This Week's Must Read

Rookie mistakes abound when you try pretty much anything for the first time. So, why should retirement be any different?

It’s just that in retirement, as in skydiving, when you make a mistake, it’s a lot harder to recover.

So, to help you through that first year, we asked the experts what are the biggest mistakes made by rookie retirees. Collectively, they had about a dozen, but we have boiled them down to seven.

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If you’ve had any exposure to retirement or college savings plans, you’ve probably heard the term “tax-advantaged.” It simply means that these types of accounts offer tax benefits that are supposed to incentivize individuals to save. In return, there are typically restrictions on the funds in order to make sure they are used for a specific purpose and not just for general savings. So, just how can these tax-advantaged accounts be more beneficial than a regular savings account?

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The Obama administration this week said it is delaying the enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate, extending until March 31 how long Americans can go without insurance before facing a penalty.

But how strict is the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate to begin with? It’s a question that’s floated around since the mandate was first mentioned: Can the government – and more specifically, the IRS – really enforce the mandate penalty? The answer is yes, but only up to a point. Whichever political side of the ACA you are on, it is a technical question that’s piqued the curiosity of consumers and pundits alike.

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After decades of paying into the Social Security system, many retirees are eager to start collecting that monthly check as soon as possible. But that can be a costly mistake.

While you’re allowed to start claiming Social Security benefits at age 62, holding off for several years can add thousands of dollars to your payments over a lifetime. That’s because you don’t qualify for all of your earned benefits until you reach “full retirement age,” which is 66 for most Baby Boomers and 67 for those born in 1960 or later.

So checks claimed at age 62 are about 25% smaller than if you wait until your full retirement age. And if you wait even longer, your annual benefits will grow by another 8% for each year you wait up to age 70.

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Financial literacy is an important, lifelong personal finance skill that everyone should have because it fosters careful spending and informed decision making. Responsible personal finance habits will guide you toward a life of financial freedom, and increasing your vocabulary of money words can only help. Here are five money definitions you should add to your financial literacy repertoire so you know how to get the most out of your money and financial decisions.

1. Credit Score

Your credit score impacts many facets of your life including getting a loan for a car or house and being approved for a credit card. Because a poor credit score can have such a negative impact on your life, it’s important that you frequently check your credit score. Experts recommend checking your credit report at least once a year to catch errors or identity theft.

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