Rodney Brooks Blog


rodney-brooksRodney Brooks is the former Personal Finance Editor and retirement columnist for USA TODAY. He is author of Is One Million Dollars Enough: A Guide to Planning a Successful Retirement. Previously he was assistant business editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He has also worked at The Bulletin in Philadelphia, the Asheville, N.C.  Citizen-Times and the Ithaca (N.Y.)  Journal. He received a B.S. degree from Cornell University and an executive certificate in financial planning from Georgetown University. Twitter: @perfiguy, Website:

Retirement approaching and you haven’t saved enough? Your options are limited

Oct 6, 2017

Americans’ habit of spending and not saving is about to catch up with them. We’re still operating as if we were our parents, who worked their entire lives for a company who then provided them with a pension for life, as well as health insurance and other retiree benefits. Those days are long gone. Very…

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That Talk You Need to Have With Your Children Before You Retire

Sep 20, 2017

  Finally, It’s that time. You’re ready to clock out of that old 9-to-5 after all those years. You’re one of the  lucky ones, old enough to have both a pension and 401(k). The kids have all graduated college and are out of the house. You still have a car note, but you and your…

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Is it Smart to Borrow From Your 401(k)

Aug 25, 2017

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, in 2015, 20 percent of Americans have an  outstanding loan balance on their 401(k) and 37 percent have had loans in the past five years. Ten percent of those borrowers defaulted and a whopping 86 percent of borrowers left their company with an outstanding balance, according to…

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Emergency Budget

Aug 22, 2017

There are many Americans who are not saving and, for these people, even a small unexpected expense will likely cause a financial setback. A survey of 1,000 Americans by Bankrate said nearly 60 percent of Americans would not be able to pay an unexpected emergency expense from their savings. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said…

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Planning for Health Care expenses in Retirement

Jun 26, 2017

What’s the best way to wreck your retirement budget? How about unexpected medical expenses? Ask any financial planner and, he or she will likely say that most couples are not prepared for the financial disruption that could come with an expected or catastrophic illness. Twenty-eight percent of Americans said their greatest fear in retirement is…

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Try to Avoid These Retirement Mistakes

Jun 21, 2017

There’s a reason I advise readers to talk to a financial professional well before they retire. There is so much more to retirement than saving money, and many Americans can’t even do that. There are a lot of things to consider, foremost among them how long that nest egg will last so you don’t want…

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Do a little research before you buy that retirement home

Jun 7, 2017

It’s a dream that many of us have. The kids have graduated from college and settled into their new homes and new jobs. Retirement is around the corner. Now that you are empty nesters, that big house in the suburbs no longer works for you and your spouse. So, finally, it’s your chance to get…

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There’s more to retirement than saving your money

May 25, 2017

It’s complicated, this retirement thing. It sneaks up on you, and many of us aren’t quite ready. We haven’t saved enough, didn’t plan enough or we just haven’t figured out what we will do with all that time suddenly thrust upon us. Saving for retirement is difficult enough. Many surveys show that Americans have saved…

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Downsizing Your Budget in Retirement

Apr 24, 2017

Many people nearing retirement already know they may need to downsize from those big family homes. Why pay for all the maintenance and upkeep when the kids are gone? But they need to also think about downsizing their finances. Reducing that pre-retirement budget can be critical to a successful retirement. Some people start reducing their…

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Update your retirement plan regularly — or it could become useless

Apr 13, 2017

Remember the days before GPS when we had to follow a road map? (They were free and you could pick them up in any gas station back then). So, what if you were following that map and the highway just ended in the last place you visited — with no signs to tell you how…

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Why don’t some small business owners save for retirement?

Apr 13, 2017

The people who own and run small businesses are busy – extremely. They have a lot to worry about  — payroll, rent and trying to bring in new contracts. And, on top of that, it seems they are constantly recruiting and hiring. What they might not make time for is preparing for retirement. And that’s…

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Women and Retirement

Feb 27, 2017

  When it comes to retirement planning, American women often face a unique set of problems. And those problems can threaten to leave many women short on savings, and, thus, in danger of running out of money in retirement. Those problems are meticulously outlined in a new report, “Sixteen Facts About Women’s Retirement Outlook,” from…

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Beware of these “Retirement Shocks”

Feb 10, 2017

Retirement is a time of major change, and for most of us and usually requires major adjustments. First is the challenge of figuring out how to spend your day, after getting up each morning for however many years to make that early-morning commute to your job. Then there’s the fact that you are no longer…

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Don’t let your grown kids ruin your retirement

Feb 10, 2017

A third of Baby Boomers – or eight million households — still support their children, according to Hearts & Wallets, a financial research company. The survey, Dissecting the Baby Boomers, also says Boomers who support adult children are 25 percent more likely to have heightened financial anxiety than their peers and they are the most…

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Biggest Mistakes Couples Make

Jan 11, 2017

A successful marriage is all about communication. So, it make sense that the same can be said about a successful retirement. Retirement planning is tough enough, but when it comes to couples some of the biggest mistakes can be related to the lack of communications, according to the financial planners surveyed for the 2015 Fidelity…

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Coming Up Short for Retirement

Dec 22, 2016

This is for the people headed towards retirement and coming up short in their savings. According to a 2016 survey  , from GoBankingRates, 23% of Americans have saved less than $10,000 and a third have saved nothing for retirement. Another survey, by TIAA-CREF, says the number one regret of people approaching retirement is that they wished…

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Year-end Retirement Savings Tips

Dec 20, 2016

Here we are, once again, in the midst of people’s favorite holidays. Between Christmas and New Year’s, it’s time for good food, visiting friends and relatives, gifts, and of course, popping champagne. It’s also time for New Year’s resolutions (which most people forget about by February anyway). It’s the perfect time to assess your financial…

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Protecting Pre-Retirees and Retirees from Scams

Nov 16, 2016

Washington, D.C. — Recent arrests in the U.S. and India should put a big dent in the one of the biggest scams affecting pre-retirees and retirees – the IRS scam. The U.S. Treasury Department says nearly two million Americans have been targeted by scammers impersonating IRS officials, with 12,000 to 13,000 people submitting complaints every…

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Five Things Retirees May Forget to Plan For

Nov 1, 2016

Rodney Brooks Retirement is tough enough, but it can be really tough for the people who did little or no planning. It’s tough enough even for those who do plan for retirement. After all, there is much to consider. Which means that there could be a possibility for some people to either forgot something or…

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Six Great Websites to Help You with Retirement Planning

Jun 9, 2016

by Rodney Brooks We all know that planning for retirement is no easy task: Whatever information we can get to help is welcome. There are literally thousands of websites tasked with helping Baby Boomers slide gracefully into retirement.  A big part of the difficulty in planning for retirement is figuring out exactly where to go…

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