Many financial advisors and wealth managers encourage their clients to have goals when it comes to retirement. Of course, that can mean different strokes to different folks. For example, one person may have a goal of saving a certain amount of money for retirement. Another person may want to save up to buy a retirement home in a warm weather locale. Another may want to have enough saved up to take a big trip every year. Whatever it is, it’s good to set a goal to work towards. However, the road to retirement can be long and along the way things can change. Layoffs happen. Unexpected bills occur. Having children and a family can add some costs along the path to your post-working life. Thus, those retirement goals and benchmarks you set out with can change. And you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s a good thing to reassess your retirement goals every so often. Maybe living far away from children and grandchildren doesn’t sound so appetizing. Or maybe you realize that you’re saving more than you anticipated and have a little more freedom with retirement to get a little more fancy with your goals. Or maybe you realize you need to save more. Whatever you find, don’t be afraid to change your retirement goals and use those new goals and benchmarks moving forward. If you need help with your current goals or want to make a change, don’t be afraid to speak with a certified financial planner or wealth manager to get some advice.
You’ve probably heard me say on this blog that the best way to save for retirement is to start early. The same goes for investing. One of the best ways to teach your kids about the stock market and get them thinking about their financial future is by allowing them to invest in the markets. Many of the major investment platforms offer custodial accounts, which allow parents to set up trading accounts for children under 18 and which require adult permission to complete transactions. Once you have the account, you can decide how to best teach your teenager the importance of risk and investing. If you have more than one teenager involved, maybe make a game out of it and see whose investments perform the best over a set amount of time. If your teenager is more goal oriented, maybe encourage them to use the account as a way to grow money for something like a car or product they want. Whatever you choose to do, be sure to guide them and set some limits. You may want to limit what investments they can put money into (no options, etc.). You will also want to encourage them to use properly vetted resources, such as popular investment books or well-sourced blogs. Heck, you yourself may want to use it as an opportunity to read back up on the latest investing trends and advice out there, if you haven’t already. Of course, you will also want to teach your children about risk as they will most likely experience some loss. It may be hard for them at first, but if you encourage them to be patient and learn from why the investment went down, then it will be a good thing in the long run. Just make sure they don’t lose too much, or for that matter, gain too much without learning about trends and why their investment performed the way it did. With the right guidance and some sound advice, your children can learn about the stock market and hopefully set themselves up for a solid financial future. What did you wish your parents taught you about investing growing up?
This Coronavirus pandemic is changing everything. Sure, you can tell yourself it’s only temporary and convince yourself that things will soon return to normal, but it’s highly unlikely that will happen (however, there’s nothing wrong with a little optimism!). For those of you Boomers out there getting ready for retirement, it will be different. First off, of course, is the fact that the economy and markets seem to have taken a turn. Yes, we are in a recession. That’s usually not a good thing, especially if you are planning on your portfolio or investments to keep making you money in retirement. On the flip side, if you are savvy with investing, this may be a chance to set your portfolio for when the markets rebound (not sure of when, though). This down market may lead to slower nest egg growth for Boomers who are still working and starting to think about retirement. This may lead Boomers to work longer, which may be more difficult than intended. It’s not uncommon for Boomers to be the ones forced out in favor of younger workers at companies when times get tough. On top of finances, you goals and desires for retirement may change as well during these times. Luxurious vacations may not be a thing to a while (particularly cruises) and many retirees may place more emphasis on spending time with family. You may even already find yourself re-assessing your retirement needs and desires as you read this. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember, that the vision and expectations of retirement change from generation to generation and it’s currently changing for the Boomer generation. Are you ready for the new retirement?
IRAs and 401(k) are incredibly popular employer offered retirement plans. Many employers currently offer them and with the recent passage of the SECURE Act legislation, even more small businesses and enterprises will be able to offer such benefits to employees. However, IRAs and 401(k)s do have contribution limits, which can be on the lower side–especially for IRAs. Thus, if you find yourself in a situation where you want to do some serious catching up (aside from making catch-up contributions) with your retirement savings or have a sudden windfall (i.e. an inheritance), you may need to look at opportunities to help grow your nest egg outside of those traditional retirement accounts. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t still make contributions to IRAs or 401(k)s if you have them, but rather, that you should look to open an account for the money you have left over once you’ve maxed out contributions. A very popular option is to open a taxable investment account. A good example of this would be to open an online brokerage account (i.e. E*Trade, TD Ameritrade, etc.). These types of accounts have no contribution limits and no limits on when you can withdrawal the money. They also offer a wide range of investment options (i.e. stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, etc.). However, these accounts are taxable and depending on the size and transactions done yearly, things might be a little confusing come tax time. A word of advice before opening a taxable investment account, do your research beforehand and take the time to assess what your tolerance for risk is, what your long-term goals are, and understand the different type of investment options. Investing can be an efficient way to grow your nest egg over time, but remember, there are risks involved. If you have questions about setting up a taxable investment account or just want to talk further about it, then you should speak with a certified financial planner or investment professional.
One of the first question you will have to answer when you start saving for retirement or investing is what’s most important to you? The answer will allow you to focus your time, money, and effort in the most efficient manner, regardless of whether it’s saving or investing. Keep in mind that if you don’t know what’s most important to you, you won’t know how much you will need to save or invest. What’s important doesn’t necessarily have to be an asset or a trip, but can be something such as saving for retirement or building up an emergency fund. You can also have more than one thing that is important to you. Maybe your nest egg and an emergency fund are important to you. Or maybe it’s just your retirement savings. Or maybe saving for your children’s education. Whatever it is, it’s important to you and that what matters most. Once you have determined what is important to you, you can start to focus your efforts on the best way to meet that goal. That may mean deciding where to invest your money or how much to save on an annual basis. If you need help with figuring out the best way to save or invest so that you can meet the goals or objectives that are most valuable to you, then you should speak with a certified financial planner or wealth manager.
It’s the beginning of a new year, which means it’s time for you to start thinking about your financial goals for the next 365 days. Do you want to have a certain amount saved up by the end of 2020? Do you want to pay down a particular debt? Do you plan on putting yourself on a budget and making a big purchase? Now is a good time to shape your goals for the year and take steps to begin doing whatever it is you have in mind financially. That may mean talking to a financial advisor or wealth manager. It could mean finding a new app to track your expenses for your budget. Or maybe it means making larger payments towards your debts. Whatever it is, now is the time to start doing it. It won’t always be easy and it will take perseverance and patience, but you will meet your goals if you work at it. So, go on, start making the most of 2020 when it comes to your retirement or finances.
I’ve talked about it from time to time over the past few months, but now that there are only a few short days left in 2019, it’s a good time to review your retirement savings accounts. Over the past year: Where you able to save as much as you wanted to or intended to? Did your beneficiaries change? Did you open any new accounts? Did things change personally or professionally that would impact your retirement savings? These are important questions that you should be asking yourself at least once or twice a year. Regardless, the end of the year is a good time to think about whether you need to make changes to your retirement accounts or plans. You don’t need to act on changes right away, but if you find you need to make a change to, for example, a beneficiary form, you should do that in the first few weeks of the new year. The end of the year is also a good time to think about any changes that may be coming your way over the next 365 days. Will there be a major life change? Will you be retiring in 2020? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you will definitely need to reconfigure the information associated with your retirement accounts as well as your retirement plans and goals. Furthermore, these changes might be big, so they may require some lengthy conversations with you and your financial planner or wealth manager. So, what might 2020 have in store for your retirement plans or savings?
With tomorrow being Thanksgiving, now is a good time to reflect on what you are thankful for in your life. Is it your family? Your health? Your career? A combination of all those things? Furthermore, with the year quickly winding down, now is a good time to being thinking about the past year and how things have changes, as well as to start thinking about what your goals are for 2020. This shouldn’t be a sudden process, but a gradual one in which you take your time and really think about things. So, for the time being, enjoy your time with friends and family tomorrow and savor the turkey and all the yummy sides that go along with it. Happy Thanksgiving!
It’s been a while since I’ve written about updating your retirement saving plans and plans for your post-work life. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’re probably aware of the fact that I do this from time to time. This is another one of those reminders. As we move into the final quarter of 2019, now is a good time to sit down and review your retirement plans and any associated documents. Take the time to ensure that they still match your goals and desires as well as where your current life is at. This means checking beneficiaries and making sure they don’t need to be updated. It also means checking that you are saving enough to meet your goals. If you find you need to tweak things, then do so. It can be easy to set aside your retirement goals and plans after you set them and forget about them. While you don’t need to review your plans all the time and worry about them constantly, you should be checking them every few months to make sure they still match up with what you want to do in the future. You may also find that life events over the past few months–or year–may have changed your plans for the future. Again, this review period is a good time to update your plans to match up with your current life and goals. An added bonus with doing a retirement plan review at the end of the year as it can be refreshing to go into the new year with your plans set and goals ahead of you. If you find you need to tweak your retirement goals or need help with changing your plans, you should speak with a certified wealth manager or financial planner.
Nobody likes to think about aging. After all, why would you want to think about getting old and all the aches and pains that goes along with it? However, if you want to live a comfortable retirement that’s financially feasible, you need to think about the costs that go along with aging. Growing old can be costly in America. Medical bills can really add up and they become even more unpredictable as you get older as our bodies are unable to recover like they did when we were young and spry. In particular, the costs of long-term care can be quite high and it has become a fairly common medical expense for many retirees. Long-term care includes both rooms at nursing facilities as well as having a private nurse or aide visiting daily to help care for you. Private nursing facilities can be costly, with a full year’s costs being upward of $60,000-$70,000 dollars as can visiting elder care services. Furthermore, you may find that you could require such care for years, thus making it a six figure expense. With all that in mind, you should think about whether long-term care will be a part of your future and how you plan to pay for it. You should look at your retirement goals and think about how a $150,000-$250,000 expense might fit in. Do you have enough saved to cover that? Do you need to adjust your goals to fit it into your retirement plans? It’s never to early to think about such a costly expense. No, you probably won’t be able to determine a set price for long-term care well in advance, but you might be able to do some research and learn what average costs are in your area (or the area you plan to retire to). Once you have such info, take the time to look at your retirement goals and savings and see where you might need to make changes. If you need help with doing so, you can always reach out to a certified financial planner or retirement expert. Is long term-care a part of your long term plans?