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Retirement
Retirement dos & don'ts
March 28, 2000: 7:17 a.m. ET

Retirees tell how they successfully planned ahead for the golden years
By Staff Writer Jennifer Karchmer
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Henry Jacoby, 73, of Palm Springs, Calif., fell into the stock market when he was 28 -- and he's been there ever since.
    Kelly Burkhart, a 70-year-old retired obstetrician from Corsicana, Texas, reads financial magazines and advice columns to stay informed on the latest investing news.
    And Peter Hilgarth runs a 23-year-old puppet making business with his wife in Houston during their retirement years.
    No matter how you're spending your golden years, both your financial successes and failures along the way can encourage others to start planning.
    "It's always essential to be able to relate to previous experiences," said certified financial planner William Brennan with Columbia Financial Advisors in Washington, D.C. Brennan provides hypothetical scenarios to his clients when planning their finances.
    The following investors share their stories of how they arrived at their golden years.
    
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Mutual funds -- the way to go

    Phyllis and Herman Newman of Dallas had done little planning for retirement until only a few years ago, when they realized that the two percent return their local bank paid was peanuts compared to what they could earn in mutual funds.
    "We were brought up in the Depression (Era) and a lot of people my age were not high risk takers when it came to finances," said Herman, 74.
    But when his wife Phyllis, 69, pointed out they could be making more money in funds, the two logged onto the Internet for information and began investing.
    "Put as much money as you can into mutual funds, which I'm sorry I didn't do a while ago," he said.
    Herman sticks with the basic tenet of long-term investing of holding onto his stocks. "I'm not a big buyer and seller," he said. "I'm a big buyer."
    When the couple isn't visiting grandkids in the Northeast, going to concerts or socializing, they both work full-time jobs. graphicShe coordinates seniors events at the local YWCA.
    "They're going to have to carry me out," said Herman, who retired twice but didn't enjoy it, so he went back to work.
    
Your own personal plan

    Peter Hilgarth, 62, an airplane mechanic in Houston, Texas, relied on his personal retirement portfolio after his employer, Pan American, went out of business in 1990. Because he was only 52 at the time, he was eligible to receive only 40 percent of his company pension.
    But thanks to a portfolio he began putting together 35 years ago, Hilgarth amassed more than $1.4 million investing in 115 stocks such as GE and Dupont.
    It all started when he bought 20 shares of Texas Gas Transmission, which today is owned by CSX. In 1965, he bought the stock for $20 to $30 a share.
    Knowing he has a retirement account intact gives Peter and his wife more free time to enjoy their puppet-making business, which takes them across the country selling their wares at craft shows.
    So Hilgarth suggests you create an individual plan for retirement -- either with stocks or mutual funds in addition to a company-sponsored retirement plan.
    "Don't ever rely on your company to provide you with retirement," he said. "Boy, was I right."
    
Teach your children well

    After delivering more than 5,000 babies during his career as an obstetrician, Kelly Burkhart, 70, was ready to relax during his retirement. And he knew early on that wouldn't be likely unless he started investing young.
    Burkhart passed on that advice to his son, Paul, by encouraging him to begin saving at age 16 by matching some of the dollars he put away, similar to a company-sponsored 401(k) plan.
    "Social Security isn't going to make a dent for them," he said. "So they've got to invest in themselves first."
    Introducing savings to Paul at an early age paid off, Burkhart said. Paul, 30, studied finance in college and actively manages his own retirement account.
    
Pay yourself first

    It's not selfish to think of yourself first when you receive your paycheck. That's what Charles Kastrenos, 71, of Foxboro, Mass., told himself each week as he saved 10 percent of his salary.
    Even when he received a raise, he would try to put that money away and continue to live on the same income.
    That plan worked well for his retirement years, which began at 65 after he left Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked as a researcher in the science department. Kastrenos also had an employer-sponsored 403(b) retirement plan, but that wasn't introduced at his company until 1980, when he was already 45 years old.
    But it was tough getting a jumpstart on retirement savings especially since financial information wasn't as prevalent as it is today. Kastrenos logs onto the Internet every day to read financial advice and investment news.
    He remembers the days of yore in 1952 when he first started working professionally: "The only information (about investing) we had in those days was to get friendly with your broker," he said. "There was no Morningstar," he added referring to the company that rates mutual funds.
    
Early bird gets the worm

    In 1956, Henry Jacoby, the Palm Springs, Calif. investor, would accompany a coworker to his broker's office during their lunch break to check his stock prices. As his interest heightened, Jacoby began asking questions and eventually invested $600 of his own.
    Today, Jacoby, who retired in 1985 as chemical engineer, is president of the Sun City Palm Desert mutual fund club that is educating other retirees on how to invest.
    "In my day, 30 years ago, it was not that prevalent for people to plan retirement," Jacoby said. "I was lucky I got into the financial stuff early." Back to top
    -- Click here to send email about this story to Staff Writer Jennifer Karchmer.

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.