Financial Planning

Hello Reader, Let's Talk

New features are on the way that will make us even more useful.

This is my first issue as the new editor. But I’m not new around here. I started working at Kiplinger nearly 38 years ago, when I was a freshly minted college graduate looking for a job at a magazine. I’ve had a number of titles—copy editor, managing editor, editor of Kiplinger.com, and senior editor in charge of the Money and Living sections (and just before that, the car writer, a gig I still miss).

I bring up my Kiplinger bona fides because in many ways I feel as if I already know you. For decades, I have been writing and editing and assigning stories, studying reader demographics, and digesting the results of reader surveys to see which articles are most popular.

One of the first things I did as editor was call a staff meeting to reintroduce you, the reader, to our writers, editors and reporters. More than two-thirds of you are male—that hasn’t changed much over the years—but you have been getting older and wealthier, and it’s a good bet that you’re a little thicker around the middle (hmm, a lot like me). And it probably won’t surprise you that retirement stories and articles that focus on dividends and income score highest in our monthly surveys.

True to Kiplinger’s focus on reader service, I promise to continue to deliver the best stories—the most actionable, accurate and trusted—among all publications today that focus on personal finances. As my predecessor, Janet Bodnar, wrote last month, “Kiplinger is noteworthy as a haven for experienced journalists who want to produce serious stories to help real people deal with complex financial issues.” (Janet will continue to write her Money Smart Women column every month.) At the same time, I plan to introduce a few changes that I hope will make the magazine more timely and more relevant to a broader audience.

Challenges and opportunities. The internet has rocked the print world. Print ads are down and what we charge for a year’s subscription doesn’t pay the steep cost of printing and mailing—in fact, a new subscription to Kiplinger’s, at a dollar an issue, is exactly the same as it was almost 40 years ago (adjusted for inflation, that’s $34). Even so, the Kiplinger family has continued to pledge support for our print as well as digital publications.

The internet, and our fine website, Kiplinger.com, are great for research and breaking news and keeping up with social media. But the internet has its quirks, including flashing ads and auto-start videos and a blurred line between trusted information and content from suspect sources. And I’m guessing that, much like me, you still love to read a magazine you can hold in your hands. So the magazine staff and I have been brainstorming what will make the time you spend with each issue more enjoyable as well as useful. A couple of our efforts appear in this issue: more tables and graphics (check out our cover story on making your money last in retirement), and addressing events in the headlines that affect your finances (see Employer Insurance Unfazed by Health Care Battle for our take on the health care mess).

We also want to hear from you more. To that end, we’re introducing a new feature called Crowdsourcing, in which we ask you to answer a question to share with other readers.

For future issues, we’re contemplating new features and tweaks that will make Kiplinger’s more accessible to new generations of readers: a column that explores money basics and a column aimed at millennials. We’re also working on a podcast so you can listen to our editors while you’re on the go.

Above all, I’d love to have more conversations with you. Please feel free to drop me a note and let me know what’s on your mind.

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