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:

Don’t Let That Retirement Dream Home Turn Into a Nightmare

Aug 6, 2018

Americans dream for years of buying or building a retirement “dream home.” Many want their new homes in warm weather climates like Florida or Arizona. According to The 25 top places to retire in America, a Time Magazine analysis of Census records, of the 3.3 million Americans 50 and over who were no longer working…

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Retiring Early? Don’t make these mistakes

Aug 1, 2018

Everyone’s dream is to retire early. But, for most of us, it’s not in the cards to retire in our 30s or 40s. According to U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey, the average retirement age for men is 65, and for women, 62. But, some can reasonably aim for retirement in their late 50s or…

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Does student loan debt affect Millennial’s ability to save for retirement?

Jul 17, 2018

Student loan debt has been a growing concern in the nation. In fact, between 2005 and 2017 student loan debt tripled, according to a new report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. The average student loan debt for Class of 2017 graduates was $39,400, up six percent from the previous year, according…

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Staying Active in Retirement

Jul 6, 2018

There are many mistakes you can make as you prepare to enter retirement. That’s one reason many people suggest you sit down with a professional before you retire. But one thing people often overlook when they leave their jobs is that they are walking away from their existing network of friends and colleagues without considering…

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Saving for your child’s tuition without sacrificing your retirement

Jun 6, 2018

We love our children. Most of us would do anything for them. That includes saving for or paying for their college tuition, even if it means sacrificing a retirement lifestyle we may want and deserve. There’s no doubt about it, college tuition is expensive. It’s so expensive these days that it’s not uncommon for young…

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Overlooking these 5 things can really hurt your retirement

Jun 6, 2018

There are many things that can derail your retirement, and many of them have to do with money. Some of them are self-inflicted, like failing to save properly or using your 401(k) like a piggy bank. But even for people who do everything correct, there are things – sometimes outside of their control — that…

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Five Things That Can Wreck Your Retirement

May 2, 2018

It’s not uncommon these days for retirement to last as long (if not longer) than our working careers. That means it’s critically important to make the right decisions because a few mistakes or missteps could eat into our retirement savings. And that’s a problem since most of us haven’t saved enough to begin with. Nearly…

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Retired and loving it. What did they do right?

Apr 27, 2018

Another day, another 10,000 Baby Boomers will turn 65 (according to the Pew Research Center.) Some have been waiting anxiously for years for that big day when they can walk away from that 9 to 5. Others will go into retirement kicking and screaming. Even those who have been anxiously awaiting retirement for years are…

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Here’s what you should have already done to get ready for retirement at 50

Mar 27, 2018

Some people plan for retirement all their lives. But many Americans do little or no planning for retirement. In fact, for some, the first real discussion of retirement comes when they go to see a financial planner a month before retirement. A good financial planner will tell you it’s never too early to start retirement…

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5 Retirement Tips for Couples

Mar 5, 2018

Finances can put enormous pressure on a marriage. Perhaps that’s the reason so many couples don’t find the time to discuss money. Many financial planners have shared stories with me about the issues that can result when couples don’t sit down regularly and discuss finances. Those issues can take an entirely new set of problems…

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Biggest Mistakes People Make Getting Ready for Retirement

Feb 9, 2018

It’s always good to learn from your mistakes. But, it might be even better to learn from other peoples’ mistakes. With that in mind, let’s talk about some of the big mistakes people make when it comes to preparing for retirement. (We’re going to skip over some of the more obvious ones, like not saving…

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Three Retirement Tips for the New Year

Jan 26, 2018

As we get further into the new year, our thoughts need to be on more than just last year’s taxes. We should also be thinking about what we need to do to make our retirement the best it can be – whether we’re already retired or getting ready for the big event. As I say…

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One year before retirement: Here’s seven things you can start right now

Jan 22, 2018

It doesn’t take a financial planner to tell you this: Any successful retirement these days starts with a plan. The more planning you do, the more likely it is that you will see a successful retirement. That said, many people may still enter retirement without confidence in their plans. With that in mind, people may…

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Is it ever to early to start teaching your children about finances

Nov 29, 2017

There a growing call for improved financial literacy among young Americans, as Millennials face a growing financial crisis prompted by overwhelming student debt. “The level of financial literacy is low in the U.S. and consumers are paying the price,” according to a recent report by Mintel, an international market research company. “The ramifications of this…

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When the kids come back home (Don’t let them wreck your retirement)

Nov 29, 2017

The stories have been all over the news for some time now. Burdened by crippling student loan debt, Millennials are returning home to live with their parents. According to a Pew Research Center report, for the first time in modern history, more 18-to-34-year-olds are living with their parents than those living single, with a partner…

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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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