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Retirement Planning Blog

on 07 September, 2016

Is Your Income Strategy on the Right Track
Is your retirement income plan well-suited to your financial needs and goals? Whether you’re creating a personalized strategy or examining one, it’s an important question to consider. After all, any income gaps or shortfalls could lead to real financial setbacks.

With that said, here are some markers you can use to evaluate your income strategy.

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on 27 July, 2016

4 Ways to Botch Your Retirement Income Security

Financial security in retirement is a concern for many Americans. According to LIMRA, seven out of 10 retirees and pre-retirees name “having enough money to last their lifetime” as a top priority. LIMRA also reports 67% of retirees and pre-retirees say “remaining financially independent” is another retirement objective.

With these expectations, the importance of ensuring sufficient income for retirement can’t be overstated. But even with careful retirement planning, there are a number of pitfalls which could put income security at risk. Here’s a look at some challenges which may disrupt your financial security if they’re neglected.

Common Hazards for Retirement Income

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on 31 August, 2016

What the Fed is Going on

One factor which can affect retirees and pre-retirees is changing interest rates. Specifically, it’s a matter of whether they’re rising or falling – and what effects it may have on retirement income.

This week brought news from the Economic Policy Symposium, an annual gathering of Federal Reserve officials, other central bankers from across the globe, and policy experts. It’s important because the participants share their insights on many trends – including what the Fed may do with interest rates in the future.

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on 20 July, 2016

5 Ways to Compromise Your Retirement Plan

Through careful deliberation, many Americans have figured out their retirement planning requirements. But a comfortable retirement needs more than just creation of a financial strategy. It also means sticking to the plan you have developed.

Of course, there are some events beyond our control, events which can disrupt a retirement plan. Stock market downturns, costly unforeseen situations, and medical emergencies are a handful of such occurrences. There are some ways to mitigate the effects of these situations, but there are other mistakes which can prove detrimental to retirement security.

Here’s a look at some pitfalls which can put a retirement plan on the line – and which we recommend you take measures to avoid.

Retirement Plan Catastrophes to Avoid

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on 24 August, 2016

5 Steps to Building an Effective Retirement Plan

As we approach retirement, we face many decisions. Many of these decision-points revolve around future financial life. Retirement income planning – or creating a plan to cover expenses and retirement uncertainty – is an essential step.

But everyone has different income needs, and they vary in their readiness for retirement. Plus today’s retirement landscape is far different than what our parents and grandparents dealt with. In the past, a steady pension from an employer, dependable income from Social Security, and a small fund of retirement savings was standard fare. Now those days are largely a distant memory for most Americans.

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on 13 July, 2016

How Will You Pay for Retirement

It’s not unusual for retirees to have multiple sources of income. According to the Social Security Administration, people age 65 and older receive a majority of their income from four sources. These source-points cover a wide range of income needs, from monthly living costs to healthcare spending and other retirement expenses.

If you’re in or near the “retirement red zone” (a period of 10 years before retirement and the first 10 years in retirement), now is a critical time. Decisions made now – and decisions which are neglected – will have a significant impact on the rest of a retirement lifetime, no matter how long it lasts. It’s a stage at which to figure out how you will pay for all of your retirement years.

With that said, here’s a look at how people age 65 and older are paying for retirement, and some ways to maximize retirement income.

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on 17 August, 2016

Whats the Future of Social Security

What does the future of Social Security look like? It’s an important question, as Social Security benefits are a large source of retirement income for many Americans. According to the Social Security Administration, 52% of Americans aged 65 and older rely on Social Security for at least half of their retirement income.

One challenge facing Social Security is the question of solvency. To discuss this point, it’s important to note there are actually two trust funds for the program: the Old Age and Survivor Insurance trust fund for retirement benefits, and the Disability Insurance fund for disability-related benefits.

To reinforce, we believe that the baby boomer generation may be able to count on Social Security, but it’s important to know what may be in store. With that said, here’s a review of some outlooks on Social Security’s future.

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on 07 July, 2016

How can the 2016 Election Affect Your Retirement

Given the effects of Brexit last week, it’s worth considering how the upcoming U.S. election might impact your retirement. From market volatility to public policy changes, a number of factors can be influential. Let’s look at a few possibilities in detail.

Market Volatility Tied to Uncertainty

Elections bring uncertainty, which is conducive to market volatility. Analysis from Merrill Lynch Global Research reports the S&P 500 index has declined an average of 2.8% since 1928 in elections years like 2016. In other words, it’s when the incumbent president isn’t seeking reelection.

On the other hand, data shows the S&P 500 has gone up in 13 of the 16 election years since World War II. Market analysts say this election year isn’t likely to differ too much from prior election seasons. However, elections do heighten people’s emotions, and both the Republican and Democratic presidential presumptive nominees have been getting record unfavorable ratings.

People with equities in their retirement portfolios, or who rely upon stock market earnings for retirement income, may experience some ups-and-downs.

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on 10 August, 2016

Dont get blindsided by unexpected retirement costs

Finances continue to be a top retirement concern, as surveys show. In a recent study by the American Institute of CPAs, 57% of CPA financial planners reported their clients’ foremost retirement concern was “running out of money.” When asked what the sources of this client stress were, 76% of the financial planners said healthcare costs. Other causes of financial stress were lifestyle expenses (52%) and unanticipated costs in retirement (47%).

Given these concerns, it’s critical to ensure we’re ready for monthly income needs in retirement. But there are a number of retirement expenses which can give us the slip. Some costs are hard to project, such as healthcare costs. Then there are life changes which can completely transform a retirement budget, such as doting on grandchildren.

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on 30 June, 2016

What Happened to Your Money Lessons from Brexit

Last Friday brought news with truly global implications: British citizens voting to leave the European Union. The results of “Brexit,” or a referendum on whether the United Kingdom should stay a member of the EU, were surprising for many. By a margin of almost 52% to 48%, UK voters signaled their desire for departure.

In response, British Pound Sterling fell over 10% against the U.S. dollar overnight. Since then, the stock market has been in a flurry. To highlight recent market activity, as noted in stories from CNBC, Reuters, and MarketWatch:

  • Brexit and future eco-political possibilities provoked investor panic
  • The CBOE Volatility Index, an index measuring fear in financial markets, rose 49% to 25.76, its highest level since February 2011
  • There was massive investor selloffs, as a result
  • U.S. stocks plunged more than 3% on Friday, leaving the market in the red so far for 2016
  • On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 3.2% -- it lost all its gains in 2016 and its worst decline since August 2015
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 610 points on Friday, its 8th largest point loss ever
  • With a 4.5% decline on Friday, the NADSAQ was down nearly 6% year-to-date on Friday
  • Financial-sector stocks dropped 5.4%, the worst losses since August 2011 (a trend accentuated by London being a global financial center)

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