Archive for the 'Pensions' Category

How to Increase Your Social Security Benefits

Benefits of Waiting to Claim Your Social SecurityWinning Couple - Isolated

The New York Times, November 15th, 2013

For many who are over the age of 62, collecting your Social Security benefits is a rite-of-passage of sorts, the payoff of your years of letting the IRS take your hard earned money out of every paycheck.  For some, particularly those who have already retired or who don’t work, they can’t wait to start collecting it when they first become eligible at the age of 62.  But did you know that there could be benefits for waiting to start collecting it?

Much like an annuity, your Social Security can give you some guaranteed income for life.  But unlike an annuity, it doesn’t require you to put down a large sum of money up front, as your large sum of money has already been accumulated over the years from your paychecks.  However, the amount that you can begin to collect at the age of 62 (you can start accessing it anywhere between the ages of 62-70) is hardly enough for you to live on.  Click here to learn more about how waiting to start collecting your Social Security can get you a higher amount of guaranteed money for life.

FHA Changes Add Stability to Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages Gaining Popularity?Financial Documents iStock_000009608865X 129x132

The Wall Street Journal MarketWatch, December 17th, 2013

Those who are acquainted with Reverse Mortgages and have been keeping their eye on the industry are probably aware that the FHA has made some changes to the program in the last year.  While the most noticeable change, being able to access a lower percentage of your home value, is somewhat off-putting, the finer print may surprise you.

Where many people think of a Reverse Mortgage as a desperate move for those facing financial dire-straights, the FHA has molded this program into something to be used more like a planning tool for your retirement finances.  Gone are the days when people had the option to shoot themselves in the foot by cashing out half of the value of their home and immediately blowing it on a trip around the world or a weekend in Las Vegas.  Read the article at the link listed below to learn more about how the FHA has added stability to this program, making it harder for people to default.

Senior Program Budget Cuts Making it Harder for Seniors to Stay in Their Homes

Federal Budget Cuts Affecting Seniorsarrow

CNNMoney, November 19th, 2013

For many seniors, being able to stay in their own homes can be their last claim to independence and dignity, and will not be easily let go of.  However, most will readily admit that a little help here and there can be essential to their ability to stay in their homes.  This is why Government funded programs that can give seniors rides to the doctor or grocery store, or even send “companions” to their homes to help with cooking and cleaning, can be the difference between being able to stay home versus having to move into assisted living.

Unfortunately, Federal budget cuts that started in March of this year have cut funding to these programs by up to $80 billion dollars.  The non-profit organizations that head up these programs have definitely been taking notice.  76% of these agencies have stated that these cuts have effectively prevented them from being able to give the proper care that some of these seniors need to be able to stay at home, thus eliminating their option to do so.  Read the article linked below to learn more about how these cuts are affecting our senior citizens.

Can an Annuity Help You Generate More Retirement Income?

Closing the Retirement Income Gapimg_supplemental_drugs

PBS Newshour, November 2013

The difference between a safe annual retirement income and basic retirement expenses is known as the retirement income gap.  Facing an alarming decrease in American workers who have a pension to count on, many people approaching retirement age are wondering where they are going to be able to find the money to live comfortably.  Where do you turn if you discover your 401k plan and Social Security will not generate enough money for you to enjoy your golden years?

Two good answers to this question, a reverse mortgage or an annuity, unfortunately both seem to have a fairly negative public opinion.  While it’s true that there are plenty of horror stories about either topic, there are likely just as many stories of people utilizing them properly and successfully.  We’ve covered reverse mortgages many times in this blog, so let’s focus on annuities.  For example, have you ever heard of a Single Payment Immediate Annuity before?  Did you even know there are different types of annuities available?  Read the article at the link listed below for more information about the potential benefits of annuities.

Options Available in Assisted Living

Deciding on Assisted Livingolder man on couch with family-Square

The New York Times, October 16th, 2013

If and when a time comes in an elderly person’s life where they are physically incapable of taking proper care of themselves on a day to day basis, steps need to be taken to ensure that, one way or another, the person gets the help that they need.  This can present hardship to all parties involved.  More often than not, it’s the elder person’s children or other family members or friends who want to make sure that the person who took care of them for so long is now properly taken care of.

Often times, that family member or friend’s vision of proper care may differ vastly from the elder person’s vision of the same.  Many of the people in this unfortunate position may be averse to assisted living, even if it’s in their own home.  They may look at it as a stranger coming into their home as opposed to someone who can help.  If moving into an assisted living facility is what looks most beneficial, they may be opposed to that as well, not wanting to leave the only place they’ve called home for so many years.  Read the article at the link listed below to find out for information on the options available to people on both sides of this difficult equation.

Baby Boomers Entering Retirement

Time for Baby Boomers to Grow UpBaseBall-Square

USA Today, October 21st, 2013

As hard (and in some cases, as depressing) as it may be to believe, many of the people from the so called “Baby Boomers” era are turning 65.  And “Boomer” or not, many seniors are having a tough time making the transition from employee to retiree.  The struggle can range from anywhere between planning out your retirement finances, all the way to finding things to do to fill your newly wide-open schedule.

Not to fear retirees!  There are many different kinds of services available to you to help you get into your retirement groove.  From talking with a retirement coach to help set goals and make plans for your retirement, to speaking with a certified senior adviser to help inform you on things like senior housing or health care, you have options.  Read the article at the link below to learn more about the services that are out there to help you maximize your comfort in retirement.

Learning About the Economy

Understanding How the Economy Workswall, September 22, 2013

Almost everyone is aware of how important it is to make a financial plan for your future.  And in most cases, it’s not just your future, but the future of you and your family, and for some, your business.  And while financial planning is a many-headed beast, the hero cannot vanquish the beast without understanding its nature.

It’s important to know how the economy works in order to best determine the financial plan most suited to you and yours.  But there are so many different aspects to the economy that even just the word “economy” can be intimidating.  And although you would have to go to school for years to really understand all of the in’s and the out’s of our economy, it’s still important to have at least a basic understanding of it.  Follow the link listed below to a video that gives a pretty thorough overview of how the economy works, in a way that is easy for almost anyone to understand.

Free Online Course to Teach You About Retirement Finances

Masters Course in Finance Available Online

The New York Times, October 11th, 2013

Most of us could potentially benefit in any number of ways from going back to school.  The biggest motivation to do this for the majority of us would probably be to make more money.  But if you’re not ready to enroll for the Spring semester, what if there was a class that you could take to teach you more about what you can do with the money that you already have?  And what if you could do that from the comfort of your own home?

A finance professor at the Stanford Graduate School by the name of Joshua Rauh had a revelation.  He realized that his graduate-level course on the finance of retirement and pensions could be beneficial to more than just his students.  This is why he decided that he was going to make it available to any who are interested.  To maximize availability, it was going to be a free course and it would be offered online.   Read the article at the link below from the New York Times on the perks of what Professor Rauh’s class can offer to your average person, and how you can sign up!

Can You Teach a Young Dog New Tricks Too?

Is Our Youth Finally Learning?

Market Watch, October 24th, 2013

In today’s high expense society, an alarming percentage of seniors are having a difficult time transitioning into their retirement years, financially speaking.  More and more are struggling to make ends meet on their 401K’s and Social Security alone.  And while many people in this age bracket like to talk about the “ignorance of youth,” is it possible that our younger generations are taking notice of the struggles they see their parents and grandparents are going through?  And beyond that, is it conceivable that they are actually taking pro-active steps to make sure they don’t face the same hardships?

A new study conducted by Wells Fargo & Co. says yes.  While 75% of people in their 40’s and 50’s are saying they regret that they have not started saving for retirement sooner, 34% of people in their 30’s stated that they already have a written retirement plan in place.  A pretty impressive number when compared to the 24% of those in their 40’s.  Read the article at the link below to read more about how our young people seem to be wising up to the need to plan ahead.

Finances and Marriage: Retirement Edition

Financial Planning Can Lead to a Healthy Marriage?

Global Post, October 9, 2013

It’s a well known fact how common divorce is these days.  In the United States, the divorce rate is currently at an alarming rate of 53 percent.  But this isn’t just in the category of young people who are divorcing each other in their first few years of marriage.  Many would be surprised to learn that the divorce rate in married couples who are beyond their Silver Anniversary is on the rise as well.

Many of us could guess at the reason why some of these marriages are ending as some of us experienced our own parents going through this.  But would finances in retirement be on, or even near, the top of your list of guesses as to why this is happening?  Retirement is looked at by many as being the “golden years” of their lives.  But what if your idea of a dream retirement doesn’t match up with that of your spouse’s?  Read the article below to get some ideas on how to tackle some of the issues regarding retirement that, quite frankly, don’t come up all that often.

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