You’ve spent your entire career saving and planning for a long and happy retirement. You’re counting on your Social Security benefits to represent a significant portion of your assets upon retirement. The question is, when should you begin claiming Social Security in order to maximize your benefits? Let’s review some of the basic Social Security claiming strategies so you can take full advantage of your benefits.

In our previous article, we reviewed five tips that parents could teach kids on being ethically responsible with money. This week, we’ll continue our financial education discussion with how we can teach kids about budgeting and saving from an early age.  

How many of us wish we were taught more about money during our childhood? One of the best ways to help our kids avoid financial mistakes in the future is to teach them to manage money.

According to an EverFi, Inc recentsurvey, “More than a quarter of students believe they will be unprepared to manage their finances upon high school graduation. In addition, students surveyed demonstrated that they do not understand basic financial facts and concepts.” Teaching kids basic financial tasks like developing and sticking to a budget will result in strong habits that they can carry into the future. So, now the question is, what financial skills do you teach them? Well, it really depends on how old they are.

Truth, responsibility, respect, compassion and fairness tend to be the global understanding of the values we associate with ethics. But what about financial ethics? How do we teach our children to be ethically responsible with money?

Research shows that the best way to teach children morals and ethics is through example. From an early age, children observe their parents spending, saving and discussing money. They pick up on their parents’ views regarding money just by watching them.  

Last time, we discussed the various reasons affluent retirees are being overly cautious in spending their savings and fully enjoying their retirement life. Reasons ranged from concern over the financial stability of the US economy to emotional responses that prevent retirees from spending. All of them lean towards retirees not taking advantage of living life to the fullest at a period of their lives when they have both the time and resources to enjoy it.

Tips for Spending During Retirement

How do we address this? How do retirees overcome their fear of spending down their life-savings? We have a few tips that should help, so that you can relax and enjoy your well-deserved golden years without depleting your resources.

After years of being focused on managing personal finances to ensure they have the resources available during retirement to sustain their lifestyle, there is a new trend growing in America. Instead of kicking back and enjoying spending their life savings, affluent retirees are cutting back and being frugal.

A Vanguard study estimates that affluent retirees spend only 60 percent of the money they withdraw for retirement. They are spending the majority on routine expenses (mortgage, household transportation, etc.) or discretionary expenses (medical, entertainment, credit cards).

The last thing anyone wants to think about when dealing with the loss of a spouse is taxes. Coping with the loss of a loved one is stressful enough. Not knowing what to do regarding finances and taxes presents yet another burden. If you are newly widowed, there are a few questions you may have regarding finances and potential tax breaks.

How do I know if I can file as a qualified widow(er)?

Filing for qualifying widow(er) status provides you the same exemption as if you were filing married jointly. You can usually file as a qualifying widow(er) if you meet the following requirements:

Last time, we discussed the various adoption opportunities (private, international and foster care) along with the average cost associated with each. We also walked through the basic steps for adopting one of the 428,000 children currently in foster care. In this article, we will review the different financial assistance available for those adopting children in foster care.

Financial Adoption Resources

In addition to Federal and State financial assistance for children adopted from foster care, families may be able to access employer-provided adoption benefits, tax credits, and loans or grants to offset adoption expenses.

So, you’re thinking about adopting a child. We think that’s admirable. But while raising children can be rewarding, there are also many financial considerations. Adoption comes with its own set of financial challenges. For some people, the question becomes, how can they best provide for their child financially as well as emotionally?

The Cost of Adopting a Child

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway’s Planning for Adoption: Knowing the Costs and Resources, the average U.S. private agency adoption costs can range from $20,000 to $45,000, and international adoptions can average between $20,000 to $50,000. While both of those are great opportunities for some families if finances are planned accordingly, for others, the costs associated with the process can be disheartening. There is another option, however – adopting a child in foster care.

Summertime is the time when many of us think about vacations. But maybe you’re retired and vacations just haven’t lived up to your expectations. Is something missing? If so, you might want to consider a volunteer vacation.

It’s a testament to human compassion that so many retirees are choosing to use their vacation time to volunteer nationally and internationally. But these unique options are about more than that. Retirees aren’t just looking to sit back and relax on vacations these days. More and more retirees are opting to immerse themselves into local cultures and do something meaningful. And if planned correctly, volunteer vacations, like other forms of giving, can also mesh with a solid, retirement financial plan.  

Last week, we discussed two types of funds – lifestyle funds and lifecycle funds – that aim at simplifying investment strategies for individual investors who may be choosing their employer retirement plan investments with limited options, or just beginning to invest. Lifestyle funds blend stocks, bonds and other investments in order to maintain a consistent level of acceptable risk. Lifecycle funds on the other hand, focus on managing your investments towards a target end date. This week, we will look at whether or not these are options that will best help you meet your financial planning goals.

Do you find the idea of creating a plan for allocating your assets overwhelming? How about choosing a mutual fund? Or designing your investment portfolio? If you’re like many people, investing in your future can be confusing.  

Last week, we discussed various reasons why women are anxious about their financial security and stability as they approach retirement. Many women are unaware or are not taking full advantage of the opportunities available to them for planning and saving for their golden years. This week, we will review ways that women (and men) can improve their outlook for financial stability in retirement.

It’s fair to say that in the United States, women today are better educated and have more career opportunities than previous generations. However, even with those advancements, many women are still anxious about being financially secure upon their retirement. According to the Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey of American Workers, only 10 percent of women are “very confident” in their ability to fully retire with a comfortable lifestyle. In contrast to their male counterparts whose greatest financial priority is saving for retirement and building a large enough nest egg, women are focused on just getting by and covering their basic living expenses.

In Part I of this series, we provided a basic definition of deferred compensation plans and introduced questions to ask your financial advisor.

We said a deferred compensation plan is one in which a portion of an employee's pay is held until a specified date, usually (though not always) retirement. A deferred compensation plan:

Get New Posts Emailed to You!
*required
 

Finance Made Simple

Contact Wood Smith Advisors

(703) 753-8222

Email