Posted on Tuesday May 7th 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
If you could look into a crystal ball and predict which retirement income plan was more likely to be around in 20 years – would you choose Social Security or company pensions?
As much as the solvency of Social Security is constantly debated, it may well stay the course long term in some shape or form. Pensions, on the other hand, are rapidly heading towards extinction. The latest pension plans potentially facing cuts include Boeing and Major League Baseball (MLB).
Boeing recently announced its intention to stop offering pensions to new employees, joining the ranks of other large corporations that have adjusted pension offerings, including GE, Lockheed, Ford and General Motors.
The Newly Found, Lost Generation
Posted on Tuesday April 30th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
The new crop of young adults who went to and graduated from college during the midst of the millennium’s economic decline should all be issued “I survived the recession,” tee shirts. There’s a lot resting on their shoulders now, and yet many are still struggling to find jobs and get a foothold in the career of their choice.
But like previous generations before them, learning comes in baby steps and often enough from the experience of overcoming adversity. If suffering builds character, then today’s young adults may become one of the most charismatic generations in recent memory. After all, they did go from being the “entitled” generation to “une generation purdue” (the lost generation) in a span of about five years.
Market and Economic Update
Posted on Tuesday April 23rd 2013 by Tony Olson
Just weeks after the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) reached a record high, the S&P 500 closed at a new high of 1,569.19 on Thursday, March 28 – four points above its previous record of 1,565.15 back in October of 2007. The index remains short of its all-time trading high of 1,576.09.
Congress Hard at Work
Posted on Tuesday April 16th 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
For all the criticism received prior to the New Year, both houses in Congress seem to be in full swing working on legislation on a wide range of issues, from budget control to gun control.
As for the budget, the huge divide doesn’t really appear to be getting any closer. With one phase of the sequester underway as of March 1, we now have another six-month “bandaid” instead of a long-term resolution.
As the budget challenge lingers, we also draw closer to another battle over increasing the debt limit, scheduled to bump into its ceiling later this summer. The financial analysts at Fidelity believe that fiscal debates will be ongoing until our debt situation stabilizes -- calling this our “new normal.
Good News Abounds in the Housing Market
Posted on Tuesday April 9th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
In March, average fixed mortgage rates moved lower than in recent months. In fact, they actually average even lower than this time last year. That’s particularly good news in light of the pick-up in the residential real estate market. This spring season has already resulted in a dramatic shift from buyer to seller’s market in much of the country.
While buyer traffic is up 40 percent from last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), lower inventory is what’s keeping sales in check—and driving prices higher.
The Planning for Retirement Conundrum
Posted on Tuesday April 2nd 2013 by Tony Olson
In our personal lives, we approach large amounts of debt with a long-term timeframe. For example, the 30-year mortgage. So it stands to reason that the U.S. national debt – currently in the ballpark of $16.7 trillion – will require a long-term plan as well.
Health Care Deductions
Posted on Tuesday March 26th 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
With all of the attention given to the new tax provisions passed in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, it may be tough to focus on last year’s laws in order to complete last year’s tax return. Whether you’re planning to complete your return by April 15 or file for an extension, don’t forget the deductions and credits available for 2012 – especially when it comes to medical expenses.
Posted on Tuesday March 19th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
When did the word “sequestration” first penetrate our mainstream American vocabulary? It’s generally used in a trial when the jury is sequestered so they can’t talk to anyone about the case.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary has several definitions that don’t seem to apply to our budget’s current disposition, although it does say that, in law, sequestration is a writ authorizing a law-enforcement official to take custody of a defendant’s property in order to enforce a judgment.
Regardless of what we used to think it means, the word is on everybody’s radar now. In the days leading up to the March 1, deadline, the usual hype led to speculation about the automatic spending cuts and their impact on the country’s growth.
Why Does Health Care Cost So Much?
Posted on Tuesday March 12th 2013 by Tony Olson
Do you know what a routine venipuncture is? That’s a fancy way of saying a nurse drew blood from your arm. Do you know how much one 325mg acetaminophen tab might cost you in a hospital? That’s the generic version of a Tylenol pill, by the way, and just one will run you $1.50 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
If you’ve ever received a bill from a hospital before, you’re probably aware of the sticker shock. Even short stays as routine as childbirth can yield indecipherable bills and unbelievably high charges.
The Toll of Education
Posted on Tuesday March 5th 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
Who knows what makes one child better able to grasp mathematical concepts than others? Is it genetic? Is it access to better education?
Most of us know people who inherently seem to “get it,” but it’s likely we know a lot more who struggle with math. Much like art or music, the math gene may well be a talent handed down the DNA pool in certain families.
Ultimately, how important is it that a child who excels in other academic areas – such as history or English – struggle with geometry and algebra in middle school to be eligible for a college preparatory track in high school?
Remodeling Your Finances
Posted on Tuesday February 26th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
There are signs pointing to an invigorated residential real estate market in spring of 2013. Whether homeowners are gearing up to list their homes on the market or not, the signals are as evident as the crocus bulbs poking their heads out of the snow-riddled ground.
While spring-cleaning is a seasonal rite of passage, this year looks to take the phenomenon a bit further. People are remodeling their homes for two possible reasons. First, by taking advantage of what may be the tail end of low interest-rate refinancing, baby boomers can retrofit their houses in advance of retirement, including enhancements to help them “age in place.”
On Working Forever
Posted on Tuesday February 19th 2013 by Tony Olson
Indifferent to signs of growth elsewhere in the economy, the unemployment rate has been stalled at around 7.9 percent since September. While pervasive layoffs appear to have tapered off, the general feeling seems to be that unless a company utterly and completely can’t function without another person, they’re not going to hire.
It Takes a Village
Posted on Tuesday February 12th 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
Baby boomers are giving new meaning to an established term. “It takes a village” – used in the title of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book – comes from the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child.” The idea behind the phrase is that people beyond the family unit have influence over a child’s well-being.
With 75 million baby boomers on the cusp of retirement, the phrase is being retooled. Now it pertains to the formation of networks and communities designed to provide aging seniors with the resources and connections they need to “age in place” (at home).
Posted on Tuesday February 5th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
A recent survey by HelloWallet revealed that currently, workers age 40 to 49 comprise the largest group making withdrawals from their 401(k) plans. Are they using this money for retirement expenses, as intended? No. More than 50% have used the cash to pay current bills and debt; over 12% are paying for housing and 10% general expenses.1
This is not a good sign.
Recent Moves in Housing
Posted on Tuesday January 29th 2013 by Tony Olson
The American Tax Relief Act of 2012, recently ratified by Congress included several provisions that will impact homeowners, sellers and buyers in the coming year. For example, the deduction for private mortgage insurance has been reinstated and is retroactive for premiums paid in 2012. A full deduction is available to single and marriedfiling-jointly homeowners with AGI of $100,000 or less, while married couples who file separately may write off 50 percent of premiums. Taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $100,000 may qualify for a partial deduction on a sliding scale.
Posted on Tuesday January 22nd 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
On January 2, 2013 the Unites States Congress enacted The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, averting what had commonly been referred to as the ‘fiscal cliff’.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 prevented the expiration of what are commonly referred to as “Bush-era tax cuts” passed in 2001 and 2003, for the vast majority of U.S. households . In light of this good news, perhaps we should each consider this 2013 savings strategy: Calculate exactly how much the now permanent tax cut will save you and save exactly that amount. You can defer it to your employer–sponsored retirement plan, automatically invest it into your current financial vehicles on a monthly basis, or perhaps earmark the savings for a completely new vehicle you’ve always wanted to acquire, but just couldn’t find the money.
Medicare Taxes in the New Year
Posted on Tuesday January 15th 2013 by Andrew Rafal
The IRS recently issued a series of Proposed Regulations for the 3.8 percent and the 0.9 percent Medicare taxes slated to begin in 2013 as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
New Year’s Resolutions for 2013
Posted on Tuesday January 8th 2013 by Tony Olson
Have you thought about your resolutions for the New Year? According to the Spectrem Group, the top five resolutions of affluent investors are to spend less, save more, pay down debt, revise or create an estate plan, and revise or create a retirement plan.
Retirement Security: The Gorilla in Our Midst
Posted on Wednesday January 2nd 2013 by Calvin P. Goetz
In 2009, Knowledge@Wharton published an article referring to reforming Social Security and Medicare as “trying to tackle two 800-pound gorillas.” Amid end-of-year discussions concerning government spending on entitlement programs, two things have become clear: Social Security is on the chopping block and, for now, Medicare is off the table.
The Art of Negotiation: Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Posted on Wednesday December 26th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
Winston Churchill is credited with observing that if we don’t learn from our mistakes in the past, we are destined to repeat them. Nowhere is this more evident than a year ago when the 112th Congress nearly brought this country to its knees while trying to “negotiate” the national debt ceiling. Today’s 113th Congressional debates do not appear to be the wiser.
You: Federal Shareholder
Posted on Tuesday December 18th 2012 by Tony Olson
Here we are, post election, and it’s politics as usual. Under the looming threat of falling off the proverbial “fiscal cliff,” our nation’s leaders have holed-up in Washington in between holidays to iron out some of the biggest issues facing our nation’s future.
Doesn’t give you a lot of confidence, does it? It’s kind of like watching aggravated parents squabble over finances while siblings fight for the TV remote control. Money and power. Just like every other household in America.
Hog Wild Holiday Shopping Tips
Posted on Tuesday December 11th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Now that we are well into the holiday season, consumers tend to open up their pocketbooks and, let’s face it, go a little hog wild when it comes to shopping for family and friends. That’s good news for retailers who count on this time of year to put their revenues in the black.
It’s also good news for our slow-moving economy that calls for an influx of consumer cash with the hope of boosting corporate confidence and paving the way for expansion and new jobs in the coming year.
How Lame is This Year’s Lame Duck?
Posted on Tuesday December 4th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
The post-election Lame Duck legislative session has a long and frequently unremarkable history. The President and members of Congress are considered a “lame duck” when they have been defeated for re-election or elected for a final term (ineligible as a candidate for the next election) and meet in a post-election session.
On November 13, lawmakers returned to work after a six-week sojourn for election campaigning. After the Thanksgiving break, both the Senate and the House of Representatives will be in session until December 21.
What is Your New Normal?
Posted on Tuesday November 27th 2012 by Tony Olson
The “New Normal” refers to everything from freakish weather systems to the global marketplace to a new sitcom on NBC. It’s a very convenient and flexible phrase, as it can be used to describe positive changes or convey perfunctory cynicism. It can refer to any change that appears to be both substantial and long-term, such as, “ever since my son turned 14, grunted sarcasm, irrational bursts of anger, and general gloomy angst is the new normal in our household.”
See? You try it. It’s reminiscent of when “sick” meant good, “phat” meant svelte, and “far out” meant groovy. If New Yorkers wonder what the new normal will be for them after Hurricane Sandy, they should talk to post-Katrina New Orleaneans.
5 Life Insurance Myths to Disabuse Yourself of Now
Posted on Tuesday November 20th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Life insurance may not sound all that exciting, but when you do stop to think about life insurance and you, it's not uncommon to assume that since the concept of life insurance is simple enough, so too are the products. It's also fairly easy to rationalize the things you really don't understand about life insurance, and before you know it, you're harboring potentially damaging life insurance myths.
In addition to your own edification, and frankly, for the safety of your loved ones' financial futures, it's important to understand exactly what life insurance is, what it does, and how - not to mention if - you should make a move either to purchase or upgrade your coverage. Read the myths below to see if you need to adjust your thinking when it comes to life insurance.
Impact of Obama’s Re-Election on Financial Advisors & Their Clients
Posted on Tuesday November 13th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
No matter what side of the fence a person is on, like most of the country, he/she is just grateful that the 2012 Presidential Election is now over. After the incessant blast of political ads, the relentless debates between candidates, and the overwhelming political opinions broadcasted on every social media outlet, the election is finally over; and, Obama is our President for the next four years. Many leaders in financial services agree that the re-election of the Obama Administration will indeed affect the decisions of financial advisors and their clients. Various leaders of the financial advisory industry have already offered the following opinions about Obama’s re-election, as well as what it means for the industry and the clients it serves.
A Few Answers on Annuities
Posted on Tuesday November 6th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
As you near retirement age, your portfolio should begin to exhibit a good bit of diversity. Sometimes, that makes it necessary to look further afield for products that meet your investment needs. Often, that search will lead you to annuities. Annuities are insurance products that allow you to take a chunk of your retirement savings and entrust it to an insurance company to grow at a fixed or variable rate (depending on the product you choose) in return for regular income payments for the rest of your life.
If You’re Worried About Your Retirement, You’re Not Alone
Posted on Tuesday October 30th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
Retirement might be years away for you, but you have this persistent nagging feeling inside. You might even be comparing your financial situation to specific friends, coworkers, or peers around you. You observe that you are the less financially prepared for your retirement than the others. You are not as relaxed about retirement; in fact, you are downright worried and ill-prepared for this stage in your life.
Simple Strategies for Beefing up Your Savings
Posted on Tuesday October 23rd 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
If you're like most Americans, no matter how old you may be, you've had the importance of saving money beat into your head ever since childhood. Even now, as an adult, you can almost hear your parents voicing didactic phrases like, “A penny saved is a penny earned,” “Money doesn't grow on trees,” or “A fool and his money are easily parted.” As a kid, these platitudes were more annoying than helpful, but grownups recognize how very right their parents were to emphasize the vital importance of learning how to save.
State Pension Debate: Black, White & A Whole Lot of Grey
Posted on Tuesday October 16th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
It comes as almost no surprise that states governments are getting hit in their pocketbooks throughout the recession just as everyone else is. The difference is, state governments often have a lot more people that they need to write checks to. One of these checks that has been given a lot of attention lately is the retirement plans for government workers, and it’s no secret that state and local governments are looking for ways to reduce the number the write in the dollar amount section.
How to Sail Through the Sea of Mutual Funds
Posted on Tuesday October 9th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
When you try to choose a mutual fund to invest in, it can be an extremely daunting task. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of choices between thousands of mutual funds and tens of thousands of share classes. Many investors often cling to the nearest lifeboat they see, which often times is a decision based on performance. The problem is that those rafts can quickly deflate as performance is never a good long term determinant. So how can you ensure that you have a stable boat that will carry you through the towering waves of mutual fund choices? Well there are a few different aspects of the decision to consider before you hop aboard.
Complimentary Consultation & Portfolio Review Plus $100 Gift Card
Posted on Wednesday October 3rd 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
In honor of National Financial Planning Week, we invite you to join us for a complimentary consultation and portfolio review, completely free of charge. Please note that appointments are limited. Following your consultation and portfolio review, as a special thank you, you will receive a complimentary $100 Visa gift card.*
Because our calendars fill up quickly, please call (866) 777-9219 today to secure a date that best works with your schedule. This offer expires October 31, 2012.
*Must have minimum investable assets of $250,000 to qualify for complimentary portfolio review and gift card.
Shattering the “Glass Ceiling” of Retirement
Posted on Tuesday October 2nd 2012 by Andrew Rafal
We have all heard of the “glass ceiling,” and in recent decades, society as a whole has worked toward shattering it. Though many will argue that the ceiling is still intact, there is no question that women continue to approach it, and many have been able to break through. Despite the focus on that effort, women are finding themselves with a new problem on their hands once they find their financial success: how to prolong that success into their retirement.
How To Keep The Housing Crisis From Bursting Your Retirement Bubble
Posted on Monday September 24th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Everyone dreams of that perfect little retirement home in the relaxing tranquility of some quaint town on the shores of something beautiful. Ahh, yes. We can picture it now. The feel of a cold drink in our hand and the sun beaming down on our face. The birds are singing and the waves are lapping at the shore. Then suddenly, “Pop!” What was that, you say. That was the sound of that dream bubble bursting for the 1.5 million older and retired Americans that have lost their homes to foreclosure along with much of the financial security that came with them.
The Why, When and How of Consolidating Your Retirement Accounts
Posted on Monday September 17th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
Consolidate: To combine separate items or scattered material into a single whole or mass. The definition makes consolidation seem tidy, productive and even a bit powerful. With all those good vibes, it’s a wonder why more people hesitate to use consolidation tactics in their lives, especially in terms of their retirement. Many people have multiple retirement accounts through multiple different custodians with multiple different terms. That is a lot of “separate items or scattered material” that can be combined into the “single whole or mass” that consolidation affords its users. So if you are one of those people, it’s time you look into simplifying your retirement plans and consolidating those accounts. But you might ask yourself, why consolidate? Or when is the best time to consolidate? Or how do you actually go about consolidating? Well, since you asked…
The Road to Retirement: “Are We There Yet?”
Posted on Monday September 10th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Many people preparing for retirement feel like a kid on a road trip. “Are we there yet?” It’s the common feeling of anyone aiming for a destination. Unfortunately, for many future retirees it can feel like they are that cartoon character chasing after the sandwich hanging from the stick at their back. They keep running after it but they never get any closer. Well a new study by The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College brings both good and bad news for those perpetual chasers. The good news: you don’t have to work forever. The bad news: the benchmark age at which the majority of Americans will be prepared to retire at has been bumped back to 70.
It’s no secret that the longer that you work, the more financially secure you will find yourself in retirement. The age of reaching that financial security varies with the individual based on their circumstances, but the new study shows that 85% of Americans will be financially prepared to retire by age 70. Overall, the study found that American households fall into a variety of groups in terms of their age when they will be ready to retire.
Considerations When Choosing Your Executor
Posted on Tuesday September 4th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
While no one would likely characterize drafting a will as an exciting task, it certainly is an essential one. After all, over the course of your life you've built a unique legacy — one that is marked not only by your personality, character, passions, friends and family, but also by the assets you've accrued, savings, investments, charitable causes and most treasured possessions. Surely, you wouldn't want that legacy to end up in the probate courts, so you must appoint an executor to manage your will and/or estate. Designating an executor is equally important as creating a will; therefore, you must exercise just as much careful thought when selecting the individual who will serve in this capacity.
The executor of your will bears a number of responsibilities after your death, so if you want your final wishes to be followed to the T, choosing the right person to carry out those responsibilities is absolutely imperative. Equally important, however — especially when you consider the weight of the executor's obligations — is ensuring the person you appoint as executor is willing to assume this time-consuming responsibility, so be sure to ask anyone whom you may be considering to serve in this role if they'd accept the obligation before naming anyone as executor.
Investment Behaviors Smart Investors Avoid
Posted on Monday August 27th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
If you have an eye toward increasing your net worth, you're most likely an investor. Sure, you may not be the next Warren Buffet, but you understand that putting at least some money into the stock market — coupled, of course, with the purchase of a less risky retirement income product - just makes good sense if you plan to get ahead in the financial game. However, many investors tend to “play the markets” as if it were, in fact, nothing but a game. Unfortunately, these are the investors who tend to lose big, making mistakes that could easily be avoided.
Good investors are most often thoughtful investors, and as with everything else in life, the more thought you put into a decision, the smarter that decision is likely to be. The importance of smart investment behavior and decision-making is underscored in one particularly interesting segment of a Money Magazine special report entitled “101+ ways to build wealth.” The report features the collective advice of stock market experts, professionals and magazine readers alike on how you can avoid many of the mistakes that can ultimately sink an investor's dreams.
Eating the Estate Planning Elephant… One Bite at a Time, Part II
Posted on Monday August 20th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
You may have been cohabitating with your proverbial estate planning elephant for some time now, but if the first part of this article attempted to prove anything, it's that the best way to tackle any challenge is to take it step by step, or in this case, bite by bite. With this approach, creating that much-needed estate plan is decidedly within reach, and any reasons for procrastinating you may still have been clinging to should have been well trampled by now.
You've started breaking the chore of estate planning into small, more palatable “bites,” and you've already accomplished a great deal. Once you've taken stock of your physical assets as well as your more intangible property, tallied up your debts, and have asked your agent or advisor to give your annuity and/or life insurance policies a good checkup, you're well on your way toward a comprehensive plan.
In this article, we'll discuss the next four tasks you should take in your quest to attain your planning goals. You may be feeling rather full, but it's imperative for you to continue nibbling away at completing your estate plan... or eating that elephant. If you haven't already done so, now is also a good time to consider securing advice from an estate planning professional who can help shoulder some of the weight. But whether you hire an advisor or continue to go it alone, the key now is maintaining your inertia, preventing procrastination and keeping yourself focused on the real “desert” at the end of the path -- peace of mind.
Eating the Estate Planning Elephant… One Bite at a Time, Part I
Posted on Monday August 13th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
No one wants to look at it, no one even wants to think about it, yet there it looms — the giant estate planning elephant in the room. It's impossible to coexist happily, so you know you'll have to tackle the beast at some point, and when it comes to your financial well-being, earlier is always better than later.
So what's holding you back? Many Americans mistakenly believe estate plans are only for millionaires, but many more are simply threatened by the perceived scope and difficulty of such a goal.
Estate planning is a serious endeavor, so it's not uncommon for people to use their perception of estate planning as a long, difficult, tedious and time-consuming process as an excuse to procrastinate. But there's no need to stall along the path to reaching your estate planning goals, especially if you break the process down into simple, easy-to-manage tasks. And after all, isn’t that the best way to eat an elephant? Take it one bite at a time, and before you know it, you'll have a solid estate plan in place — not to mention the peace of mind that comes along with it.
You can begin your estate planning by taking these four simple bites into the process. Of course, if you'd like some guidance as you navigate the estate planning landscape, not to mention the confidence that comes from knowing you're doing all the right things, enlist the help of a professional financial advisor to keep your “appetite” on-course — preferably one who specializes in estate and retirement planning. In addition to expert advice, your advisor may also be able to offer a customized evaluation of your needs, as well as assist in providing and filing any necessary documentation.
Is Gold the Ticket to Your Successful Investments?
Posted on Monday August 6th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
Gold has been the benchmark of wealth since the beginning of time. Whether it be in the form of a crown, a ring, or a hidden treasure chest, gold has long been a symbol of power and prosperity. Maybe that’s why people on TV are always yelling at us to sell them our scrap gold. And maybe that’s why other people on that same TV are urging us to buy their gold. So what do you do? Do you buy? Do you sell? Do you ignore them altogether?
Those questions can be hard to answer with the thoughts on gold investments differing with almost every new person you ask. Thirty percent of investors believe that gold is the best long term investment for them, making it more popular than nearly every other investment venue offered, according to a recent Gallup poll. With the popularity growing, it was time to get the facts on this precious and historically coveted metal. A new study by Duke University professor Campbell Harvey and co-author Claude Erb did just that, looking into just what is behind the allure of gold.
The Supreme Court Keeps Stirring Up The Market
Posted on Monday July 30th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
The Supreme Court’s decision on healthcare has been a highly anticipated announcement for nearly every American. The tension has broken and, as we all know, Obama-Care chalked up a big victory with the majority of the reforms being upheld. The repercussions of the decision were obvious, allowing the government to penalize, by tax, Americans who choose not to get health insurance. That mandate was the staple behind the implementation of healthcare reform as a whole.
A lot of speculation has been placed on the effect of the ruling, from the healthcare of individuals to the taxing changes, and even the possible repeal after the 2012 elections, but what has been left out of the discussion is the effect that the decision has had for investors. The financial distribution in the healthcare industry has found itself with a new layout and investors are wise to take notice of the changes.
The five to four decision has been noticed in the market in terms of the long term effects that the mandate and reforms will have on different aspects of the medical industry. In some parts, stock prices jumped, while in others, it dropped, and investors have an explanation for each.
Why Do Women Trail Men in Retirement Planning
Posted on Monday July 23rd 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
With the passing of the many recent Mother’s Day celebrations it’s easy to acknowledge all that women do in the lives of people around them. It’s often said that mothers naturally put others first, which, admirable as it is, becomes a problem in terms of their own financial future. A new study by the ING Retirement Research Institute shows that women, on average, are much less prepared for retirement than men. Not only do fewer women have formal investment plans in place, but those that do have a retirement plan have over $40,000 less than their male counterparts in those savings plans. One of the most concerning numbers is that only 25% of all women have a formal investment plan.
There is no question that women need to do more in terms of saving for their retirement. At ages 65 and older, the majority of women in today’s society are single, which means they need to have a plan for funding their retirement. Before we can start to search for a solution, it’s important to pinpoint the causes. What is holding women back?
As Goes Small Business, So Goes The Nation
Posted on Monday July 9th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Small businesses are a staple in our society. “They are the heart of America.” “They are the epitome of the American dream.” So on and so forth… Well for the past few years they have had a rough go of it. Small businesses have been in the spotlight throughout the recession, and it’s no secret that it has been a long, hard road, but that road may be getting a little smoother. A recent report from the National Federation of Independent Business shows that the confidence of small business is rising to its highest levels in over a year. The Small Business Optimism Index from the NFIB showed a 2 percentage point rise up to 94.5%.
So to most of us, that number doesn’t mean a whole lot. You’re probably thinking, “94.5%, that would earn you a solid “A” back in your grammar school days.” But there is a lot to examine inside of that number before we start putting “Superb” stickers on this test. That number is the wizard, but we want to see what’s behind the curtain. Here’s a quick breakdown of the numbers behind that 94.5% and what it means to you.
Want to Be a Millionaire? Qualities and Behaviors Common to the Wealthy
Posted on Monday July 2nd 2012 by Andrew Rafal
If you're like most red-blooded Americans, you've likely dreamed of being worth that elusive million-dollar mark. While it may seem just a fanciful dream, Investopedia has identified several characteristics and behaviors of the nation's wealthiest individuals, and you may be surprised at the simplicity of their practices. In fact, many investment experts maintain that just about anyone can become a millionaire, provided they possess the discipline and perseverance, as well as put the right investment strategies in place And of course, the younger you are when implementing this plan the better.
Insider Secrets to a Happy Retirement
Posted on Monday June 25th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
According to research by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, only 60% of current retirees say that their retirement is “very satisfying.” The study also found that nearly one in five retirees say they are experiencing lower levels of overall well-being in retirement than they were before they retired. So what’s causing these high levels of unhappiness in what’s supposed to be the golden years of your life? The study found four major reasons for discontent among retirees with yep, you guessed it, money being number one. Let’s take a look at the suggestions the study offers for what does - and doesn’t – please retirees.
The Cost of a Healthy Retirement
Posted on Monday June 18th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
Ever since the 2008 presidential elections, America has been in whirlwind discussions over our healthcare system. Any American that has paid attention has had healthcare in the forefront of their mind at some point over the past four years. But it’s becoming an increasingly important issue for a specific group of Americans: The retirees. The estimated retirement healthcare costs are continuing the rising trend from the past decade. The latest estimate from Fidelity Investments this year’s figure at $240,000. That figure, up 4% from last year, means that on average, a 65-year-old couple retiring in 2012 can expect to pay $240,000 for their healthcare costs over the remainder of their lifetimes. This figure is based on the average life expectancy of men living to 82 and women living to 85. To add insult to injury, that figure doesn’t include the cost of long-term-care, dental care, and any over the counter medication.
5 Things To Know About Your Parents Financial Future
Posted on Monday June 11th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Parents spend their entire lives planning for their children’s future but, as goes the circle of life, there comes a point when that responsibility starts to shift. Many children take on the role of caretaker for their parents. They do all the things that their parents once did for them: drive them to the store, make them their meals, and so on. Well remember when you were a kid and your parents gave you an allowance, or only let you spend a certain amount of money at the store. They were, in a small way, helping protect your finances. Well, one of the most important aspects of becoming involved in your parents’ lives is understanding and managing their finances. Of course your parents might not take well to you handling their allowances or expenditures, but it’s important that you get involved early and often in your parents financial planning.
Seven Questions to Ask Before Investing
Posted on Monday June 4th 2012 by Andrew Rafal
We have all heard of the seven deadly sins, things that you should never do or you risk the harshest of punishments. But many people don’t know about the seven deadly questions, involving your investments. There are seven questions that one must answer before dropping a dime on investments, otherwise their money could be lost in the fiery pits of… well you know where. Making investment decisions isn’t easy, especially if you are just entering the game. There are a lot of details that many people don’t think about until it’s too late. So, if you want to avoid the eternal pain of poor investment plans, ask yourself these seven questions.
5 Steps You Can Take Now to Improve Your Retirement Income
Posted on Monday May 14th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
If you're a working American born anytime between 1946 and 1991, the research, analysis and more importantly, the five straightforward actions you can take now to ensure your retirement income doesn't take a dive revealed in the Fidelity Investments' “Retirement Savings Assessment” might be of particular interest to you.
The first-of-its-kind analysis by Fidelity Investments, a financial services provider with a focus on helping Americans save and plan for retirement, found that many working American households could face a 28-percent loss of income during retirement. Perhaps even more frightening is the 38 percent of retiree households already reporting that their monthly income isn't enough to cover their monthly expenses. In addition to these sobering statistics, however, Fidelity also provided a number of actionable steps individuals could take in order to narrow or entirely close a potentially uncomfortable gap between their retirement income and their monthly living expenses.
Roth 401(k)s vs. Traditional 401(k)s
Posted on Monday May 7th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
By now, most Americans understand that at the very least, they should be participating in their employer's defined contribution plan, most commonly offered in the form of a 401(k). But some companies offer two forms of these plans: the traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). You thought deciding how much to allocate to your plan and then researching and electing the investment funds to support it was confusing enough, but here you are, faced with yet another option for safeguarding some retirement funds. Let's break it down just a bit more.
Prepare Your Portfolio for the Unknown
Posted on Monday April 30th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since New Year’s Day, you should be well aware of the tumultuous events that have been taking place around the world – the disaster in Japan and the uproar in the Middle East and North Africa are just a few global measures that are causing economic changes around the globe. We’ve seen gas prices soar and a rise in food and beverage commodities, but the place in which these changes are especially apparent is the stock market. Inflation has caused investors to shift their assets and determine which of the world’s financial markets are being hit the hardest with higher interest rates and a rise in inflation. If you have any game pieces playing in the stock market you’ll surely want to know which markets are being affected by the ever-changing economic fundamentals. Let’s discuss the possible risks that your portfolio faces, and aim to strengthen any weak spots.
What the Heck Is a Reverse Mortgage?
Posted on Monday April 16th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
Lately, you've likely noticed a glut of television, radio and even Web advertisements — many of them featuring well-known actors — all talking about a retirement and planning tool called reverse mortgages. Even its name is odd: What in the heck is a reverse mortgage, and should you bother to look into them? After all, these ads talk a great deal, but none really explain what the true nature of these products are. If you're close to your retirement or already in retirement, you may want to read on to discover more about these all-too-tempting sounding arrangements.
Should You Put Your Kids’ Education Ahead of Your Retirement?
Posted on Monday April 9th 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
If you're like most parents, you want nothing more than to provide your children with a college education. Some have been saving since before their children were even born, but more often than not, a substantial number of parents find themselves in the uncomfortable position where their kids are fast approaching college age, but they themselves are staring their retirement years right in the face. So the question becomes: Should you sacrifice your retirement savings to put your kids through school?
5 of the Top Places to Retire Outside of the U.S.
Posted on Monday April 2nd 2012 by Calvin P. Goetz
While it may sound sensational or romantic, retiring in a foreign country also has more pragmatic benefits, leading to a rise in the population of Americans choosing to spend their golden years in other countries. Whether it's the draw of low costs of living, inexpensive and accessible health care, warmer climate or the charm of a distant locale, many of the following foreign locales already have large pools of retired expats, and as more and more baby boomers start retiring, coupled with a constricted economy and burgeoning medical expenses, this trend is projected to continue.
Check out the highlights of the five countries, and perhaps you'll see retirement as a whole new adventure — an adventure certainly well-lived.