Welcome to 2016! As I blog, snow is falling and will reach the “epic blizzard” proportion overnight. It brings to mind the topic of preparedness, and certainly fits with financial planning.

Just like having the right tools to weather any storm, being prepared for what may happen is 90% of what brings peace of mind.

PLANNING MEANS PREPARING

Are you the type to prepare early, or do you wait to the last minute? Are you a “belt and suspenders” type of planner, or do you like to fly by the seat of your pants?

 

With the largest portion of our population reaching retirement age – PEW Research states approximately 10,000 people will turn age 65 each day until 2030 – this age group is starting to really pay attention to Social Security.  

Baby boomers’ ages now range from 51 to 69.  And research also suggests that they don’t “feel “old.  So what does Social Security mean to them?  What do they really know about it?  And really, what does Retirement mean to you?  I define retirement as having choices: working if you want, but not necessarily depending on that income.  Rather, working for the fun of it, making a difference.  

There have been strategies suggested over the years for married couples who can take advantage of spousal benefits, filing and suspending, etc., however these don’t work for everyone. In fact, the best use of these strategies was for spouses that were only a few years apart in age. The government has recently closed these “unintended loopholes” effective 2016 for anyone who is age 62 or younger.

 

One of life’s most devastating events is the loss of a spouse. Understanding what you should do if you are found in that situation can make a lot of difference as you cope and move forward in your life.

Many couples delegate their roles in marriage, such as who manages the bill paying, housework, shopping, cleaning, repairs, gardening, and such.  But what happens when one half of that team is no longer there to help?

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, over 80% of widowed people over age 85 in the United States are women.  35% of the women aged over 65 are widows, and 46% of women aged 75+ are living alone.   Sadly, in the United States, over 48% of the poor elderly are widows. 

 

How do you find a financial advisor that is right for you?

I see many articles talking about how to choose the right professional to work with when it comes to financial matters. Let's face it, this is a very delicate area; one where you will need to feel very comfortable sharing personal information. And how about finding a financial advisor you can trust? You should be able to feel that you can trust the person that you're dealing with to provide you with the best information available according to your needs.

So how do you find this person, and what should you do to make sure he or she is the right advisor to help you reach your financial goals?

FINANCIAL ADVISOR CHARGES

First, let's talk about common terms associated with financial advisors. To start with, how do they charge for their services?

As my inaugural blog post, I am going to introduce myself through a passion that I share with not only many of my clients, but a good percentage of the general population: Golf.

I have been playing the game for more years than I care to admit, having started as a twenty-something, taking time off to raise kids and playing “vacation golf”, to resuming my passion with fervor in the last fifteen years. People who know me know I am a golf nut. And there are many parallels between golf and my just as enthusiastically chosen profession: Financial Advisor and Wealth Counselor. Let me explain.

Golf is a game of character and honesty. You can admit your mistakes, learn from them, and move on. It's really a game for an individual, although teams also play together. But it's you versus "the course." The tools are important also. You will play better and enjoy the experience more with clubs that are fitted to you and your game. Playing with borrowed clubs will create inconsistent results. This relates well to finance and investing. It’s about you, not an average, not your neighbor’s situation.

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