Since the credit crash, investors have been searching for answers as 401(k) accounts have suffered unprecedented declines. Not only have markets been tumultuous but new regulations and concerns regarding hidden fees have been introduced to an already opaque area of investing. Despite the severe economic retreat in 2008-2009, one thing hasn't changed: 401(k) accounts-because of their tax benefits-are still the best way for most people to invest for retirement. Mary Rowland breaks down how they work, why they're still a smart investment, how to keep an eye out for hidden fees, and why now is the time to start reinvesting in your retirement. As the former personal finance columnist for the Sunday New York Times and the author of three books on investing, Mary Rowland has extensive experience covering the issues that 401(k) investors face when they consider how to best prepare for retirement.
Table of Contents
Introduction. PART ONE: The New Retirement Landscape. What Happened? 1 Not Your Father's Gold Watch. 2 Management is Not a Career Choice. 3 Dip a Toe In. 4 Calculate Retirement Needs. 5 How to Fill the Gaps. 6 Will You Get a Pension? 7 Will You Get Anything from Social Security? 8 Checking Earnings and Benefits. 9 The Rule of 72. 10 Start Early. 11 Why Choose the 401(k) Plan? 12 What about Roth? 13 Contribute, Contribute. 14 Protecting Your Income. PART TWO: 401(k) Plan Basics. Planning for the Future. 1 The Three Main Players. 2 What Your Employer Wants. 3 What the Government Wants. 4 How to Use This Stuff. 5 The Limit. 6 What Is Vesting? 7 Qualifying Rules 8 Hardship Withdrawal. 9 Information about Your Plan. 10 Is My Plan Safe? PART THREE: How to Get In and Get Out. Contributing to Your 401(k) Account. 1 Where to Get Help. 2 The Match Makes the Magic. 3 Automatic Enrollment. 4 Taking Loans. 5 Beneficiary Designations. 6 If the Plan Fails the Test. 7 After-Tax Contributions. 8 Supplemental Plans. 9 Getting Out Early. 10 Changing Jobs. 11 Coordinating with Your Spouse. PART FOUR: Investing 113 Saving for Retirement. 1 What I Did. 2 Expert One. 3 Expert Two. 4 Expert Three. 5 Behavioral Finance. 6 Taking Risk. 7 What Risk? 8 What Do You Have to Lose/Gain? 9 Risk Basics. 10 Correlation. 11 More Tools. 12 Diversify. 13 Why Stocks? 14 Index Funds. 15 Active Funds. 16 Investment Style. 17 Bonds. 18 International Investing. 19 Money Markets. 20 Investing in Gold. 21 Dollar-Cost Averaging (DCA). 22 Mutual Funds. 23 Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs). 24 Target-Date Funds. 25 Expenses. 26 Get the Prospectus. 27 Rebalance. 28 What Not to Buy. PART FIVE: Preparing for Change. The Next Step. 1 Get Real. 2 Thinking about Tomorrow. 3 Pay Off Debt. 4 Your Mortgage. 5 Paperwork Matters. 6 How to Organize It. 7 What's Your Net Worth? 8 Your Financial Statement. 9 Your Portfolio. 10 What to Do with Stocks. 11 Delay Social Security. 12 Plan for Healthcare. PART SIX: Steps to Take in Retirement. Once More with Confidence. 1 Lump Sums. 2 Leaving the Money Where It Is. 3 Convert to Roth? 4 Required Distributions. 5 Longevity Risk. PART SEVEN: Retirement Plans byOther Names. 401(k) Plan Alternatives. 1 403(b) Plans. 2 ERISA or No? 3 403(b) Plan Reform. Resources. Index.
Mary Rowland has been a journalist for thirty years, a half dozen of them as a weekly columnist for the Sunday New York Times. She also wrote a regular column for Bloomberg Wealth Manager , a magazine for financial advisers, for seven years. Her articles and essays have appeared in Fortune , Business Week , USA Today , Ladies' Home Journal , Family Circle , Woman's Day , and many other publications.