Resources we’ve found helpful and would like to share with you.

Compiled by Elliot Raphaelson from his syndicated column “The Savings Game” in the Sunday Chicago Tribune Success section.

IRAs and Other Retirement Savings Accounts
Ed Slott and his publications are simply the best available on this topic. I recommend his book “The New Retirement Savings Time Bomb” which is available at his website

Retirement Planning
The most comprehensive book out there is “Retirement Planning Guidebook: Navigating the Important Decisions for Retirement Success” by Wade Phau, PhD. Wade is an expert in the field, and the book covers all the major issues associated with retirement planning. Another advantage is that he makes available regular podcasts and articles covering all the subjects in his book. See his website

Another recommended book for both Pre-retirement planning and Retirement planning is “How to Make Your Money Last” by Jane Bryant Quinn. It covers all the major issues related to financial planning, is easy to read and refers readers to many other valuable sources of information.

Reverse Mortgages
If you are considering a reverse mortgage, which allows you to lives in your home for several years after retirement while receiving payments for its equity value, you should read “How to Use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement” by Wade Phau. This book is the most informative one related to reverse mortgages. Don’t even consider using a reverse mortgage until you read this book.

The source I recommend for annuities is Stan Haithcock; no one has more expertise in the field than him. He will only recommend annuities that are cost-effective for you. He will make available to you, at no cost, easily readable booklets that summarize the pros and cons of every type of annuity. His website is His email address is [email protected]. His podcasts are available weekly. Note: this guy is a real character!

Another resource is, which is the annuity purchase program for Heuler Investment Services, Inc. Income Solutions® is a lifetime income annuity marketplace with simple, streamlined tools that can help you turn your savings into a paycheck for life or an income stream you won't outlive. You can compare features on low-cost, competitively bid annuity products from multiple top-rated insurance companies and choose the income annuity best suited to your personal financial needs.

Estate Planning
On the topic of estate planning, Bob Carlson is a retirement expert who has written an excellent book, “Retirement Watch: The Essential Guide to Retiring in the 2020s”. Portions of the book also provide excellent advice on estate planning. His website is and contains loads of articles on various retirement topics.

Social Security Accounts
You can’t afford to make mistakes in deciding when and how to apply for SS benefits; the wrong decision can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars (you read that right).

Unfortunately, there is a great deal of confusion and misinformation regarding benefits and policies, including from many representatives from the agency itself. I recommend you obtain the book “Maximizing Social Security Benefits” by MaryBeth Franklin, which is available from her website It covers all the important Social Security issues you may encounter and is a reliable resource.

Another book, written by economist Laurence Kotlikoff, professor of Economics at Boston University, is “Get What’s Yours: The Revised Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security”. His website,, contains a slew of other excellent resources (including his company’s excellent planning software “MaxiFi”) on securing your financial future.

Medicare planning is another area where making the right decisions is critical because some options are available at sign-up but may not be available later on, or if they are, or available only with significant lifetime penalties if you change your mind. Before you reach 65, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of different Medicare options (Traditional Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage). “Get What’s Yours for Health Care” by Philip Moeller (Simon & Schuster) is comprehensive and covers the advantages and disadvantages of each option available to you.

Another valuable resource is “Medicare and You” published by the US government and available for free through

Doug Smith Note: If you prefer to actually speak to a live person when exploring Medicare options, I’ve interacted with Joanne Giardini-Russell of Giardini Medicare ( Their website has dozens of YouTube videos that delve into the Medicare maze quite effectively. They are independent Medicare insurance agents based in Michigan and also licensed in Illinois. They will provide personalized service at no charge to you.

Whenever I’ve emailed them I’ve received a response very quickly. I used them in 2022 to sign up for Medicare after my Initial Enrollment Period expired (because I was still working at the time) and they “held my hand” throughout the process. Then, in October of this year, they contacted me (!) asking if I wanted to make any changes to my Medicare options ahead of the Open Enrollment Period. The customer service is outstanding!

Other Resources
Money Instructor ( (Basic)

Many young people graduate without a foundational understanding of financial literacy, including money management, business, the economy, and investing. We aim to address this knowledge gap by providing resources and tools to help teachers, parents, and institutions teach these crucial skills to young people. By doing so, we also aim to reinforce basic math, reading, vocabulary, and other fundamental skills that are essential for success in life. -- Money Instructor®

Humble Dollar ( (A bit more than Basic)
“OUR GOAL IS TO TELL you everything you need to know about money—all in one place, and without the hype and hollow promises that characterize so much financial writing.”

The Retirement Manifesto ( (lots of really good content)
My goal is to educate, challenge and encourage each of you to take the steps necessary to achieve success on your journey toward retirement. In other words, this is my “Manifesto. I enjoy helping others on their journey to and through retirement. My byline is ‘Helping People Achieve a Great Retirement.’ “ Fritz Gilbert

Retire with Style podcast, with hosts Wade Phau and Alex Marguia ( (Intermediate)
The purpose of Retire with Style is to help you discover the retirement income plan that is right for you. The first step is to discover your retirement income personality. Your hosts Wade Pfau, PhD, CFA, RICP and Alex Murguia, PhD walk you through creating and implementing a retirement plan that will help you reach your goals, and that you’ll be able to stick with. Start by going to and sign up to take the industry’s first financial personality tool for retirement planning.

Doug’s Note: I found this exercise worthwhile.

Center for Retirement Research at Boston College ( (More academic)
Our mission is to produce first-class research and educational tools and forge a strong link between the academic community and decision-makers in the public and private sectors around an issue of critical importance to the nation’s future. To achieve this mission, the Center conducts a wide variety of research projects, transmits new findings to a broad audience, trains new scholars, and broadens access to valuable data sources. Since its inception in 1998, the Center has established a reputation as an authoritative source of information on all major aspects of the retirement income debate.”

The Balance (

Is It Worth the Money to Hire a Financial Advisor?

MorningStar (
Chicago based company. Loads of free content on a wide variety of topics (Retirement, Personal Finance, Start Investing to name just a few). One of my favorites is Christine Benz, director of personal finance and retirement planning for Morningstar, Inc. In that role, she focuses on retirement and portfolio planning for individual investors. She also co-hosts a podcast for Morningstar, The Long View, which features in-depth interviews with thought leaders in investing and personal finance. Email Christine at [email protected]. She reads all of the emails she receives but doesn't always have time to send a personal response.

Doug’s Note: These podcasts are excellent for gaining knowledge and insights from the experts. Highly recommended!

NerdWallet (
Information on a wide range of topics that involve your money.

Quotes and Other Interesting Information
Compound Interest
A quote from Albert Einstein: "Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn't, pays it." And you're definitely better off being on the "earns it" side of things.

Benjamin Franklin famously once quoted that 'Money makes money. And the money that money makes, makes more money'. In his quote, Franklin is referencing the power of compounding interest – where money earns interest, and that earned interest then earns more interest.

Of course, you have to have money to make money.

Warren Buffet quotes
Why do so many of us look for investment inspiration through Warren Buffett quotes? A business prodigy, Buffett bought his first stock when he was just 11 years old. He then used savings to buy and install pinball machines in local shops when he was still a teenager.

Although he got rejected from Harvard (a decision that admissions officers now surely regret) he would go on to become one of the world’s most famous and wealthy value investors. Today, he is the CEO of a former textile company called Berkshire Hathaway that has been transformed into the world’s highest-priced stock, valued at $545,250 a share as of January 17, 2024.

Investors turn to his advice with such admiration that Buffett has earned the nickname the “Oracle of Omaha,” a reference to his home state of Nebraska. Indeed, his sage perspectives on the market are so sought-after that “Warren Buffet quotes” is among the most Googled phrases in the online wealth management industry today.


Planning for Health Care Costs in Retirement

Current Stats on Retirement Savings by AGE


Welcome to The Retirement Manifesto, a canvas for “Helping People Achieve A Great Retirement”! I focus on practical Financial Independence and Retirement Planning issues for folks within ten years of retirement. If you’re new to the site, I’d encourage you to read “The Ultimate Retirement Planning Guide”, a compilation of my best work, organized by stages in your journey to retirement.

Really easy-to-read and navigate site that addresses many pre-retirement and post-retirement issues, both financial & non-financial, commonly experienced by this cohort. Active community board. Also has embedded links to quite a few other sites of relevance to the topic. Written from a Christian perspective.

Read Retirement Manifesto Here.

Managing money may be simple, but it isn’t easy. Most of us struggle to save diligently, invest intelligently and figure out what will make us happy. HumbleDollar aims to help readers make rational financial decisions, especially when it comes to retirement. But we’re also acutely aware of the human side of money.

OUR GOAL IS TO TELL you everything you need to know about money—all in one place, and without the hype and hollow promises that characterize so much financial writing.

A large number of articles from various authors categorized into 23 different topics
Read Humble Dollar Here.
As you get closer to retirement age, you start to get excited about the possibility of leaving your job to do whatever you want with your time. However, before you prepare your retirement speech and walk off into the sunset, you must ensure you’re financially prepared to do so. This is why we spoke with a financial planning expert to help find signs that someone isn’t ready to retire yet in 2024.

Good article from a good general financial education website.
Read Go Banking Rated5 Signs You're Not Ready to Retire in 2024

KIPLINGERS: THE FIVE STAGES OF RETIREMENT (AND HOW TO SKIP THREE OF THEM) Getting the first step wrong inevitably means you’ll go through stages three through five. Get step one right, and it’s a two-step process. In the world of retirement, a growing concern emerges as retirees, despite having the financial means for their envisioned retirement lifestyle, find themselves grappling with isolation, depression, identity, lack of purpose and mental health challenges. This poignant issue stems from a profound disconnect between the perceived desires of retirement and the essential elements required for true happiness and well-being.
Read Kiplinger's Five Stages of Retirement

Financial planning tools and services to put you on the path to the future you want
We want to help anyone get confident and achieve financial independence so they can make the most of their money and time.

Provides multiple levels of offerings (including free) to start building your personal retirement plan. May be geared more towards assisting advisors.
Read New Retirement

People are finding it more and more difficult to figure out how to plan for retirement – how to save while working and how to convert their savings into sustainable income for the rest of their lives. To be sure, making the right decisions is an exceedingly complicated task, but it is not impossible.

Retirement Researcher exists to help guide you along the path to a successful and sustainable retirement by providing modern, sound academic research, in the manner that helps you learn best.

More academic and technical in flavor (the main contributors are either PhDs or CFAs), with a great many articles on a wide range of financial topics. They created the "Retirement Income Style Awareness" (RISA) framework (free) to guide users to find the essence of their retirement financial planning preferences (safety-first vs. probability and commitment vs. optionality). I found it helpful (and insightful) in guiding how my plan should be structured, and brought me back to earth by showing the flaws in my ability. They really dig into the Social Security claiming decision with numerous articles.
Read Retirement Researcher