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Retirement Planning Blog

on 01 August, 2017

is the market set to correct

Update: Just moments ago, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit 22,000 points -- a 20% increase from election season as well as an all-time high! The rise was attributable to strong earnings by Apple and other companies. Read on for some insights and opinions from experts and commentators about what may be ahead.

While the U.S. stock market hits red-hot highs, many investors wonder if a market correction may be ahead. With reports of upbeat corporate earnings in, the Dow Jones reached 21,982 points on Tuesday, at one point reaching an intra-day all-time high of 21,990.96 points. As of last Friday, 73% of the S&P 500 companies posting earnings reports had sales figures above estimates, as reported by FactSet.

Likewise, other indices saw growth. The S&P 500 attained 2,476, just a few points shy of its record-setting high at 2,484.04 in the week prior. And the Nasdaq rose to 6,375, putting on the pathway to setting a new record of its own.

While nobody knows what the future holds, economists and stock market experts say there is a growing possibility the market will end its current upward trajectory and correct itself. And the issue? Potentially overinflated stock valuations.

“There are many indicators showing that equities have reached a higher valuation than is consistent with changes in either underlying economic growth or revenue fundamentals,” commented Aaron Klein, a fellow in Economic Studies and Policy Director for the Center on Regulation and Markets at the Brookings Institution, to NBC News.  

With stocks holding steady against political dysfunction in Washington, D.C. – not to mention as-yet-to-be-delivered political pledges for healthcare and tax reform – it’s difficult to forecast where market trends may head. But if you’re in your fifties or older, being prepared to weather the effects of market volatility on retirement money is critical.

Here’s a quick look at some insights from various commentators and experts – and why you and other retirement investors may want to consider wealth preservation strategies while the value of your retirement assets is healthy and strong.

on 31 July, 2017

retirement income planning tips for small business owners

Retirement income planning already is difficult. But for small business owners, it poses even more challenges. Despite being used to the hustle-and-bustle of day-to-day tasks and operations, even businesspersons have to slow down at some point.  

Eventually entrepreneurs get to an age when they can’t run their companies like they did before. As a company owner, you likely will face this someday. You may have to reduce your involvement, or it may even be time for an exit. If that’s in the cards, you might have to sell your business or let someone else in the family take it over.

In any case, there’s retirement at the end, and moving into retirement means you have to make plans to safeguard your financial future. In practice, this means being able to pay the bills today while saving enough to live off tomorrow (when your business can be no longer a source of personal income for you – or less income).

Retirement income planning, however, is not a linear thing. It entails holistically evaluating your lifestyle alongside your income and making projections for your life after retirement; then putting in place protections to ensure you can enjoy a lifestyle that’s right for you as long as you live. 

If you are confused about what you should do to retire happy and comfortably, you are not the only one. Many small business owners – not to mention several Americans in general – are in the same boat as you. Read on for some helpful tips to assist you with enjoying more lifelong retirement income certainty.

on 31 July, 2017

biggest retirement income planning mistakes to avoid

Sure, life happens and we make mistakes. We learn and try not to repeat them. But in retirement income planning, the margin for error is smaller. Just one or a few mistakes could derail your goals or even put your retirement on the rocks.  

If you are someone who plans to retire within the next 10 years or sooner, now is the perfect time to start putting your financial house in order. However, as you devote attention to daily tasks in the workplace and your household, it can be hard to make your post-work future a priority. But retirement can come sooner than you think, and it’s prudent to start preparations before your time has passed.

So, meet with your financial professional to discuss your goals, review the status of your retirement assets, and evaluate your financial picture. And as you near your retirement, it’s important to refrain from critical income planning mistakes. From bad saving and spending habits to easy-to-overlook risks and planning pitfalls, here are six critical retirement income planning mistakes you should avoid.

on 26 July, 2017

safe money advisors locate a good financial professional

Are you looking for help on how to retire safely and comfortably? "Safe Money Advisors," or financial professionals offering safe strategies, can provide solutions to help you reduce risk and manage uncertainty. But so many are promoting themselves online and elsewhere. Whom can you turn to for the guidance you need?

As you consider different candidates, conduct careful due diligence. Just like doctors and lawyers and their specialties, not all financial professionals specialize in retirement planning. Any advisor you meet should state clearly their focus on retirement issues, and communicate that expertise. As you meet with them, pay attention to the language and concepts they use - do they speak of the need to plan for income, financial protection, risk management, and lifestyle goals?

Here are some other variables to weigh as you evaluate different Safe Money Advisors to help with your financial future.

on 20 July, 2017

americans retirement knowledge stand

Virtually everyone understands that money doesn’t grow on trees. But what about planning for retirement? If recent research gives any indication, many Americans may be coming up short. In the 2017 Retirement Income Literacy Quiz – courtesy of The American College for Financial Services and the New York Life Center for Retirement Income – most quiz-takers received barely-failing or below-failing grades.

To measure retirement literacy, the test comes with two options: a six-item questionnaire on key retirement planning areas, and a more comprehensive test with 38 questions. With retirement literacy and retirement planning success being closely linked, you may want to check out the six-question quiz yourself to gauge your own retirement readiness.

So, what exactly did these questions ask? And how did Americans fare in their retirement knowledge? Let’s delve into the data now.

on 13 July, 2017

generational conversations habits retirement planning

You have probably heard plenty of old platitudes about the importance of taking action. For many, “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk” is one such truism. But in money matters, people often hesitate to prepare for their retirement future. For that matter, they might not even discuss it with their family and other loved ones.

In various research studies, the findings are stifling. Not only are Americans struggling with retirement readiness, debt, and living within their financial means. They may limit themselves in their discussions of financial matters. Money may be a taboo subject or people may be embarrassed about their personal financial circumstances to the point of not wanting to discuss them - not to mention other possible factors.

So, just how are Americans going about retirement and financial topics? And how might this affect future generational spending and saving practices? Let’s dive into the numbers.

on 07 July, 2017

why people dont buy life insurance

Lots of people agree on the importance of life insurance. But it’s something that many of us don’t own, as research indicates.

According to LIMRA, a financial research group, 30% of U.S. households owned no life insurance at all in 2016. About 48% of households, or 60 million families, had an insurance gap that averaged $200,000 from what they actually needed. Factoring in average total coverage, almost 5 in 10 families would have only three years of household income replaced by their life insurance policies.

So, what are some reasons that Americans aren’t buying life insurance?

on 29 June, 2017

retirement planning steps with your spouse partner

Have you and your spouse discussed your goals and expectations for retirement so that you can be fully prepared? Not that much? You’re not alone. According to research from Hearts and Wallets, more than half of Americans (58%) are struggling with retirement planning, estate planning, and making investment decisions.

An article on NextAvenue.org talks about why this might be case. Part of the trouble is baby boomers have a lot of emotional hopes and dreams tied up in their retirement. They also have goals they want to accomplish before they retire, which may lead to delays in retirement decisions. As for estate planning, many older Americans simply don’t feel a strong urge to deal with estate matters yet.

As you approach retirement, it’s time for discussions. You should have frank conversations with your partner about retirement, what you want it to be, and how you will pay for it. This is a crucial step in being able to enjoy a secure and comfortable future. Let's go over some important steps to take.

on 22 June, 2017

understanding risk tolerance for retirement planning success

Like everything else we do, saving for retirement involves risk analysis. We might not think about getting in the car to go to the grocery store, or even booking our dream vacation to hike the Inca Trail in Peru, as particularly risky decisions. But there are still elements of risk involved in every choice we make.

Your risk tolerance will help to you maximize and protect your retirement savings when you make sound choices. As you save and near retirement, your risk tolerance should change, adapting to your financial and income needs. In order to manage your retirement planning effectively, you need to understand your risk tolerance, grasp your financial needs in retirement, and make effective decisions about your savings and asset allocation.

Overall, you should be ready for a “smooth” financial transition into retirement – when you stop earning a full-time salary or business income, and start drawing on the savings you accumulated over many years. Working with a financial professional will help you meet your retirement income and financial goals, like the independent financial professionals at SafeMoney.com.

Let’s go into more detail about risk tolerance and why it’s so important.

on 12 June, 2017

 time to lock in stock market gains

American markets have been enjoying a recent stock market rally, with some markets posting double-digit increases. It is the nature of the markets to rise and fall. So if you are approaching retirement, this might be the time to begin to lock in your stock market gains. If you're wondering why, think about it. Many Americans will be relying on their portfolio money for retirement income once they leave the workplace. It may be to pay for spending quality time on the green, sailing, horseback riding, getting away on vacation, or whatever their preferred retirement activities may be.

Older Americans tend to have less invested in stocks because they move their savings out of higher risk vehicles in their pre-retirement years. This is typically to protect their retirement nest egg, since they tend to have less time for recovery. Unfortunately, many Americans are still reeling from losses from the 2008 financial crisis. They are looking at a delayed retirement.

You can take steps to protect the financial gains your portfolio has enjoyed and start preserving your wealth for your retirement lifetime. This may call for a shift in financial focus -- a start to evaluating safer retirement vehicles which have a lower risk profile than equities, like annuities and life insurance. It is a good idea to review your portfolio at least once a year, to review to make sure that your portfolio is meeting your goals, objectives, and expectations. As you approach retirement, you may want to begin to transfer your portfolio to a more risk-adverse position and realize any financial growth you've achieved before the markets make their natural corrections.

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