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Question: I'm 57 and my wife is 62, and we're thinking of selling some of our IRA assets to get through these tough times. But will we be hit with a penalty if we do? --Dave, Gainesville, Florida
Before the market imploded last year, turning your nest egg into steady income for 30 or more years of retirement seemed pretty straightforward. Just follow the old 4% rule: Withdraw that much of your portfolio's value initially and then boost that dollar amount annually for inflation.
Question: Is there a listing that would allow me to see how my 401(k) plan compares with other companies' 401(k)s? --Debbie W., Mount Laurel, New Jersey
The financial crisis has cast a shadow over a perennial debate in Washington: How to ensure the long-term financial health of Social Security.
Question: I'm 57, and after losing several thousand dollars in my 401(k), I transferred my money to a safe mutual fund. But now that the stock market has gone up the last few weeks, I'm wondering: Should I stay in the safe mutual fund or switch some of my money back to stocks? --Heidi, South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
The economy is in shambles, and the stock market is in the tank. If you're entering the waning years of your career - or if you've already retired - that's more than enough to suck the joy out of retirement. If you let it.
Question: I'm 40 years old, and according to an online calculator I used recently, I should now have $900,000 saved to assure a comfortable retirement. I'm guessing I have only about $100,000 (I'm afraid to look). What is the best way of making up the $800,000 gap over the next 25 years? --Jeff, Canton, Michigan
Question: I plan to retire in about two years, but I've lost a lot in my retirement savings account. Currently my money is spread out over small and midcap stocks, growth shares and safe investments. But I'm thinking of moving my balance to an account that tracks the Standard & Poor's 500 index, riding the upswing until the S&P hits 1,100 or 1,200 and then diversifying into something safer. Do you think this is a good plan? --Alan W., Raleigh, North Carolina
It's official: 2009 marks the 35th anniversary of the individual retirement account. I will now pause for a moment as spontaneous celebrations break out across the land.
Question: What does the new stimulus package do for people receiving Social Security benefits? --Bonnie, St. Petersburg, Florida
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