, Annie. I travel to India fairly often because I am doing research there and India and China share the characteristic of being large economies with significant economic growth, particularly over the past 10 or so years. China has experienced the higher rate of economic growth and it reports official figures of...

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The Sea Change in Retiree Health Benefits

It used to be that retirees from state and local government positions and union retirees could look forward to receiving generous health benefits in the form of subsidized health insurance premiums or fully covered health expenses in retirement. Those days seem to be moving into the past rather quickly. The mega-bankruptcy and restructuring of General Motors will likely see retirees losing sign...

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StdDevofDailyClose 2000to2008 monthlybasis jpeg

Risk and your investments

Our Plan Well, Retire Well team recently ran a series of teleconferences for the average investor and saver titled "Saving and Investing in Turbulent Times." In the teleconference I spoke about the risk and how the market's volatility increases as we go into a period of adjustment and market decline. I used a graph of the standard deviation (a statistical measure of variation or dispersion) b...

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A historical (NOT hysterical) view of the current market: David Sinow

David Sinow, a clinical professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana--Champaign with years of experience in investments and advising clients, has provided an interesting and, I think, useful perspective on the current turbulent stock market. For most individual investors the first two weeks of October 2008 have brought a lot of bad news regarding the performance of their funds....

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Steering Your Financial Ship

If you are like me you are saving for long-term financial security and retirement in your employer sponsored 401(k) or 403(b). While I keep an eye on how my funds perform on a quarterly basis, I generally examine the overall performance and allocation of my investment assets once a year. The purpose of this yearly allocation analysis is to simply make sure that the way my retirement plan inve...

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Sticking with Your Investment Strategy in a Difficult Market

It's the middle of July, so by now everyone, even those who receive their investment performance information in the mail, has had a chance to look at the state of their fund holdings as of the middle of 2008. For most of us the news isn't good or pleasant. Many people with significant equity holdings in their funds have seen the value of their mutual fund holdings drop in the range of 1...

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Saving and Investing When You Have Special Needs Child

  My youngest son (a pre-schooler) suffered a serious brain injury in January due to an underlying medical condition. This was a very difficult episode for our family, and it included a six-week hospital stay in St. Louis, and now we find ourselves getting used to having a very different little boy in our family. Thanks to a wonderful team of doctors and therapists, as well as the sup...

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Higher Gas Prices and Staying the Course with Your Investment Plan

Higher prices for gasoline, energy for heating, food and other goods essentially imply the income of consumers will not have as much purchasing power as it did previously. An article today in the Wall Street Journal Online ( ) reports on how higher prices and the weakening...

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Human Capital and Your Financial Capital: The Diversification Factor

This is Paul McNamara writing and I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as an Extension Specialist (Consumer Economics) with University of Illinois Extension. Outside of the University and Extension, I am married and my wife and I have six children. I have practical experience in budgeting a...

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