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Retirement Planning Blog

on 07 December, 2016

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The holiday festivities are coming around, and many Americans are getting their financial houses in order. For people who are retired or near the end of their working life, that includes assuring their retirement needs and objectives can be met.

If you and your partner are within five to ten years of retirement, or are already retired, now is a crucial point. It makes sense to prepare for this stage of life. Working with a financial professional can help clear a path to a secure future and instill greater confidence in our financial decisions. But the sheer numbers of financial professionals from whom you can obtain retirement planning advice is truly staggering.

Consider this:

To say the least, choosing a well-suited financial professional for retirement planning guidance can be a challenging task. Let’s cover a few basics to keep in mind as you search for a suitable professional for retirement planning advice.

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on 03 November, 2016

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In the last decade, we had two major market crashes. Understandably, many working professionals worry about the long-term safety of their money. They may have retirement saving plans such as 401(k) plans at their disposal. But with its contribution limits, costly tax implications, and investment options’ exposure to market risk, the 401(k) can be unseemly for conservative-minded savers.

One trend we have seen is presentation of “IUL,” or indexed universal life insurance, as an alternative to the 401(k). To be clear, IUL isn’t an investment strategy, it is a type of permanent life insurance. So be wary of discussions in which IUL is treated as an investment vehicle, especially relative to a 401(k) plan.

With that said, IUL may be attractive to retirement savers, including younger professionals, on account of its more tax-efficient advantages over the 401(k), among other benefits. Some advantages include protection against market downfalls, more flexibility with contributions and money access, and better tax treatment for future income. Keep in mind, though – just like with any financial product, suitability will always depend on individual client needs, circumstances, and objectives.

Here’s a quick overview of indexed universal life insurance, and how it can differ from a 401(k) as a wealth-accumulating option.

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on 30 November, 2016

bolster your financial confidence in 2017 with a year end review

As the holiday festivities roll around, many of us are thinking about 2017. What steps can we take to start off with a clean slate in the new year? One urgent priority should be conducting a year-end financial review and creating a well-balanced plan for the future, preferably with a financial professional. Not only will it help you start off strong, but it also will bring clarity and precision to your financial outlook.

Of course, this proactive approach doesn't bring just short-term benefit. A year-end review and wrap-up of remaining plans can help you prepare well for long-term retirement goals and overall financial security. If you need to have your own financial review done, read on for some quick tips to consider during your annual review and planning process.

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on 27 October, 2016

 Fed reserve

What do Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the chairperson of the Federal Reserve, and retiring Americans all have in common? In a word, interest rates – or, more precisely, how interest rates affect all of these parties.

What the Fed sets as its interest rate agenda has broad implications for the U.S. economy. It has multiple touchpoints, including Americans’ retirement income security. With that said, political climate can also be impactful. It can be influential in shaping the debate over Fed interest rate policy.

In our previous Federal Reserve blog post, you may recall how we distinguished between “permanent” income and “maybe” income – and how interest rates can affect these retirement income types. Here’s a quick look at how our current climate of political affairs, the outlook for Fed interest rate policy – and what it may mean for income-generating vehicles funding our retirement.

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on 23 November, 2016

5 ways to boost your financial wellness during the holiday season

The holidays offer a great opportunity for us to reconnect with loved ones, relatives, and friends. From Thanksgiving dinners and seasonal gift shopping to holiday get-togethers and family gatherings, these times are truly special. But apart from the joy, merriment, good cheer, and great company, many Americans find this period financially stressful.

Discretionary spending, in the form of gift buying and other holiday shopping, ups the pressure on household budgets. And for a large proportion of retired and working Americans, the coming year-end may increase the brunt of existing financial pressures and obligations. Having sufficient income and healthy cash-flow is a concern for all households, especially people in their retirement years. The holidays are an ideal time-frame for financial review, but it can be intimidating to get our house in order, as personal finances are tedious, detailed, and, for many, overwhelming.

However, a secure financial life is well within reach, and it involves taking the right steps. If you are retired or approaching your golden years, read on for four quick tips to boost your financial wellness this holiday season.

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in Annuity
on 20 October, 2016

fixed index annuities vs cds multi year guarantee annuities

As many of us know, October is the renewal month for many bank certificates of deposit. Some common selling points for bank CDs are low risk and steady earning potential. But today’s low interest rate environment throws some real curveballs for retirement savers.

In fact, CD rates have remained low for some time now. And what interest rates might be in the future still remains unclear. With the diminished prospects for wealth accumulation, many people seek an alternative to bank CDs and their low yields.

When used properly, annuities are often tapped as transfer-of-risk strategies. Many Americans rely upon them for lifelong income security, dependable asset protection, or other financial assurances. Nevertheless, annuities of the fixed variety – particularly fixed index annuities (FIAs) and multi-year guarantee annuities (MYGAs) – can also offer value as tax-efficient savings vehicles.

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in Annuity
on 16 November, 2016

using annuities for income or growth blog image

After years of hard work, all of us want a comfortable retirement. But it may be unclear as to what we need to achieve this. What steps are necessary for a worry-free financial life – the ability to spend with confidence?

Part of it means a transition in thinking. In real-world terms, it encompasses a shift in focus from asset values to monthly income. We want to be sure we have sufficient cash-flow for funding a retirement lifestyle. On the other hand, we should also be attentive to the matter of preserving wealth. With all those savings accumulated over many years, our money will now need to last for the rest of our lifetime.

However, this doesn’t mean that savings growth has to be put on the back-burner. For Americans looking for “safe money financial” vehicles, annuities may be attractive. In particular, fixed-type annuities can offer guaranteed lifelong income, tax-deferred accumulation, and growth via guaranteed interest rates or rising index values.

If you are investigating fixed annuities or fixed index annuities for personal growth or income goals, here’s a quick look at a few variables to consider.

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on 12 October, 2016

Blog common financial risks in retirement

When it comes to lifestyle, it can be said that we have “two” lives – or rather two different life phases. The first phase is the working years, or when we work for a living. The second phase is retirement, or when we can choose to stop working, should we desire to, and do what we want. From volunteering or spending time with family to social gatherings, vacation getaways, gourmet dining, or personal luxuries, there’s no shortage of ways we can enjoy our time in retirement.

However, many Americans who are retired or nearing retirement face unique barriers – financial challenges which can keep them from enjoying the lifestyle they worked hard for. Preparation is key, so the importance of planning ahead can’t be overemphasized. Here’s a quick look at some common financial challenges to account for.

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on 10 November, 2016

donald trump retirement issues blog photo

Photo credit: Donald Trump as he exits the stage after speaking at CPAC '11. By Mark3tel (2011) https://flickr.com/photos/n3tel/5434963575 Attribution (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/). Photo attribution by PhotosforWork.com.

This presidential election has brought lots of fireworks. Many Americans worry about the future and what it means for their money. Is a comfortable future – a financial life without anxiety and recurring headaches – really within reach?

President-elect Donald Trump isn’t completely clear in all of his policy stances. From an investor standpoint, it injects uncertainty in the future. How financial markets will react to a Trump administration’s policies is anyone’s guess – and for Americans approaching retirement, it is an especially important question.

If you plan to start drawing on your nest egg within the next eight years, do not fret. Here’s a quick look at some of the takeaways from this election – and how you can keep your money safe, spend with confidence, and enjoy the retirement you have worked hard for.

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on 07 October, 2016

slider safe money retirement planning

Chances are you have heard of “safe money” at some point. From financial talk shows and radio commercials to television broadcasts and retirement seminars, it’s a concept that is all over the place. “Safe money” is commonly defined as the money you can’t afford to lose.

But for those of us approaching retirement, what does that mean in real-world terms? Many advisors explain safe money in investment terms. For example, it could mean discussion of “safe money investments,” or vehicles with less exposure to market volatility.

A downside with this approach is its investment planning focus. We have discussed how retirement planning should emphasize monthly income over asset values in its goal-setting. After all, retirement is a life stage in which we draw on a nest egg and other income sources for income – wealth we have accumulated over many years for this timespan. So, when discussing “safe money” in retirement, we shouldn’t frame it in terms of only the possibility of money losing value.

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