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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…

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…

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…

Setting up and Optimizing 401k Contributions at Work

Is 2017 the year you set up a 401k plan?  A 401(k) is a financial plan set up for your future. The idea is that contributions made to 401(k) plans now can pay off later when you’re ready to retire. If you’ve never had a 401(k) before, it may seem a tad overwhelming to review and digest all the benefits and rules that come with setting up and maintaining an account. To make it simpler to comprehend and easier to get started, here is a basic, step-by-step guide with a few helpful tips. Review and Select a 401(k) Plan How does a 401(k) plan work with an employer? If your company offers a 401(k) option, most likely they will pre-select a plan (or plans) for you to choose from. Your human resources director and/or 401(k) provider will schedule an enrollment day where they will walk through the plan with the company…

Year-End Financial Checklist: 8 Must Haves

New Year’s is just a few days away and it’s always a good idea to assess your financial situation before the year is up. With a new presidency on the horizon as well, it’s also a good time to start thinking about how new reforms could affect your taxable income and finances over the coming months and years. By using a year-end financial checklist, you can ensure your 2017 will start off on the right foot. Here’s a simple year-end financial checklist you can tackle before December 31st to help get your financial life in order. Review Your  Insurance Policies, and Don’t Miss Open Enrollment Your HR department has probably been sending around reminders about open enrollment. Don’t delay! Set aside some time to tally up how much you’ve spent on premiums, claims and out of pocket expenses over the last few years to help you determine if you should…

5 Findings From the State of Retirement in the U.S. 2016

The 26th wave of the Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), the longest-running survey of its kind in the nation, finds that American workers’ confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement has maintained its increase after the record lows experienced between 2009 and 2013. However, retiree confidence in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement continued to increase in 2016. Workers and/or their partners who have a retirement plan in place have larger savings and are more likely to have taken steps to prepare for retirement, while in the aggregate, only a minority of all workers are taking basic steps required to prepare. Here are five findings from the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey. First Retirees are more likely than workers to describe their level of debt as not a problem. Sixty-seven percent of retirees and 44 percent of workers indicate they do not have a problem with their level of…

8 Ways to Catch up on Retirement Savings

It’s hard to believe that the year is more than half over and students will be headed back to school in just a few weeks. Now is an excellent time to ask yourself if you’re making progress with your retirement savings. Many Americans make the mistake of procrastinating when it comes to retirement planning. Some wait until their fifties or sixties to start saving, while others don’t ever save at all. The good news is that by taking some simple steps today, you can prepare for your future. Here are eight easy ways to get your retirement on track. Analyze Your Monthly Expenses Are you aware of how much you’re spending each month? Overspending can be detrimental to your retirement savings. Analyze your cash flows for the last several months and figure out where all of your money has been going. Reduce unnecessary expenses and consider automating contributions to a…

5 Tips for Getting on the Road to Financial Freedom

If you’ve ever worried that you’re running on an empty financial gas tank, you’re probably among the 25 percent of Americans whose biggest fear is running out of money with a family to support – and never being able to retire.  Gaining financial freedom can be a challenging task. But with the right attitude, it can also be a thrilling and empowering one. These five tips can help you improve your overall financial security. Managing your finances effectively and efficiently can feel like moving a mountain. To successfully manage your money, you need to be armed with financial knowledge, skills and tools – such as retirement accounts or life insurance policies. You need to know when to be careful, when to boldly seize the opportunity, and where to put your money so you can retire and protect the ones you love most – your family! Regularly Discuss Your Dreams Financial literacy isn’t…

Ask an Agent: What Types of Life Insurance Does SelectQuote Sell?

SelectQuote agent Bethany Bentley tells us a little bit about herself and addresses the frequently asked question of what types of life insurance SelectQuote sell. Bethany, How Long Have You Been a SelectQuote Agent? I’ve been with SelectQuote for three years now. What’s Your Favorite Thing About Being a SelectQuote Agent? I really enjoy helping clients who ate new to term life insurance, because I can walk them through the process from A to Z. Together, we can determine the right level of coverage and term length to fit their needs and goals. From there, I can use my expertise to figure out which carrier will have the best rate based on the client’s health and lifestyle profiles. But the ultimate satisfaction comes from hearing that a term life client was able to save money on their auto and home policies because I referred them to a SelectQuote Auto & Home…