Retirement

  • There seems to be a myth floating around in the world of personal finance about retirement planning. Many finance professionals, and individuals who choose to DIY their finances, focus exclusively on developing a retirement plan that centers on savings - how much to save, what accounts to use for savings, and how to allocate your savings for maximum return.

  • Many older adults will require long-term care at some point during their lives. Long-term care is defined as requiring assistance with at least two “activities of daily living” (eating, bathing, toileting, dressing, continence or transferring from a bed to a chair) that lasts at least 90 days, or a need for substantial assistance due to severe cognitive impairment. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “more than 6 million older Americans are thought to have a high need for long-term care. Yet fewer than 10 percent of older adults have purchased long-term care insurance because it’s expensive.” So how do you get long-term care without breaking the bank?

  • 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 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.

  • Social Security is not a program intended to replace your full retirement income, but in many cases, it can give you and your spouse a foothold on economic security as you grow older. In May of 2016, Social Security changed many of the rules for collecting your benefits. However, there are still ways to maximize your financial security from the time you retire through the end of your life.

  • 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.

  • Most people will agree that retirement funds aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days of working at one company for 30 years, getting the gold watch and retiring on a cushy pension. Now it’s primarily up to you, the employee, to save for your later years, which can prove challenging. Fortunately, there are many different ways to save money for retirement. Here are 3 popular options.

  • Last week, we discussed various types of popular retirement accounts. This week, we tackle more as a way for you to compare and contrast what’s out there and how each plan could potentially make your golden years comfortable and enjoyable. Here are three more popular types of retirement accounts for you to consider. 

    401(k), 403(b), TSP

    These examples of employer-offered retirement savings accounts are the accounts most people are already familiar with. These are called “defined contribution plans,” and they are primarily funded by you.  Most employers allow you to withhold some of your paycheck and stash it away in one of these accounts, and many employers offer to match some of the savings. These accounts provide for investment options that you choose, with the idea of growing the account beyond what has been put into it. If you leave your job, you can roll over your account contributions into a new 401(k) or 403(b), or you can roll them over into an IRA. In some cases, the employer match must be “vested” over time and may be lost if the time period is not met. What’s the difference between these types of accounts? 401(k)s are usually offered by for-profit companies, while most nonprofit companies use a 403(b), including schools, hospitals, and some governments. Some employers are also offering a Roth 401(k) option, which provides for deferral of after-tax salary and grows tax-free. The TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) is offered by the federal government to its employees, including the military. 2016 contributions allowed are $18,000 ($24,000 over age 50).

  • Congratulations! You’re an executive and you now qualify for deferred compensation plans. But what does that mean?

    You might have heard the term “deferred compensation plan” before. If not, you might be more familiar with the idea than the term, so this definition might ring some bells when you put it in context: 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.

  • Let’s face it – as we age, maintaining our health comes more into focus. And even if we stay healthy in our golden years, insurance premiums will continue to rise. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for rising healthcare costs as you prepare to look at the full picture of your retirement budget and what you need to save now.

  • Living debt free sounds like a dream come true to most of us. Once upon a time, retirees paid off their mortgages and held mortgage burning rituals upon retirement. But times are changing and pension plans, health insurance for retirees and gold watches are becoming relics of the past.

    Retirees today have a much different financial picture. Many retirements are funded by 401k plans with minimal employer contributions, Traditional and Roth IRAs and other self-funded retirement plans. This means planning for retirement looks much different than it did 30 years ago, and the answer to whether or not you should pay off your house upon retirement is not so cut and dry.

  • Life transitions can be complicated, which is why we decided to write a series on how they affect finances and financial planning. This series will look at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. Each one is a process, with specific strategies that have been used to make the transitions a success.

    Retiring is a major life event. There is no one path to follow in order to ensure a perfect retirement. However, planning and focus have been shown to make a difference when preparing for and entering such a challenging transition.

  • We scrimp and save (ideally) every day of our working lives to lead up to a pivotal event: retirement. But once you reach retirement, your first thought might not be “Hurray!” It might be, “Now what?”

    There are so many positives to retirement, many of which are financial, but many of which are not. If you’re nearing retirement or if you are just trying to set some goals, here are some benefits to retirement that warrant your consideration.

  • Purchasing a new home at any stage in life brings up various financial considerations and opportunities, but for retirees considering buying a home, there are some extra things to think about.

  • Go onto the IRS website or any financial planning site and start looking up retirement plans. Assuming you don’t work in investing or human resources, we can almost guarantee you will be tilting your head and asking, “What the…?” by the time you hit the second or third paragraph. No, it’s not just you. The way this information is presented is daunting at best.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Are you planning out your retirement strategy but are puzzled about required minimum distributions (RMDs) and what they mean for you? If so, the good news is you’re not alone. The bad news is that failure to set a proper RMD withdrawal strategy can result in significant tax penalties.

    RMDs are annual distributions required from a tax-deferred retirement account once you reach the age of 70 ½ years old. (Note that you can take withdrawals of any amount without penalty once you reach age 59 ½.)  They are also required if you inherit an IRA or 401(k) type account at any age. Distributions are subject to income tax, since they were saved “tax-deferred” during your working years. A key component of your retirement planning is taking required minimum distributions from your retirement accounts. But there are rules that govern when you must start taking withdrawals and the minimum amount you must withdraw from specific retirement accounts. Below are some tips you should know about RMDs:

  • 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).

  • 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.

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