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Best Brokers and Retirement Rules of Thumb

It is a great thing in life when you do good work for people, and good things turn around and happen to you.  We started this podcast because we have a passion to  share free advice for the “do-it-yourselfers” out there who need straight-forward, honest advice.  In turn, we have not only transformed many of those listeners into clients, but we have also been fortunate enough to connect with others in the podcast and blogging community.  In today’s show, we share some of the thoughts and research from members of the blogging world who we truly value having a supportive relationship with.

Smart Money’s Best Brokers of 2012:  We cover the top five on the show, but you can check out the full list with remarks from our friend, Jim Wang  here.

  1. Fidelity:  Offers the biggest selection of funds and the most comprehensive website.
  2. Scottrade:  Compensates for higher stock trades by charging few fees on nearly everything else.
  3. TD Ameritrade:  Its website and mobile apps are top-notch, though email and phone response times are often slow.
  4. E-Trade:  Offers a 24-7 online chat feature, but its fees are above rival firms.
  5. Charles Schwab:  Fees can be high, but offers a wide assortment of investment and banking options.

Smart Money also listed the best in worst by category:

  • Commissions and Fees:  Best – Scottrade, Worst – WellsTrade
  • Customer Service:  Best – TradeKing, Worst – WellsTrade
  • Research:  Best – Fidelity, Worst – WellsTrade
  • Trading Tools:  Best – Fidelity, Worst – WellsTrade
  • Mutual Funds and Investments:  Best – Fidelity, Worst – ShareBuilder
  • Banking:  Best – Merrill Edge and Fidelity, Worst – Zecco

Another relationship we have in the blogosphere is with fivecentnickel.com.  Although he stays pretty anonymous about his real identity, he is very active in the blogging community and a regular commenter on our show.  Check out Another Retirement Rule of Thumb posted by Nickel recently.  He challenges Fidelity investment’s recommendation for having saved 8X your annual salary by age 67 if you want to replace 85% of your pre-retirement income in retirement.  He feels that retirement savings goals should be based on expenses, not income and his rule of thumb is this:  Project your retirement income needs and multiply by 25 (or 33 if you want to be conservative).  These values correspond to 4% and 3% withdrawal rates, respectively.

The Money-Guy Retirement Rules of Thumb:

  • Save 15-20% of your gross income
  • Do not count employer contributions as part of the 15-20% unless you are fully vested
  • Defer gratification
  • Get addicted to saving
  • Live below your means
  • Keep debt under control.

If you can follow these rules of thumb, you will be just fine when you get to retirement.  A special thank you to our friends in the blogging world for sharing your insight with us.  As always, please share your questions or comments below or on our Facebook page!

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