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News from the retirement beat

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Posted: 4 pm ET

People engrossed in retirement planning have a lot of interesting ideas to share.

Here are a few things that have arrived in my e-mail that are worth noting:

Leonard McCracken, who on the occasion of his 107th birthday shared some of his financial acumen with us, also generated a little competition among the super-centenarian set. I heard from Jana Davi-Dixon, who helped plan a birthday party for Harry Vanderford, who turned 107 two days ago. Davi-Dixon said that last October, Vanderford helped raise awareness about a private exotic animal sanctuary by flying in a powered parachute and landing at a community festival. Many of us wouldn't have been caught dead in that powered parachute when we were 7 -- let alone 107. So, Happy Belated Birthday, Harry, and many more, you thrill-seeker you.

On Sunday, I wrote about Wade Pfau, an associate professor at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, who has created a formula for figuring out how much retirement savers should put away each month. He said that I had overstated his theory that the 4 percent withdrawal rule doesn't apply if you've saved enough money. He wrote, "An implication of my research is that sometimes it is okay to withdraw much more than 4 percent, such as for a new retiree in 1982, for example. But for recent retirees since about 1995, I am much more concerned about 4 percent being too high rather than too low. ... An implication of my 'safe savings rates' is that retirees should have saved enough that they can meet their desired retirement expenses using a withdrawal rate below 4 percent. ... I don't think that 4 percent can be considered as a safe withdrawal rate for recent retirees."

I also liked this press release sent to me by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that said happy people live longer than unhappy people. University of Illinois professor emeritus of psychology Ed Diener, who also is a senior scientist for the Gallup Organization, reported, "We reviewed eight different types of studies and the general conclusion from each type of study is that your subjective well-being -- that is, feeling positive about your life, not stressed out, not depressed -- contributes to both longevity and better health among healthy populations."

So to sum it all up: Don't worry, be happy, spend wisely and enjoy your retirement.

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