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Mark Miller: Remaking Retirement

8 Steps to Wealth Protection for Aging Investors

A growing body of research suggests that our ability to make sound financial decisions declines sharply with age. Here's how you can make a plan to protect yourself--or an aging parent.

We've all received the pitch in the mail: Transfer your credit card balance to a new card at a lower interest rate. The catch: Payments on the new card will be applied first to the transferred balance; meanwhile, a higher interest rate is applied to new purchases--and payments are applied to that balance only after the transferred amount is paid off.

The solution is a no-brainer, right? Keep using your old card for new purchases until you've paid off the transferred balance on the new one. But research shows that cardholders of varying ages aren't equally proficient at figuring that out. One-third of cardholders will get it immediately--what researchers call the "eureka moment"--while another one-third never get it right.