Retirement: That Moment in Time When You Can Work or Play as YOU Choose!

By John Graves

You have been a good saver since you began working as a paperboy (or babysitter!) at ten. You had to save – your mother made you put aside 10% of what you made into an envelope. Just like she made you give 10% at church, into the plate each Sunday morning. You bought your first car with your savings, the ’56 Chevy for $1,200, wasn’t it? You felt sad, but smart, when you sold it to go into the military – sold it for $1,850 and saved it all.

Once you got out, you started working as a tailor. They had you sewing uniforms in the Army, so you knew something about it. You became good at it, bought the shop with what you saved during your stint. A few years later you sold the shop to work in accounting. Don’t ask how that happened. Something to do with your wife’s uncle. You were surprised at how well you took to the new profession.

When the first baby was due, you both were ready to move, so you went to South Carolina and bought a home in 1969. Your next three sons were all born in that home, the home you still live in. The down payment was hard, but the monthly payments were a backbreaker: $178 a month and you only made $800.

Still you gave at church, you put a little aside for the future. Your folks had taught you frugality. You lived within your means. That meant no credit cards, no installment plans, no car payments, only the mortgage. Coupons were big in your household. You told your wife to keep track of expenses in the little ‘Dome’ budget book. She used it to track how much she saved from coupons and sales, too. Once a year both of you went out to eat at a nice restaurant on one quarter of the savings during the year. Nice reward.

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Best Retirement Advice for Many: Never Retire

By now, we all know how difficult retirement is — especially the planning part. But there is a group of people who believe they have a solution: Never retire.

These folks, both the Boomers and the Greatest Generation, say they will never retire, because they would be bored to death and their brains would just shrivel up. (Maybe they didn’t use those words, but you get the point.)

Take comedian Marty Allen. Boomers may remember him from the old Ed Sullivan Show on CBS or the old Match Game on NBC. In fact, Allen was on that fateful show in 1964 when Sullivan introduced the Beatles to America.

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Time for Boomers to Sell and Move On?

Many of America’s baby boomers are gearing up for retirement, banking on Social Security, 401(k) plans and their home equity to keep them afloat through their golden years.

Today, boomers between the ages of 50 and 68 account for more than 25 percent of the country’s population. Every day for the next 19 years, close to 10,000 Americans will reach the retirement age of 65, according to Pew Research.

The retirement shortfall this generation faces is a serious one: A little more than 60 percent of early and late boomers say they are not saving enough for retirement, according to Financial Finesse’s 2013 Generational Research study, which examined 20,575 employee assessments taken on the financial education company’s website. Baby boomers face problems their parents did not, such as big tuition bills for their kids’ college educations and a lack of savings for long-term health care.

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Retirement Confidence Rises, But the Data are Grim

Rocking Retirement

By  Debra E. Novotny

Generations ago, retirement was thought of as a time to take it easy — a time of rocking on porch chairs and reminiscing about the good old days. Nevertheless, that is not the case with the current generation of retirees. In fact, many older people today continue to rock on. Just look at some of the superstars touring and performing concerts this year who are old enough to collect Social Security retirement payments. They’re still rocking, but not in chairs.

Bob Dylan is on tour, as he usually is during summer months. Dylan is 71 years old. However, with a recent album and new tour dates, you’d never know he was of retirement age.

Neil Young is touring with Crazy Horse to support their new album. The “godfather of grunge” is 67 years young. He has become the “Old Man” he sang about in his Harvest days.
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Retire on Your Own Terms

By Debra E. Novotny

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Most Americans are aware that they need to save for retirement. It is a topic that is easy to brush aside to a later date because although the subject is important, it may not seem urgent. But the longer you put off some basic retirement planning, the harder it will be to catch up later.

We’d like to share with you a few important items about Social Security retirement benefits.
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An Overview of Housing for Pensioners & Disabled Seniors

Seniors with tartanOur country is aging, and the number of pensioners on government benefits is growing, according to government statistics. Pensioners over the ages of 50 and 60 receive a proportion of more than half of all of Britain’s total benefits budget (about £109 billion or $166 billion). The benefits are also boosted by a mechanism that guarantees adjustments to the pensioners’ benefits. This so-called triple lock provides increases based on earnings increase, price inflation or a 2.5 percent broad increase. Pensioners receive whichever is the highest of all of these over a given time.

Government programs, such as free bus passes, winter fuel allowances and even free TV licenses over the age of 75, also benefits seniors. As simply giveaways, the benefits are not based on need at all, which frustrates disability advocates. About one billion people in the world live with some form of disability, according to the United Nations. And here in Britain, our seniors with disabilities have a tougher time finding benefits for disabled persons.
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Five Websites to Help Anyone Save Money When Traveling

By Terrance Zepke

Everyone likes to save money, but it is especially important in these economic times. The only way many of us will be able to travel this year is if we stick to a strict budget. After years of globe-trotting, I have learned many tips, tricks, and strategies for saving money on any type of travel. Here are five helpful money-saving websites:

1. Gasbuddy.com. While gas prices have decreased slightly, the cost remains more than $3 a gallon (closer to $4 in some parts of the country), which makes it a major expense that has to be factored into your summer vacation budget. Go to their website or load this FREE app onto your phone (Android, iPhone, Blackberry). It will find the nearest gas station with the lowest prices no matter where you are in the United States. GasBuddy even provides additional information, such as per gallon price averages nationwide and detailed maps leading you to the station with the lowest-priced gas. This tool can save you up to twenty-five cents a gallon, which really adds up after a few fill-ups.

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Baby Boomer Retirement Will Change The Economy, But No One Knows How

By Darrell J. Canby, CPA, CFP®

Depending on whom you talk to, the pending retirement of baby boomers could be a huge windfall or an economic catastrophe.

It’s all a matter of the most basic rule of economics – the principle of supply and demand.  When demand exceeds supply, shortages result, causing prices to rise.  When supply exceeds demand, a surplus results and prices fall.

So what happens when supply and demand is considered in the context of the baby boom generation?  The U.S. Census Bureau says there are more than 77 million baby boomers, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964.  The oldest boomers hit 65 this year.  By 2030 all boomers will be over 65 and will represent an estimated 20% of the population.

Impact of Boomer Retirement

While no one can predict for certain how this shift in the supply of workers entering retirement will affect the economy, the following are possible outcomes:

Talented employees will be in high demand.  The highly educated, talented baby boom generation will be missed by corporate America.  Some boomers, especially those who failed to save adequately, will stay in the workforce.  Regardless, the demand for skilled employees may cause salaries to increase.

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Don’t Wait to Enroll in Medicare

By Ross Blair

In 2011, a record 2.8 million Americans will turn 65 and become eligible for Medicare. If you’re a newcomer to Medicare in 2011 there is one piece of advice I recommend you take to heart: don’t wait until the last minute to start planning your Medicare enrollment.

Relax. You’re not locked into the same Medicare plan forever. You can change your Medicare Advantage coverage and prescription drug coverage once a year, and some Medicare supplement plans allow you to enroll at any time. If you take your time before your 65th birthday, the decision-making process should be easier.

Learn the basics. Trying to understand Medicare can make anyone’s head spin. Medicare is a different type of health insurance plan than you may be used to, so before you get inundated with sales pitches and unsolicited advice, try to understand the basics.

There are three basic ways to cover yourself: Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), with a Part D prescription drug plan; Medicare Advantage Plan, which can include vision, dental and prescription drug coverage; and a Medicare Supplement plan which fills certain gaps in Original Medicare.

Figure out what you can afford. It sounds simple, but if you haven’t estimated what your retirement income will be, start doing that math before you enroll in Medicare.

Calculate your income after Social Security benefits, pensions, IRA and 401(k) savings, etc. Then, create a list of monthly expenses including rent, utilities and food, as well as other things like your prescription drug costs. Subtract your expenses from your income to develop a good sense of what you can afford to spend on Medicare on a monthly basis.

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Does the “4 Percent Rule” Hold up for Retirement?

Planning to meet your future health care needs

By Ross Blair

The Baby Boomer generation is now aging into Medicare at a time when health care costs are growing and there are questions about the program’s future. This raises concerns for a fast-growing population of seniors who are unsure if they’ll be able to afford health care once they retire.

On average, about 3.5 million Baby Boomers will age into Medicare each year for the next 17 years, which makes it critically important that boomers accurately anticipate their health care costs and choose the right health care coverage for their needs.

For decades now, William Bengen’s popular “4 percent rule,” has taught retirees that if they spend no more than 4 percent of their nest egg each year, their savings will last 30 years. But, the rule may need some adjustment, in light of today’s economic reality. Depending on when you retire and how long you live, some financial experts are suggesting that a lower withdrawal rate might be necessary.

When it comes specifically to health care costs, here are some startling statistics from The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College:

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Planning for Retirement? Don’t Forget Health Care Costs

It’s not news that health care costs are increasing. Yet several recent studies show that few people factor those rising costs into their retirement plans.Consider this example from an annual report from Fidelity Investments: For a 65-year-old couple retiring this year, the cost of health care in retirement will be $240,000, 6 percent more than that same couple retiring in 2011 would pay. The report assumes that the man will live 17 years and the woman 20. (Read More at CNBCRetirement Savings Improve, but Not Enough.).

Parenting Your Aging Parents

© Copyright 2012 by Robert Moskowitz

Dear Robert:

I really don’t have anything to complain about. My husband and I have been helping my parents handle their finances and make other adjustments to their lives for the past five years or so. It has been working out very well for the whole family. But there is one problem. Since my father died a year ago, my mother has withdrawn from everyone and doesn’t seem to enjoy anything anymore. We’ve tried bringing her to our kids’ birthday parties and we’ve even offered to send her on a cruise. But she has no appetite for anything. What should we do?

Signed,  Child of Depression

Dear Child of Depression:

What’s unusual about a woman mourning her husband of – what? 30 or 40 years – for a year or even two after his death? Would you prefer that she shrug it off? Your mother is showing the classic symptoms of depression. That’s actually healthy after the death of a spouse, even if it’s not a comfortable experience right now. There are two main things for you and your husband to do, going forward:

First, make sure your mother’s depression isn’t due to some other cause, like an unexpected interaction between medicines and/or over-the-counter drugs she is taking, or the onset of significant mental changes. For this, encourage her to be evaluated by a geriatrician. If she doesn’t already have a relationship with a specialist she trusts, this is a perfect time to start looking for a knowledgeable and compassionate doctor.

Second, keep offering the kind of support and social opportunities you appear to have been offering all along. Even though your mother has had no appetite for life during the past year, her appetite will eventually return. When it does, it will be helpful for you to be holding out a plateful of possibilities.

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Bottom Line for Boomers: Don’t Cut Your Auto Insurance

By Edgar Snyder, Esq.

We’re already well into 2012, and the economy doesn’t look like it will flourish any time soon. As a Baby Boomer, you may be retired or near retirement age. Understandably, you may be cutting back your finances and looking for ways to stretch every dollar.

Cutting coverage from auto insurance policies is becoming quite common for Boomers, as well as people from the Gen X and Gen Y eras. Before you jump on the reducing coverage bandwagon, know that it could cost you thousands instead of save you a few bucks a month.

Even though it’s illegal to drive without car insurance, nearly 14% of drivers are uninsured. Plus, plenty of other drivers don’t carry enough insurance coverage. If you’re ever in an accident, you need to have adequate coverage to protect your financial security – especially as a Boomer.

The good news: You can make changes to your auto insurance policy any point, so there’s no better time than now to make changes to protect your legal rights.

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Planning for Retirement: Consider Relocation

By Derrick Kinney 

Among all the decisions you might make while planning financially for retirement, where you choose to live can be among the most important. And you might be surprised by what kind of limitations your decision can impose in the future. The area – and the home – you live in during retirement may affect the amount of savings you spend on things like upkeep on your house and transportation as you age.

There are many factors that may influence you as you plan where to retire – like an area’s cost of living, healthcare options and whether your family is nearby, but consider the following less-obvious things as you finalize your plans.

How much is your home really costing you?

If your mortgage is paid off, or you plan to have it paid off by the time you reach retirement, you might believe you’re in the clear. But it’s important to also consider how your geographic location might affect upkeep costs and taxes, which can take a significant bite out of your monthly retirement budget.

Here’s another way to look at it. The standard estimate for a home’s annual maintenance costs range from one to three percent of its original cost.1 Add an average of one percent of the home’s value for property taxes.2 Based on these figures alone, a $400,000 home would require a $12,000 yearly outlay – or $360,000 during the average 30 year retirement. If you were to scale back to a $200,000 home, you could realize a sizable savings of $180,000 during retirement.

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