August 2012 Webinar: Reverse Mortgages – Dangerous to Your Health?
Retirement – Do I Have Enough?
The Best Air Fare – Outfoxing the Airlines
Wichita KS, June 7-9, 2013
Hotel: Hyatt Regency Wichita
While the InvestEd team creates the 2013 conference curriculum, we invite you visit the InvestEd 2013 tourism page and explore the wide variety of activities in the greater Wichita area. Adults and young people will find activities that appeal to history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts, museum attendees, music lovers, sports fans, and much more. Shopping and restaurant choices are abundant.
Early Registration Savings, $25 Rebate Offer, and Guest Room Discount
Early bird InvestEd 2013 registration is $369 if you register by 12/31/12 and includes all conference activities, including five meals: breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday plus dinner on Saturday. Full-time students with a valid school identification card pay $359. Register now via mail or fax. Online registration will be available soon.
Attend InvestEd 2013 and receive a $25 referral rebate when you bring friends or family members who did not attend InvestEd 2012. A referral must provide your name when registering and both of you must attend InvestEd 2013. After the 2013 conference, you will receive a $25 rebate for each person you refer who attended the conference. Spread the word about the InvestEd brand of quality investor education, encourage your friends, and rack up your rebates.
InvestEd attendees pay only $99 plus tax for a room in the InvestEd room block at the Hyatt Regency Wichita. Rooms in the block receive free Internet access and free parking. Book your room early because a limited number of rooms are available.
Super-charge your investing resolve and expand your skills in Wichita. Make your registration reservation early, and plan to meet-up with other investors at InvestEd 2013 for Investor Education at Its Best.
InvestEd Inc. Free Webinar
Reverse Mortgages – Dangerous to Your Health?
Sunday, August 26, 2012
8:00 PM-9:00 PM ET / 5:00 PM-6:00 PM PT
Instructor: Bob Adams
The next major financial fiasco could be reverse mortgages. Learn why. What are the potential costs and the potholes, as well as the financial resources to consider before engaging in a reverse mortgage? What are other types of financial help, and how do we access them? Discover when a reverse mortgage might be the answer … and when not.
Register Now to attend the InvestEd Inc. free online investor education webinar. Space is limited.
Bob is an InvestEd instructor and teaches at local, regional, and national investor education events, including webinars. He is an associate director for the Puget Sound Chapter of BetterInvesting. He is a member of the online CGAB Alumni Investment Club and past president of a local investment club. Bob creates innovative free spreadsheets and identifies useful websites for streamlining stock research. His website, bob-adams.net, reflects his strong advocacy of long-term fundamental investing. He retired after 26 years in radio and television broadcasting and 13 years of college teaching.
Retirement – Do I Have Enough?
"Retirement" can bring out several emotions, from anticipation to dread. This article doesn't address any of the psychological problems associated with retirement, but does help with the financial aspects, whether you are looking ahead to retirement or already retired. Specifically, this article is about a useful retirement calculator.
Do you know how much you will need in savings to retire and whether you're on the path to reach that goal? Confirmation is very satisfying. Or, knowing what you need is a warning. If you already are retired, how long will your funds last, and what steps do you need to take now, if any? Maybe that trip or cruise you always wanted to take is affordable after all. Or, maybe you need to face reality and make changes before it becomes a crisis.
A number of retirement tools are available on the Internet, but all that I'm aware of fall short in one aspect or another. Take a look at one available on my website that was developed by Mike Torbenson of the Puget Sound Chapter of BetterInvesting. It covers virtually all the questions regarding: do I have enough to retire in comfort and, if not, what do I need to do? Or, if already retired, will I outlive my savings? No matter which position you're in, it provides solid information.
In addition to the standard computations, this tool adjusts the outcome by taking into consideration inflation, economic downturns and their frequency, expected wage growth and portfolio growth, and cost of living adjustments, to name a few. It's the most comprehensive retirement tool I've seen, and it's easy to use. Answer a series of questions and you have the "bottom line" answer. You may be aware that I like to use spreadsheets for investment purposes. I only wish I had put this one together. It's really good. With Mike's permission, I did add a few bells and whistles. These provide a guide when you might have a question about what data values to enter. Pop-up comments and links to Internet data sources provide these helps.
The Internet is used to help answer questions about the inflation rate, how often the economy takes a swan dive, and how far down is down, as well as how long you expect to live. Complete an online questionnaire for a suggested terminal age based on information you provide. How much are you likely to receive from Social Security, and what cost of living increases are you likely to see? When this tool is used, all of the answers are one key click away on the Internet. The result of the analysis is in numerical form, dollars and cents, as well as graphic form, and they are very revealing.
In addition, different scenarios can be recorded in a special "Challenge" graphic that then displays the differences, if that kind of detail is desired. Even more advanced is a tool that allows changing two of the variables for a more in-depth analysis. But those options are for the advanced user. The basic information is contained in the main spreadsheet, and providing the information takes only a few moments. Detailed instructions, including examples and "what if" exercises, are a part of the instructions and are available as a tab at the bottom of your computer screen when the spreadsheet is open.
Regardless of the retirement stage you are in, check this out. I couldn't rate this tool any higher. It may issue a warning – or may be a confirmation you're in good shape. Knowing where you stand is important.
To download a free copy, go to my website. On the left of the home page is a link "Retirement Calculator" that will bring up a page where the spreadsheet tool is available for download.
The Best Air Fare – Outfoxing the Airlines
Gone are the days of dropping into an airline's local office and having an agent help you secure the best pricing on airfare. Today's Internet searches save time, and you can check flights and costs in your jammies, but how do you know you're seeing the least expensive fares? We all want the most direct route, don't want a layover of six hours, and want to pay the least amount possible.
As InvestEd's conference manager, I frequently check flight costs. I check costs when I'm considering a city for our next year's conference, and I help our Board members and volunteers secure the best pricing on flights they want to take. Here are some guidelines I use:
- Check fares early. Four months ahead for domestic flights; six months for international. Set up a fare tracker alert. In my experience, connecting flights are almost always less expensive.
- Compare what you see on the airline's website to Kayak, Priceline, or Expedia. Also keep in mind that discount airlines may not offer the cheapest flights. Understand that one site's system can trail another's by five hours or so. More on this later.
- Buy on Tuesday afternoon. Studies show that 3 PM ET is the best time to lock in the cheapest fare, because this is when a large number of cheap seats are available. Most airfare sales start around 8 PM Monday evening and by Thursday evening, those seats and prices are gone. Before selecting your seat, review Sandy Gallemore's article on SeatGuru.com in the July, 2012, InvestEd newsletter.
- Be an early flyer or a late flyer. Flights that take off at dawn and those after 6 PM cost less. Noon flights also may be less expensive.
- Don't delay. You'll pay a premium if you book within 14 days, and even more within 7 days. Airlines will leave seats empty instead of offering a steep discount.
- Group travel? Shop for one seat. Reservation systems are written to bump the price up to the next level if all of the seats you need are not available at the less expensive rate. Compare the individual seat price to the price for your group.
- Remember that weekend flights usually are more expensive. Traveling Friday afternoon, Saturday, Sunday night, and Monday morning could cost more. If you're staying at a hotel, compare the different airfare prices to the cost of your hotel room for a night. Staying an extra night might be less expensive.
Let's go back to the "more later" in item number 2 above, using comparison websites. Those airline fees and surcharge gimmicks we all know about are part of the financial equation. Here are some other airline gimmicks you may not know about. I'm including these gimmicks from "The five price traps airlines set for flyers," Joe Brancatelli's excellent article in The Business Journals. I learned a couple of new things from him.
- The frequent flyer or loyal flyer upcharge. Yes, that's right. As fliers loyal to one airline, we expect to see the best prices. Recently, Delta Airlines was forced to admit that customers who logged in with their Skymiles account number were quoted higher fares than casual web surfers. Don't think that Delta is alone in this practice. To check the price, use comparison websites and also check the airfare on your airline's web page without being logged in. You may need to delete cookies that remember the information you entered. If the fare quote is lower as a guest than a loyal flyer, book it. Log in later and add your frequent flyer information.
- Code sharing. All airlines have a unique code. Code sharing is defined as an airline using its code (think AA or UA) on another airline's flight. For instance, if American's partner Alaska Air is operating the flight, check the flight cost on the Alaska Air website. It may be less expensive.
- Web browser discrimination. It exists. Really. Orbitz recently was tagged for showing higher hotel prices to Apple Mac users than Windows users. The excuse? Mac users are bigger spenders on average than Windows users.
- Don't ask, don't tell, aka limited disclosure. Airlines, car rentals, and hotels engage in this practice. If you see a promo code or corporate ID box, perform a Google search for discounts before you book.
- Fare class codes. Mr. Brancatelli talks about class mapping and fare classes. These classes aren't what we think of as first, business, or coach. He recommends using a savvy human travel agent who may have the ability to get you a lower price than what you will be able to get yourself when booking online. Read his enlightening article before you make your next airline reservation.
Questions? Contact InvestEd
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