Tag Archive | "accelarate your retirement plans"

Start Your Retirement Debt Free

It isn’t easy to do, but before you retire, you should eliminate as much of your debt as possible. You’re going to be on a fixed income and your financial future will be much more secure if you start your retirement debt free.

Start paying off your debts now and start your retirement debt free.

Start your retirement debt free

We like to reward ourselves for a job well done. And, believe me, if you’re able to eliminate your debt before you retire, that’s a very big job, very well done. So, while you may feel the need to celebrate — and you should — don’t let yourself slide back into debt. It’s all too easy to do.

Here are some tips to help you get out of debt and stay that way.

  1. Loosen up on the budget and breathe, just a little.
  2. Pay with cash — or charge only what you have the cash on hand to cover.
  3. Don’t splurge. Plan.
  4. Identify your money triggers.
  5. Redirect the money you spent on debt payments each month to savings.
  6. Develop a support group of like-minded debt-free friends.
  7. Never forget the nightmare of how living with debt felt.

Start now to pay down your debts, especially those with high interest rates — like credit cards — and you’ll be able to start your retirement debt free.

Click here to learn more about how you can start your retirement debt free.

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Fight Inflation In Your Retirement

If you’ve lived long enough to be thinking seriously about retirement, you remember inflation. While it’s not a problem right now, just like everything else, it’ll come around again, and if you’re on a fixed income it’s important that you’re able to fight inflation in your retirement.

Buying a home will fix your monthly payments for decades, helping you fight inflation in your retirement.

Fight inflation in your retirement

It’s important to plan ahead now, so you’re prepared when inflation rears its ugly head again. Here are some ideas that can help:

Buy a home. There are many reasons to rent in retirement, but one of the advantages of home ownership is that you can hedge against inflation by getting a fixed mortgage, fixing your monthly payment for decades.

Find lower-cost alternatives to replace what you enjoy. It’s true that inflation makes the same item cost more, but you can still slash your budget by using alternatives that are less costly. In order to not feel deprived, look for replacements that are truly similar to what you currently enjoy.

Skip some expenses regularly. Inflation will affect your budget less as an absolute dollar amount if your overall expenses are lower. Once in a while, try to skip your expenses.

Limit lifestyle inflation. There are many expenses that creep up as time goes on, but there are often other expenses, such as electronics costs, that go down over time as well. A major source of inflation is actually self-induced via lifestyle inflation.

Buy stocks of companies that make more when you have to pay more. One way to at least take part in price increases is to invest in companies that benefit when they charge you more. Proctor and Gamble (PG), for instance, is a company that will make more money when the products they sell cost more on the shelves.

Retirement will be a challenge for nearly all of us, but looking back over what you’ve accomplished, you should feel confident you can make it work, especially if you take steps to fight inflation in your retirement.

Click here to learn more about how you can fight inflation in your retirement.

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Plan Now To Avoid Retirement Risks

While the following advice is targeted for women — men, keep reading — there are valuable lessons for all of us about how to plan now to avoid retirement risks.

Plan now to avoid retirement risks and increase your chances of a long and financially secure retirement.

Plan now to avoid retirement risks

Statistically, women continue to live longer than men. This puts the security of their retirement at greater risk in spite of the dramatic growth in the number of working women and the slow — some might say glacial — movement toward salary equality with men.

Anna Rappaport, an aging and retirement expert and spokesperson for the Society of Actuaries (SOA) reports:

I think we thought that because women have been working more, that the [financial] gap between women and men would have gotten a lot better by now. If you asked us 10 or 15 years ago, we would have said that gap was going to go away. But it hasn’t.

This gap poses serious problems for women in their golden years, but similar situations can affect men as well.

Research by the SOA puts forth a compelling case that women and their spouses face a very unpleasant future unless they do a much better job of managing their assets and income today. And that future, sadly but realistically, is likely to eventually involve just the woman.

Tbe good news is there are things you can do now — and plan to do in the future — that will reduce the risk of a financially shaky retirement.

In addition to setting aside more retirement funds, Rappaport advises women to think more carefully about Social Security claiming strategies. The goal is to maximize older-age income. By continuing to work past age 65, for example, it might be possible to delay Social Security benefits. For most people, the current full retirement age for claiming Social Security benefits is 66. If benefits are claimed as early as possible—at age 62—the lifetime monthly benefit will be only 75 percent of what it would be if benefits were not elected to start until age 66. And for each year beyond 66, the benefit of delaying election increases by 8 percent a year for the next four years. (Except for annual inflation adjustments, Social Security benefits are usually capped at age 70.)

Work longer, postpone taking your Social Security benefits, save more, these are solid — although perhaps distasteful — strategies. But something else we don’t often think about can have a devastating effect — the need for long-term health care.

“Another big issue for women is planning for long-term care,” Rappaport says. “They live longer but also face longer periods of disability.”

It’s been truly said that old age is not for sissies. But there’s much we can do to prepare for an uncertain future. Plan now to avoid retirement risks and increase your chances of a long and financially secure retirement.

Click here to read more about how you can plan now to avoid retirement risks.

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2013 Retirement Resolution: Capture Employer Matching Funds

One of the few reasons to put money into a 401(k) plan is if you’re getting a matching contribution from your employer — it’s free money. If you are, take advantage of it with the 2013 retirement resolution: capture employer matching funds.

Make a 2013 retirement resolution to capture employer matching funds.

2013 retirement resolution: capture employer matching funds

Max out your employer benefits.

Saving for retirement is easier when your employer chips in. Make sure that you sign up for your workplace retirement plan and save enough to capture the 401(k) match or other contributions offered by your company. An employee who earns $50,000 a year and gets a 3 percent employer match could get as much as $1,500 annually from the company for their retirement.

While there are problems with 401(k) plans — like excessive management fees and the risk of systemic failure — you should take advantage of your employer’s matching contribution to your 401(k).

Equally important, understand the sizable risks association with 401(k) plans and learn how to mitigate those risks and protect your retirement savings. No on cares as much about your retirement as much as you do, so commit to the 2013 retirement resolution: capture employer matching funds.

Click here to read more about 2013 retirement resolutions.

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Do More With Less When You Retire

Chances are, when you retire your income will be substantially less than it is now, but that doesn’t have to be a problem if you’ve learned to do more with less when you retire.

The right financial choices make for a secure and enjoyable retirement.

Do more with less when you retire

You’re probably familiar with Dr. Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In that spirit, here are Seven Habits of Highly Frugal People:

  1. Frugal people save dollars by saving pennies.
  2. Frugal people are deliberate about making decisions.
  3. Frugal people are good managers of both time and money.
  4. Frugal people embrace a do-it-yourself lifestyle.
  5. Frugal people see opportunities where others don’t.
  6. Frugal people find new uses for old items.
  7. Frugal people are proud of their frugal lifestyle.

Success in life — and in retirement — is built on being able to evolve and adapt to new situations. You’re enjoy your golden years a lot more if you plan ahead to do more with less when you retire.

Click here to read more about how you can do more with less when you retire.


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More Than Ever, You Need a Retirement Plan

Retirement prospects don’t look good for many of us, and that’s why, more than ever you need a retirement plan.

More than ever, you need a retirement plan.

More than ever, you need a retirement plan

A recent poll conducted by The Guardian Life Small Business Research Institute provides some hard data to support the sinking feeling many of us have about retirement — especially small business owners.

  • Fewer than 10 percent foresee as feasible, a traditional retirement in which individuals stop working in their mid-60s for a life of leisure
  • Two-thirds do not have a written retirement plan, and most of them are not sure if they will create one.
  • More than eight in 10 have started to save for retirement, but only half have consulted a financial advisor.
  • While the minority will have pensions, real estate and the sale of their business to fall back on, most will rely on their investments, Social Security and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).
It’s never too late to turn the situation around. Here are the basic steps you need to take to get back on — or stay on — the path to a secure retirement.
  1. Have a Plan.
  2. Understand Risk.
  3. Understand Your Retirement Investments.
  4. Save for More than Retirement.
  5. Be Realistic.

Finally, don’t panic. Analyze your situation and don’t be afraid to make the hard decisions. For most of us, retirement will be quite unlike we’ve imagined, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be miserable, especially if you recognize that more than ever, you need a retirement plan.

Click here to learn more about strategies for your retirement.

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Retire While You’re Still Able to Enjoy It

Worldwide economic chaos surrounds us and even the most optimistic — and well prepared! — among us are right to be concerned about their future. Is it possible you’ll be able to retire while you’re still able to enjoy it?

Whatever you want to do in retirement, planning will help you do it.

Retire while you’re still able to enjoy it

Planning is the key to a comfortable, secure retirement.

First, what do you want to do?

Key to a successful retirement — any successful retirement — is knowing how you’d spend your time if money were no object. While there are those who work in retirement because they have to, there are also those who work in a field they love because they want to. While such jobs may not be the most lucrative in the world, if they help pay some of the bills, they can dramatically reduce the amount you need to save to reach your goal.

Strictly speaking, this isn’t retirement in the “old-fashioned” sense, sitting on the porch swing or playing golf every day. But wouldn’t you rather be active and energized by new challenges, doing work you love, than putter around with a bunch of old fogies? And the most important part is it “can dramatically reduce the amount you need to save to reach your goal.”

Second, what will you need to do it?

To have the ability to build any sort of nest egg in the first place, you’ll need spend less than you earn along the way. On the flip side of the coin, the lower your overall costs, the easier it is for the nest egg you do build to cover a significant part of them. In either case, the earlier you start and the more effort you put toward your goal, the easier it is to reach it.

Third, when do you plan to “get there?”

…it could be as soon as tomorrow, if you’ve laid the groundwork and the opportunity makes itself available. More likely than not, though, you’ll have to first prepare yourself financially and find that opportunity to reach for your dream.

Too often, we’re not sure what we want to do when we retire, except that we don’t want to keep going to that nasty job we’ve had for 40 years. Dare to dream, set goals and work toward them and you can retire while you’re still able to enjoy it.

Click here to read more about how you can retire while you’re still able to enjoy it.

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The Longer You Work, The Better Your Retirement Can Be

Many older Americans are in the dog house when it comes to having enough for a financially secure retirement. Given that, there’s hope: the longer you work, the better your retirement can be.

The longer you work, the better your retirement can be

I know. The idea of working past your “official” retirement age is not a pleasant thought, especially if you’ve spent most of your career in a job you don’t like. But what if you had a job you really enjoy? One that challenges you every day? One that rewards you for being older and wiser than those young Gen X and Gen Y whippersnappers? It could happen — and you can make it happen.

Plan now to follow your passion instead of retiring.

Here’s a look at each of five job categories with a high demand for retirees:

Health Care

Home health aide and personal aide top a Bureau of Labor Statistics list of job fields expected to grow the fastest by 2018. The pay is modest, with median wages of roughly $20,000 for each in 2008. But caregiving work can be a good fit for those looking to work 20 to 25 hours a week and do something meaningful.


Many retailers welcome seniors as customer service employees or cashiers because they have found that older workers are very good at making customers happy, according to Coleman. Other retail jobs available for seniors may include retail manager, floor supervisor, stock-room associate, greeter or food company demonstration worker.


Two government agencies in particular — the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Transportation Security Administration — are known for seeking older workers. Both agencies have openings requiring little or no experience.


One of the most popular profession switches for older workers and retirees is going into computer-related work, according to Jim Toedtman, editor of the AARP Bulletin. The jobs entail such tasks as data entry or working with data communication systems and networks.

 Temp Work

Like seasonal retail work, temporary help in an office or elsewhere can be an ideal match for an older worker and employer. The worker offers flexible hours and experience and gets the opportunity for new challenges and limited-term working assignments that sometimes lead to full-time positions.

Some of these options may be just right for you — or they may not — but you get the idea. Start planning now to pursue your passion — and even make some money doing it! The longer you work, the better your retirement can be.

Click here to read more about work opportunities for retirees.

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Why You Shouldn’t Retire

Yesterday, I wrote You May Never Be Able to Retire. Frankly, it was a little depressing, although it hinted at hope for a brighter retirement than many of us envision when we look at the money we have saved. There are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t retire.

Why you shouldn’t retire

The first thing we ought to do is put retirement into an historical context, because for most of history, no one retired.

Retirement first became a household idea in 1889 when German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck introduced the world’s first social security system.

Retirement as a norm in the U.S. began in 1935 with the introduction of Social Security. As part of the legislation, 65 was established as the retirement age. At that time, men could expect to live to 60, so the government figured few people would live long enough to even qualify for benefits. But those reaching 65 at that time could could expect to live another 12 years on average. Still, it was clearly never intended to fund a  retirement of two decades or longer. Hence, the introduction of the 401(k).

This, very quickly, brings us to the present and the 401(k) plans that have been praised — by some so-called professionals — as the salvation of our retirement; if we could just manage to put a little more of our hard-earned money into them.

Every day, we’re sold a bill of goods by the wealth management industry.We’re told that if we’re good little savers for the next 40 years, we won’t end up living in a box somewhere. Assets under management in the U.S. in 2009 totaled $31.4 trillion. Based on a 1% annual fee (it’s likely much higher), wealth managers generate $314 billion in revenue each year from those assets.

It appears that much of our savings is going towards providing fund managers with their own cushy retirement. Is that really the best use of our money?

Why shouldn’t you retire?

Laura Vanderkam is the author of several books about money and has written for many national publications including USA Today, CBS MoneyWatch and The Wall Street Journal. She asks:

“Rather than calculating how many lattes we must forgo to live off interest at age 65, why not put that same mental energy into figuring out what kind of work we wouldn’t want to retire from?”

This is important. You may not like the work you’re doing now, but what kind of work would you like to do that would keep you active, challenged and involved for as long as you choose to do it?

A second point, and equally important, is that every $10,000 you’re able to earn working in your senior years amounts to $250,000 you don’t need in savings. Someone who’s worked a physically demanding job their entire career might have to use their brainpower instead of brawn to earn the extra income. Uncomfortable as it might seem, this type of personal growth will keep you healthier longer, reducing your medical costs as you get older.

By simply deciding to keep working into your 80s, you help yourself in four ways: less savings required, personal development, mental stimulation and lower healthcare costs. It’s not what the retirement industry wants you to hear, but it’s so true. Do as much as you can for as long as you can.

Start now to think about what you’d like to do and how you can make money at it for as long as you want. You’ll be glad you did and will better understand why you shouldn’t retire.

Click here to read more about why you shouldn’t retire.

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You May Never Be Able to Retire

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it. And quite depressing. After all, you’ve worked hard for years — perhaps at a job you really don’t enjoy — anticipating the day when you would walk out for the last time, financially secure and with golden years of retirement ahead of you. But the hard truth is, you may never be able to retire.

You may never be able to retire

What happened? What went wrong? The answer is complicated, but the fact remains that “nearly one-third, or 30% [of middle-class Americans], now plan to work until they are 80 or older — up from 25% a year ago, according to a Wells Fargo survey of 1,000 adults with income less than $100,000.”

Overall, 70% of respondents plan to work during retirement, many of whom plan to do so because they simply won’t be able to afford to retire full time.

The real kicker is that even though many of us will need to work into our 80s and beyond, we may not be able to — at least at the kind of work we know.

Nearly three-quarters of those who plan to work into their 80’s say their employer won’t want them working when they’re that old, for example. Other roadblocks, like health issues, could arise as well.

The future looks pretty grim.

Those who are unable to work as long as they intend could therefore face a very grim reality. In fact, more than one-third of Americans could wind up living at or near poverty in retirement….

Even if you just have a few years until retirement, there are things you can do to prepare, like pay down your debts and downsize. That big house you needed when the kids were growing up may be more than you need — or want! — as you get older.

A source of potential income — since you’re probably going to have to work anyway — is your hobbies and the dreams you postponed when you needed every penny to raise the family. There’s probably some way you can leverage those interests into additional retirement revenue. You may never be able to retire, but there are ways to make your golden years rewarding, productive — and profitable.

Click here to read about more Americans delaying retirement.

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