Retirement planning usually focuses on "the number"—how much money you'll need to support the kind of life you want. For early retirees, there's a second question, potentially even more important: will you have health insurance to carry you to 65 when you finally come under the protection of Medicare?
There's more reason than ever to leave written instructions about the medical care you want if you're unable to speak for yourself. In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, in which her husband and parents fought over whether to remove her feeding tubes, right-to-life activists have been working on state legislatures.
Ready to retire? Looking for income, safety and growth? You're a sitting duck for a broker selling a fancy new investment product—a variable annuity with "guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits for life." You put up some money; it's invested in stocks and bonds; you're guaranteed an annual payment of 5 or 6 percent of your initial investment for life (that's $5,000 or $6,000 on a $100,000 investment); if stocks keep rising, your future payments can (supposedly) rise, too, but they'll never...
So where's the money in climate change? Investors sense a tumultuous market in the making, if they can only hit it right. "Sometimes I feel like a fly on the wall, watching a new era unfold," says Rona Fried, editor and publisher of Progressive Investor, a six-year-old newsletter that follows the field. "We're almost past the final hurdle of 'Do we really have to change?' Yes, we do, and we're going to get there."Wall Street's own change in climate is nothing less than astonishing.