Over the last few years, I’ve received many emails asking for my opinion on investing or personal finance newsletters. When it comes to investment related newsletters, the argument against them is this. In order for a investment newsletter to be “good,” it has to rise to the top of the stack in terms of returns. To do this, it has to take risks because riskier investments produce the highest returns.
If an investment newsletter does well, which means its risks have paid off, then it gets touted as one of the “best.” The likelihood of an investment newsletter being the best each year is slim, so one year’s best is potentially the next year’s dog as gambles don’t pan out. (if you’re going to sign up for one, pick one with a long track record of good performance)
That’s why I’m looking for a good “retirement” newsletter. I think retirement newsletters focus on more than just picking stocks, they focus on how to approach your retirement as a whole and make smart decisions. They may offer up what stock to pick, with buy/sell signals and expected returns, but that shouldn’t be the goal. The goal should be to get your noodle working on what the best approach is.
Kiplinger’s Retirement Report
Kiplinger’s Retirement Report  is Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s retirement newsletter. The newsletter itself discusses a lot more than financial planning, it tackles a lot of non-financial retirement issues.
If you’re curious what it’s like, KRR gives you a sample issue (September 2009  as of this post). For $39.95, making it the cheapest of the ones listed here, you get a sizable feature newsletter if the sample is any indication. One distinction – the newsletter has ads in it. The sample, which had 20 pages, had four pages devoted to ads (three for an AARP ad and the final page was for long term care); which isn’t the worst thing in the world but none of the others had ads.
If you want to buy it, I recommend Amazon because it’s $10 cheaper  and you still get a pro-rated refund if you cancel before a year is up.
I stumbled onto the Retirement Millionaire , a monthly newsletter written by Dr. David Eifrig Jr., M.D. from Stansberry Research, because Stansberry also runs The Daily Crux , a completely free site that scours the investing and personal finance web. The Daily Crux is free but the Retirement Millionaire isn’t, it’s $49.50 a year. The format of the newsletter is straightforward – an educational story around a theme followed by a series of money saving tips, which I’m always a fan of. For example, in that same issue, one home improvement tip was to shop at Habitat for Humanity ReStores. You can find surplus material at a significant discount plus the money goes towards a good cause.
Rule Your Retirement
Rule Your Retirement  is The Motley Fool’s retirement newsletter and, much like a lot of their other publications, is written in an easy to read, casual style. I’ve only read a few of them and they’re OK, nothing amazing, and I wonder if that’s because so much information is available for free on The Motley Fool’s website. When it comes to retirement, I think of it as very much a “set it and forget it” type of operation and so the gyrations you’d expect one a monthly or quarterly basis shouldn’t matter as much.
Rule Your Retirement has a thirty-day free trial and then costs $99 per year. If you start paying and decide it’s not worth it, they will give you a pro-rated refund. Is it the best? That’s up to debate, a lot of people are turned off by how much they “sell” in their email lists (doesn’t happen with the newsletter but that sentiment carries over) and so you’ll see plenty of board posts like this one  that lambaste the Motley Fool.
Do you have a favorite retirement newsletter?
(Photo: 401k 2012 )