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Brian J. O'Connor

Personal Finance Expert

Posts by Brian J. O'Connor:

by Brian J. O'Connor May 31, 2023

After a relentless series of 10 interest rate hikes within a span of 15 months, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee is poised to pause or potentially halt the upward trajectory as inflation shows signs of subsiding. As inflation gradually inches closer to the Fed’s target average of 2%, the inevitable outcome looms: a subsequent decline in interest rates That means that the relatively good times bank savers have been experiencing may already have topped out. A look at average rates for certificates of deposit gives a glimpse of how bankers are seeing the future. According to recent national surveys from, the average rate on a 1-year CD was yielding 1.68% while 5-year certificates offered yields 1.23%. With short-term rates starting to equal or even trend higher than long-term rates, it’s a signal that bankers are betting on long-term rates declining. Right now, however, savers can keep their good times rolling by locking in rates on long-term CDs. According to the… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 30, 2023

Pop quiz: True or False – Social Security retirement benefits are subject to income tax just like withdrawals from a traditional IRA account. If you answered “False,” you’re smarter than more than 60% of your fellow Americans nearing retirement. In fact, if you know just about anything about how Social Security works, you’re very likely smarter than almost 70% of people close to retirement age when it comes to understanding one of your most important sources of retirement income. Those are the findings from the 2023 Social Security retirement benefits quiz of near-retirees from Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. Of the 1,500 people between age 55 and age 65 who took the quiz, 69% failed or barely managed to pass the 13-question survey (posted in full below). And a mere 1% managed to correctly answer all the questions. For hands-on help understanding Social Security, consider matching for free with a vetted financial advisor.  Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 25, 2023

Once upon a time, retirement in America was referred to as “a three-legged stool.” The first leg was your expected Social Security benefits, the second leg was your own personal savings and the third was something old-timers called a pension. A financial advisor can help you create an income plan for retirement. Find a fiduciary advisor today.  Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 24, 2023

Rethink that retirement party. More and more, seasoned workers are defying expectations and staying put in the workforce for a compelling reason—they simply can’t afford to retire. That’s the finding… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 22, 2023

The very essence of a retirement nest egg lies in the concept of patient growth and compounding of investments over time. Its purpose is to offer a bountiful reserve of funds when one bids farewell… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 19, 2023

A group of Senators is working on a plan to shore up Social Security by potentially raising the full retirement age, along with other changes to how Social Security benefits are financed. Here’s what… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 19, 2023

There’s a reason that Social Security is called “the third rail of American politics” – as in, touch it and die. Most Americans – especially seniors – are fiercely protective when it comes to their… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 09, 2023

The 60/40 portfolio is a staple among savvy investors. Made up of 60% stocks and 40% bonds, it tends to deliver solid returns while attenuating risk. But after the 60/40 portfolio’s dismal 2022… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 04, 2023

Americans are not feeling good about their financial standing when it comes to preparing for retirement. Workers and retirees are nearly as worried about making their retirement money last as they… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 04, 2023

The interest rate on Series I savings bonds bonds for the last six months has been an impressive 6.89%. But investors looking to jump into new issue bonds are in for a letdown. According to the… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 27, 2023

As inflation has reached highs over the past year, retirees are spending more. And as a result, their Social Security benefits are increasing. The cost of living adjustment (COLA) is 8.7% in 2023,… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 27, 2023

If you’ve found yourself thinking, “Only a crazy person would buy bonds these days,” you could be right. A new study from researchers at Northwestern, DePaul University and the London School of… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 26, 2023

Getting a tax refund feels like a welcome boon. At the very least, it seems like a nice cash reward for the estimated nine hours it takes the average individual taxpayer to wade through their W-2 and… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 17, 2023

One of the biggest threats to your retirement savings isn’t inflation, a stock market swoon or even bad investment picks – it’s you. That’s because when a financial crisis hits, many workers start… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 17, 2023

Remember the panic about “quiet quitting” in the fall of 2022? That’s when legions of fed-up, burned-out post-pandemic workers decided they weren’t going to leave their jobs but they also weren’t… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Apr 03, 2023

Following the recent bank collapses there’s good reason to be concerned about how much of your money is and isn’t insured. The bad news: Just because an account is held by a bank doesn’t… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Mar 29, 2023

There are many different approaches and strategies for retirement investing that might appeal to you. But how do you tell if a certain strategy works for your situation? When evaluating different… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Mar 24, 2023

The idea of working longer before claiming Social Security benefits sounds like a great retirement strategy. Staying on the job means you can maximize your eventual benefit, continue to save for… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Mar 10, 2023

An eye-opening new study has found that simply talking to a financial advisor may be enough to dramatically boost people’s savings rates for retirement. Researchers examining exclusive data from more… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Mar 07, 2023

ESG investing is a big trend. Citigroup is doing it. JP Morgan is doing it. Deutsche Bank is doing it. But a faction in Congress wants to make sure your retirement plan can’t do it. ESG investing… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Feb 28, 2023

The first bill introduced in a new session of Congress can be an important symbol of political priorities and values. For the Republicans who took over a slim majority in the House of Representatives… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Feb 28, 2023

Ginning up fears that Social Security “is going broke” or “is running out of money” is a mainstay of American politics — and an argument that experts point out simply isn’t true. Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor May 08, 2023

Prospects in 2023 for emerging market stocks to do as well as they did in 2022 may be dimming. Financial planning firm Facet recently advised clients that it is reducing their allocation of emerging… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Feb 22, 2023

The biggest question when it comes to retirement is also one that can be difficult to answer: how long will you live? This question, and the assumptions that people make when answering it, influences… Read more

by Brian J. O'Connor Mar 31, 2023

As inflation and interest rates have increased, the rates paid on cash deposits have barely budged – until now. With inflation averaging more than 8% for 2022, the Federal Reserve increased interest… Read more