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Retirement

The Social Security Dilemma: The Best Decision is a Personal One

The early bird gets the worm. The slow and steady tortoise wins the race. There are a multitude of adages defending both quick-acting people and those who delay decisions. When it comes to Social Security, there are advantages and disadvantages to collecting early or postponing the start of retirement benefits. Retirement Age and Percentages People who have paid into Social Security are eligible to start collecting their retirement benefits as early as 62 or as late as age 70. The amount of benefits received depends on how close someone is to their full retirement age when they begin collecting. Depending on someone’s year of birth, the full retirement age can vary. For example, individuals born between 1943 and 1954 have a full retirement age of 66.  Those born in 1960 or later have a retirement age of 67. If someone begins collecting benefits prior to the full retirement age, the…

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

Have you ever compared the purchase price of your home with the amount you’ll actually end up spending to pay it off over the life of the mortgage? If you have, you’ll know the sobering realization that comes with seeing just how much your home will cost you, and the inevitable question that follows – should I pay off the mortgage now, so I don’t have to fork over all that interest? It’s an exhilarating thought, freeing up so much extra cash. But when it comes down to it, whether you should actually pay off your mortgage early is dependent on many things – primarily, your overall financial situation, your attitude toward investment, your life stage and how you would make it happen. Do the Math From a purely mathematical perspective, most experts agree it is not a smart idea to pay off your mortgage early – especially if you…

Self-Employed Retirement Options Your Future Self Will Love

You’ve hustled your heart out and now you’re your own boss. With estimates that over 25 million Americans were engaged in entrepreneurship in 2016, this is becoming a reality for many. There are definite perks: pursuing your passion, setting your own hours and maybe even working from home in your pajamas. But there is one thing that many people might miss from a traditional 9-to-5 job—a retirement package that comes free from guesswork. While it may be a bit more complicated when you are your own boss, planning for retirement is possible when you are self-employed. Any entrepreneur who wakes up excited for their work may not think much about the retirement part. However, effective retirement planning is important for self-employed individuals. Not only can it set you up for financial freedom in your golden years, it can lead to some major tax advantages now. Choosing the right plan is…

How to Help Your Brain Age Gracefully

Living life to the fullest includes keeping the mind and body active at all ages and stages. Our brains actually shrink as we get older, especially the frontal cortex, which has a direct effect on cognitive ability. The good news is there is a long list of ways to keep your brain sharp as you age—probably more than you can, um, remember. Give It a Workout Researchers have found regular mental stimulation can build new connections between nerve cells, maybe even help the brain generate new cells. Who couldn’t use a few more of those? This doesn’t mean you have to bury yourself in a crossword puzzle night after night, although that’s a good idea. So is reading, game playing, puzzles, painting, playing music … anything that forces your brain to process or solve something beyond the plot twists in the latest Netflix series. If you can’t tear away from…

Sandwiched in: Focusing on Finances While Supporting Family

Whether it’s stories about the “skills gap” being created as Baby Boomers retire or criticism of the expensive coffee habits of Millennials, generations crowd the headlines. No matter what generation your birthdate puts you in, you might find yourself living in the middle of another one – the sandwich generation. The Sandwich Generation Descriptions of the sandwich generation have evolved since social worker Dorothy Miller, first wrote about these caregivers more than 35 years ago. This is due to longer life expectancies, people having children later in life and the increased needs of some dependent children. If you are caring for aging parents while raising or supporting your own children, you know how being sandwiched in feels. While family bonds may be strengthened, the stress associated with caring for multiple generations can take a toll on your health and wealth. Carving out time to focus on your physical and emotional…

Steps to Take to Retire Early

Early retirement has always been a dream of many people, but some are taking solid steps today to ensure an early retirement. Why work until you are 65 or 70 years old when you might be able to retire at 50 or even younger? Follow these steps to get on track for an early retirement. Save Aggressively To retire early, you will need money to support yourself and possibly your family, for the rest of your life. Social Security doesn’t kick in until you reach the government mandated 62 years old. You need a nest egg to live on. Experts agree that most people should save 10 percent to 15 percent of their gross income every payday to maintain the same standard of living in retirement. If you are retire early, you have fewer years to save. In this case, you should work to increase your savings to 50 percent or…

Estimate Your Income in Retirement Annually

Few people want to work forever, which means you will need savings. While every American is already saving some thanks to Social Security, you’ll likely need more if you want to maintain the same standard of living in retirement you enjoy today. And if you want to have a dream retirement, you’ll definitely need to make sure you save enough while you’re working to reach your goals. Start by estimating what you need and working backward to a savings rate. If that seems tricky, follow along with this guide and you’ll be on track to a great retirement. What You Need Drives What You Save Many people save for retirement by just guessing what they should be saving. Many people save enough to get an employer 401(k) match, but so many don’t save at all. And just because you’re saving some doesn’t mean you’ll have enough to sustain the same…

Consider Life Insurance for Retirement Investment

Life insurance and retirement planning may not seem to have much in common. You think of life insurance as planning ahead for your beneficiaries, while investing for retirement is planning for your own future. Yet, life insurance can be an important part of retirement planning, some financial advisers say.  Consider these points as you weigh the advantages, as well as possible drawbacks, of including life insurance as part of your future retirement investment income. Cash Benefits of Permanent Insurance Permanent life insurance plans – variable, universal or whole life – all include a separate account for your premiums to build cash, in addition to the death benefit for your heirs. As your permanent life insurance policy builds value, you may withdraw cash or borrow against the cash value. You might consider such borrowing if you lose a job and need cash for your mortgage or other monthly bills. Of course, using…

De-Mystifying Medicare Supplement Insurance

Paying bills may not be the first thing that people think of when they hear the word retirement, but it’s a reality that retirees, like anyone else, face. With October 15 marking the start of the annual enrollment period for Medicare, now is the perfect time to prepare. Whether you are enrolling for the first time, making changes to your existing coverage or keeping things the same, these tips will help you plan ahead and avoid surprises. Know Your ABCs (and D) Before you can determine what you need, it is important to understand what is offered. Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) are offered through the government.  As you might expect, hospital insurance covers most hospital care, as well as nursing facilities, home health and hospice care. In addition to doctor visits, medical insurance covers imaging, laboratory services, medical equipment, mental health care and more. While…

Planning Ahead to Make Your Retirement Years Golden

What will your golden years look like? For many people, visions of cruises, beaches, golf courses and grandchildren fill their minds. People are much less likely to imagine the kind of long-term care that is necessary for many aging adults. While it may not be the blissful daydream of our imaginations, preparing for the possibility of long-term care is an important way to make the most of the golden years. Who Needs It Much like wills and life insurance, long-term care isn’t something that people enjoy thinking about. However, whether it is a parent, a spouse, a loved one, or even yourself, there is no denying long-term care is a reality that the majority of adults will have to confront at some point. Estimates from a 2005 study indicate that 69 percent of adults over the age of 65 will need at least one year of long-term care. That’s not…