Unless personal finance is a subject on which you devote significant time reading and learning, you likely have questions. As a Certified Financial Planner, I’ve been answering questions for a long time—some questions come up more frequently than others. Following are some of the most frequently asked questions about personal finance. Perhaps these questions are the same ones you have. If you have different ones, send them in and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Q: How much money will I need to retire?
A: The answer is as individual as snowflakes. The amount of money you will need to retire depends on many factors, such as how long you expect to live, what it costs you to live, and what factors can impact your financial longevity. It’s a simple question with a very difficult and complex answer—the number of variables is huge. The best answer is: It depends. However, don’t interpret this answer as an excuse to put planning your future to the side. In fact, it actually makes planning and the ongoing monitoring of your progress that much more important—and the uncovering of previously unknown information that much more vital.
Q: I am risk averse. I only feel safe if my money is in the bank. What should I do if the stock markets make me nervous?
A: If you think the constant motion of the stock market makes you queasy, how does it feel if I guarantee that your plan fails by sticking your money in the bank? While I don’t want to minimize your fear of market fluctuation, I want you to understand that if inflation is 3% and you’re earning .5%, you are guaranteeing a loss of over 2.5% of your…