Retirement Planning Education

Common Financial Issues for Surviving Spouses

Common Financial Issues for Surviving Spouses

Common Financial Issues for Surviving Spouses: Navigating the Challenges

The loss of a spouse is a profoundly emotional experience, compounded by a myriad of financial and life issues that require immediate attention. In an era marked by economic uncertainty and rising living costs, surviving spouses face unique financial challenges. This article explores some common financial issues that surviving spouses may encounter and offers insights on how to manage them effectively.

Change in Social Security Benefits

One of the most significant financial changes for surviving spouses is the alteration in Social Security benefits. Couples typically receive two Social Security payments each month. However, after one spouse passes away, the survivor is left with either their own benefit or the survivor’s benefit, whichever is higher. This reduction in income can strain the surviving spouse’s budget, as many fixed expenses, such as mortgage or rent, utilities, and transportation costs, remain unchanged.

To mitigate the impact of this change, it’s crucial to have savings and other financial plans in place. Immediate actions include notifying the Social Security Administration of the death to ensure the timely adjustment of benefits. Surviving spouses should also consider whether the survivor’s benefit is larger than their own full benefit and plan accordingly. For those supporting minor children or disabled dependents, applying for survivor benefits promptly is essential since benefits are not retroactive to the date of death but start from the application date.

Drop in Overall Income

The death of a working spouse can lead to a significant drop in household income, potentially necessitating the surviving spouse to re-enter the workforce. This situation is particularly challenging for older adults who may have been out of the job market for years or have health issues. For example, if a corporate executive passes away, their spouse may struggle to find employment that matches the previous income level.

To prepare for this possibility, couples should consider building a robust emergency fund and exploring part-time work or freelance opportunities that align with the surviving spouse’s skills and health.
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Get a Second Opinion on Your Retirement Plan

Ensure Financial Security: Discover How a Fresh Perspective Can Optimize Your Retirement Strategy

Retirement is a significant phase in life, often marked by mixed emotions: excitement for the years ahead and uncertainty about financial security. Many people have some form of retirement plan in place, whether through personal savings, an employer-sponsored plan, or a combination of both. But with changing market conditions, evolving retirement needs, and increasing lifespans, it’s critical to ensure your retirement plan is robust and aligned with your long-term goals. Seeking a second opinion on your retirement plan can be a prudent step to ensure you’re on the right track.

Common Retirement Planning Challenges

Retirement planning can be complicated, and even the most carefully considered strategies can have blind spots. Here are some common challenges:

    • Underestimating Longevity: Many people outlive their life expectancy predictions, and not having enough savings can lead to financial difficulties.
    • Healthcare Costs: Healthcare expenses tend to rise with age. Not accounting for unexpected medical bills can put a strain on your savings.
    • Inflation: A plan that doesn’t consider inflation might leave you with significantly less purchasing power.
    • Market Risks: Investment risks, particularly with volatile markets, can impact portfolios and retirement income.
    • Estate Planning: Many overlook estate planning, potentially leaving loved ones with complex and expensive inheritance issues.

Benefits of a Second Opinion

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Mastering Retirement Account Diversification

Peace of mind knowing their retirement money is safe.

Comprehensive Strategies to Secure Your Financial Future

Navigating the path to a secure retirement can seem daunting. With numerous investment options, economic volatility, and increasing life expectancies, understanding how to effectively manage your retirement accounts is crucial. Diversifying these accounts is not just wise—it’s necessary. It ensures financial stability and sets you up for a comfortable retirement.

Why Diversification Is Key

Diversification stands as the cornerstone of sound financial planning. It involves spreading your investments across various assets to minimize risk. In retirement planning, this means allocating your savings across different types of retirement accounts. Each type offers unique tax advantages and withdrawal implications. Through diversification, you reduce risk and enhance your potential financial returns.

Understanding Different Retirement Accounts

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Your Wealth: Financial Strategies for a Longer Life

With life expectancies increasing, outliving one’s savings is a significant concern. Annuities, especially those offering lifetime income options, play a critical role in mitigating this risk by ensuring that individuals have a consistent income stream throughout their retirement years.

In an era where medical advancements and healthier lifestyles are pushing life expectancies ever higher, the challenge of ensuring that your wealth lasts as long as you do has become increasingly critical. For many, the solution lies in a financial instrument that is both ancient and misunderstood: the annuity.

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Volatility Buffer: Reduce Investing Risk in Retirement


As you near retirement, it’s typically more important to protect what you have than it is to reap financial gains. A ‘volatility buffer’ strategy can help especially when in the retirement red zone, or that point of 10 years before and 10 years into being retired.

If someone is within that timespan, then a major financial loss can seriously derail their retirement goals. For instance, many people were ready to retire in 2008, but they were forced to work for another ten years or so in order to make up for investment losses suffered in the financial crisis.

But what is a volatility buffer, and how does it work? In simple terms, a volatility buffer is a way to reduce investment loss risk in your financial plan. It can help you keep financially on track in times of unsavory market conditions, including when you are taking withdrawals from your asset holdings for retirement income.

You have a variety of options that you could use in a volatility buffer strategy. One way that you can guard against this heavy cost of investment loss risk is with a fixed index annuity. This type of annuity has a feature of protection in the volatility of the markets while keeping your money safe from losses. Of course, this is just one option among others.

In this article, we will go over what a volatility buffer is, how to include a volatility buffer strategy in your overall plan, the pros and cons of this strategy, and how to tell if it’s a good fit for your financial situation.

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How to Find a Good Retirement Income Planner

retirement income planner

There are many kinds of financial professionals that are available today. With no shortage to choose from, why would you want to limit your search only to retirement income planners – or those who plan for retirement income?

The simple answer is life changes, and financial wellness at this point requires a certain specialty. You wouldn’t go to a family medicine doctor for matters relating to brain surgery. That is what a neurosurgeon is for.

The same goes for income planning near and in retirement. An experienced retirement income planner will be able to help you maximize the fruits of your life’s work net of taxes, inflation, fees, and other factors. They should be able to create dependable income streams that have a good chance of holding up for however long your retirement lasts.

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The Baby Boomer Dilemma — What You Should Know

Baby Boomer Dilemma Movie

Retirement planning covers lots of areas. But have you heard of a situation where someone with $500k – $600k in retirement savings might be ‘richer’ than someone who has $1 million? Economic paradoxes like this and other insights are discussed in a new film, ‘The Baby Boomer Dilemma.’

You may have heard of The Baby Boomer Dilemma documentary, which takes a close look at the retirement landscape in America and how it’s being funded. The movie centers around the fictional story of a Florida couple, who have concerns about their future financial security.

An 85-min film, The Baby Boomer Dilemma ends with the wife distraught about not having a guaranteed source of income for their retirement, whether a pension or an annuity. Here’s a little bit more information about the film’s content. If you have any questions about the movie or would like to request a personal retirement consultant based on the movie’s principles, please fill out the contact form for more information.

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Caregiving Continues to Be a Challenge for Retirement Security

Caregiving Continues to Be a Challenge for Retirement Security

Retirees today face a host of financial challenges that previous generations didn’t. The exit of guaranteed pensions from the private sector, coupled with increasing lifespans, has left many older Americans scrambling to make ends meet.

Not only that, there is often the need to start providing care for elderly parents or other relatives who have become unable to perform one or more of the activities of daily living (ADLs).

Paying to have this type of support professionally can be a financial burden for those who don’t have any insurance to cover them. But providing the care yourself can be equally burdensome in other respects.

Nationwide Retirement Institute conducted a comprehensive survey on caregiving and how it affects the lives of the caregivers. The survey researchers looked at those who were in the middle of their careers. These folks are commonly referred to Gen Xers or the sandwich generation.

The survey was designed to find out how they fared in retirement when also dealing with the challenge of caregiving for loved ones. Read More

Top 10 Worst Financial Crises in History, Part 2

Top 10 Worst Financial Crises in History, Part 2

Editor’s Note: This article is the second feature in a two-part series on the top financial crises in U.S. economic history.

From reading the first recap of the Top 10 Financial Crises in History (Crises 6 through 10), you may have noticed that certain patterns emerge.

Sometimes we have an overblown sense of optimism, even in the face of empirical evidence to the contrary. At times, it has led our country into a number of financial crises. And while these crises have proven to be more exception than norm, they are yet another reminder of how we just can’t put off personal financial planning.

Not only that, history repeating itself shows that every investor is responsible for protecting their own financial future. With the days of employer-backed pensions fading away, Americans are more responsible for their personal financial security than before.

Having all that in mind, here are five more historical market events which remind us that bad things happen to good investors. Read More

Top 10 Worst Financial Crises in History, Part 1

Top 10 Worst Financial Crises in History, Part 1

Editor’s Note: This is Part 1 of a series on the worst financial crisies in U.S. economic history. Stay tuned for Part 2 coming up in a short time!

When the economy is tooling along and we find ourselves facing only an occasional hiccup in our money matters that falls short of expectations, it’s easy to feel complacent about the future. Surely life tomorrow will be a lot like it was today.

Except, as anyone who owned a home, a retirement account, or an investment account in 2008 knows all too painfully, our situations can change in a ‘heartbeat.’ And, in turn, they can affect our future outlooks.

To make sure we are all diligent about protecting our financial futures so that we can achieve the retirement we envision, here are 10 valuable reminders.

These historical lessons reinforce the importance of having a financial plan – so you can trudge on ahead or reset your course as needed. They aren’t necessarily typical of what might happen in our lifetimes, but they do show the value in being financially prepared.

As you think about the future, consider working with an experienced financial professional, who acts in your best interest, and who can help you make any such determinations. That includes the whens and ifs of any changes that might be right for you. And keep an eye out for part 2 of our series, coming next week. Read More

Next Steps to Consider

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