Tag Archives: retirement


Having Realistic Retirement Expectations

Have you given much thought to what will happen once you’re no longer working? What pastimes or activities would you want to engage in? Will you enjoy finally being free of having to go to work every day or are you going to miss having the sense of purpose associated with full-time employment? 

Your overall happiness, wellbeing, and financial status are key points to think about at a time like this, and the tips below will go a long way in helping you set realistic expectations for this time of your life. 

  1. Don’t Assume that you’ll be Happy to Stop Working

Although everyone looks forward to the day they’ll be able to retire to some degree, not everyone is fully prepared for when they’ll wake up every day and not have to go to the office anymore. Several individuals work for many years, and suddenly having to give that up can leave them feeling empty or unfulfilled.

If you don’t stop to think about how you’ll deal with these feelings as they arise, you could find retirement to not be as enjoyable as you thought it would be. To deal with this, allow some time to think about these negative feelings and find ways to address them. For instance, if you were an accountant, consider providing your services to one or two of your existing clients each month. Over time, this will benefit you and your employer. 

  1. Know what you want from your Retirement

You need to spend a bit of time thinking about how you want your life to be after you stop working. Do you just want to relax at home or would you prefer to travel the country – or even visit other countries for part of the year? 

Knowing how you intend to spend your time is a crucial step in the retirement process, and being realistic about your financial situation, overall health and other mitigating factors will help you decide how much needs to be saved and invested beforehand to make your dreams come true. 

Keep in mind that it’s also quite normal for your retirement goals to change over time and as such, your savings and investment plans may need to be adjusted accordingly from time to time. 

  1. Get Started with Saving Now

Younger people seldom take the time to think about the amount of money they’ll need to retire, and when they do, they often make the mistake of thinking about the current cost of living – and forget to take inflation into account. When looking at how things have changed over the past decade or two, it’s safe to say that the level of inflation being experienced at the moment looks set to continue for quite a while longer. 

When planning your retirement savings, ensure that inflation is being accounted for; otherwise, you could find yourself struggling financially once you’re no longer working. Setting realistic expectations about your retirement right from the beginning will make this time of your life a lot easier to deal with. If you’d like to learn more about saving towards retirement, contact us today. 

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2021 money

Make 2021 your Best Financial Year Yet

If you haven’t been able to accomplish any of your personal finance-related resolutions or goals this year, don’t feel alone. No one would have been able to predict how COVID19 and its accompanying chaos would affect the economy as a whole. 

Although your specific financial plans will depend on your family and current circumstances with regards to income and employment, there’s no reason why you won’t be able to make 2021 your best financial year yet. Below are a few ways in which you can help make this happen for you and your family. 

  1. A Budget is Crucial

Although virtually everyone knows that a budget is essential if you want to make the most of your finances, several individuals don’t know how to use this tool effectively. A budget is not simply something that should be written down and then promptly forgotten – it needs to be amended as your financial circumstances change from time to time. 

When creating a budget, you will need to know exactly how much income is being received and the full amount of all of the expenses that need to be covered each month. In addition, you’ll need to think about any additional financial goals that you’d like to achieve during the year. For instance, you may want to save up to earn that college degree you’ve always dreamed about or you may even want to spoil your family with that long-awaited overseas vacation once the pandemic is over. 

After creating your budget, you’ll need to check that your income exceeds the amount of expenses that must be covered. If this isn’t the case, cuts will have to be made somewhere to rectify this.

  1. Consider a Side Gig

These days, there are more opportunities available than ever before for anyone who wants to earn a little extra cash during their spare time. A few examples can include delivering groceries and/or transporting passengers through the Uber/Lyft platforms. Putting some of your spare time to good use by earning a little extra cash could make all the difference between being able to meet your financial obligations or not. 

  1. Eliminate Consumer Debt

Unfortunately, a number of households saw their consumer debt levels escalating during 2020 due to job losses and reduced income levels. This put a severe strain on the budgets of several families. 

2021 provides you with an ideal opportunity to do everything possible to reduce or even eliminate as much of this debt as you can and some of the best ways to do this include reducing luxury expenses and doing everything you can to earn additional income that can be put towards debt payments. 

Once you have a solid financial plan in place to ensure that monthly expenses are covered comfortably, it’s time to start considering the possibility of saving and/or investing towards long-term future goals such as retirement. Contact our team today if you would like to learn more about ensuring that you’ll be able to provide your family with a secure financial future. 

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Why you should Check your Social Security Earnings Record Regularly

Not nearly enough individuals are aware that they should be checking their Social Security earnings record at least once a year after reaching the age of 50. It’s crucial to check this information to ensure that it doesn’t contain any errors that could have a negative effect on your benefit payments when the time comes to withdraw them. Even the smallest error could have a tremendous impact on your retirement

What is your Social Security Earnings Record?

Your Social Security Earnings Record is a timeline of any income you’ve received during the years that you’ve been working, and the benefits you eventually receive will be based off of the 35 years in which you earned the most money. If one of those years is mistakenly listed as a zero earning year, this will affect your benefit calculations and this will in turn cause you to receive smaller benefit checks than you should. 

A simple error like this could result in you receiving as much as $100 a month less than you’re actually entitled to – and this can make the difference between barely surviving or at least being able to cover your expenses comfortably during retirement. 

When you should Start Checking

In reality, it’s never too early to start checking your Social Security earnings report – so you can even start keeping records as soon as you start earning an income. However, individuals who haven’t yet checked their report should at least start doing so when reaching the age of 50. This will provide enough time to address and correct any errors that may crop up. 

It’s possible to inspect your earnings report online by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. You will need to create an account if you don’t already have one set up and you’ll be able to log in at any time after doing this. 

Keep in mind that a statute of limitations is in place with regards to the amount of time that can pass before any errors on your Social Security earnings report can be amended, and this is currently three years, three months and 15 days. Some exceptions to this ruling include deliberately fraudulent entries, clerical and/or mechanical errors. 

What to do if Errors are Detected

If you discover any incorrect information, you will need to inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) immediately, and the best way to do this is by submitting a form referred to as the, “Request for Correction of Earnings Record.” 

When filling this form out, you will be required to provide relevant evidence with regards to the wages that you’ve earned. Examples of paperwork that you may be asked to provide can include:

  • Wage verification from an SSA-approved business or company
  • Tax return documents
  • Employee-issued or original pay stubs – these will need to include your full name, gross earnings, social security number and the timeframe covered
  • W-2 paperwork
  • Written and or/verbal statement from the relevant employer or company

It’s essential that you respond as promptly as possible to any correspondence that the SSA may send to you regarding errors that have been detected. This will help ensure that they are rectified as quickly as possible. Although an amount of $100 may not seem like a lot right now, it could make all the difference between being able to cover living expenses or not during retirement. 

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retirement challenge

How Retirement is Becoming More Challenging for Older Employees

Over the past few years, it has become more challenging than ever before for employees over the age of 55 to secure positions that are within their normal pay ranges – regardless of how experienced or qualified they may be. Some of the most common remarks these individuals hear include the fact that they are overqualified for the position being applied for or that businesses cannot afford to pay them the wages they are used to earning. 

Forced to Accept Smaller Paychecks

The sad reality is that older employees are usually among the first to be laid off from the very companies where they have invested many years of their working careers. When they are searching for a new job, it often takes several months or even a year or two before they’re able to find any company that will be willing to employ them – but in the meantime, bills still need to be paid regularly. 

Skipped mortgage payments, overdue utility bills and depleted retirement savings cause a number of these experienced and often highly qualified employees to grab at any position that comes available – just so they can continue providing for their families. 

By the time they’ve reached 55, several employees have not only become accustomed to a specific lifestyle; many people forget that these individuals often still have children living at home as well. 

More Older Employees Now than Ever Before

More individuals than ever before that are over 55 are employed these days, and the average jobless rate for them is just over 3% in comparison to almost 4% of the rest of the working population. However, upon finding themselves suddenly jobless, older workers end up remaining unemployed for longer than their younger counterparts. 

Upon reaching 60 and older, employees also have to deal with steadily declining wages – and pay rates continue declining regardless of the amount of experience or education these valuable employees have. 

Why Individuals are Working Longer

People are living a lot longer and staying healthier than ever before, and the rate of standard pension plans is also phasing out quickly. This means that there is less chance of them receiving guaranteed income when the time comes for them to retire – resulting in many older persons wanting to continue working for as long as possible. 

This could fill the large gap in the economy in that the continual labor shortage could be virtually eliminated by hiring older employees. However, not many companies seem willing to hire these valuable employees because they tend to think that productivity rates will decrease when they reach a certain age. However, this is not always the case – there have been many instances where older employees have far outperformed those that are even half their age. 

Employers often forget that older workers possess extensive experience and this can prove to be extremely valuable in a number of situations – especially when younger employees simply don’t possess the knowledge or experience to resolve a specific issue. 

If you would like to find out how you can do everything possible to provide a livable income during your retirement, get in touch with us today.

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Retirement may Last Longer than you Realize

By 2050, it’s estimated that close to 100 million Americans will be over the age of 65 – this is close to double the amount of older folk that are currently around. This will have severe implications on almost everything – from the amount of food that’s available to find skilled labor to allocating sufficient funds to provide a realistic level of healthcare for an aging population. 

A Social Shift has Taken Place

Doctors who were practicing in the 19th Century recommended that as individuals got older, it was necessary for them to slow down so that they could conserve their energy. However, several people started to live a lot longer after 1900, resulting in an increase in senior citizens overall. 

Over time, this caused business, industry, and government agencies to look for ways to justify removing older individuals from the workforce so that younger employees could be accommodated. Even though individuals are now healthier and living to older ages than ever, society, in general, appears to be doing everything possible to write off up to a quarter of the lifespan of anyone who is over the age of 65. 

A Prospective Goldmine for Marketers

A number of lawmakers and have voiced concern with regards to the fact that having higher numbers of senior citizens obtaining public benefits would negatively affect the economy. However, new research has suggested that the number of people that are now living to older ages than ever could actually present the economy with a potential marketing goldmine – in fact, goods and services that have been specifically tailored for the senior market are now worth more than $9 trillion a year. 

Planning Accordingly is Crucial

While several older people do have a definite plan in place with regards to how they would like to spend their golden years, it’s essential to remember that you will need a reasonable amount of money to live on – regardless of what those plans may involve. Continually rising inflation and the overall cost of living means that you will not be able to rely entirely on Social Security benefits upon retirement. 

If you’re fortunate enough to still be in your 20s, 30s or 40s, you may think there’s still ‘more than enough time’ to start saving, investing or setting funds aside that will help you survive during retirement. While time may still be on your side, starting to save money as soon as possible will allow you to set aside a smaller amount each month because of compounding interest

Our experienced and accredited financial planners can provide you with a lot of information about saving and investing in such a way that you’ll be able to enjoy your retirement and not have to worry about finances along the way. If you’d like to establish a savings plan that will cater for your needs during retirement, contact us to set up an appointment with one of our financial planners today. We look forward to helping you secure your financial future.

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Make those Financial New Year’s Resolutions Now

Regardless of whether you’ve started to put a dedicated financial plan into place or not, it’s possible to get on track with this at virtually any age while you and your spouse are still earning an income. Below are a few financial New Year’s resolutions that you should consider making – and sticking to – when 2021 rolls around. 

  1. Set up an Appointment with a Financial Planner

If you’ve never worked with a financial planner yet, enlisting the help of one who is reputable should be your first priority as soon as the New Year starts – the sooner you can make that first appointment and keep it, the better. 

Getting your financial affairs in order can be daunting, especially if you have no idea where to start. You’ll need the services of a professional, especially where taxes, investing and other forms of saving are concerned. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense at first, you’ll certainly be glad you hired a professional – especially if you’ve never dealt with these aspects before.

  1. Set Up Retirement Savings Accounts

If you don’t have an IRA or 401(k) set up with your employer, now is the time to gather everything you’ll need to do so – your financial planner will be more than happy to assist you here. 

A 401(k) and/or IRA are among the best and easiest ways to start saving for your retirement, and the sooner these are set up, the better. Keep in mind that contributions to these accounts are pre-tax, so you probably won’t notice the small deduction being made from your wages at the time. However, you’ll certainly notice the lump sum of money that has accumulated by the time you’re ready to retire though.

  1. Pay Debts Off

One of your ultimate goals should be to remain free from consumer debt as far as possible. 

Many individuals don’t prioritize repaying consumer debts because they think they’ll still have a good few years left to do so. However, the quicker consumer debts are repaid, the more money you’ll save on interest and finance charges as the years go by – money that can rather be put into some form of savings instead.

  1. Look for Ways to Save Extra Cash

After setting up retirement, savings and/or investment accounts, many individuals quickly discover that they aren’t setting aside as much money as they’d hoped. If you find that this applies to you, it’s time to start looking for practical ways to trim your budget or increase your income as soon as possible. 

Some options for cutting spending can include switching to more affordable internet service providers, cell service companies and even eliminating physical newspaper subscription services – many news sites offer greatly reduced options for viewing their content online instead. 

While everyone dreams of becoming financially secure, this will only happen if you take the necessary steps to start saving and investing as soon as possible. If you’d like to learn more about making your money work for you, contact us today. 

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adult kids retirement

Don’t Let Adult Kids Destroy your Retirement

Research has revealed that nearly 70% of parents older than 50 have provided their adult kids with some form of financial assistance over the past few years, with amounts for this assistance totaling an average of just over $7,000 per year. If invested or saved in a tax-deferred account that provides an annual return of just 6%, this could amount to as much as $100,000 extra that these parents could have saved for their retirement years. 

Here are a few practical ways in which parents can offer help and support to their kids:

Ensure that they Trim their Budgets

If there’s a genuine reason for your adult kids to not be fully supporting themselves financially yet, lending a hand to cover aspects such as utility bills or rent is quite acceptable – for example, if your adult kids are doing everything they can, but still aren’t able to make ends meet due to a low paying job.

Funding a lavish lifestyle, paying rent on a costly apartment or condo or enabling your adult kids to pay for fancy restaurant meals will not help them learn to support themselves over time.

Establish a Practical System

More than 65% of parents have provided financial assistance to their adult kids at some point to help cover the cost of a utility bill or an unexpected emergency expense. However, an alternative approach is also recommended.

Start by determining ahead of time how much your adult child will require to supplement his or her existing income and then set up automatic transfers to them totaling the amount needed. After a few months, it’s recommended that you review this arrangement and consider reducing the amount systematically until you reach a mutually agreed upon timeline for stopping your financial support. 

Establishing an arrangement like this will mimic the situation of receiving a steady paycheck. However, there may still be instances where genuine emergencies will arise, such as dealing with unexpected vehicle repairs. If cases like this occur, don’t feel bad about stepping in and providing your adult child with the amount of financial assistance you can comfortably afford. 

Become your Child’s Financial Advisor instead of their Provider

When it’s time to stop providing your adult child with financial help, it doesn’t mean that you should stop giving them appropriate financial advice. Information you should provide them with can involve teaching them how to budget effectively, how to choose the right healthcare plan to suit their finances and how to opt into the best 401(k) plan to prepare for retirement. 

Another option you can use to provide adult kids with financial guidance and advice is to introduce them to the numerous budgeting apps that are available these days, such as Mint and Digit. It’s also recommended that they be informed about the various financial blogs that can be accessed, as this will provide them with valuable information regarding financial responsibility and security. 

If you would like to learn more about securing your retirement nest egg and preventing it from being eroded by your adult kids over time, contact our financial advisors today. 

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working and retirement

Getting into the Right Retirement Mindset throughout your Career

While most individuals in their early and late 20s think that their retirement years will take ‘forever’ to arrive, the truth is that this time of your life will arrive far sooner than you realize. The main secret to creating a good-sized retirement account is to start saving as quickly as possible after you start working. 

Getting into the right mindset regarding retirement savings and taking the appropriate action will help ensure that you get to enjoy this time of your life without worrying about money – regardless of how old you currently are. 

  1. Your 20s

This is the time to take full advantage of any 401(k) matching programs your company may be offering, and if you enroll in a program like this before reaching the age of 25, it will significantly reduce the amount of money you’ll need to save on your own than if you waited until reaching your 30s and older. 

Studies have revealed that if you’re able to increase your income by just $5,000 per year in your 20s, it could enable you to accumulate an additional $500,000 during your working life. Just saving 10% of this additional income would see your retirement account grow by a minimum of $50,000. 

  1. Your 30s

One of the best things you can do to prepare financially for your retirement during this time of your life is to stop accruing consumer debt. Wherever possible, pay cash for anything you purchase and direct any bonuses, tax refunds or overtime income towards getting debt repaid as quickly as possible. 

Although there is nothing wrong with splurging on a treat occasionally, money should only be spent if it won’t cause you to go into deeper debt. 

  1. Your 40s

This is the time to make sure that you become as indispensable as possible to your employer, and one of the best ways to do this is to improve your existing skillset. Consider taking additional training courses that will help you to perform better in the workplace – this could even lead to you being given unexpected raises over time, which could then be invested as well. 

  1. Your 50s

At this time in your career, you should consider catching up on retirement savings wherever possible – especially if you weren’t able to contribute to any dedicated plans earlier in your career. By now, the vast majority of your debt should also have been cleared – including your mortgage and any student loans that may have still been looming. 

The extra cash that would previously have been used to repay the debt should now be channeled into your retirement accounts wherever possible. In addition to a 401(k), you should set up a Roth account – this will enable you to save a larger, tax-free amount of money towards your retirement every year. 

The main aspect that will ensure a comfortable retirement is to make it as easy as possible to save money throughout your working life. Sticking to a realistic budget and not spending frivolously on unnecessary items will allow you to retire without having to worry about finances. If you’d like to learn more about saving towards your retirement, contact us today.

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Stress Free Retirement

Ensure your Retirement is as Financially Stress-free as Possible

A number of individuals simply don’t give much thought to retirement – until such time as they realize that they will be entering this time of their lives within just a few years. However, if the right amount of planning and thought is put in early enough, your golden years could end up being some of the most enjoyable and financially stress-free times of your life. The tips below will help you get started on this important journey.

  1. Get as Much Debt as Possible Paid Off Now

Most people who retire will not have as much disposable income available to last from one month to the next. As such, now is the time to eliminate as much of your debt as possible.

Repaying as much debt as possible won’t only save on interest and bank charges; it will allow you to free up more of your current income so that you’ll be able to get by easier once you’re no longer working. Another advantage of repaying debt while you’re still employed is that you won’t have to worry about struggling to repay it when you’re living on a lower income. 

  1. Save as Much Money as Possible 

Regardless of whether you’re in your 20s and just starting out in your career or you’re closer to retirement age, saving for your future is essential. A number of surveys undertaken over the years have revealed that as much as three-quarters of employees have less than $30,000 set aside in savings towards retirement – definitely not enough to survive on. 

The sooner you start saving, the less you’ll have to set aside each month for this time of your life – thanks to the wonder of compounding interest. If you’re still in your 20s, you’ll usually be able to save between 10% and 15% of current income. However, if you only start savings in your 40s, you’ll have to sacrifice as much as 50% of your current income so that you can survive your golden years. 

  1. Spend Carefully

Although your retirement is supposed to be about enjoying yourself, it doesn’t mean that you should go and spend frivolously on costly vacations or other unnecessary items – unless you’re 100% confident that you can afford to. 

If you’ll still be paying off your mortgage after retiring, it’s crucial to ensure that you won’t be paying a penny more than 20% of your retirement income each month on it. Whenever spending money after retirement, don’t be afraid to ask if any senior citizen discounts are available – it never hurts to ask. In some cases, you could have as much as 50% shaved off the original price of an item or service. 

Planning ahead for your retirement years will help ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy yourself as much as you can without constantly having to worry about finances. If you’d like to ensure that you’ll be able to retire as financially comfortable as possible, contact our investors today.

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older person working

Why Individuals are Retiring Later than Ever Before

These days, reaching the age of 60 or 65 doesn’t automatically mean that an individual will retire from work. In fact, several people are now waiting longer than ever before or in more serious cases, have to continue working indefinitely in order to survive. Below are some reasons why employees are retiring at later ages than previous generations.

Waiting for Larger Social Security Payouts

Although it’s possible to officially retire at the age of 62, individuals who do this will receive smaller payments from Social Security than those who are willing to wait until reaching 65 – or even older. It’s a known fact that those who retire early can receive payments that are as much as 30% lower than those received by older individuals, and there may also be restrictions with regards to other forms of income as well.

Longer Life Expectancies 

Twenty to thirty years ago, a sense of urgency existed for individuals to retire when reaching the age of 65 or even sooner. However, this is not so common anymore because many people are living longer than they did previously – while also enjoying a better quality of health in general. This means that many employees can now easily stop working when reaching the age of 70 or more and still be able to enjoy a decade or two of leisure time.

They want to Remain Active

More individuals than ever are realizing that there are a number of benefits associated with remaining physically and mentally active. For example, several studies have revealed that regular mental stimulation can delay or even prevent the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s. This means that anyone working in fields where cognitive thinking skills are needed will significantly reduce their risk of developing conditions such as these. 

Exercising the body regularly has many benefits as well, such as reducing the chances of developing conditions like arthritis, heart disease and obesity.

Retirement Accounts have been Lost

Delaying retirement is often an extreme necessity for some individuals. For instance, when markets crashed and the housing crisis occurred a few years ago, several people saw their life savings and/or retirement accounts dwindle away to virtually nothing. Although many of these employees have been working hard since then, chances are that they won’t have enough money to retire unless they are willing to work a few extra years.

Healthcare Benefits are Essential

Senior citizens who are still in good health are often dismayed to discover that their Medicare benefits will not be able to cover all of their health-related expenses. As such, those who require these benefits might have to work a few extra years so that they can make use of the health savings accounts and/or medical plans being provided by their employers. This is especially true in cases where specific medications that require high Medicare co-payments are concerned.

If you think that you may not have enough money to retire or you’d like to learn more about making better investment-related choices, contact our team for assistance today. 

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