Making Your Money Last

Kiplinger's Editor Janet Bodnar Passes the Torch

You won’t find a better source of financial advice than Kiplinger’s.

Not long ago, I was honored by Folio, a magazine publishing organization, as one of its top women in media for 2017. When I received the award, I was asked to respond to this question: “What was your greatest challenge over the past year?” “That’s easy,” I said. “As the editor of a print publication in the current media market, my greatest challenge was continuing to have a magazine to publish.”

And my greatest achievement? I’m still here—and so is Kiplinger’s. That is an even bigger accomplishment when you consider it was the same challenge I faced when I took over as editor eight years ago. As I wrote in my first editor’s column: “With the publishing world in crisis, some periodicals have dropped their print publications altogether. ... But we [at Kiplinger] like making a magazine that you can hold in your hands. It’s portable, lighter than a laptop, doesn’t have to be hefted out of its case when you go through airport security and never runs out of juice.” After eight years on the job, I can also tell you that producing a magazine that’s so useful to readers is satisfying, rewarding and just plain fun.

So in this, my final column as editor, I’m happy that I can—quite literally—hand over this magazine to my successor, Mark Solheim. And I’d like to say thanks to the Kiplinger family for hanging in there, as well as thanks to our stellar staff and loyal readers.

In Mark, you will have an experienced steward of the Kiplinger brand. As senior editor in charge of our Money and Living sections, he has supervised our coverage of a wide range of topics, including retirement, taxes, college, banking and credit. And he will continue to be supported by a crackerjack team.

In 2009, I also wrote that “we have the most experienced, most knowledgeable staff of personal finance journalists” you’ll find anywhere. That’s even truer today. As I said at the Folio luncheon, with all of the carnage that has decimated our industry, Kiplinger is noteworthy as a haven for experienced journalists who want to produce serious stories to help real people deal with complex financial issues.

I can say without reservation that you won’t find a better source of financial advice than the magazine and Kiplinger.com. In today’s hyper-partisan world of fake news, 30-second sound bites and shrieking headlines, Kiplinger’s stands for trustworthy advice impartially delivered, and that tradition of civility will continue.

A new role. Although I’m retiring as editor, I’m going to continue my association with Kiplinger as editor-at-large. Taking a page from the late Jane Bennett Clark’s stories on phased retirement, I will write the “Money Smart Women” column I introduced last year. In that first column, I noted that financial products are gender-neutral, but women often use them in different ways than men because women take a different approach or find themselves in different circumstances. For example, because women have statistically longer life expectancies than men, they tend to have special concerns when they’re on the brink of retirement—as I learned when contemplating my own retirement.

What I’ve also learned over the past year is that the gap between men and women is more wide-ranging than I thought, encompassing everything from how they invest to how they plan their careers to how they give to charity. Neither way of thinking is right or wrong, good or bad—they’re just different. And both sexes have a lot to learn from each other. As I’ve said, men and women working together on their finances make a socko combination, and we want to make sure that each partner feels comfortable with the challenge.

Follow Janet’s updates at www.twitter.com/janetbodnar.

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