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Color of Money

Retirement's Instruction Manual

By Michelle Singletary
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page F01

The humorist Mason Cooley once said, "In retirement, only money and symptoms are consequential."

Well, that may have been true at some point. But not now. People who have just retired and those who are close to retirement have so much to deal with these days that it's practically a full-time job just figuring out how to retire.

_____Column Archive_____
On Spring Break, With Their Heads in the Sand (The Washington Post, Mar 10, 2005)
A Big Refund Isn't Great News (The Washington Post, Mar 6, 2005)
Read Michelle's Past Columns

If you're a new retiree or among the soon-to-be retired, here are just a few issues you may need to consider:

• Whether you need or can afford long-term care insurance.

• How to take distributions from your retirement plan so that the money will last.

• Whether to take a lump-sum distribution from your company's pension plan (if there is one) or monthly payments for life.

• How to reallocate your investment portfolio.

• Figuring out if in the long run it makes sense to take a smaller Social Security benefit at 62 or wait until you are eligible for your full benefit.

If those questions seemed daunting, then I've found a book that may make your retirement planning a littler easier.

The Color of Money Book Club selection for March is "The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life" by Jan Cullinane and Cathy Fitzgerald (Rodale, $19.95).

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