Ask Bud about….


Saving Municipal Bonds Social Security Care Insurance retirement Taxes Investments Trust Revocable Living Will Fixed Pension



H. K. Bud Hebeler is author of J.K. Lasser’s Your Winning Retirement Plan, Getting Started in a Financially Secure Retirement, and retirement articles on He is often quoted in The Wall Street Journal and other financial publications. Email your questions to b u d s m a i l @ a t t . n e t. (See note below.)  More frequently asked questions will be answered in this column. He and those responsible for this publication disclaim any responsibility for any consequence from the “Ask Bud” information.


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Click on the following links to get the answer to the following questions:


Q: Dying man with wife and child needs more than investment advice.


Q: Should we be saving municipal bonds now?


Q: Will we benefit from special provisions of Social Security?


Q: How can I find inexpensive professional advice and appropriate questions to ask?


Q: Should I get long-term-care insurance?


Q: I am the high wage earner in our family, and I’ve already started my Social Security at age 62. Is there any way I can get more.


Q: If I suspend my Social Security benefits at 66 to restart again later at a higher value, will my spouse’s benefit be changed?


Q: I know that my fixed pension payments will be hurt by future inflation. I can afford to save a little of it for the future to help out, but I don’t know how much? 10%, 30%, 50%???


Q: I have money in three different accounts, all taxed differently: #1 Mutual funds not in any retirement account, #2 Funds in my IRA, and #3 some money in a Roth. Which should I draw first in retirement?


Q: My wife does not want to handle investments after I die. She just wants to have deposits to her banking account which she can count on. What do you recommend?


Q: I have just received a windfall cash payment. How should I invest it?


What's your take on the pro and con of a will versus revocable living trust?


What financial actions should Baby Boomers take now?


Should I change jobs?


Long-term-care insurance vs. alternatives.


What planning tools does Bud use personally? 


How often should I rebalance my investments and recalculate my retirement budget?


Should we start Social Security early when we have little savings?


Is there anything better than the bucket plan in which you put your retirement resources into different buckets representing different time spans?


Can I rely on any retirement planning program?  They often give quite different results


How should we invest in the current environment?


Should I invest in directly-owned real estate within a Roth IRA?


Is there a simple way to calculate how much I can afford in retirement and not make a new calculation each year?


Should I retire now if Social Security will be my major support?


Is there a benefit in paying back all of my previous Social Security payments and starting again at a higher payment level?


What are the pros and cons of Long-Term-Care insurance?


How well do you think we can project our investment performance?


Is it a good idea to repay Social Security and restart at an older age with higher payments?


Will means testing of Social Security affect the best age to start payments?


Should I convert and IRA (or 401(k)) to a Roth IRA?


Will there be a Value Added Tax in the future?


When should we start Social Security


How should I invest now in this current market?


Should we buy a vacation home now?


What are the dangers if planning to restart Social Security later?


How much cash I should have in a retirement portfolio?


How do I account for unrealized capital gains when planning?


Should we sell investments when tax rates are still low but going to increase?


How much saving do I need for $50,000 retirement income?


What's the difference between reserves for unknowns and things that only have a chance of happening?


A financial reporter asks what is the single most important thing to do for a financially secure retirement?


Should I pay off my remaining mortgage before retiring?


When to start social security


How to calculate social security breakeven age


How to get a secure retirement


What is return on investment?


International investments


Choosing a lump sum instead of a pension


About spending less as you age


How do I maximize my pension payments?


What's included in "savings" in the depressing history of national savings rate?