Expected Contingency: 4 guidelines for women looking into planning their retirement

Women, on average, live longer than men—this is a plain truth (http://ti.me/8T7Ll),  a fact that must be taken into consideration when planning for retirement.  Running out of retirement funds partway through is not only a risk, it’s an unfortunate reality for many women who’ve outlasted their investments. With this in mind, here are a few general guidelines for women looking into planning their retirement.


1. Start early.

Not only is there still a distinct wage gap between female and male earners, women are also faced with the fact that, in all likelihood, they will end up with a good bit of extra time that they will be needing those retirement funds. This makes it an absolute imperative to start planning for retirement early in order to counteract these two factors working in tandem.


2. Plan for extra time.

As noted in the first point, women are still anticipated to outlast men by a good margin, about 5 to 10 years. Many in the younger generations can expect that to remain, alongside the average age increasing due to advancements in technologies. While planning for a retirement portfolio that will last forever is out of the reach of most, being realistic about longevity is extremely important, and making a conservative estimate may leave you in dire straits down the road. Plan for longevity.


3. Know your caregiver options.

Women with male partners will likely outlast their significant other.  While they will be there to administer care, unfortunately they afterwards find themselves bereft of any similar assistance themselves. Having a caregiver plan will help you sail smoothly throughout the entirety of your retirement and ensure that you have a helping hand as you age.


4. Know your personal risks.

There are a lot of statistics floating around about longevity, but statistics and averages are just that.  As individuals they’re helpful as general guidelines, but are completely ineffective as rules. Knowing not only your family’s medical history and risks associated (or lack of risks which may contribute to a greatly extended retirement) but also knowing your own financial tendencies, will help you get a better grasp on how to manage your money and what factors you should alert your financial advisor of when making a long-term retirement plan.

Extended life shouldn’t have to be something you look at as a downside. Taking steps in the immediate future to ensure that you won’t be too strongly impacted by the unique problems you’ll encounter as a woman facing retirement, will help you make the most of those extra years.
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Long Term Care Insurance: The Basics

Life expectancies have exploded over the last 50 years, and for most couples, at least one spouse will survive until age 90 or older. Yet along with age comes a variety of maladies — everything from diabetes and high blood pressure to broken hips or dementia. Oftentimes, these types of illnesses and accidents require health care expenses in addition to the expense of long-term assisted or living care, but how do you know whether you should purchase a long term care insurance (LTCI) plan to complement your retirement plan?
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), before making this decision, ask yourself these questions:


  • Do you have assets you’d like to protect?
  • Do you need to ensure your nest egg remains untouched and unbroken?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then long term care insurance is worth discussing with your agent or advisor.


  • Is your Social Security your only source of income?
  • Will you soon or already be eligible for Medicaid?
  • Are your retirement assets negligent?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you probably won’t need long term care insurance, but you should discuss it with your agent anyway.
Before meeting with your insurance agent or advisor, it will be helpful to review the NAIC’s Ten Tips Regarding Long Term Care Insurance:


  1. First things first: Long term care is not ideal for everyone. As mentioned above, if you have little to no retirement savings and are currently receiving Social Security payments, you most likely could not afford the additional expense. For these reasons, you should qualify for state assistance, which supersedes the need for LTCI.


  3. Be certain you understand what is typically covered under an LTCI policy, and conversely, what is not covered with long term care insurance. Don’t ever hesitate to pose questions to your agent or advisor or to the carriers that offer this coverage.


  5. Ask for guidance from your retirement planner or insurance agent on determining if LTCI is appropriate for your individual situation. If he or she agrees, ask for help budgeting it in your lifestyle, and also ask them to provide you with a list of LTCI companies they work with so you can do some independent research.


  7. If you don’t want to become a burden to your loved ones (both from a financial and caregiving point of view), then LTCI is certainly worth investigating. This is also true if you’d like to have more control over which type of facility you’ll receive care.


  9. Check in with a variety of companies before committing to a sale. In addition to asking each carrier about their rate-raising history, the NAIC also recommends that you do a comparison that considers:

  • Benefits

  • Coverage limits

  • Covered facilities

  • Insurer ratings (from A.M. Best or Moody’s)

  • What is and what is not covered by your premium You’ll also want to investigate the strength and reputation of each company, and that they possess the correct licenses to offer this product. Contact your state insurance department to verify your findings or to dig deeper into a company about which you have questions.


  1. Learn to watch the rates. Start by checking with the state insurance department to see how your state regulates premium increases among LTCI providers, and then conduct a bit of research n the major carriers you’re considering and evaluate their respective histories of raising rates for this coverage.


  3. Try to avoid solely relying on Medicare or Medicaid to pick up the tab for you long term care. While Medicare pays for a small amount of certain nursing home costs, if you want to qualify for Medicaid — as Medicaid does cover long term care, albeit in a typically-less-than desirable home — you’ll need to spend down your assets until you reach the poverty line to qualify.


  5. Many long term care insurers, just as with medical insurers, will choose not to cover preexisting conditions. Before you begin developing the difficulties often associated with older age, it’s a good  idea to buy LTCI as young as possible, ideally around age 50. The NAIC also warns that many LTC insurers use age 60 as an automatic trigger to increase your rates, so be sure to check on those rules, too.


  7. Remember that if you purchase a qualified long term care insurance policy, your premiums will receive tax breaks, and furthermore, the benefit payments are also tax-free.


  9. When you purchase LTCI, the insuring company should send you your policy. Be sure to read this policy carefully and make certain you understand its contents in their entirety. You may also elect to add an inflation protection option to your policy. This option periodically increases your benefits levels without you having first to provide evidence of insurability.

The decision to purchase a long term care policy is one that should not be entered into lightly. This is why working with a reputable agent or advisor who represents quality insurance carriers is so important. But these tips offered by the NAIC should get you started thinking about your LTCI needs and desires — and whether it fits into your retirement plan. Read through all the above tips, give them some good thought, and then take this list with you when you meet with an advisor or agent.


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Financing Your Golden Years

As we get older it is important to remember that the cost of aging has only gone up in recent years, and is likely to continue with the rising cost of healthcare and housing. In fact, according to a recent survey by Merrell Edge one of the greatest concerns of seniors is that they’ll outlive their savings. That being said, the role of a certified financial professional is now more important than ever, and early planning can help everyone realize their goals, and spend their golden years in peace and comfort. The following are a few tips that each and every one of us can follow to safeguard the retirement you dream of.


Start planning for retirement now, yesterday if possible


Here’s one that we’ve all heard before, but it’s true now more than ever. By investing earlier in your career you stand only to benefit, and to reap the rewards of compounded interest. This also allows you a much longer and less stressful planning period; you wouldn’t spend longer preparing for a summer vacation than you would for the decades of retirement, would you? It’s crucial to remember that you are making plans for the rest of your life; whether you’ll be traveling the world or ice fishing across town, you have to be honest with yourself about your goals and means. Finding the proper mix of sound mutual funds, balanced with stocks and bonds can be an extremely tedious task, and I can guarantee you that it will take time. A certified financial planner can help you establish a long-term, goal-oriented plan for your savings, while diversifying risk, and ensuring that your golden years won’t be spent toiling away.


Cut Your Debt!


This should be every aging Americans’ primary concern. A recent survey by TD Ameritrade, Boomers and Retirement, substantiated this grim reality when findings revealed that the average Baby-Boomer is almost half a million dollars short in savings for retirement.2 Trying to move gracefully into retirement while burdened with debt from credit cards, mortgages, and even student loans will be clumsy to say the least, and in many cases simply impossible. While it might mean cutting back on some luxuries now you have to remember how much more comfort that equity will bring you for years to come.


Plan for emergencies


Sadly, one of the facts we all must face as we get older is that our bodies simply aren’t what they used to be. Although as Americans we have access to one of the most sophisticated healthcare systems in the world, financing many of these procedures is no easy task. In fact, the Washington Post has reported that nearly three-fourths of retirees are unaware that most Americans on Medicare still pay premiums, deductibles, and co-payments, and that Medicare generally doesn’t cover the staggering costs of long-term care.3 Part of any retirement plan should include talking to your insurance provider about your current plan, and (I can not stress this enough) making sure that you have long-term care covered, lest you want to personally bear the costs of assisted living or housing.


Start your own business


Just because you’re retired it doesn’t mean your days all have to be spent golfing or gardening (although that sounds great to me). According to a new AARP survey as many as 1 in 10 seniors working for someone else said they plan to start their own business when they retire.4 Now more than ever seniors are starting their own business, and many are doing exceedingly well. In fact, in the same survey by AARP, 72% of those seniors who identified as self-employed posted a profit for 2011. In these times of uncertain job security and future economic growth, why not make an investment in yourself and a lifetime worth of acquired skills, contacts, and know-how to build something you’re proud to call your own? Remember, being retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working; you just start doing what you love.


Rodney Brooks, Retirement Living: 5 things to do now to prepare, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2013/02/11/retiree-babyboomer-financial-debt/1891349/ (Feb. 12, 2013)

2 Rodney Brooks, Retirement Living: debt holds many Boomers back, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2013/01/28/retire-debt-crisis-retirement-boomers/1840225/ (Feb. 8, 2013)

3 Michelle Singletary, Retirement planning doesn’t have to be rocket science, The Washington Post, http:// articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-12/business/38478791_1_medicare-part-b-long-term-care-insurance-premiums (April 12, 2013)

4 Andrea Coombes, More retirees want to start their own business, The Wall Street Journal, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/working-in-retirement-but-on-our-own-terms-2013-04-23 (April 23, 2013)


Image courtesy of  mconnors www.morgue file.com http://mrg.bz/nyMrS6.


Realistic Retirement: Leveraging expectations with reality.

Our culture builds a certain degree of optimism around the concept of retirement—people always ‘can’t wait until they can retire’ and it’s a constant goal to be financially stable enough to do so. A lot of recent and near-future retirees go into retirement with something of an impossible idealism about the entire venture, believing that they’ll finally be able to let go and have the world take care of them for a while. This isn’t necessarily misplaced—after a few decades in the workforce, the prospect of not having to work anymore for a living is a welcome one. But as many retirees come to realize, retirement itself isn’t as carefree as we’d like to think it is. Here are a few general tips to help keep you grounded while handling the excitement that comes with the prospect of retiring.


    1.  Health is your new job.


The reality for many retirees is that staying healthy is going to become a full-time job after retirement. Not only will being outside of the workforce make it so you feel less inclined to keep a schedule, it also means that you have no specific guarantee of getting even a bit of exercise in over the course of a day. As much as the prospect of retirement seems to condone doing and eating what you want, it becomes more important than ever to focus on maintaining an exercise schedule and healthy diet.


  1. You need a plan for your free time.

Many retirees will find themselves with more free time than they know what to do with, and without a plan or project, it’s easy to lose that time to television or other frivolous activities. Have an idea of something productive you’d like to get involved in or pick back up after retirement to help guarantee that your creative energies and your retirement itself isn’t wasted. Even while the efforts aren’t strictly necessary, they will help keep you grounded—accomplishments bring with them self-esteem, and it’s important to keep those rolling in.


  1. Don’t lose touch with your working self.

Even while it may seem like a good time to shed your working skin and allow yourself some degree of reinvention, it’s not a bad idea to keep in touch with a few of your older habits well into your retirement. You’ll find that a lot of your retirement is spent managing your own life just as you may find yourself managing aspects of your old job—scheduling, finances, goals, all of these things will require more careful attention now that you’re living off of your accumulated savings, and letting go completely will leave you much worse off down the road.


Working with a financial advisor will help make sure that your retirement is a long and fruitful one. Don’t let the myth surrounding leaving the workforce disillusion you into thinking retirement itself isn’t work—it’s just a different kind of work, and one that you’ll have to learn how to do effectively as you would any other job. Keep an eye on your health, keep a steady stream of projects, and most importantly, don’t lose touch.

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10 Different Hobbies to Enhance Your Retirement, Part II

In Part I of this article, we discussed the importance of finding new and meaningful ways to spend your time so that your retirement years will be just as rewarding as your working years. Just as with the activities we reviewed in the first part of this article, including puzzles and games, traveling, volunteering, collecting and teaching. I’ve aimed to provide you with a variety of hobbies and diversions — some of which are aimed at keeping both mind and body nimble while others are directed at simple relaxation and enjoyment.


6. Sports and Exercise
It should go without saying that even in retirement, you’ll still need to care for your body, and regular exercise is a great way to do just that. You don’t have to run a marathon, but consider hiking or walking on a regular basis, a match of tennis with a friend every week, or even hitting the links. Even fishing counts! You’ll likely discover that you not only relish the chance to exert some pent-up energy, but you no longer have any good excuses about not having enough time to hit the gym a few times a week.


7. Reading
Now that you’re retired, you can read all the books that have been piling up on your “to-read” list, so now is the time to get that library card you’ve been putting off. Curling up with a good book not only fully engages your mind, but it’s also a delightfully pleasant way to pass a rainy day.


8. Writing
Maybe you’re a writer at heart. Whether you journal, write short stories, or are working on the next great American novel, you’ll now have the time to hone your craft and focus on writing what you love. And who knows? Maybe you will write the next best-seller or the gripping memoir nobody can put down!


9. Genealogy
Working on your family tree can be a fascinating way to spend your time. With an abundance of websites like Geneaolgy.com, typing in just one name can often lead you down a trail of knowledge your were never privy to before, so you’re more than apt to learn a few new fascinating things about your family history. Once you’ve dug up and explored your family roots, in addition to creating a traditional family tree, consider summarizing your family’s story into a narrative that can be shared with children and grandchildren and ultimately, their grandchildren.


10. Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts make for a great pastime for retirees. Not only do they involve creativity, but also the use of your hands as you work to create something original and beautiful. Some of you may already have a craft you enjoy, such as knitting or painting, but for those of you who never considered yourself “crafty,” what better time to learn something new. You can find classes offered at community colleges, senior centers, community centers, etc., and most of them are rather inexpensive. What’s more, much of what you create will make great, personal gifts. Who knows, perhaps one of these artistic endeavors will spark your interest:
Cross-stitch or embroidery
Pottery making
Stained glass
Jewelry making


Retirement can take some getting used to — after all, you’re now enjoying freedoms you haven’t known since childhood — so knowing just what to do with your time can seem overwhelming and daunting. You may even fear that your life will become boring now that you’re no longer working, but just the opposite is true — you’re embarking on a whole new chapter in your life, so get out there and embrace all life has to offer and try out a few of these hobbies. They won’t all appeal to you, but surely something has stirred your interest.




Catalogs.com: Top 10 Hobbies for Retirees


Investopedia: 8 Affordable Retirement Hobbies


LovetoKnow Senior Citizens:Ten Hobbies for Retirees


Marketwatch: Top 10 most desired retirement activities


Investopedia: Retirement Hobbies that Make Money


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10 Different Hobbies to Enhance Your Retirement, Part I

Whenever prospective, hopeful or even the wistful members of the workforce are asked what aspects of retirement they’re looking forward to the most, hobbies consistently rank high on that list. But saying this and actually doing it are two entirely separate things. After devoting the better part of your life to punching the time card at the daily grind, some new retirees just don’t know what to do with themselves now that they have an abundance of what was once a treasured commodity — time. And even if you do have a hobby, you might discover that it’s just not enough to keep you busy or happy during your golden years.
Compiled from a number of different studies and articles, I’ve developed the following list of ten hobbies or activities that may appeal to you as pleasant ways to wile-away your retirement years. Some of these hobbies are meant for relaxation, others to challenge the mind or the body, some are meant to make a difference in the lives of others, and some are simply to create amazing new memories and experiences.
1. Traveling

Surely there are many places on this vast earth that have long appealed to you. But with short vacation times and workplace stress, many Americans don’t have the time or money to travel during their working years. Retirement is your chance to get out and explore! Based on your budget, a fun way to begin your adventures is to mark destinations of interest on a map of the U.S. or the world with pins. You can either plan a grand adventure and follow your pins in a logical order, or visit locales at your own pace, and even make a game out of choosing your next destination — think of it as a kind of reverse pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey.
2. Teaching

If you find yourself missing work, consider teaching the next generation your knowledge and skills. Imparting this valuable information often brings immense satisfaction, as you are making a personal investment in the future. Everybody wants to hear the tips and tricks of the trade from the experts who’ve been there, and that’s you.
3. Collecting

Did you start a stamp collection as a teenager that never really got much further after “real life” set in, or have you always longed to become a numismatist? Now is the time to revisit those old passions and rekindle your efforts. Whether it’s stamps, coins, baseball cards, rare books or maps, or anything else that tickles your fancy, having the time to focus on and add to these collections can bring a new depth to retirement.
4. Volunteering

Why not devote your time to a great cause? You’d be surprised how many volunteers are needed for any number of charities of associations, so finding a cause to suit your personality and desires shouldn’t be a problem. For help finding just the right volunteer opportunity in your area, I suggest visiting www.VolunteerMatch.org. This site allows you to choose from a number of topics that interest you, and then performs a search to provide you with an impressive list of volunteer opportunities in your area. Pick one and offer it the one thing more valuable than money — your time.
5. Puzzles and Games

Without the day-to-day stimulation of the workplace, many retirees feel as though they’re losing their once razor-sharp acumen. That’s most likely not the case; rather, your brain just needs more stimulation to stay healthy and sharp. Everything from Scrabble to Soduku to good-old-fashioned Memory can help to engage your mind in positive and fun ways. And, of course, what’s more fun than a game night with friends? Break out the Trivial Pursuit, chessboard, Boggle, or Monopoly and inject a bit of competition to really enthuse your guests — and get them thinking.
In Part II of this article, we’ll explore even more hobbies that could grab your interest and make the retirement phase of your life exciting in new ways you may never have imagined.

Catalogs.com: Top 10 Hobbies for Retirees, http://www.catalogs.com/info/bestof/top-10-hobbies-for-retirees
Investopedia: 8 Affordable Retirement Hobbies, http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0312/8-affordable-retirement-hobbies.aspx
LovetoKnow Senior Citizens:Ten Hobbies for Retirees, http://seniors.lovetoknow.com/Ten_Hobbies_for_Retirees
Marketwatch: Top 10 most desired retirement activities, http://www.marketwatch.com/story/top-10-most-desired-retirement-activities
Investopedia: Retirement Hobbies that Make Money, http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/0712/retirement-hobbies-that-make-money.aspx
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Deep Cuts: How the budget changes could directly affect you and your family

As incredible as it seems, the automatic budget cuts did indeed go through on March 1st, leaving the government with a lot of work to do as far as reining in its spending goes. While there are many of us without government jobs going about our daily lives, assuming that we won’t be hit too hard by the changes that will be continually rolling out over the next several months, the effects of the budget cuts promise to be surprisingly far-reaching. Not only will there be government layoffs to help cover the new budgets, as well as a potential exodus of skilled government employees searching for more profitable work due to furloughs, there will also be a reduction of consumer spending as those furloughs and layoffs take full effect. This promises to affect your portfolio, particularly if you’re invested in commodities and equities. It will also affect both your taxes and, for families, the educational future of your children through college.


The IRS has stated that individuals filing won’t see any extra time tacked onto their expected date of receiving a refund, but for anyone with additional gripes or issues with taxes after tax season is over may find themselves having to wait a good deal longer than normal, as the IRS’ furloughs will begin to take effect once the big crunch is done with (http://hrld.us/14Aqrf2). If you’re anticipating any taxation troubles in your future, now is the best time to get in touch with a financial professional to have your appeals or adjustments moving through the IRS as quickly as possible. While the slowdown shouldn’t be too dramatic, it will still be significant, and if time is of the essence for your returns then don’t wait until those furloughs take effect.


For families with children, the cuts to education promise to be remarkable. Students will be finding themselves in more crowded classrooms as teachers will be cut from the government payroll en-masse, and education stipends for college students will be cut across the board, generally leading to a more expensive college education and less personalized K-12 for students at all levels. If you were banking on your child to take on a work-study program or something similar, you may have to reassess the likelihood of it, as they’ll be needing more money and have fewer opportunities to get it during their college years.


Most importantly in all of this, it’s necessary to keep an eye on what sort of trends may be shifting as a result of the government spending cuts. Alongside the slowdown of post-tax season assistance and student aid, there will be a lot of people leaving the workforce, having their wages cut, and even those on unemployment will find themselves with less financial agency than before. Get in touch with an advisor to help navigate the undoubtedly tricky waters ahead to help make sure that you and your family manage to stay afloat—even if you don’t expect yourself to be affected by the cuts, looking for ways that you may be is the most important thing you can do to ensure the viability of your finances and portfolios well into the future.


The 10 Best States to Spend Retirement, Part II

In Part I of this article on the best states to live during retirement, we discussed the top five states for retirees as ranked by MoneyRates.com, along with the reasons why those states earned such high rankings. To refresh your memory, the first six states ranked in the top desirable states to your retirement years include: Colorado, Florida/New Mexico (tie), South Dakota, California/Texas (tie).


To determine how each state in the union ranks when it comes to attracting Americans aged 65 and older, MoneyRates.com relied on five key criterions, each of which can be supported with hard data. Although there are several other subjective factors retirees consider when deciding where they’ll spend their retirement years, the factors measured in this study — economic conditions, senior population growth, climate, crime rate and life expectancy — are quantifiable and objective.


Now that we know which locations occupy the first half of our list, we’ll now take a look at the five highest states on the list according to the research performed by MoneyRates.com:


5. Virginia: One of only two states east of the Mississippi River to earn a ranking on the list, Virginia earned good scores thanks to a low crime rate combined with the other criteria (save for life expectancy), all of which ranked “reasonably well.”


4. Arizona: Known for its year-round warm weather, Arizona has been attracting retirees for decades and for good reason — life expectancies for seniors are the third highest in the country. MoneyRates.com does caution, however, that Arizona has a relatively high crime rate.


3. Utah: Much like Idaho, Utah also has a fast-growing population of seniors, but it is most notable for its high ranking in economic factors.


2. Idaho: Somewhat astonishingly, Idaho has the third faster-growing senior population in all of the U.S. MoneyRates.com posits that this surprisingly high rank may be attributed to the combination of a good economy and a low crime rate.


1. Hawaii: Despite the fact that Hawaii has the highest cost of living in the nation, seniors live longer beyond age 65 than in any other state. What’s more, its consistently moderate and pleasant climate ranks second in the country.


Whether you’re looking to spend your retirement years in the East, West, North or South of the United States, you’ll find a representative state on this list. And thanks to the strong variety of hard-and-fast criteria, you can prioritize them in order of importance to you and to your retirement needs and desires. With such a diversity of states on this list, choosing a state to retire to should now be at least a little bit easier. If you’re interested in seeing where your state ranks, you can explore MoneyRates.com’s full 50-state rankings.





Fast Forward: How Retirement is Changing

Predicting the future is a rough sort of business to find yourself in, particularly with a world that’s begun changing more and more rapidly with every passing day. Unfortunately a lot of people on all sides of retirement find themselves having to do this very thing, having to try and figure out what directions the world will be taking them in once they’re ready to stop working. Luckily you’re not alone, and most of us are trying to maximize our options for our post-career years. Here are just a few of the ways in which retirement is changing in the next decades, to help you stay ahead of the curve:


A: Retirees are living longer than ever before.
Advancements in medical technology have increased the average life expectancy of individuals in developing nations; retirement planning is becoming more and more troublesome for both actuaries and future retirees (Smart Money, 2012). This increased longevity comes with a need to set up a matching retirement plan, particularly when some retirements are expected to last longer than the amount of time the retirees spent working. Rather than trying to predict how long your retirement is slated to last, be prepared for the longer estimate in response to these treatments and technologies.


B: Children are staying with their families longer, even after college.
According to a new study released by Oregon State University, young adults in the 18-30 age bracket are having a harder time than ever becoming financially independent from their parents (Journal of Aging Studies, 2012). This greatly affects those looking to retire while their children are still young adults, and can cause a domino effect that starts to influence generations to come. There’s no guarantee of the job market recovering or this trend changing in the next few years, so when looking at your retirement make sure to factor in all of your current familial expenses.


C: Social Security may not be around in the future.
Social Security has always been a problem politically since it has a foreseeable end; between longer life expectancies and the large baby boomer population, social security is anticipated to “face funding shortfalls in about two decades if nothing changes” (CNBC 2012). While it’s quite possible that the government will come to a viable solution to salvage social security benefits, it’s a good idea to plan for the ‘what ifs’ regardless. Plan for social security as less of a guarantee and more as a pleasant possibility so there are no unpleasant surprises down the road. Don’t have your retirement plan hinge on social security as it may crumble within the next few decades.


Retirement is changing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still build a healthy, strong retirement plan even with a moderately uncertain future. Your retirement is something that needs to be made to last a long time and you’re allowed to take your time putting the right amount of money into it. As long as you avoid the unnecessary risks in relying on social security, plan for a slightly longer nesting period for your children and plan for your own longevity, you can avoid a few of the major pitfalls that your retirement plans may otherwise succumb to.





If You are Worried About Your Retirement, You Are Not Alone

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.

The self-deprecating thoughts in your head might be chanting, “Just like the highly educated Mr. Jones over there with a very successful career and a fantastic financial plan, I could have, I would have, I should have…”  I could have strived for a better job with a higher pay.  If I had known foreseen tough times later on, I would have started saving for my retirement earlier.  I should have contributed more money to my 401’k through the years.  Stop with this negative self-talk. Don’t feel like you are alone on your own island of retirement worry.  Although individuals around you might not voice any concern about their financial security in these “Golden Years”, new studies indicate that many Americans also feel insecure about their own retirement.

Despite a slow economic recovery, worries about retirement still exist today among Americans.  A strong correlation exists between retirement concern and education/income levels.  These retirement worries appear to be greater among those individuals with less education and a low income.  On the other hand, the more educated higher paid individuals experience less worry about these retirement years.  A strong correlation also holds true for retirement concerns among certain age groups.  Contrary to previous years, new research indicates that the baby boomers and those individuals closer to retirement are not the most concerned about their retirement security.  Instead, the younger and middle aged adults win the award for the age group most concerned about these retirement years.

So, why is retirement stress so prevalent in the younger generation now? According the Pew Research Center, a recent analysis of Federal Reserve data reveals that the reason “retirement concerns have surged among adults in their late 30s and early 40s is that the average wealth of this group has fallen at a far greater rate than for any other age group over the past 10 years.”  Furthermore, this analysis suggests that the dwindling wealth among individuals in their 30s and 40s is due to this age group’s inability to benefit from recovering stock prices since the recession.  Much of this age group abandoned the stock market entirely during the recession, and remained out of the market as prices began to increase.

With this awareness that many other Americans also worry about retirement, what can you do with it?  Well, first of all, share your concerns with a financial advisor/planner if you don’t already have one.  It is never too late to modify a spending/saving behavior, make a difference in your retirement future, and what better way to be guided through the retirement planning process than by an expert. Second of all, find solace in the fact that you are not the only person with retirement worries.  Despite a slowly improving economy, many other Americans also share your concerns about your retirement especially now. Lastly, focus on yourself, and not on other people’s retirement situations around you.  Stop negatively comparing yourself to others, and beating yourself up for not being as prepared as you want to be for this stage of life.  You can drain so much of your energy out on negative thoughts about comparing yourself to others that you have no energy left to better yourself and proactively plan for a better retirement future.  So, it’s time to focus on you now.

Brooks, Chad. “Retirement Concerns Plague Americans.” BusinessNewsDaily. 22 October 2012. <http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/3306-retirement-concerns-plague-americans.html>