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Retirement Planning Blog

on 17 October, 2017

how to find best retirement planning companies

When you near retirement it’s an important life transition. For one, this period brings changes to money matters. Now is time to examine portfolio assets and consider how you will use them for income to sustain your retirement lifestyle. A good retirement planning company can help you plan for this transition.

Retirement Planning Companies May Have Different Specialties

However, investors have many options of financial firms in today’s industry. Different firms can vary in the unique expertise to the table. Some companies specialize in investment management and others in financial planning, for example.

While similar in some ways to financial planning and investment management, retirement planning is different. It concerns advice on the distribution of money and how people will use the money for income needs.  

Business Type Also Matters

There is also the question of business organization. Some firms are just one of many broker offices for huge financial companies, while other firms are small, local businesses. Whether they have a captive or an independent status may influence the kinds and selections of the retirement products they can offer you.

So, all of this adds up to many retirement planning options for investors. How do you choose the right partner for you? Let's take a look at some questions to answer.

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on 28 September, 2017

how debt is crippling retirement goals

According to MagnifyMoney, people are carrying more than goal checklists into retirement. A recent analysis by them looked at data from the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center (MRRC) Health and Retirement Study. Their results found that more Americans are shouldering debt in their 50s and over.

It’s a serious finding, given that Americans have named mortgages and other debts among their top five money concerns. In the study, MRRC researchers survey over 20,000 Americans aged 50+ on many topics of financial well-being. This publication showed survey results from 2014.

MagnifyMoney found a number of debt trends that could undermine, or even cripple, the retirement goals of numerous Americans. Let’s look at how debt is affecting older Americans and their post-work lives.

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in Annuity
on 12 October, 2017

what is a surrender charge on an annuity

Retirement planning is an essential step in financial life. Part of the transition is to ensure that your money is safe and you have income available for the rest of your life. For risk-conscious and lifestyle-minded investors, one instrument to consider for a retirement portfolio is an annuity.

Apart from principal protection, low risk, and tax-deferred growth, annuities can generate a guaranteed lifetime income. This income benefit can help ensure that the contract owner has a constant, dependable cash-flow throughout retirement.

However, there are many aspects of an annuity that people should understand before making a purchase, such as fees and conditions. One of the important conditions set out by annuities are surrender charges.

Let’s take a closer look at what a surrender charge involves.

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on 27 September, 2017

safe money investments

As far as financial security goes, when thinking of retirement, it’s important to consider the safety of your financial portfolio.

Do you have reliable income streams in place for retirement, whether for a set period or life? Is there enough liquidity in your assets to allow you to retire comfortably? Is enough of your money safe and put in secure, dependable places? Do you have an appropriate financial strategy for combating the the impact of inflation, high-ticket expenses like long-term care, and other costly retirement risks?

All of this brings us to a discussion on building a dependable safety net and how to make sure that you can answer these questions with confidence.

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on 11 October, 2017

6 risks to retirement income we cant afford to ignore

Achieving financial security isn’t an easy task. The dynamics of retirement income planning have evolved. It used to be that retired households could rely upon Social Security and personal pensions for the income they needed.

But that has changed. Now Americans shoulder more individual responsibility for their future income security. Also, life expectancies are on the rise. The challenge becomes ensuring our money will last for a retirement lifetime.    

As you create your own retirement income plan – or consider potential changes to your current plan – here are six risks to retirement income to consider. Keep these potential pitfalls in mind as you formulate your own strategy.

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on 25 September, 2017

term life insurance vs whole life insurance vs indexed universal life insurance

When shopping around for a life insurance policy, you have many choices. From monthly low-cost term insurance, to more expensive but long-term coverage benefits of whole life and universal life insurance, there’s a wide landscape of options.

As you consider different selections, it’s important to understand how these types of insurance differ from another. Among permanent life insurance, two widely-purchased options are whole life insurance and indexed universal life insurance.

While term life insurance is the most straightforward, it covers you only for a short-term period. Conversely, whole life and indexed universal life policies give lifelong coverage, so long as a policy remains active.

But they are more complex, tend to cost more than term coverage, and can be better-suited for long-term objectives. With that said, the cash value component of permanent insurance may be attractive for a number of reasons, including for efficient legacy planning, tax-advantaged wealth building, and tax-deferred retirement saving.

If you’re exploring term life insurance versus whole life insurance and indexed universal life insurance, it’s prudent to be diligent. You will want to research and consider your options carefully, and to help you get started, here's a quick guide on the differences between these life insurance types.

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on 04 October, 2017

 guide to taxes on social security retirement benefits

When calculating individual benefits, the Social Security Administration draws on up to 35 years of personal earnings history. To receive Social Security benefits in the first place, you have to work at least 10 years. Therefore, it’s not that surprising that many people see their benefits as something they have earned.

Yet each year, Uncle Sam collects a share of people’s benefits through income taxes. You may have to pay taxes on as much as 50%-85% of your benefits, depending on how much income you report to the IRS.

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on 19 September, 2017

difference between traditional and roth ira

There are many types of IRAs. But two of the most common are the traditional IRA and the Roth IRA. The type of account you select can have a significant impact on your long-term household savings.

The biggest difference between a traditional IRA and Roth IRA is their classifications in the IRS tax code. A traditional IRA holds the benefit of tax deferral, which means that money going into it has pre-tax status. On the other hand, since a Roth IRA is funded with after-tax dollars, it gives the benefit of potentially tax-free distributions. On top of these differences, both types of accounts have different rules for required minimum distributions.

Because of this difference and others, it’s important to understand the fundamentals behind these two plans. This brief discussion will help you understand their distinctions, their eligibility criteria, and other important factors. Let’s get into it.

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in Annuity
on 03 October, 2017

 single or joint life annuity

Year after year, many Americans are finding it harder to provide for their spouses during retirement. Guaranteed pension payments have been disappearing as more companies move toward 401(k)s and other savings plans. And with the end of file-and-suspend in Social Security, numerous couples now can’t use the higher earner’s wage record for greater benefit payouts.

This brings up the question of survivorship: How can retirees ensure their spouses receive sufficient income for current and future needs? Many couples have turned to joint life annuities as a long-term solution.

However, that doesn’t mean that a joint life annuity is right for everyone. In some cases, having separate annuities can be more prudent. Or it may be appropriate to seek retirement income strategies with other means. But no matter what, whether someone should choose a joint life annuity or a few single life annuities will vary on an individual basis. It depends on the potential buyer’s needs, goals, and situation, among other factors.

If you are considering a joint or single annuity, here are some pointers to help you think about your options.  

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in Annuity
on 18 September, 2017

can you buy an annuity at any age

Yes, it’s possible to buy an annuity at nearly any age. Usually there are few or no lower age limits. But annuity purchases do have older age limits. These restrictions vary based on annuity type, product, and individual contract rules.

Technically, you may be able to buy an annuity for even a child. However, most annuity purchases are with retirement money, especially IRA money. So, annuities tend to be more appropriate for people of near-retirement and retirement age. You will also see retirement savers in their 30s and 40s purchasing annuities for principal protection, safe growth, or tax-deferred accumulation in another place alongside retirement accounts. Overall, annuity buyers tend to range from ages 40-80, depending on their needs and goals.  

In the 2013 Gallup Survey of Owners of Individual Annuity Contracts, the average age for first-time annuity buyers was 51. The survey found the median age of first-time contract purchasers to be 52.

Since age limits can vary among annuity types, let’s take a look at those now.

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