Both retirees and people saving for retirement have something to cheer in the Federal Reserve’s move to boost interest rates this week. The best news is the reason Fed officials felt they could act for the second time in just three months: their confidence that the economy and job market are getting stronger. A healthy economy bodes well for corporate earnings and thus for stocks. And with the Fed projecting two more rate hikes this year, the interest you can earn on bank accounts and other low-risk holdings is likely to keep growing too. Don’t assume your local bank is going to dish out the richest yields, though; you need to shop around for the best terms, which may be found in other states, at online banks or credit unions. And make sure you understand how bonds work, since rising rates are a mixed bag for them.
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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE
42% of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Preparedness. Are You Among Them?
Many Americans don’t have an accurate sense of whether they’re on track to live comfortably in retirement, Boston College researchers found. Some people, as you’d expect, are in worse financial shape than they realize. But an even larger group—23% of the households examined—are worrying more than they need to about whether their nest egg is enough. Contributor Walter Updegrave explains that being “too worried” has a downside too. Money
The Best Big and Small Cities for Successful Aging
College towns are big winners in this year’s ranking of good cities in which to grow older, produced by the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging. The top places on the “big” and “small” lists, respectively: Provo-Orem, Utah, and Iowa City, Iowa. One surprise: The top 20 destinations include one city in Alaska...but none in Florida or Arizona. NEXT AVENUE
Boomers Are Ditching Retirement for Entrepreneurship. And They're Killing It
An activity or product that you love just might be the key to launching your own business on the way to—or even in—retirement. Consider Pedego, a company that sells electric bikes that make the going easier for older riders: Many of its dealers are retired or semiretired fans of the bikes who are having a first go at entrepreneurship. "After being in one profession for 35 years, to know you can do something else and be successful is pretty cool," one woman says. INC.
What the Fed’s Interest Rate Hike Means for Your Stocks, Bonds, and Wallet
The Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to raise its short-term interest-rate target a quarter point, to a range of 0.75% to 1%. What does that mean for you? Writer Taylor Tepper sums it up this way: “good news” for stocks, “meh” for bonds and “looking up” for cash. Separately, he has bad news for home buyers: mortgage rates are likely to keep rising too. Money
Plan for Retirement Using Your Biological, Not Your Chronological, Age
Are you in great shape and health for your age? That means you may have a longer retirement ahead of you than some peers—and correspondingly need a bigger nest egg. In a Q&A, researcher Moshe Milevsky says retirement planning could be very different in a future in which we each “will be wearing a patch, phone or shirt that will tell you how old your body really is.” USA TODAY
Retirees: Blow This Tax Deadline and You Could Pay Dearly
This year, the effective deadline for some investors taking an initial required minimum distribution (RMD) from an IRA or 401(k) is one day earlier than usual: While the official deadline is April 1, anyone selling securities in their account will need to wrap that up by the preceding day, March 31, because April 1 falls on a Saturday. So there’s no time to waste if you turned 70½ last year and haven’t yet taken a required payout for 2016. The penalty for getting it wrong is steep: half of the amount you were supposed to withdraw. Money
Get Dental Work Before You Retire
Going to the dentist could get a lot more expensive after you retire, if you’ll be leaving a generous company benefit package behind. Has your dentist mentioned a cap or other work she thinks you should get done one of those days? Here’s a reason you might want to go ahead and get it on your calendar. SQUARED AWAY BLOG
Best in Travel 2017
Travel is at the top of many people’s wish lists for retirement. And we’ve got lots of ideas for you in Money’s annual guide: from the best U.S. and international destinations (St. Augustine, Fla., and Hanoi, Vietnam, respectively) to the best cruises and beaches. (The No. 2 domestic pick, Estes Park, Colo., is one of my personal favorites…and then, of course, there’s Paris.) To make the most of your money, we’ve got suggestions on the best airlines and car rental companies, too. Money
YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Can I Use My Required Distribution to Fund a Roth IRA?
Q: I am 73 years old and receiving a required minimum distribution (RMD) of approximately $18,000 a year from my individual retirement account. Since I pay income tax on this distribution, can I simply redeposit it in a Roth IRA?
A: The Internal Revenue Service specifically prohibits people from using such annual distributions—which are required once you reach age 70½—as income from which to fund a Roth IRA. But that’s not the end of the story—if you are still doing paid work. READ MORE
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article said the official IRS deadline for investors to take their initial RMD from an IRA or 401(k) is March 31 this year.