GREAT FREE INFORMATION
Over 50 and wanting to learn more about investing? AARP has created a Financial Library with more than 60 single-topic titles in it all designed to help you make sound financial decisions.
At long last research conducted by this fund group has shown what most of us have know for years---that we're woefully under-educated when it comes to financial matters. Learning that, plus that most folks would rather learn something in a easy-to-read format and are turned-off by long, technical explanations of anything, AARP has created the first series of investor education guides that are aimed at the 50-plus crowd.
.Some of the subject titles include "Investing in Your 50s"; " Seven Steps Toward Planning for Retirement"; " Getting Married After 50" ; "When Your Spouse Enters a Long-Term Care Facility"; "Leaving the Most to Your Heirs"; and "When You Are the Executor of an Estate".
In the "Getting Married After 50" piece, for example, topics discussed include evaluating the impact of marriage on your financial situation, prenuptial agreements and the different types of joint property ownership. The piece reads: "Once married, you may want to share some, but not all, of your assets with your spouse. How you register the ownership and designate the beneficiaries of those assets is a key to accomplishing this."
If you're interested in learning more or want to order any of AARP's Investment Program's Financial Library pieces, there are two ways to do so. One, is to go online, (web address: aarp.scudder.com) , click the tab marked Learning Center and read through the subjects and guides themselves online, or, print them out. The other, have the guides mailed to you. Each comes in a booklet that's personalized and contains a couple of subjects about the same topic. Call 1-800-253-2277, weekdays between 8 a.m and 8 p.m. to learn about the various subjects and place your order. There's a limit of three guides per order.
Speaking of the over-50 crowd, Vanguard's new Plain Talk Booklet, Preparing To Retire, is worth a read, too. It's a 38-page piece full of valuable information and insights.
Subjects covered include creating realistic budgets, long-term health care insurance, understanding Social Security benefits, managing retirement assets and asset allocation suggestions.
What's of additional interest are the charts and side-bars. For instance, there is a life expectancy table included reminding us that if you were aged 65 in 1995, females have a life expectancy of 18.9 more years; males, 15.6 years. And from the Bureau of Labor Statistics comes this: "The more money you spend now, the more you're likely to spend after you retire. Retirees with incomes of $70,000 or more spend as much as they did when they were still working."
To obtain a free copy of "Preparing To Retire" call 1-800-992-0855. Or, visit Vanguard's website (www.vanguard.com) and click on the Plain Talk Library link.
Changing lanes a little, American Century has just introduced Fund Advisor. It's an online mutual fund advice center that you can be found only online at www.americancentury.com.
Some of the things you'll be able to do on it are create multiple, personalized investment goals rather than only one as many programs only allow; get specific no-load mutual fund recommendations for each of your goals; and get live customer service support from American Century representatives via e-mail.
Using the Fund Advisor means spending a fair amount of time filling-in data so the program can do its work. You'll be asked information about the following; yourself, your feelings about risk; investment experience; your goals; and your current investments. From it all will come things like asset allocation suggestions, investment recommendations and goal forecasts that indicate whether or not your investments are on track to meet their goals.
If you're one of the many investors who don't feel as though they have a reliable financial consultant whom they trust to work with ( American Century online research found that 76 percent of those surveyed felt that way), the Fund Advisor program could be just the ticket. It might help you get a better handle on how to meet your long-term goals. And, could be an effective tool to use when working with, or looking for, a financial representative to work with one day.
To read more articles, please visit the column archive.