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Retirement Planning Blog

on 06 August, 2015

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In past blog posts, among other things we’ve discussed the importance of portfolio diversification. Having too much of your money allocated in volatile markets – such as the stock market – can leave it vulnerable to market downturns. It could lead to sizable retirement losses – an outcome which may take years from which to recover.

In late April to early May, the S&P 500 index was hovering at 2% below its record high. Given this trend, many industry analysts were calling for the possibility of a market correction of 10%. Marc Faber, editor of The Gloom, Doom, and Boom Report, had a less favorable forecast.

“For the last two years, I've been thinking that U.S. stocks are due for a correction. But I always say a bubble is a bubble, and if there's no correction, the market will go up, and one day it will go down, big time,” Faber opined on April 30, 2015 on “Trading Nation” on CNBC. “The market is in a position where it's not just going to be a 10 percent correction. Maybe it first goes up a bit further, but when it comes, it will be 30 percent or 40 percent [at] minimum!”

Why So Bearish?

on 29 June, 2015

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For many people, one of the biggest concerns in retirement is medical expenses. It's easy to understand. According to Ron Mastrogiovanni, CEO of HealthView Searches, a research firm which provides healthcare data to financial advisers, healthcare costs are on the rise. In general, healthcare costs are increasing 5-7% per year.

In a recent white paper from HealthView Services, data indicates healthcare costs will exert a heavy hand on the retirement landscape now and in the future, too. A healthy couple retiring at age 65 this year will require a little over $266,000 to pay for the costs of Medicare Parts B and B and supplemental insurance for their lifetime. Likewise, for a healthy couple that is 55 years old and retiring 10 years from now, those costs will shoot up to roughly $320,000.

on 29 July, 2015

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There are many factors which can influence one’s retirement: healthcare costs, unexpected emergencies, periods of financial duress, or other situations. These variables can have a tremendous impact on a person’s future. It’s important to plan for any such occurrences ahead of time. In a previous blog post, we discussed tips on planning for retirement security.

There’s one factor which can greatly influence a long-term retirement strategy: having an “early” bear market. Or in other words, it’s when a major market correction – or a market downturn – leads to retirement account losses. 

How can an Early Market Downturn Affect Retirement?

on 17 June, 2015

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In the past, we've talked about looming concerns over retirement security. It's no small matter for the American public. According to the Investment Company Institute, at year-end 2014 the United States retirement market had $24 trillion in assets.

Here's what the asset breakdown looked like:

on 23 July, 2015

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How much should Americans save up for their retirement? It's a question with many variables to consider. One big factor to answering it is future plans. That includes determining what age at which you'll retire.

According to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, the average retirement age has increased slightly over the past ten years. Changes in Social Security incentives, a broad switchover to 401(k) plans, greater quality of life, longer life expectancy, and improved education have been influential in the age increase. As a result, the average retirement age has increased to 64 years for men and 62 years for women.

on 10 June, 2015

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According to polling data from the National Institute on Retirement Security, Americans are frustrated with governmental efforts regarding their retirement. In a recent, nationwide public opinion survey, 87 percent said Washington policymakers don't understand how difficult it is to prepare for retirement. In another telling statistic, 84 percent indicated they thought Washington should be doing more to help ensure retirement security.

Along with these public sentiments, the retirement landscape in America itself is complicated:

on 15 July, 2015

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the United States’ population in 2013 was almost 317 million people. Of that body, 14.1% were individuals aged 65 years and older. Women composed 50.8% of the population and men 49.2%.

There are more people reaching retirement age than ever. And retirement planning is a critical component of having a secure future. But planning for retirement is a different process for women than it is for men. Women have different concerns, needs, and goals, and these differences should be accounted for in their retirement blueprint.

on 03 June, 2015

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Are you considering a purchase of a fixed index annuity? It's important to evaluate your unique financial needs and determine if it'll be a suitable fit. Many Americans have found fixed index annuities to be an effective vehicle for achieving retirement income security.

Consider the following data:

• Since 1995, Americans have purchased almost $400 billion in fixed index annuities (From Advantage Compendium Ltd)
• 99.994% of indexed annuity owners have no complaints about their indexed annuity purchase (Advantage Compendium Ltd)
• Only 0.006% of indexed annuity owners have registered complaints about their annuity product purchase (Advantage Compendium Ltd)
• In a 2012 study, 83% of indexed annuity buyers and 86% of traditional fixed index annuity buyers reported satisfaction with their annuity purchase (LIMRA)
• At the close of 2014, fixed index annuity sales were $47 billion, a 104.3% increase from sales in 2004 ($23 billion in sales that year) (Beacon Research)

Fixed index annuities were originally created as a financial alternative to CDs and their meager potential for retirement income. The catastrophic effects of the 2008-2009 financial crisis and the changing dynamics within the American workplace landscape also have had an impact. Now many Americans are exploring fixed index annuities as an alternative retirement vehicle.

on 08 July, 2015

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We've already covered how the retirement landscape in America is changing. One contributing factor is the changes being made to defined-benefit pension plans. In the private sector, defined-benefit pensions simply are disappearing. According to Towers Watson, over the last 15 years there has been a big decline in the number of largest American companies offering new hires defined-benefit pensions. That percentage took a 36-point nosedive from 60 to 24 percent.

on 27 May, 2015

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In today's financial landscape, retirement income security is a pressing concern. Polling data shows that many Americans are worried about the future. For instance, in a public opinion report from the National Institute on Retirement Security, 86 percent said they believe America is facing a retirement crisis. Likewise, 75 percent indicated they were highly anxious in their retirement outlook.

The National Institute for Retirement Security found this concern to be held across generational, gender, and economic demographics. Concern over retirement income security also showed in the respondents' plans for the future. Over 50 percent plan on seeking employment in retirement for additional income. And 42 percent reported they are worried they will have to sell their home for retirement income security purposes.

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