I’ve been a big fan of Jane Bryant Quinn’s books on consumer finance for decades. Quinn writes clearly and accurately about financial matters. In her latest book, How To Make Your Money Last, Quinn focuses on people close to retirement and those who have already retired. As Quinn points out, a common fear is that we might “outlive” our money. This book shows several strategies to take to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Quinn’s chapter on Social Security will enlighten you. There are hundreds of ways to collect your Social Security benefits. Make sure you pick the right option. Smart money management, estate planning, and wills/trusts are just some of the topics covered. I learned a lot and you will too if you read How to Make Your Money Last. GRADE: A
1. The Joy and Challenge of Life After Work
Now that you can do whatever you want, what do you want to do?
2. Rightsize your Life
You’re never afraid to open your bank statement when you’re living within your means
3. How to Double Your Social Security Income (Well, Almost)
Your payout could be worth as much as $1 million over your lifetime. Are you leaving some of that money on the table?
4. Getting the Most from Your Health Insurance–Before and After
Peace of mind is knowing that you can see a doctor when you’re sick
5. Pensions Are for Stre-e-e-etching
A new look at the comfort of a guaranteed income for life
6. Should You Buy Yourself a Pension?
Lifetime annuties, the Rodney Dangerfield of investmetns, don’t get no respect–except from me
7. Powering Your Retirement Savings Plans
If you haven’t saved pots of money, don’t waste time kicking yourself. It’s never too late to give your future a boost
8. The Speed Limits on Retirement Spending: Still 4 Percent?
When to step on the gas, when to tap the brakes
9. Investing for Income: Not What You Think
Nothing endangers your lifestyle more than to pile into “income investments”
10. Home Sweet Income: Producing Home
Your house is a piggy bank. this might be the moment to break it open
11. Living on Your Life Insurance
There’s money in a life insurance policy and you don’t have to die to get it
12. Just Tell Me What to Do
Whew! At last


  1. Deb

    Early in our marriage, my husband and I used one of Quinn’s other books to help us determine the best way to take care of the assets we had and to plan for the future. Although we’ve never been rolling in the dough, we’ve made some prudent decisions which I hope will help us enjoy our “golden years.” Otoh, because I had my children so late in life, I fully expect to be working in one form or another for much if the foreseeable future.

    /And, like Dan, I buy a lottery ticket every week.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, I’ve used Jane Bryant Quinn’s wonderful books in my classes over the years. She writes clearly about complicated financial topics. I really liked her chapter on Social Security. Plenty of people make the Wrong Decision when it comes to claiming Social Security benefits. I’m still amazed that Social Security is sending me a thousand dollars a month for “Spousal Benefits” while my Social Security benefits continue to grow.

      By the way, today’s ON POINT has a program that might be of interest to you:

      1. Deb

        Thank you, George–very informative. In the school system right now, we’re talking about an “autism tsunami” that is on the way. Partly, as the article points out, because of increased diagnoses but also because more conditions (Aspergers, Tourette’s, ADD/ADHD) are now under the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella.

      2. george Post author

        Deb, the “Autism tsumani” is hitting us at the College level, too. I have over a dozen students who fall into the new categories on the Autism Spectrum Disorder umbrella.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    We are so much better off than we could have imagined before Jackie retired. Teachers who had retired before her told her (thanks to the NYC pension system) that they were actually taking home more money after retirement than when they were working. But (and a caveat here – Jackie is on Tier 1 and started working in 1970, and she worked for 34 years) it turned out to be true. What with the Social Security thing that George pointed out (Jackie took hers at 62, I took spousal benefits at 66) and certain other things – tax deferred annuities and some inheritances – we are good. But then, we don’t own a house and didn’t have kids to age and educate, so your mileage may vary.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, you and Jackie did everything Right. That’s why your retirement is secure. We know a lot of friends who retired at 55 and now they’re starting to run out of money. Very sad.

  3. maggie mason

    this sounds like a fab. book. I love the subtitle of chapter 2. I’m going to see if the library has it. My big question is when to get soc sec. I’m elig. for full amt this year, but was planning on waiting until turning 67 or 68. Medicare was a real help for me.

    When I first started getting my retirement at age 50, my $400 medical allowance covered med. and dental insur. by the time I was elig. for medicare, i had dropped dental and was paying out of pocket nearly $400 mo for med. insur. another boon of medicare is I get a reimb. from the county for $93.50/mo for part b. (which may go up a lot this year) In the 15 years of my retirement, the $400/mo allowance for insur never went up, and I’m guessing the part b reimb. won’t either.

    Like Jackie, I’m in tier 1. I stayed in that tier in order to retire at 50. Some people changed to tier 2 and had less taken out of their check, but had to wait til 55 to retire. In the next year or 2 after that, the county didn’t want to give a raise, so they instead picked up a much larger part of our retirement contrib. those who were in tier 2 and had been paying less than $10 a paycheck were now paying nothing, but those of us in tier 1 who had been paying (IIRC) about $35-45, were paying $10. We definitely got the best deal.

    1. Jeff Meyerson

      Maggie, Jackie gets part B reimbursement too, and it covers the cost for both of us. That is from the city. In addition, her union reimburses us every year for out of pocket prescription costs. I believe the current reimbursement is $780.

    2. george Post author

      Maggie, Diane was Tier 1 when she retired 12 years ago. Her school district offered an incentive at 55 and I urged Diane to take it. Best decision ever!

  4. Beth Fedyn

    I’ll have to get this book, George.

    Retirement is looming large. I have nothing against working and will probably continue to do so; I just don’t want to be working where I am now. I think I’m in pretty good shape (I try not to get freaked out by the stock market) but every little bit helps. I need to get to Medicare as I expect my biggest expenses in my declining years will be medical. I got long-term car insurance a while back so I should be OK with that.

    And, like most of us, I have plenty of books, CDs, and DVDs to keep me occupied for a couple of lifetimes.

    1. george Post author

      Beth, I believe that almost every knows When It’s Time to Retire. The Stock Market will do what it always does: go up and down. But, the cheap oil prices right now reduce the cost of Business so I think 2016 will be a Good Year despite this rocky start. And, I think Long Term, oil prices will be going up. Last I looked, our entire Civilization is built on oil.

  5. Richard R.

    Enough with the non-fiction books about politics, money and things going down the drain. Don’t you read anything that’s fun? How about mysteries, SFF, adventure and the like?

    My county pension is enough, Barbara’s Social Security is a pittance, Medi-Care is a joke. The rosy future our parents and society of the time was taken away by greedy big business (“Sorry, no pension after all, joke’s on you, we’re keeping the money.”) drug companies that charge usurious amouts and mid-managed tax money that seems to “go into the general fund” and disappear. BAH!

  6. Prashant C. Trikannad

    The thought of outliving our money is pretty scary, George. A US-settled Indian family I know well had their son undergo a knee operation in India, for a total cost of Rs.40,000 including hospital stay, roughly a little over $615, far cheaper than what the surgery would have cost in the US.

    1. george Post author

      Prashant, I’ve had two total knee replacements. The cost for each one was $100,000 US. Fortunately, I have very good health insurance. All my bills were paid by Blue Cross/Blue Shield. But many people in the U.S. have no health insurance. The main cause for bankruptcy in the U.S. is inability to pay for medical expenses. It’s a sad situation that’s getting worse.

  7. Patti Abbott

    These books scare me. I am relying way too much on our Merrill Lynch person. I’ll make Phil read it.
    And Richard, I think these books are fun for George. It’s like Phil watching MSNBC two hours a day. I can’t figure it out but it is his career.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, I share the knowledge in books like HOW TO MAKE YOUR MONEY LAST with my students. I have students who are coming back to College in their 40s and 50s. And I occasionally do some pro bono financial counseling with people who have money problems.

  8. Jerry House

    Oh, had I had some money to last. Too many years on a Social Security disability and too few years earning money. Since our needs are small and since Kitty has pulled many financial miracles out of her hat, we are comfortable. Far too many people are not as lucky.

      1. maggie mason

        G. I agree with a lot of elderly poverty coming up. Sadly, some of it can be attributed to lack of planning. My parents taught me to only buy what I could afford. The only way I could deal with having a house payment was to consider it as rent. I paid the mortgage off 8 years early, and kept making the payments to a savings account. I stayed at a job I hated as long as I could. I fully vested my retirement, though part time work gave me a lower amount, and fully vested my health insurance allowance. I do survey’s on line to get points which I use for prepaid visa cards or gift cards and am very frugal.

        It’s funny, because my accountant (who has a lot of the “Qualcomm millionaires” as his clients told me he doesn’t worry me, because I somehow find a way to make do. There were times I just wanted to have a splurge, and then I’d go to the 99c only store and do so.

        There are so many people living way in excess of their income. When the housing market crashed, there was an article about a couple of people who lost their homes. One was a youngish woman with a child. Her mother left her a house free and clear, and she got prop 13 taxes (very low, based on when the house was purchased.) She didn’t want to work, so took out a mortgage on the house, and when she didn’t pay, it was foreclosed. I’m sure her mother thought she had left her in a good situation. The other was a man who “bought everything I wanted”. He had big screen tvs in every room of his house, cars and and an rv. Took vacations all over the world. He also lost his house.

        One of the elderly ladies I helped inherited $800K from her mother in cash and property. She blew thru it in about 5 years. Has no savings and has a reverse mortgage. She’s now in assisted living, has lied about being in her home still, and has constant money worries. If they catch her (no longer living in her home) they’ll be selling it and she’ll have tons of books and things to get rid of. I tried to get her to sell the books, etc and get money to save, but she wouldn’t hear of it.

        I’m very thankful my parents taught me well, as I’m sure you did for your kids, George.

      2. george Post author

        Maggie, I see the same financial tragedies that you describe. People retire but keep spending like they were still working. They take on more debt. I know cases where the troubled children of friends drained their parents of their retirement money. One couple we know sold their house here and moved to Florida without telling their leeching son. They’re still hiding from him. Sad.

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