Retirement Education

How the SECURE Act Could Change Your Retirement

How the SECURE Act Could Change Your Retirement

It’s happened. After a nearly unanimous passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, the SECURE Act (Setting Up Every Community for Retirement Enhancement Act) finally made its way through Congress. The legislation was “attached” to a bipartisan spending bill in the Senate with the goal of avoiding another government shutdown.

The president signed the SECURE Act into law on December 20th, 2019. With many provisions having gone into effect on January 1st, 2020, it will have big implications for retirement and taxes. As a result, retirees and working-age retirement savers can start seeing major changes as early as 2020.

All of that being said, the SECURE Act brings the most sweeping changes to the U.S. retirement system in a decade. Because of that, there is bound to be some confusion about what the act actually does and how it might affect people’s own retirement standard of living.

Here is a broad overview of some major changes to retirement, taxes, and financial planning that come with the SECURE Act now becoming law. Read More

5 Financial Fails to Avoid in Retirement

5 Financial Fails to Avoid in Retirement

Retirement planning is, in many ways, a guessing game. You can’t be sure of exactly how long you will live. How much income you will need might not be clear. And you don’t know if you will need long-term care support.

Even so, prudence dictates that we have some roadmap for these unknowns. It’s better to plan for these contingencies. Otherwise, you could wind up in financial trouble at some point in your retirement years.

Here are five financial fails to avoid in retirement so you will be better prepared when you retire. Read More

Beware the Retirement Red Zone in Your Retirement Planning

Beware the Retirement Red Zone in Your Retirement Planning

When a football team gets the ball inside the opposing team’s 20-yard line, they are considered to be in the “red zone.” There it’s more likely that they will score.

If you are within ten years of retirement (either before or after), then you are in what many financial professionals consider to be the “retirement red zone.” Famously coined by Prudential, the retirement red zone is a crucial stage for your long-term lifestyle.

Why? Because how your retirement portfolio behaves during this period can substantially affect your standard of living during your golden years.

Just as it’s critical that a football team can come away with points from the red zone, it’s also imperative that you manage your assets well during this critical period. Read More

Safe Money Solutions – How to Protect Retirement Money and Maximize Income

Safe Money Solutions - How to Protect Retirement Money and Maximize Income

As you gear up for retirement, you may have heard of “safe money solutions.” Are they right for you? It’s an important question, especially since retirement planning is more difficult than it’s ever been in history.

Past generations could count on company pensions that would pay them every month without fail until they died. But the disappearance of these pensions, coupled with the increase in longevity for retirees, has left many people with more questions than answers.

While Social Security will cover at least some of their expenses, most retirees will have to rely on income from their own investments and savings to make up the difference.

However, what many call a bewildering amount of financial choices in today’s market can leave people feeling frustrated.

According to the Investment Company Institute, nearly 120,000 regulated investment funds are available to retirement savers today. And what about other options? There are more annuities than hedge funds available, which doesn’t even begin to cover the universe of countless other instruments that can be tapped for retirement goals. Read More

8 Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Financial Advisor or Agent

8 Mistakes People Make When Hiring a Financial Advisor or Agent

If you are gearing up for retirement, take heed. Here are eight common mistakes that people make when engaging a financial advisor. These blunders occur more than they should, but the good news is they are easily preventable.

Up until this point, you may have worked with a financial advisor in growing the value of your nest egg. With their help, you created a personal investment strategy and built a portfolio to meet your goals.

But with people spending as long as one-third of their lives in retirement, your next phase-of-life requires careful planning as your working years did. This calls for a financial professional who can help you navigate the unique retirement challenges facing you.

Those new trials include the questions of how to convert your portfolio assets into dependable streams of monthly income that last as long as you need them – and how to manage risks that come with decades-long retirement life. Read More

The Truth Behind These Common Retirement Misconceptions

The Truth Behind These Common Retirement Misconceptions

Editor’s Note: The following article is a retirement guest post that has been authored and contributed by Katherine Brown.

Have you already saved money for your retirement years, or are you playing catch-up now? You need to be aware of certain myths and misconceptions about retirement.

Surviving and thriving during your retirement years entails knowing the truth behind these misconceptions. When you are armed with the right information, it’s easier to turn your lifelong savings into dependable strategies that can help you retire comfortably. Read More

New Bill in Congress Can Bring Much-Needed Benefit to U.S. Retirement Landscape

New Bill in Congress Can Bring Much-Needed Benefit to U.S. Retirement Landscape

For some time now, small business owners and their employees have had only a limited menu of effective workplace retirement-saving options.

High plan fees and other barriers have kept traditional retirement planning tools, such as 401(k)s, and income tools, such as annuities, beyond their reach.

A new bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives, aims to level the playing field for small businesses. It would also change some rules for required minimum distributions, or RMDs, which could help simplify retirement distribution planning.

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE” Act) passed the House by a 417-3 vote in late May.

Now it’s on track to move forward to the Senate. With unprecedented bipartisan support in both houses, the bill is expected to have a good chance of sailing through.

If the president signed it into law – or if Congress overturned a presidential veto – the Act would represent the most substantial changes to the U.S. retirement landscape in a decade. Read More

Survey: Gen Xers Sandwiched Between Multiple Financial Priorities

Survey: Gen Xers Sandwiched Between Multiple Financial Priorities

“The Breakfast Club” was a classic coming-of-age film. The stars of the movie? Gen X misfits dreaming of their futures during a fateful day-long detention in their high school library.

What they couldn’t have foreseen is that many Gen Xers would grow up to be responsible not only for their own well-being, but for the care and livelihood of their parents and their grown children as well.

So, if a sequel about Gen Xers was made today, it might be called “The Breakfast Sandwich Club.” And why? Many members of Gen X struggle to plan for their own futures while facing the financial impact of caring for the generations before and after them. Read More

Understanding Average vs. Compounding Portfolio Effects in Retirement

Understanding Average vs. Compounding Portfolio Effects in Retirement

Most people consider investment returns as a benchmark for judging the performance of their portfolio. This may be especially true for retirees and pre-retirees who likely have been invested in the market for some time. That experience might have been through brokerage mutual fund investments, brokerage accounts, or even retirement savings plans such as 401(k)s or IRAs.

But the reality is that many financial concepts rely on average returns to forecast future portfolio activity. Yet compounding growth and compounding losses are the real-life factors that will potentially affect a portfolio’s value. 

This is strongly exemplified in sequence of returns risk, a potential hazard for American retirees. And that doesn’t apply to only retired households.

Sequence risk can also linger for soon-to-be-retirees, especially during the “retirement red zone,” that critical decade of five years before and five years after one retires. Read More

Fed Study: Every American Lost $70,000 in Retirement Income from 2008 Financial Crisis

Fed Study: Every American Lost $70,000 in Retirement Income from 2008 Financial Crisis

The Great Recession that began in late 2007 was a painful period in many Americans’ lives. Everyone who was invested in the market, people who were overextended in mortgages, and those who lost jobs as a result of a crippled economy, were among the millions affected. 

Since then, many people have recovered from the financial setbacks. Nevertheless, a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco suggests that challenges linger. According to Fed researchers, the long-run effects of the financial crisis cost every American an estimated $70,000 in lifetime income.

The researchers point to a big decline in domestic output levels as a primary cause of those losses. Based on early-2000s Congressional Budget Office forecasts, our national gross domestic product remains well below what its 2007 trend implies we might have been at now. And it’s said to be unlikely that the economy will ever make up that lost territory.

While that specter raises many questions, it brings up another important, practical query. How should people preparing for retirement overcome this gap? Read More

Next Steps to Consider

  • Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

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    Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

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    Does for You

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    What Independent Guidance
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    See how the crucial differences between independent and captive financial professionals add up. Learn More

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    Stories from Others
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    Hear from others who had financial challenges, were looking for answers, and how we helped them find solutions. Learn More

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