Retirement Requirements

Fidelity Investments came out with a study showing that retirees need approximately eight times their last salary level to be properly prepared for retirement.  For example, if one is earning $60,000 at age 65, $480,000 is the retirement base line.  Frankly, I think the number eight is too low.  There are a number of ways to determine what the retirement savings level should be and the Fidelity number is one.   

There is a useful series of five articles on retirement over on the Portfolioist.com.  I've mentioned these articles before, but if you missed that reference, here is the link to the second article.  These two links will get you started reading this important series of five retirement articles.  

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ITA Wealth Management Attracts Attention

Several months ago, while I was relaxing in the basement, a telephone call from a well-known investment house (you would recognize the name immediately) showed up on my caller identification screen.  Assuming it was a "chum for client" call, I did not pick up.  However, my wife answered the phone and told me "ABC Investments" wanted to speak with me.

I was prepared to "stiff-arm" any requests to invest money with "ABC" as I am familiar with their services. In fact, I was once on a committee where we needed to fire this firm.  I was asked if I knew of the firm and I told them, yes.  Then the conversation took a turn into an area that I found surprising, to put it mildly.

The caller asked me if I had some posts on my blog about the "ABC" firm and I confirmed that I did.  Several months earlier, a friend of mine received a promotion package from "ABC Investments" and he handed it over to me as he was not interested.  Neither was I, but the promotional material did contain information I thought might be useful in a series of blog posts. What I did with the material was to quote them regarding investment mistakes common to most investors.  Some of those mistakes are still available on this blog.  Just search for 'mistakes.'  Then I wrote parallel paragraphs stating my own list of investor mistakes.  In some cases I agreed with "ABC Investments" while in other cases I had a little different slant on investor mistakes.  In all posts, I gave "ABC" credit and never took any of their ideas and used them as my own.  I am always careful to quote sources as there are few new ideas in the world of investing.

In our phone conversation, I pointed out to the caller that I simply used their advertising material, gave them credit, and amplified on the ideas.  I can only assume it was the amplification that irritated the "ABC" lawyers, although this was never stated.

How did "ABC Investments" ever locate my blog?  What happened was this.  The Wall Street Journal began to pick up my blog posts on their on-line outlet and several of the major hits were those entries where I quoted the "ABC" firm. References from the WSJ showed up in my reference tracking software, particularly two specific blog entries.  Those entries must have grabbed the attention of the "ABC" lawyers.  As a result, I was asked to remove the blog entries.  Since I did not want any sort of legal fight, I volunteered to take down the posts so they are no longer available in their original form.  However, I have written a series of blog entries on big mistakes investors make as I think we need to know not only what to do but what not to do.

This interaction with the "ABC" spokesman ended the confrontation, but I wish I had asked for more details as to why the firm was bothered by my quotations.  After all, it was their advertising material I was quoting.  At least I got a story out of the call.