News & Updates

Response to Reader Questions on Social Security

Wednesday, November 05, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor I received lots of good reader questions related to my recent article discussing the file and suspend strategy for maximizing Social Security benefits. Here are a few, with my answers....

The Lesson from the Bill Gross Saga: Invest in Markets, Not Managers

Wednesday, October 29, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor It’s been interesting to follow the recent handwringing in the financial press about Bill Gross, the bond fund manager, and his abrupt departure from the investment firm, PIMCO. For those of you blessedly unaware of who Mr. Gross is, until very...

The Social Security Safety Valve: How ‘File and Suspend’ Could Work for You

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Many of us have heard about the “file and suspend” strategy used to maximize Social Security benefits for married couples. In this strategy, at full retirement age (FRA) (age 66 if born during 1943-1954) the higher earning spouse files for his...

How to Make Sure Your Retirement Portfolio Lasts As Long As You Do

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor Imagine that you‘ve reached the end of a long working career. The house is paid off, the kids have finished college and your retirement savings have grown to be worth $1M as a result of your diligent saving and investing over...

Four Tips for Year End Tax Planning

Wednesday, October 08, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor April 15 is still a ways off and taxes are probably pretty far from your mind. Now, however, is a great time to take advantage of tax saving opportunities that will be lost once the year is over. The following are...

Finding the Right Financial Adviser

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor No one wakes up in the morning and decides that today is the day they will hire a financial adviser. It usually takes a big “spear in the back,” such as the birth of a child, the receipt of a windfall,...

Social Security Spousal Benefits: Real World Examples of How the System Works

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, GoLocalPDX Contributor In a previous article, we looked at the general rules governing Social Security spousal benefits. As with all things related to Social Security, it is important to see how the rules apply to your own situation in order to truly understand...

Understanding Social Security Spousal Benefits

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, Personal Finance Expert, GoLocalPDX Wondering whether you’re eligible for Social Security Spousal benefits? Confused by the complex answers you get to that question? Most folks know that Social Security pays benefits to spouses based on the record of the other spouse in the...

Smart Saving And The Magic of Compounding

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, Personal Finance Expert, GoLocalPDX As investors, we all worry about the performance of our portfolios. We worry whether our money will earn enough to help us meet our goals and if we are taking on enough (or too much) risk to grow that...

Money Talks: Four Tips for Successful Investing

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, Personal Finance Expert, GoLocalPDX You’ve got money to invest but you’re worried about wading into the morass of financial decisions that might entail. Don’t. In spite of what financial pundits and many investment advisors may claim, successful investing is not rocket science. However,...

What Does the Recent Social Security Board of Trustees Report Mean for You?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 | Joe Alfonso, Personal Finance Expert, GoLocalPDX If you’re relying on the Social Security system to get you through retirement, you might have been confused by the annual report released recently by the system’s Board of Trustees. On one hand, it showed that the system is...

More alternatives to long-term care insurance

August 16, 2014|Brent Hunsberger, The Oregonian Lowell Serfling bought long-term care insurance a dozen years ago at his dying wife’s suggestion and paid $150 a month for it – until earlier this year. That’s when State Farm informed him that his premium would jump to an extra $60. “I am...

5 Key Social Security Principles Everyone Should Know

No one ever said you could live like royalty on Social Security. The program was always intended to provide a foundation for retirement but not to completely replace one’s working income. Having said that, it is wrong to ignore the importance of Social Security in developing a retirement strategy, given...

The Social Security “Reset”, Revisited

In a recent article, The Social Security “Reset”, I talked about how to partially undo the benefit reduction that results from taking early Social Security retirement benefits. I pointed out that the rules allow a recipient to suspend retirement benefits upon reaching full retirement age (FRA) in order to earn...

Gray Divorcees and Social Security

(Note: Social Security benefits are gender-neutral, but in this article I will refer to the wife as the recipient since statistically this is typically the case.) Sociologists have a name for folks who divorce after age 50—“gray divorcees”—and their numbers are on the rise in the U.S. In fact, more...