Tag Archive | "plan for a comfortable retirement"

Evaluating Continuing Care Retirement Communities


One of the realities of aging is increased medical expenses and Americans consistently underestimate what health care in their golden years will cost. One option is to combine all your needs — and expenses — into a single convenient package — a CCRC. Here are some thoughts on evaluating Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC).

Evaluating continuing care retirement communities will help you decide if they’re right for you.

Evaluating continuing care retirement communities

First of all, it can be a little intimidating. You’re really “hunting for a new home, making high-stakes health care decisions and negotiating a complex business deal—all at the same time.” That’s the down side. On the other hand….

These communities, known as CCRCs, typically offer independent-living units as well as assisted-living and skilled-nursing facilities, allowing them to serve everyone from active newcomers to older residents requiring round-the-clock care. Seniors move in expecting to enjoy amenities such as libraries, golf courses and posh dining rooms while they’re healthy and to receive excellent skilled-nursing care if they fall ill.

So, you have a wide range of options that will accommodate you as your needs change. Still, it’s not an easy decision and certainly requires a lot of investigation.

But finding a CCRC that fits your vision of a financially secure retirement may require some hard-nosed negotiation with the facility’s management and detailed analysis of the development’s finances. You’ll need to assess your ability to pay monthly fees that may rise faster than inflation. And with the typical CCRC charging six-figure entrance fees, you’ll need to understand the size of any refund that you or your heirs may receive if you decide to move or when you die.

Moving to a CCRC may not be for everyone, but if you think it might be right for you do your due diligence and spend some time evaluating continuing care retirement communities.

Click here to read more about evaluating continuing care retirement communities.

 

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Boomers Are Rewriting Retirement Rules


For better or worse, Baby Boomers have made an indelible mark on the American landscape in almost every way. Now, as more and more are reaching retirement age, boomers are rewriting retirement rules.

Boomers are rewriting rules of retirement, just as they’ve done for everything else over the last 50 years.

Boomers are rewriting retirement rules

What does retirement have in store for Baby Boomers? It may not be what you expect, but you can be sure that whether you’re part of that generation or another, what boomers do will affect you. Here are some of the developing trends.

More older Americans are packing it in for foreign countries, where they can save on living costs and enjoy warmer climates.

Almost a quarter – 21 percent – of new U.S. businesses started in 2011 were launched by entrepreneurs age 55 to 64, according to the Kauffman Foundation, up from 14 percent in 2007. Entrepreneurs age 45 to 54 accounted for an additional 28 percent of the 2011 startups.

…23 percent of older boomers and 27 percent of their younger siblings use tablet devices, compared with 30 percent of Gen Xers (born 1965 to the early 1980s), according to the Pew Internet Project. The gaps also are small when it comes to smartphones and social networking services.

Older Americans are taking more debt into retirement than previous generations. Mortgage debt is the biggest factor: Forty percent of homeowners over age 65 had mortgage debt in 2010, compared with just 18 percent as recently as 1992, reports the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University (JCHS).

Life expectancy for men has jumped an average of almost two years in each of the last five decades, to 75.7 years in 2010, according to the Society of Actuaries. For women, life expectancy has risen by 1.5 years, on average, to 80.8 years.

Some 58 percent of boomers are providing financial assistance to aging parents, such as helping them purchase groceries or pay medical and utility bills, according to an Ameriprise Financial survey of just over 1,000 Americans conducted in late 2011.

When it comes to their kids, boomers are even more ready to help out. Almost all boomers surveyed – 93 percent – say they have given their children a hand. A majority have “boomerang kids” who have moved back home to live rent free (55 percent) or afford a car (53 percent).

Not surprisingly, most of these trends involve money in some way, spending less by retiring abroad, starting a business to provide work — and income, retiring with more debt and providing financial assistance to both children and aging parents — which may also explain the debt.

Wherever you are in life and whatever your expectations, you can be sure that — just as they’ve done with everything else — boomers are rewriting retirement rules as well.

Click here to learn more about how boomers are rewriting retirement rules.

Posted in Creating a Personalized Retirement Plan, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Plan Challenges, Retirement Trends, The EconomyComments (0)

Retire Gradually


Believe it or not, the realities of retirement come as a shock to many people. After a few weeks of waking up with nowhere particular to go and nothing particular to do, you may find yourself wondering, “What now?” One way to solve that problem is to retire gradually.

Don’t just put yourself out to pasture. There’s a lot to be gained when you choose to retire gradually.

Retire gradually

There are many things you can do to ease the transition to retirement. Here are some tips that will help.

  1. Negotiate a new schedule.
  2. Offer to mentor younger workers.
  3. Settle on fair pay.
  4. Watch out for pension problems.
  5. Qualify for health insurance.
  6. Social Security withholding.
  7. Decide what you’ll do with your free time.

The vast majority of those approaching retirement are still healthy, active and have much to contribute. Don’t just put yourself out to pasture when you can still be productive, earn money doing something you enjoy and retire gradually.

Click here to learn more about how you can retire gradually.

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Invest More Conservatively After Retirement


Prior to retirement, you’ll probably want to take a little more risk in your investments to maximize your return, but you may want to invest more conservatively after retirement.

Invest more conservatively after retirement to protect your assets and financial security.

Invest more conservatively after retirement

Since you want to have as much money as possible saved when you retire, higher risk investments — with the associated higher returns — make good sense. Even if the market goes south, you’ll still have several years of employment to carry you through until the market rebounds. You might also consider working a few extra years to save even more.

The single biggest difference is that you have a lot more flexibility during your career when it comes to retirement planning. For example, if you have the bulk of your retirement accounts in stocks and the market tanks, you’ve got plenty of options for rebuilding the value of those accounts.

With years of work still ahead of you, you can simply sit back and wait for the market to rebound and eventually climb to higher ground. Or you can pump up the amount you contribute to your retirement accounts, which will hasten the recovery of your balances.

After you’ve retired, it’s a vastly different scenario.

Unlike during your career when you’re still putting money into your 401(k), IRA or other accounts, you’ll be pulling money out of your nest egg once you retire. And that creates a very different dynamic.

Specifically, the combination of investment losses from a market downturn, plus withdrawals from your account for retirement living expenses creates a double-whammy effect that can decimate the value of your portfolio and dramatically increase your chances of outliving your dough.

As a result, the same market meltdown that may be very unsettling during your career can be absolutely devastating after you’ve retired, perhaps even forcing you to radically scale back your standard of living to avoid running through your money too soon.

There is no single “right” answer to how you should invest — before or after retirement. But, because of your reduced earning power it’s wise to invest more conservatively after retirement.

Click here to read more about why you should invest more conservatively after retirement.

Posted in Creating a Personalized Retirement Plan, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Investment Options, Retirement Plan Challenges, Saving for RetirementComments (0)

Protect Your “Other” Biggest Retirement Asset


For many Americans, their biggest financial asset is their home. But, since some of us are priced out of the housing market, that asset is our retirement savings. It’s easy to make mistakes when planning for retirement, so it’s important to protect your “other” biggest retirement asset.

Protect your “other” biggest retirement asset — your tax-deferred retirement accounts.

Protect your “other” biggest retirement asset

If you’ve accumulated a significant amount in your retirement funds, you should keep these three things in mind:

Backup beneficiaries. The biggest mistake we see day in and day out when meeting with prospective clients is the lack of correctly designated beneficiaries. The easiest and best thing you can do is to verify that you have a primary and contingent beneficiaries listed on all of your retirement accounts. It’s not enough to list generic beneficiaries like “my living spouse” as primary and “my living children” as contingent beneficiaries.

Prudent investment strategies.Even the best-laid investment plan can fail and one of the most common mistakes is taking an unhealthy level of risk with your retirement accounts. If you’re expecting your IRA to last the rest of your life and beyond it is critically important to control risk.

Correct custodial and trust documents. Many retirement savers are unaware of the hidden dangers in IRA custodian documents or trust arrangements. hey sign these important documents without fully understanding the consequences. Dust off your IRA custodian document and double-check the fine print to verify that your beneficiaries are not able to receive their IRA inheritance in a lump sum fashion and pay a huge tax bill.

It’s critical to the financial security of your retirement that you plan wisely and have all the information you need to make the correct decisions for your situation. You want to make sure your funds last as long as you do, so take steps now to protect your “other” biggest retirement asset.

Click here to learn more about how you can protect your “other” biggest retirement asset.

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Tips If You Plan To Retire in 2013


If this is the big year for you, congratulations! It’s been a long haul, but that’s all in the past and it’s time to relax and enjoy the golden years. To make sure you’re able to do so, here are some tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Make your retirement more enjoyable with these tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Tips if you plan to retire in 2013

Unfortunately, you can’t just walk out the door one last time and wave good-bye. You still have things to do.

1. Make sure you are vested in your retirement benefits.

2. Strategize about when to claim Social Security.

3. Sign up for Medicare on time.

4. Protect your savings.

5. Develop a plan for spending down your assets.

6. Don’t forget to take required minimum distributions.

7. Consider maintaining your connection to the workforce.

Sure, it’s the end of your working career, but it’s also the beginning and there are lots of options available. Make your retirement rewarding and follow these tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

Click here to read more about tips if you plan to retire in 2013.

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Save Your Retirement From Financial Advisors


Almost all of us — to some degree — have bought into the myth that financial planners know what they’re doing and that we should follow their advice because they’re — well — experts. They’re not. It’s not really their fault, either. You see, they’ve bought into the myth as well. Maybe now is the time for you to save your retirement from financial advisors.

Take the time now to learn about investing and save your retirement from financial planners.

Save your retirement from financial advisors

When it comes to saving for your retirement here’s all the specific advice I’d ever share:

  1. Start saving young and save as much as you can.
  2. Live within your means.
  3. Don’t touch the principal.
  4. Diversify to mitigate the effects of inevitable market swings — the more diverse, the better.

Everything else is just smoke and mirrors because — as all financial planners will tell you — past performance is no guarantee of future results. We cannot — and they cannot — predict the future. Yet we persist in believing the myth. The problem, according to Ms. Helaine Olen, a freelance journalist and author of “Pound Foolish: Exposing the Dark Side of the Personal Finance Industry” is this:

…“most of the financial advice published and dished out by the truckload is useless” — that it is simply “oblivious to the messiness of the human condition.”

And that “human condition” makes us our own worst enemies.

Ms. Olen writes that the “financial therapy movement,” for all of its flaws, “has hit on one universal truth: When it comes to money, the vast majority of us are nuts. Bonkers.” She counts some of the ways: “We don’t open our 401(k) statements. We ‘forget’ to pay our bills or file our taxes until the last minute.” Financial literacy is alarmingly low. Many of us don’t budget at all.

Our own lack of experience and understanding about investing and finance make us easy targets for those unscrupulous individuals who know they’re blowing smoke, but do it anyway.

A 2009 AARP survey found that nearly one in 10 people over 55, or about 5.9 million Americans, had attended a free financial seminar in the last three years.

At the World MoneyShow, an annual event in Orlando, 80 percent of attendees were over 55. The author [Ms. Olen] writes that “a panicked baby boomer is their best customer.”

Knowledge is power — even just a little bit of knowledge. Learn about investing. Like anything else, it’s scary and incomprehensible at first, but before long, you’ll know at least as much as most professionals and you may be able to save your retirement from financial planners.

Click here to read more about how you can save your retirement from financial planners.

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Use Your Home To Boost Your Retirement Nest Egg


The largest financial asset for most Americans is their home. At the same time, one of the biggest expenses in retirement can be housing. If you’re willing to make some changes in your lifestyle, you can use your home to boost your retirement nest egg.

Plan to take advantage of your home’s equity when you retire.

Use your home to boost your retirement nest egg

Often, as we prepare to retire, we find ourselves with a lot more house than we really need. Downsizing can be a great way to access some of the cash tied up in your home, and — if you’re willing to relocate — you can enjoy a great retirement and spend a lot less on housing, too. Here are some cities where the median price of a home was less than $100,000 in 2010.

  1. Alpena, Michigan
  2. Augusta, Georgia
  3. Columbus, Ohio
  4. Memphis, Tennessee
  5. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  6. Mobile, Alabama
  7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  8. Port Charlotte, Florida
  9. Springfield, Missouri
  10. Syracuse, New York

Each of these options has much to offer and there are many other interesting and inexpensive locations that may be just right for you. Plan ahead, do some research and use your home to boost your retirement nest egg.

Click here to read more about using your home to boost your retirement nest egg.

Posted in Creating a Personalized Retirement Plan, Planning for Your Retirement, Retirement Plan Challenges, Saving for RetirementComments (0)

2103 Retirement Resolution: Plan Your Next Chapter


When thinking about retirement, it’s easy to see it as the end of something: your working career. But it’s also the beginning. Chances are that you have a lot of good years left in you and retirement is also an opportunity to pursue a different path, so make this last 2013 retirement resolution: plan your next chapter.

Start now. Make this 2013 retirement resolution: plan your next chapter.

2013 retirement resolution: plan your next chapter

Whether you’ve saved a lot of money or just a little, your golden years are a perfect opportunity to take your life in a completely new direction and try things you’ve always wanted to, but never had the time. If you give it some thought, you can probably make money from your new adventures, too. And that’s never a bad thing.

Once your retirement finances are in place, you’ll also need a plan for how to spend your time in retirement. “Slowly start thinking about what you want your next chapter to be about,” says Marci Alboher, vice president of Encore.org.

Make a plan — or several. Be practical, but don’t limit yourself, either.

…do some experiments to test out your ideas. Volunteer for an organization in your neighborhood. Make some coffee dates with people who have used their retirement in meaningful ways.

Of course, you’ll probably never become a professional football player starting so late in life, if that was your dream, but there are lots of options that will allow you to be actively involved with the things you love, so add this last 2013 retirement resolution: plan your next chapter.

Click here to read more 2013 retirement resolutions.

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2013 Retirement Resolution: Get Your Social Security Statement


Most of us will be relying — perhaps heavily — on Social Security when we retire. To get an idea of what that will mean for you, adopt this 2013 retirement resolution: get your Social Security statement.

Make this 2013 retirement resolution: get your Social Security statement.

2013 retirement resolution: get your Social Security statement

Most workers will no longer receive a paper Social Security statement in the mail. But now people age 18 and older can access their Social Security statements online. Take a few minutes to check that your earnings history has been property recorded and familiarize yourself with your expected Social Security payout. “Delaying Social Security makes sense for most people if you can afford to do it, because the payout escalates enormously for every year you wait between ages 62 and 70. That’s a return that is really hard to beat by putting your own money to work.”

In addition to increasing your Social Security payments, working longer has the added advantage of more earnings and — of course — more savings for retirement, so make this 2013 retirement resolution: get your Social Security statement.

Click here to learn more about 2013 retirement resolutions you should make.

Click here to visit the Social Security Administration set up your online account.

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