Three Key Questions to Answer Before Taking Social Security

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, taxes | 0 comments

When to start? Should I continue to work? How can I maximize my benefit?   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Social Security will be a critical component of your financial strategy in retirement, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source. When to Start? The Social Security Administration gives citizens a choice on when they decide to start to receive their Social Security benefit. You can: * Start benefits at age 62. * Claim them at your full retirement age. * Delay payments until age 70. If you claim early, you can expect to receive a monthly benefit that will be lower than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until age 70, you can expect to receive an even higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you had begun taking payments at your full retirement age. When researching what timing is best for you, it’s important to remember that many of the calculations the Social Security Administration uses are based on average life expectancy. If you live to the average life expectancy, you’ll eventually receive your full lifetime benefits. In actual practice, it’s not quite that straightforward. If you happen to live beyond the average life expectancy, and you delay taking benefits, you could end up receiving more money. The decision of when to begin taking benefits may hinge on whether you need the income now or if you can wait, and additionally, whether you think your lifespan will be shorter or longer than the average American.1,2 Should I Continue to Work? Besides providing you with income and personal satisfaction, spending a few more years in the workforce may help you to increase your retirement benefits. How? Social Security calculates your benefits using a formula based on your 35 highest-earning years. As your highest-earning years may come later in life, spending a few more years at the apex of your career might be a plus in the calculation. If you begin taking benefits prior to your full retirement age and continue to work, however, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the prevailing annual limit ($17,640 in 2018). If you work during the year in which you attain full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over a different annual limit ($45,360 in 2018) until the month you reach full retirement age. After you attain your full retirement age, earned income no longer reduces benefit payments.2,3 How Can I Maximize My Benefit? The easiest way to maximize your monthly Social...

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The Cost of Procrastination

Posted by on Apr 21, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, estate planning, family finances, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, taxes | 0 comments

Don’t let procrastination keep you from pursuing your financial goals.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Some of us share a common experience. You’re driving along when a police cruiser pulls up behind you with its lights flashing. You pull over, the officer gets out, and your heart drops. “Are you aware the registration on your car has expired?” You’d been meaning to take care of it for some time. For weeks, you had told yourself that you’d go to renew your registration tomorrow, and then, when the morning comes, you repeat it again. Procrastination is avoiding a task that needs to be done – postponing until tomorrow what could be done, today. Procrastinators can sabotage themselves. They often put obstacles in their own path. They may choose paths that hurt their performance. Though Mark Twain famously quipped, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” We know that procrastination can be detrimental, both in our personal and professional lives. From the college paper that gets put off to the end of the semester to that important sales presentation that waits until the end of the week for the attention it deserves, we’ve all procrastinated on something. Problems with procrastination in the business world have led to a sizable industry in books, articles, workshops, videos, and other products created to deal with the issue. There are a number of theories about why people procrastinate, but whatever the psychology behind it, procrastination may, potentially, cost money – particularly, when investments and financial decisions are put off. As the example below shows, putting off investing may put off potential returns. Early Bird. Let’s look at the case of Cindy and Charlie, who each invest a hypothetical $10,000 to start. One of them begins immediately, but the other puts investing off. Charlie begins depositing $10,000 a year in an account that earns a hypothetical 6% rate of return. Then, after 10 years, he stops making deposits. His invested assets, however, are free to keep growing and compounding. While Charlie fills his account, Cindy waits 10 years before getting started. She then starts to invest a hypothetical $10,000 a year for 10 years into an account that also earns a hypothetical 6% rate of return. Cindy and Charlie have both invested the same $100,000, but procrastination costs Cindy, as Charlie’s balance is much higher at the end of 20 years. Over 20 years, his account has grown to $237,863, while Cindy’s account has only grown to $132,822. Charlie’s account has not only put the power of compound interest to work, it has also allowed the investment returns more time to compound.1 This is a hypothetical example of...

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The Sequence of Returns

Posted by on Apr 14, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, taxes | 0 comments

A look at how variable rates of return do (and do not) impact investors over time. Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D. What exactly is the “sequence of returns”? The phrase simply describes the yearly variation in an investment portfolio’s rate of return. Across 20 or 30 years of saving and investing for the future, what kind of impact do these deviations from the average return have on a portfolio’s final value? The answer: no impact at all. Once an investor retires, however, these ups and downs can have a major effect on portfolio value – and retirement income. During the accumulation phase, the sequence of returns is ultimately inconsequential. Yearly returns may vary greatly or minimally; in the end, the variance from the mean hardly matters. (Think of “the end” as the moment the investor retires: the time when the emphasis on accumulating assets gives way to the need to withdraw assets.) An analysis from BlackRock bears this out. The asset manager compares three model investing scenarios: three investors start portfolios with lump sums of $1 million, and each of the three portfolios averages a 7% annual return across 25 years. In two of these scenarios, annual returns vary from -7% to +22%. In the third scenario, the return is simply 7% every year. In all three scenarios, each investor accumulates $5,434,372 after 25 years – because the average annual return is 7% in each case.1 Here is another way to look at it. The average annual return of your portfolio is dynamic; it changes, year-to-year. You have no idea what the average annual return of your portfolio will be when “it is all said and done,” just like a baseball player has no idea what his lifetime batting average will be four seasons into a 13-year playing career. As you save and invest, the sequence of annual portfolio returns influences your average yearly return, but the deviations from the mean will not impact the portfolio’s final value. It will be what it will be.1 When you shift from asset accumulation to asset distribution, the story changes. You must try to protect your invested assets against sequence of returns risk. This is the risk of your retirement coinciding with a bear market (or something close). Even if your portfolio performs well across the duration of your retirement, a bad year or two at the beginning could heighten concerns about outliving your money. For a classic illustration of the damage done by sequence of returns risk, consider the awful 2007-2009 bear market. Picture a couple at the start of 2008 with a $1 million portfolio, held 60% in equities and 40% in fixed-income investments. They arrange to retire at the...

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Your Financial Co-Pilot

Posted by on Apr 5, 2019 in 401k, 403b, atuos, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

If anything happens to you, your family has someone to consult.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   If you weren’t around, what would happen to your investments? In many families, one person handles investment decisions, and spouses or children have little comprehension of what happens each week, month, or year with a portfolio. In an emergency, this lack of knowledge can become financially paralyzing. Just as small business owners risk problems by “keeping it all in their heads,” families risk problems when only one person understands investments. A trusted relationship with a financial professional can be so vital. If the primary individual handling investment and portfolio management responsibilities in a family passes away, the family has a professional to consult – not a stranger they have to explain their priorities to at length, but someone who has built a bond with mom or dad and perhaps their adult children.      You want a professional who can play a fiduciary role. Look for a financial professional who upholds a fiduciary standard. Professionals who build their businesses on a fiduciary standard tend to work on a fee basis or entirely for fees. Other financial services industry professionals earn much of their compensation from commissions linked to trades or product sales.1 Commission-based financial professionals don’t necessarily have to abide by a fiduciary standard. Sometimes, only a suitability standard must be met. The difference may seem minor, but it really isn’t. The suitability standard, which hails back to the days of cold-calling stock brokers, dictates that you should recommend investments that are “suitable” to a client. Think about the leeway that can potentially provide to a commission-based professional. In contrast, a financial professional working by a fiduciary standard always has an ethical requirement to act in a client’s best interest and to recommend investments or products that clearly correspond to that best interest. The client comes first.1 You want a professional who looks out for you. The best financial professionals earn trust through their character, ability, and candor. In handling portfolios for myriad clients, they have learned to watch for certain concerns and to be aware of certain issues that may get in the way of wealth building or wealth retention. Many investors have built impressive and varied portfolios but lack long-term wealth management strategies. Money has been made, but little attention has been given to tax efficiency or risk exposure. As you near retirement age, playing defense becomes more and more important. A trusted financial professional could help you determine a risk and tax management approach with the potential to preserve your portfolio assets and your estate. Your family will want nothing less. With a skilled financial professional around to...

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