How to Get out of Debt

Many Americans have taken on debt during the pandemic, and understandably so. It’s hard to make ends meet when you’re unemployed or underemployed. The challenge then becomes digging yourself out of debt before you get completely snowed under. Financial advisors warn against bringing credit card debt into retirement, since there’s little wiggle room to pay rising interest costs on a fixed income. Two popular methods of debt repayment include the “snowball” and the “avalanche.” The former involves paying off the smallest debt first for a confidence booster, while the latter involves tackling the highest interest-rate debt first for the biggest savings. Learn more about paying down debt in today’s edition. And metaphors aside, I hope this message finds you and yours safe as much of the country grapples with real snow and ice conditions.

Best wishes,

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How to Pay off Debt: 5 Expert-Approved Strategies That Work

Debt management is a big factor in your credit score.

This week in our Retire with Money Facebook group, one poster asked, “How do I overcome the fear of running out of money in retirement? We received the thumbs up from our financial planner that we can retire. But, all of a sudden I have a fear that we might run out of money.” It’s a common concern. If she hadn’t already been to an advisor, I would have suggested that. An advisor can run simulations and predict how long your nest egg will last under various estimates for market performance and your own longevity. But when that fails to reassure, what else? A few posters mentioned guaranteed income in the form of an annuity, and I think that’s smart. Research has shown that guaranteed income increases retirees’ peace of mind. But annuities come in many flavors — you generally want to avoid the high-cost options and stick with plain vanilla fixed income annuities.  Learn more about these insurance products here.
Required Minimum Distributions: Why All the Tinkering?
Congress’ tweaks to RMDs won’t improve retirement security, a columnist argues. MORNINGSTAR
Big Picture Helps With Retirement Financing
Researchers created a tool to educate people about retirement income. SQUARED AWAY BLOG
Pointers on Booking a COVID-19 Vaccination
Older adults share how they did it. NEXT AVENUE
What You Gain When You Give Things Up
During this season of Lent, a writer reflects on the benefits of sacrifice. THE ATLANTIC
Elizabeth O'Brien is deputy editor at Money. She has covered retirement and health care for nearly a decade. A Brooklyn resident and mom of two boys, she navigates the alphabet soup of Medicare and the New York City subway system with equal ease. You can email her at and follow her on Twitter at @elizobrien.

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