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What Makes People Truly Happy in Retirement?

What makes people happy in retirement? That’s the question Michael Finke has been researching for many years now. He’s the chief academic officer of the American College of Financial Services, and was one of 16 experts who spoke on at TheStreet’s Retirement, Taxes, and Income Strategies symposium held recently in New York.

And he now has the answer.

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But first a little background. Finke has been researching the question of what makes people happy in retirement because he wants to know to what extent does what people do with their money make them happy in retirement. “Is it better if they have a lump sum? Is it better if they have a pension, or some kind of annuitized income?”

And what he found was this: There seems to be three pillars of happiness in retirement. The first pillar is money, which he says is good news for those of who are actually saving for retirement. “You are happier if you have more money,” Finke said. “So money is a pillar.”

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And it shouldn’t be any surprise, he said, that health is also a pillar of happiness. “You can have all the money in the world, but if you’re not healthy, you’re not actually gonna enjoy your retirement,” Finke said.

But most of his newest research is on social well-being. For instance, the extent to which you have good relationships with your spouse is is one of the strongest predictors of happiness in retirement. “So make sure you invest in that as much as you’re investing in your 401(k),” Finke said.

The other predictors of happiness in retirement are, according to Finke, friendships and the depth of friendships and the number of friendships that you have with other people. “And even when we look at spending, what we see is that social spending is what really makes people happy,” he said.

Spending money on all sorts of other stuff that we think might make us happy in retirement doesn’t really make us that happy. “It is social spending that makes us happy,” Finke said.

So that’s the foundation of his research in life satisfaction in retirement. “You have to have all three of those if you’re going to be satisfied, and all of them are an investment,” said Finke.

What is an investment in retirement? According to Finke, an investment is anything that requires a sacrifice during your working years in order to build value. “When you save for retirement, it means that you’re living a little bit less well,” he said. “You’re setting money aside that you could have spent today, and you’re (going to) spend that money in retirement.”

Health is an investment, too, said Finke who recalled his early days as a food consumption researcher. “The whole reason I got into finance was because I took a doctoral class in investments because I wanted to understand investments theory, but my theory was that the same thing that motivated people to save money for retirement is the thing that motivated them to engage in healthy behaviors like eating better or exercising, and so that’s an investment in your future as well,” he said.

Relationships are an investment as well and it takes ongoing investment and time and resources to be able to maintain those friendships “so that you can actually draw from them in retirement,” said Finke.

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And if you haven’t made those investments — and men are especially bad at making investments in friendships — you’re not going to be as happy in retirement, he said.

Women, by contrast, invest more. “Women have more deep relationships than men do by the time they get to retirement,” he said. And that, said Finke, actually creates a big issue because very often women have friends outside of the relationship, and they want to spend time maintaining that investment with their friends.

A man’s social circle, by contrast, is at work. “And by the time they retire, they’re relying more on their spouse,” Finke said. “In an opposite-sex couple, they’re relying on their spouse for that, to spend time with them, to go on vacation with them and have lunch with them, and sometimes that creates a bit of friction in retirement.”

Finke also noted that married retirees, in general, are happier, but the happiest group is women who are newly divorced between the ages of 60 and 65. “That’s the happiest group,” he said.

By:

Source: What Makes People Truly Happy in Retirement? – TheStreet

Got questions about money, retirement and/or investments? Email Robert.Powell@TheStreet.com.

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Need help preparing for retirement? Check out Retirement Daily.

 

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What Is The Average Retirement Savings in 2019?

It costs over $1 million to retire at age 65. Are you expecting to be a millionaire in your mid-60s?

If you’re like the average American, the answer is absolutely not.

The Emptiness of the Average American Retirement Account

The first thing to know is that the average American has nothing saved for retirement, or so little it won’t help. By far the most common retirement account has nothing in it.

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Sources differ, but the story remains the same. According to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual, 21% of Americans have no retirement savings and an additional 10% have less than $5,000 in savings. A third of Baby Boomers currently in, or approaching, retirement age have between nothing and $25,000 set aside.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) paints an even bleaker picture. Their data from 2013 reports that “nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all.” For most age groups, the group found, “median account balances in 2013 were less than half their pre-recession peak and lower than at the start of the new millennium.”

The EPI further found these numbers even worse for millennials. Nearly six in 10 have no retirement savings whatsoever.

But financial experts advise that the average 65 year old have between $1 million and $1.5 million set aside for retirement.

What Is the Average Retirement Account?

For workers who have some savings, the amounts differ (appropriately) by generation. The older you are, the more you will have set aside. However there are two ways to present this data, and we’ll use both.

Workers With Savings

Following are the mean and median retirement accounts for people who have one. That is to say, this data only shows what a representative account looks like without factoring in figures for accounts that don’t exist. This data comes per the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. (Numbers rounded to the nearest hundred.)

• Under age 35:

Average retirement account: $32,500

Median retirement account: $12,300

• Age 35 – 44:

Average retirement account: $100,000

Median retirement account: $37,000

• Age 45 – 55:

Average retirement account: $215,800

Median retirement account: $82,600

• Age 55 – 64:

Average retirement account: $374,000

Median retirement account: $120,000

• Age 65 – 74:

Average retirement account: $358,000

Median retirement account: $126,000

For households older than 65 years, retirement accounts begin to decline as these individuals leave the workforce and begin spending their savings.

Including Workers Without Savings

When accounting for people who have no retirement savings the picture looks considerably worse. Following are the median retirement accounts when including the figures for people with no retirement savings. The following do not include mean retirement accounts, as this would be statistically less informative than median data.

• Age 32 – 37: $480

• Age 38 – 43: $4,200

• Age 44 – 49: $6,200

• Age 50 – 55: $8,000

• Age 56 – 61: $17,000

How Much Should You Have Saved For Retirement?

So that’s how much people have saved for retirement, or more often don’t. Now for the more useful question: How much should you have saved for retirement?

The truth is that there’s no hard and fast rule. It varies widely by your age, standard of living and (perhaps most importantly) location. Someone who rents an apartment in San Francisco needs a whole heck of a lot more set aside than a homeowner in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The rule of thumb is to estimate by income. Decide the income you want to live on once you retire, then picture your life as a series of benchmarks set by age. At each age you want a multiple of this retirement income saved up. Your goal is to have 10 to 11 times your desired income in savings by retirement.

• By age 30: between half and the desired income in savings

• By age 35: between the desired amount and double the desired income in savings

• By age 40: between double and triple the desired income in savings

• By age 45: between triple and quadruple the desired income in savings

• By age 50: between five times and six times desired income in savings

• By age 55: between six times and seven times desired income in savings

• By age 60: between seven times and nine times desired income in savings

• By age 65: between eight times and 11 times desired income in savings

So, if you earn $50,000 per year, by age 40 you will want to have between $100,000 and $150,000 in retirement savings set aside. The formula grows later in life for two reasons. First, as your savings accumulate they will grow faster. Second, as you approach retirement it is often wise to accelerate your savings plan.

What You Should Do Next for Your Retirement Savings

Retirement is approaching a crisis. In the coming decades millions of Americans will get too old to continue working without the means to stop. Millennials, crippled by debt from graduation, will turn this crisis into a catastrophe in about 40 years. And Social Security, designed to prevent exactly this problem, covers less than half of an average retiree’s costs of living.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to discuss exactly how this happened, but if you’re one of the many people who have fallen behind on retirement savings, don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do. But… it might not necessarily be easy.

The key is to think about retirement savings like a debt. This is money you owe to yourself and it charges reverse interest. Every day you go without adding money to your retirement account is a day you lose investment income. That’s money that you’ll need someday and won’t have.

Next, take stock of where you are. How much will you want to live on in retirement and how much do you have saved today? Use our chart above. That will tell you how far behind you are compared to where you need to be. Are you a 40 year old with $25,000 in savings who will want to live on $50,000 per year in retirement? Then you’ve got $75,000 you need to make up for.

Now, begin catching up. Chip away at that debt every week and every month. Pay into your 401k and IRA the same way you would whittle down a credit card. By thinking about it this way, as a specific goal, you can take away some of the fear of saving for retirement and turn it into an achievable (if large) amount. It’s not just some big, black hole you can never fill. It’s a number, and numbers can go down.

It won’t necessarily be fun. You might have to cut back on luxuries or take on some extra work, but even if you start late in life you can catch up on your retirement.

Now’s the right time to start.

By:

Source: What Is The Average Retirement Savings in 2019?

Dimensional Vice President Marlena Lee, PhD, explains how her research on replacement rates can help you prepare for a better retirement outcome. See more here: https://us.dimensional.com/perspectiv…

Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

Want to be happy in retirement? Then cultivate relationships and spend more money on leisure activities—at least that’s what new academic research (as well as common sense) suggests.

To help you with the leisure part, Forbes presents its 2019 list of 25 great places to pursue seven retirement passions: arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor activities on water, outdoor activities on land and (in its own category) golf.

Most are recommended for multiple passions and two—Seattle and Austin, Texas—excel in all seven categories. Our picks are spread across 21 states in all four continental time zones.

While our flagship Best Places To Retire list highlights locations that offer the best retirement value for the buck, our passions list doesn’t disqualify places simply because they’ve got high costs or taxes. Athens, Georgia, our most affordable passions pick, has a median home price of just $178,000, while San Francisco, our most expensive, has a median home price of $1.36 million. Although high costs (or high taxes) won’t keep a city from making this new list, we do take into account such practical quality of life factors as air quality, crime, doctor availability and how walkable and bikeable a city is. You can read more about our selection method here.

Legend:

  • Arts 🎨
  • Fine dining 🍴
  • Lifelong learning 🎓
  • Volunteering ❤️
  • Outdoor activities on water ⛵
  • Outdoor activities on land 🍁
  • Golf ⛳

Annapolis, Maryland

PASSIONS: ❤️ ⛵

Great for volunteering and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 39,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $428,000

Water on three sides, good air quality and a moderate climate make this charming historic Chesapeake Bay city an ideal spot for those who love boating, fishing or a waterfront view. For the newbie, the city offers lots of recreational boating schools and chartering opportunities. There’s a high rate of local volunteerism and the downtown area, which doubles as Maryland’s state capital (and was the U.S. capital for a year starting in 1783) is very walkable. Doctors per capita are at the national average. Elevation is 40 feet. On the downside, cost of living is 41% above the national average and the crime rate is above the national average. Taxes are on the high side, too; while Social Security benefits are exempt from tax, the top state/local income tax rate is 8.31% and the state has both an estate and inheritance tax.

Ashland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 21,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $462,000

Located 285 miles south of Portland, this cultural outpost offers art galleries and the nine-month a year Oregon Shakespeare Festival, all set amid scenic mountains and forests. Southern Oregon University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and allows free auditing of regular college classes. The highly walkable downtown (elevation: 1,950 feet) is set in a moderate climate with little snow, good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita. Nature trails are just outside town. But the cost of living is 40% above the national average and Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% at just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax.

Athens, Georgia

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 127,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $178,000

This affordable college town, just 70 miles east of Atlanta, has a vibrant arts scene. The  University of Georgia hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, plus offers seniors free admission to regular classes. Mild terrain and climate (the nation’s first garden club was founded here in 1891) and good air quality are all conducive to warm-weather outdoor activities at an elevation of 600 feet. The ratio of doctors per capita is sufficient. Cost of living is 7% below the national average and the serious crime rate is low. Georgia doesn’t tax estates or Social Security benefits and offers a generous additional break for other retirement income. Top state income rate is 5.75%. One notable downside: Not very walkable.

Austin, Texas

Passions: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 950,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $369,000

Sunny capital of Texas offers scores of dining and entertainment venues (including the annual SXSW festival), plus learning opportunities at the University of Texas, all surrounded by dozens of golf courses. The city boasts a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. The impressive state capitol building is higher than the one in Washington, D.C. At an elevation of 300 feet, the city is very bikeable and somewhat walkable. While there is no state income or estate/inheritance taxe, the cost of living is 30% above the national average and the serious crime rate is slightly above the national average.

Bend, Oregon

PASSIONS: ⛵ 🍁

Great for outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 98,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $440,000

Lots of snow guarantees vibrant downhill and cross-country skiing in this scenic “Outdoor Playground of the West” 160 miles southeast of Portland. Other outdoor pursuits at an elevation of 3,600 feet around the north-flowing Deschutes River include fishing, tubing, hiking, rock climbing, bicycling and paragliding. Besides good air quality, a low serious crime rate and a high number of doctors per capita, the area boasts a strong economy. But Oregon makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that reaches 9% on just $50,000 of taxable income (which excludes Social Security). There’s also a state estate tax. The town itself is not very walkable. Cost of living is 34% above the national average.

Boise, Idaho

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, outdoor land activities and volunteering

POPULATION: 227,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $299,000

The surprisingly mild climate in Idaho’s capital city, nicknamed “City of Trees,” is conducive to outdoor land activities, while Boise State University hosts an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and offers free auditing of regular classes for seniors. Other pluses include a high level of volunteerism, a high number of physicians per capita, a low serious crime rate, good air quality and a good economy. With an elevation of 2,700 feet, the city is very bikeable, though not as walkable. Cost of living is only 7% above the national average. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, nor a state estate/inheritance tax. Idaho’s income tax rate for married couples is 6.925% on taxable income above $23,000.

Boston, Massachusetts

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 685,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $604,000

This buzzy historic coastal state capital city of 685,000 offers a wealth of cultural. and educational activities. Not too surprising, considering there are more than 50 area colleges. Boston has good air quality, abundant doctors per capita, and a good economy. At an elevation of 140 feet, the city, named for an English town, is both highly walkable and bikeable. The top state income tax rate is only 5% and there’s no state income tax on Social Security earnings. On the negative side, there’s a state estate tax and a higher than average serious crime rate. But the big downside is the cost of living: 82% above the national average.

Boulder, Colorado

PASSIONS: 🎨 🎓 ❤️ 🍁

Great for arts, lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 107,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $742,000

This city, 30 miles northwest of Denver, is at the center of a huge recreational open space abutting the Rockies at 5,400 feet of elevation, which can be enjoyed in 10 months of annual sunshine. It’s also the home the University of Colorado, which allows seniors to audit courses for free. Boulder is a walkable and bikeable city with a low serious crime rate, good air quality, abundant doctors and a strong economy. Volunteering is a way of life here. While there is no state estate/inheritance tax, the state income tax (a flat 4.63%) does hit Social Security benefits. One big downside is the cost of living: 87% above the national average.

Chandler, Arizona

Passions: ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 235,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $317,000

This Phoenix suburb, named for Arizona’s first veterinary surgeon, offers myriad outdoor activities, including 185 golf courses in the region. There’s a low serious crime rate, a good economy and a high rate of volunteering. With an elevation of 1,200 feet, the city is very bikeable, although not all that walkable. There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings and no state estate/inheritance. The sate income tax rate tops out at just 4.54% on a married couple’s taxable income above $317,900. On the downside, the number of doctors per capita is below the national average and the air quality is poor. Cost of living is 23% above the national average.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 60,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $376,000

The home of the University of North Carolina, which offers free auditing of classes for senior citizens, this college town has been called America’s “foodiest small town” for its range of culinary options. It also has a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality, a low serious crime rate, a strong economy—and quirky blue fire trucks. There’s no North Carolina income tax on Social Security benefits and no state estate/inheritance tax. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499%. At an elevation of 500 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 30% above national average.

Charleston, South Carolina

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 130,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $322,000

This historic coastal city brims with activities, both indoors and out. (The first game of golf in the U.S. took place here.)  Pluses include a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a good economy. There’s no state estate/inheritance tax, no state income tax on Social Security benefits and there are additional tax breaks on pension income. But the state income tax rate tops out at an above average 7% on taxable income of just $14,860. At an elevation of 20 feet, the city is somewhat bikeable, but not very walkable. Cost of living is 22% above national average.

Dallas, Texas

PASSIONS: 🍴 ❤️ ⛳

Great for fine dining, volunteering and golf

POPULATION: 1.34 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $217,000

Scores of public golf courses plus fine dining (far beyond the nation’s first drive-in restaurant, which opened here in 1921) and what is said to be the nation’s largest arts district distinguish the Big D. At an elevation of 430 feet, the city is somewhat walkable and bikeable and has an adequate number of physicians per capita and support for volunteering. Atop of a strong economy, there is no state taxation of income, estates or inheritances. Cost of living is only 8% higher than the national average. On the downside, the serious crime rate is above the national average and the air quality is poor.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

PASSIONS: 🎓

Great for lifelong learning

POPULATION: 85,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $219,000

The University of Arkansas offers free tuition to senior citizens at its flagship campus in this Ozarks city 200 miles northwest of Little Rock. Besides a cost of living 1% below the national average, other pluses include good air quality, adequate number of physicians per capita and a good economy. At an elevation of 1,400 feet, the city (originally named Washington) is somewhat bikeable, although not that walkable. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and there’s no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there’s a small additional break for pension income. But the state income tax reaches 6.9% on a married-couple’s income above $35,099. The serious crime rate is above national average.

Las Vegas, Nevada

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 2 million (Las Vegas Valley)

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $277,000

World-class entertainment centered around the hotels and casinos, famous chefs, and nearby water and land activities, including golf, grace this exploding desert valley. (In 1900, the population was just 18.) While summers are hot and dry, the other nine months are quite pleasant, and sun is year-round. At an elevation of 2,000 feet, the area is somewhat walkable and bikeable. A good economy is bolstered by no state income or estate/inheritance tax. Downsides include poor air quality, low ratio of physicians per capita and a high serious crime rate. Cost of living is 18% above the national average.

Los Angeles, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 4 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $686,000

The City of Angels has multiple colleges and universities offering reduced-price programs for senior citizens, world-class restaurants, numerous performance venues, a wide range of outdoor activities and many golf courses. Pluses include 28 days a year of sun, sufficient physicians per capita and a strong economy. Despites its reputation as car dependent and congested, the city, with an elevation of 300 feet, is both very walkable and bikeable (despites safety concerns for bikers). There is no state tax on Social Security benefits, estates or inheritances. But the state income tax hits a hefty 9.3% on taxable income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. Among the drawbacks: poor air quality (although better than it used to be) and a serious crime rate above national average. Cost of living is 95% above national average.

New York, New York

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, outdoor water activities and golf

POPULATION: 8.6 million

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $682,000

Dozens of colleges, fabulous arts and dining, and even golf courses accessible via subway can be found in the country’s largest city. Pluses include a high number of physicians per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. With an elevation of 30 feet, the Big Apple is very walkable and bikeable, despite concerns about bicyclist safety. There is no state income tax on Social Security benefits, plus there are additional state tax breaks on pension income. But there is a state estate tax, the combined state and city income tax rate can reach a whopping 12.696% and the cost of living is 109% above national average.

Pinehurst, North Carolina

PASSIONS:

Great for golf

POPULATION: 13,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $281,000

Some 40 golf courses, led by famous century-old Pinehurst Resort, plus golf schools surround this scenic village 90 miles east of Charlotte. Pluses include an extremely low serious crime rate, above-average rate of doctors per capita and good air quality. At an elevation of 600 feet, the town, originally named Tuftstown, is somewhat walkable and bikeable. There are no state taxes on Social Security earnings, estates or inheritances. The state income tax rate is a flat 5.499% and the cost of living is 11% above the national average.

Portland, Maine

PASSIONS: 🍴 ⛵ 🍁

Great for fine dining and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 67,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $314,000

This coastal city offers a wide variety of water and land recreation, including boating, kayaking, rafting, cross-country skiing, hiking and bicycling. There’s a good restaurant scene, a low serious crime rate, a high ratio of doctors per capita and good air quality. The city—named after an island in the English Channel—has an elevation of 60 feet and is very walkable and bikeable.  There is no state income tax on Social Security earnings, but there is a state estate tax. The state income tax rate reaches 7.15% at taxable income above $103,400 for a couple. The

Portland, Oregon

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor land activities and golf

POPULATION: 648,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $426,000

City affords wide range of pursuits, including free senior citizen auditing of classes at Portland State University. Pluses include a high ratio of physicians per capita, good air quality, a high rate of volunteering and a good economy. At an elevation of 50 feet the city—named after Portland, Maine—is highly walkable and bikeable. The state makes up for its lack of a sales tax with an income tax rate that hits 9% on just $50,000 of income (with Social Security excluded). There is also a state estate tax. Cost of living is 48% above the national average.

Salt Lake City, Utah

PASSIONS: 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁

Great for lifelong learning, volunteering and outdoor water and land activities

POPULATION: 201,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $402,000

Mountains, lakes and rivers create a choice of outdoor activities, including skiing, bird watching and fishing around this state capital city. Indoors, the University of Utah offers courses a wide range of courses for seniors in concert with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. The city has a high rate of volunteering, a high rank on the Milken Institute list of best cities for successful aging and a strong economy. At an elevation of 4,300 feet, it is very walkable and bikeable. There is no state estate tax, but the state income, levied at a flat 4.95% rate, hits Social Security benefits. The cost of living is 27% above the national average.

San Francisco, California

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ⛵

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning and outdoor water activities

POPULATION: 860,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $1.36 million

Surrounded by water, this scenic city is a mecca of culture and food, with 57 Michelin starred restaurants (compared to 76 in 10 times more populous New York). Opportunities for senior learning are offered at an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at San Francisco State and at other venues. There’s a high ratio of doctors per capita, good air quality and a strong economy. Despite the famed hills, the city, with an elevation of 50 feet, is very walkable and bikeable, with both trails and protected bike lanes. There is no state estate/inheritance tax and no income tax on Social Security benefits, but the state income tax rate is a hefty 9.3% on income above $150,000 per couple and goes up to 12.3% for the very wealthy. The serious crime rate is above the national average, but the biggest downside is the cost of living: a stunning 205% above the national average.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🍁

Great for arts, fine dining and outdoor land activities

POPULATION: 84,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $397,000

Scores of art galleries, fine restaurants and museums, plus world-class skiing, distinguish this scenic state capital mountain town (elevation 7,200 feet), 60 miles north of Albuquerque. Somewhat walkable and bikeable, the city has a high number of doctors per capita, good air quality and a low serious crime rate. There is no state estate tax, but the state income tax does hit Social Security benefits. The state income tax rate is 4.9% on taxable income of married couples above $24,000. The cost of living is 21% above national average.

Sarasota, Florida

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 57,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $261,000

Nearby beaches, fishing, boating, a big arts/cultural scene and 30 golf courses dominate this Gulf Coast city 60 miles south of Tampa. With an elevation of 16 feet, the area is very walkable and bikeable, with good air quality, a strong economy and an adequate number of physicians per capita. The cost of living is only 9% above national average. There is no state income or estate tax. One downside: a serious crime rate above the national average.

Seattle, Washington

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 🎓 ❤️ ⛵ 🍁 ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, lifelong learning, volunteering, outdoor water and land activities and golf

POPULATION: 725,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $730,000

Still-booming Puget Sound city offers all the passions, including an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Washington. At an elevation up to 500 feet, the city is extremely walkable, bikeable and even boatable, with good mass transit. Other pluses include good air quality, a high ratio of doctors per capita, a very strong economy, and a good volunteering culture. There is no state income, estate or inheritance tax. But the cost of living is a whopping 104% above the national average and the serious crime rate is also higher than average.

Traverse City, Michigan

PASSIONS: 🎨 🍴 ⛵ ⛳

Great for arts, fine dining, outdoor water activities and golf.

POPULATION: 16,000

MEDIAN HOME PRICE: $255,000

Frontage on Lake Michigan, the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, 50 area golf courses and a reputation as a top foodie town all make his city, 250 miles northwest of Detroit, a top passions choice. There’s good air quality, above-average doctors per capita and a decent economy. At an elevation of 600 feet the city—center of the nation’s largest area for growing tart cherries—is very walkable and bikeable. Cost of living is only 2% above national average.  There’s no state estate or inheritance tax and no tax on Social Security benefits, plus additional breaks for pension income. The state income tax rate is a flat 4.25%. One downside: The serious crime rate is above the national average.

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A journalist for nearly five decades, I’ve written for Forbes since 1987. I’ve covered personal finance, taxes, retirement, nonprofits, scandals and other topics that interest me. I also am the author of a novel, OFFSIDE: A Mystery. Email me at: wbarrett.forbes@gmail.com .

Source: Great Places To Follow Your Passions In Retirement In 2019

The World’s Retirement Havens – Top 10 Best Places To Retire In The World For 2018. ============= ► Subscribe for latest video ! ► https://goo.gl/lOasu9 ► Follow me on Twitter: https://goo.gl/srKHao ► Facebook: https://goo.gl/yB9XvG ============= Today, retiring abroad is about launching a new life in a new country, starting over someplace sunny and exotic with white-sand beaches or Old World culture. But there is no one way to determine the best place to retire for every person. And with a seemingly endless amount of choices, how will you ever find the right one for you. International Living’s most recent Annual Global Retirement Index 2018 compares 24 countries that give you the maximum return for your money and promise to deliver a better quality of life. Overall, the Index is based on ratings in 12 categories: buying and investing, renting, benefits and discounts, visas and residence, cost of living, fitting in, entertainment and amenities, healthcare, healthy lifestyle, development, climate, and governance. Here are the 10 retirement destinations in the world for 2018: 1. Costa Rica – The World’s Best Retirement Haven 2. Mexico – Convenient, Exotic, First-World Living 3. Panama – Friendly, Welcoming, and Great Benefits 4. Ecuador – Diverse, Unhurried, and Metropolitan 5. Malaysia – Easy, English-Speaking, and First World. 6. Colombia – Sophisticated and Affordable 7. Portugal – Europe’s Best Retirement Haven 8. Nicaragua – Best Bang-for-Your Buck in Latin America 9. Spain – Romance, History, and Charming Villages 10. Peru – Low Cost Living, Vibrant, and Diverse. Thanks for watching this video. I hope it’s useful for you. (This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment) ============= If you have any issue with the content used in my channel or you find something that belongs to you, please contact: ►Business email: truthseekerdailys@gmail.com Music by: Nicolai Heidlas (https://soundcloud.com/nicolai-heidlas) Title: 50 New Cities

A Recession Won’t Wreck Your Retirement…But This Will

Here is what matters if you’ve made it and want to keep it.Do the financial markets have your attention? I assume so. After all, Wednesday’s 800-point drop in the Dow was the worst day in the U.S. stock market this year. And while many investors missed it, the December 2018 plunge in stock prices capped off a 20% decline which started in October. That could have put a big divot in the plans of folks recently retired or in the late stages of their careers.

Stumbling at the finish line?

Demographics tell us that there is massive group of people who are between 55 and 70 years old. They are the majority of the “Baby Boomer” generation. Many of them have built very nice nest eggs, thanks to a robust U.S. economy over the last 40 years. That period of technological innovation and globalization of the economy also produced four decades of generally falling interest rates. That’s provided a historic opportunity to build wealth, if you saved well and invested patiently.

But now here we are, with a stock market near all-time highs and interest rates crashing toward zero. The tailwind that lifted Baby Boomers in their “accumulation” years may flip to a headwind, just in time for them to start using the money.

Focus on what matters

At this stage of their investment life, Baby Boomers are tempted from all directions. They are told to bank on index funds, 60/40 portfolios, structured products and private partnerships. And, while there are merits to each, I am telling you what I see as someone who has been hanging around investment markets since this Baby Boomer was a Wall Street rookie in the beloved World Trade Center in NYC: much of it is bunk. It’s a distraction. It’s a sales pitch.

Take these over-hyped attempts by wealth management firms to boost their bottom line and scale their businesses, and bring your attention to your own priorities. Today, as much as any time in the past 10 years, your focus should be on true risk-management.

That does not necessarily mean running to cash. That is an outright timing move, and it borders on speculation. But it does mean that the intended use of your accumulated assets (when you need it, how much you need, and how you will navigate the markets of the future) should be

inward-looking. It should not be based on trying to guess what the stock market is going to do.

Rate cut? Check. Inversion? Check. Giant stock market drop? We’ll see.

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Source: ycharts.com

The big news on Wednesday was the “inversion” of a closely-watched part of the U.S. Treasury yield curve. Translated to English, that means for the first time since 2007, U.S. Bonds maturing in 10 years yielded less than those due in 2 years. This is far from the first inversion we have seen between different areas of the Treasury market. However, it is the one that is most widely-followed as a recession warning signal.

The chart above shows 3 things that were essentially in sync around the time the last 2 stock bear markets began. The 10-2 spread inverted, but then quickly reverted to normal. The Fed cut interest rates for the first time in a while. And, the S&P 500 peaked in value, and fell over 40% from that peak.

Let that sink in, given what we have witnessed in just the past 2 weeks. Then, fast-forward to today, where we find ourselves in a very similar situation regarding inversion and the Fed. See this chart below:

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Source:ycharts.com

What stands out the most to me in that chart is how the spread between the 10-year and 2-year yields is almost perfectly opposite that of the S&P 500’s price movement. That is, when the 10-2 spread is dropping, the S&P 500 is usually moving higher. But when that spread starts to rise, at it is likely to soon, the S&P 500 falls…hard. As a career chartist, I just can’t ignore that.

I have been writing about the threat of an eventual “10-2 inversion” in Forbes.com since April, 2017. It finally happened this week, 19 months into what increasingly looks like a period of muted returns for investors. That is, if they follow rules identical to those they followed for the past 10 years.

Recessions are bad, but this is worse

We saw on display this week what I have been talking about since early last year: that it will not take the declaration of a recession to tip the global stock market into a panic-driven selloff that rips through retirement efforts. All that is needed is for stock prices to follow through to the downside is to actually see the market react to the preponderance of evidence that has been building for a while now.

In other words, it is the market’s fear of the future (recession) and not the actual event that is most important. By the time a recession is officially declared, you won’t need to react. The damage will already be done.

Specifically, a slowing global economy, excessive “easy money” policies by the Fed and its global counterparts, and a frenzied U.S. political environment. This has shaken investor confidence, and now the only thing that ultimately matters in your retirement portfolio: the prices/values of the securities you own, is under pressure.

What to do about it

First, don’t fall prey to the hoards of market commentators whose livelihood depends on progressively higher stock prices. Corrections are not always healthy, diversification is often a ruse, and long-term investing is for 25 year-olds!

For those who have “fought the good fight” to get to the precipice of a retirement they have darn well earned, the last thing they want is to have this inanimate object (the financial markets) knock them back toward a more compromised retirement plan.

The best news about today’s investment climate is that the tools we have to navigate through them are as plentiful as ever. Even in a period of discouragingly low interest rates for folks who figured on 4-6% CDs paying their bills in retirement, bear markets in stocks and bonds can be dealt with, and even exploited for your benefit.

Bull or bear? You should not care!

Maybe this is not “the big one” that bearish pundit have been warning about. Perhaps it is just another bump in the road of a historically long bull market for both stocks and bonds. But again, market timing and headline events like 10-2 spreads, recessions and the like are not your priority.

What your priority is, if you want to improve your chances of success toward and through retirement, is something different. Namely, to get away from the jargon and hype of financial media, simplify your approach, and take a straightforward path toward preserving capital in a time of uncommon threats to your wealth. I look forward to sharing insight on that in the coming days.

Comments provided are informational only, not individual investment advice or recommendations. Sungarden provides Advisory Services through Dynamic Wealth Advisors

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I am an investment strategist and portfolio manager for high net worth families with over 30 years of industry experience. A thought-leader, book author and founder of a boutique investment advisory firm in South Florida. My work for Forbes.com aims to break investment myths and bring common sense analysis to my audience. Connect with me on Linked In, follow me on Twitter @robisbitts. Visit our website at www.SungardenInvestment.com

Source: A Recession Won’t Wreck Your Retirement…But This Will

Creative Planning President and Founder Peter Mallouk discusses why he thinks the economy is in good shape, who should look to alternative investing and how to invest for retirement. He also discusses why he is not a fan of crypto.

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Fintech Firm Solves Number One Retirement Fear—Outliving Your Money

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Ken Henderson, a traveling Pickleball pro, has taped out two 22-by-40-foot courts on an East Harlem gym floor. Today, instead of the usual Florida retirees, he’s teaching a crew of youngish engineers, Web designers and financial planners who have taken the subway up from the Chelsea offices of their fintech startup to play the paddle sport many Baby Boomers favor because it requires less running than tennis and is easier on aging joints. One of the older players today is 41-year-old Rhian Horgan, the founder and CEO of Kindur. She has arranged the outing as a tongue-in-cheek way for her staff to get in touch with their inner Boomers—and their clientele.

In 2016, after 17 years with JPMorgan, Horgan ditched her business suits for jeans and reinvented herself as a fintech entrepreneur. She pitched Kindur as a one-stop digital financial advisor for those nearing or in retirement. It would manage clients’ investment portfolios using a basket of low-cost index ETFs (from Vanguard, BlackRock and Schwab); offer them advice on when to take Social Security; determine which of their retirement accounts to draw down first; and, in many cases, sell them a fixed annuity­—all with the goal of making sure they didn’t run out of money or pay more taxes than necessary during retirement. For simplicity, Kindur would even consolidate a client’s income sources into a monthly “retirement paycheck.”

But venture capitalists who have thrown hundreds of millions at a slew of robo-advisors and personal finance apps targeting Millennials were not wowed by Horgan or her pitchbook. “There was nothing in their portfolio targeting people ages 55 to 70,” she says. “It was a demographic they didn’t understand.”

Adding to her problems, Horgan believes, was her own identity. “I wasn’t viewed as investable. I was old for the industry, almost 40, didn’t have a cofounder, and I worked [previously] for a bank.” In addition, the notion of selling annuities online without high-pressure commissioned salesmen has been met with wide skepticism—from VCs and especially within the insurance industry itself.

After months of fruitlessly knocking on U.S. doors, Horgan found a believer at a fintech retreat in the French Alps. Anthemis, a London-based VC firm that was in on the first 2010 funding round of Betterment—the largest of the independent robo-advisors—agreed to lead a $1.25 million seed funding in September 2017, with billionaire Steve Cohen’s Point72 Ventures chipping in. Why mess with Boomers? “That’s where the money is,” answers Anthemis cofounder Sean Park, who sits on Kindur’s board.

Horgan hired an engineer, a designer, a general counsel (from Citi) and a few fellow financial wonks. They set up shop in a WeWork office. Across the hall, a sixtysomething woman was using WeWork’s online Meetup service to organize mah-jongg games, which gave them encouragement whenever naysayers suggested Boomers just weren’t that into the internet.

Still, their challenge was daunting: designing a “decumulation” or spend-down plan is more complicated (and requires more individualization and sets of calculations) than determining a proper asset allocation in the accumulation or saving phase. Yet to retain a broad appeal, the look and feel of the site couldn’t be too wonky, they believed.

The result: Kindur’s site, which launched in April, takes a low-key approach to both the details and the sales pitch. After setting up a free account, you answer a handful of specific questions (age, recent salary, planned retirement date) and guesstimate your assets and current spending. You get a preliminary free plan providing spending, Social Security and other advice based on these guesstimates or by linking to your actual accounts.

Prospective customers can play with their assumptions (retire later? spend less?) and ask questions of Kindur’s “coaches” via phone or online chat. Turns out, Boomers love chatting online and half use Kindur’s smartphone app, instead of its website, Horgan reports.

So far, more than 1,000 potential clients have gotten free plans. It’s a slow sales process, so we don’t yet know how many of them will buy Kindur’s services. But those who do will transfer their IRAs and investment accounts to its platform (custodied by Apex Clearing) and be charged an annual management fee of 0.5% of investment assets.

One of the most closely watched parts of Horgan’s approach is her use of fixed annuities to ensure clients don’t outlive their money. In contrast to the complicated (and commission-heavy) variable annuities insurance salesmen pitch, these are relatively plain vanilla products: You hand over a lump of money—say, $100,000—and get a fixed monthly income beginning either now or at some date in the future. Some financial planners and policymakers argue fixed annuities are a good idea, particularly for those middle-class folks who have savings but no regular pensions (outside of Social Security) they can count on.

Not surprisingly, annuity sellers are aggressively pursuing the Boomers’ business. In fact, the Alliance for Lifetime Income, an industry group, is the sole sponsor of the Rolling Stones’ current concert tour—the one that was delayed by Mick Jagger’s heart surgery.

But the insurance industry is still resistant to selling annuities online. Complicating matters, Horgan wanted a custom-designed product that fit her vision of a good annuity. She interviewed more than 40 insurers to find one willing to work with her and finally teamed up with American Equity, a West Des Moines, Iowa-based $51 billion in assets company started just 24 years ago.

“We’re partnering with Kindur because it’s a distribution channel of the future,’’ says Ron Grensteiner, the president of American Equity Investment Life Insurance Co. “There’s a segment of the population now, and there will be even more so in the future, who want to do retirement planning digitally—and anonymously, to a certain degree.”

Horgan resolved to start Kindur after watching her own parents struggle to make sense of their retirement options. Her physician father and piano-teacher mother immigrated from Ireland when she was 9. Her dad worked at six different U.S. hospitals, accumulating six workplace retirement plans, as well as sundry other financial assets. Her mom, who died in late 2017, had two retirement accounts. “The list of accounts went on and on. They never had a financial advisor, and most of the info was in my dad’s head,’’ says Horgan, who has decorated Kindur’s offices with framed photos of parents—her own and those of her staff.

Before taking the Kindur site live, she raised another $10 million, including $1 million from Inspired Capital, a new fund run by billionaire Penny Pritzker and Alexa von Tobel, who founded Learnvest, a financial site for Millennial women. (It was acquired by Northwestern Mutual and later ended as a brand.) “She’s extremely ahead of the competition in recognizing what an opportunity this is,” says Von Tobel.

Not quite all the competition. United Income, a similar comprehensive online service aiming at the 50-to-70-year-old getting-organized-for-retirement crowd launched in September 2017 and already has $780 million in assets under management, with an average account size of $833,000. Unlike Horgan, founder Matt Fellowes didn’t have to fight the VCs’ anti-Boomer bias—he used his own and his family’s money, plus funds from Morningstar, which backed his first fintech startup, Hello Wallet, an automated budgeting and financial education tool aimed at Millennials.

United Income is a bit pricier. It charges 0.5% of assets a year for robo-only management and 0.8% for a “concierge service” with access to a personal financial advisor. And it doesn’t recommend annuities. Why not? Fellowes says fewer than 10% of his customers face an “essentials gap”—meaning their basic living expenses aren’t covered by Social Security and pensions—and he views bond ladders and other low-risk investment strategies as a more cost-effective method than annuities to fill such a gap.

How big a role annuities will ultimately play in Boomer retirements is still unclear.

What is clear, however, is that digital money management is not just for Millennials anymore.

In fact, the bigger challenge for Kindur, United Income and the inevitable similar startups to come may be that Boomers will simply opt to get their robo-advice from the established financial companies that helped them build their nest eggs in the first place.

Charles Schwab & Co.’s robo-human hybrid advice service, Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Premium, launched in 2017. It includes spend-down advice and costs just $300 up front, plus $30 a month. So far, two thirds of users are 50 or older.

And then there’s the blue whale of robo-human hybrids: Vanguard’s Personal Advisor Services, which launched in 2015 and charges 0.30% of assets (and less for those with $5 million or more under management).

 The Vanguard service not only allocates clients’ investments, but also offers advice on claiming Social Security and how much (and from which accounts) clients should spend in retirement. So far, 85% of Personal Advisor’s users are 50 or older, and it has grown to $130 billion in assets under management—way more than all the robo startups combined, no matter what age clients they serve.

I’m an associate editor on the Money team at Forbes based in Fairfield County, Connecticut, leading Forbes’ retirement coverage. I manage contributors who cover retirement and wealth management. Since I joined Forbes in 1997, my favorite stories have been on how people fuel their passions (historic preservation, open space, art, for example) by exploiting the tax code. I also get into the nitty-gritty of retirement account rules, estate planning and strategic charitable giving. My favorite Forbes business trip: to Plano, Ill. to report on the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, then owned by a British baron. Live well. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ashleaebeling Send me an email: aebeling@forbes.com

Source: Fintech Firm Solves Number One Retirement Fear

60 Seconds: Yes, You Need a Will. Like Now. – TheStreet

Image result for the will testament

From Aretha Franklin to Prince, so many famous, wealthy people have died without having a will.

It’s nuts. Their heirs may have to spend an exorbitant amount of time fighting the courts – and each other – to determine who gets what.

Download Now: To be a profitable investor you first need to know the rules. Get Jim Cramer’s 25 Rules for Investing Special Report

You can’t take your assets with you. Get it? Everyone should have a will – and you don’t need to be famous or wealthy to need one.

Give me 60 seconds and I’ll tell you why.

Granted people often are uncomfortable talking about their mortality.  And rockstars Amy Winehouse and Kirk Cobain, who both died at 27, probably presumed they were way too young to even need one.  But they had millions at their death.

Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Regardless of your age, net worth or level of fame, you are doing your heirs a HUGE favor by taking care of everything now, says Robert Westley, CPA/PFS member of the American Institute of CPAs Personal Financial Specialist, PFS, Credential Committee.”

(Unless, of course, you enjoy watching your heirs fight over your stuff rather than resting in peace.)

So start making a list of everything you have — include investment accounts, artwork, even those vintage cars in the garage.

And if you have young kids, don’t forget to pick their guardians. You don’t want your chronically unemployed brother to end up with them.

Creating a will doesn’t have to be a complicated process. You just need a few key documents and you most likely can get what you need from sites like Quicken WillMaker or LegalZoom.

If you have substantial wealth, then you probably are going to need an estate plan, maybe even a trust, and an attorney to help carry out your wishes.

Beneficiaries Override Your Will

Big note here: A bunch of your assets are not even controlled by your will.  Anything with a beneficiary designation – like your 401(k), IRA or insurance policies – is dictated by those designations, says Westley.

They override your will. So if in your will you state that you want your kids to inherit your IRA but your ex-spouse’s name is still listed as the beneficiary because you forgot to update it, guess who’s coming in on a windfall?

So check all that now.

And drop the excuses. This is not just for old rich people.  We all know that you can get hit by a bus while you are walking on the street or even reading this.

You Need to Revisit

And finally this is not a one-and-done, says Westley.

“Many individuals assume that once they’ve completed their estate plan and will there is no need to revisit it. The reality is, estate documents are static, while an individual’s life is dynamic and ever-changing,” he says.

People die, get divorced, buy new stuff, sell old stuff.  So your will needs to be revisited, often.

So get on it, and for more tips, follow me @tracybyrnes.

Source: 60 Seconds: Yes, You Need a Will. Like Now. – TheStreet

Tune Up Your 401(k) For 2019

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How comfortable are you with how much risk you’re taking in your 401(k)? Does your employer offer a Roth option? Are you getting the full employer match? Those are some of the pertinent questions you should be asking about your workplace retirement account, says Denis Higgins, a CPA with Edelstein Wealth Management in Boston.

Higgins looked at a new client’s 401(k) and saw he wasn’t getting the full employer match money because he frontloaded his contributions and the employer didn’t have a true-up provision to make him whole. There was nothing that could be done for that plan year, but management at the small healthcare company where he worked added a true-up provision for the next plan year, so the exec got thousands more in employer match money in his 401(k) account.

There’s no check engine light that goes on, so it’s easy to ignore a poorly tuned 401(k). Easy, but hazardous to your retirement wealth.

Here are some things to check for under the hood.

Check your plan documents. “Know that the plan rules are the rule book,” says Ed Slott, a retirement plan expert and CPA in Rockville Centre, New York. You should download a copy of your 401(k)’s summary plan description (SPD) so you have it to double-check what HR tells you. Does your plan have a brokerage window (you can invest in more than just what’s on the limited plan menu)? Does it allow in-service distributions where you can take penalty-free withdrawals at age 59 ½ even if you’re still working? Does it let you delay required distributions if you work past age 70 ½? Does it allow for traditional aftertax contributions that can help you (combined with your employer) save up to $56,000 a year? These are all provisions that the law allows for, but your employer plan might not.

Fine tune your contributions level. If you are relatively new on the job, you may have been automatically enrolled in your 401(k), with contributions set at just 3% of salary. That’s not enough to fund retirement and might not be enough to capture your full employer match. If money is tight, raise your contributions when you get your next raise. Check if your employer offers automatic escalation, which increases your contribution level for you. If you’re able to save big, aim to contribute the legal max: That’s $19,000 if you’re under 50 and $25,000 if you’re 50 or older (you usually must separately choose to make all or part of the $6,000 catch-up contribution).

Look into the Roth option. Check if your employer offers a Roth option. Instead of making pretax salary deferrals, you contribute on an aftertax basis. Roth money grows tax-free and comes out tax-free, giving you tax flexibility when you start taking money out.

Reassess your asset allocation. If you were automatically enrolled, your money is probably in a target date fund, which reduces your exposure to stocks as you age. That’s not a bad choice, if fees are reasonable. If you’re older and picked your own investments years ago, the bull market may have left you more heavily in stocks than you want. Use an asset allocation tool provided by your plan or a free one such as PersonalCapital.com.

Rebalance. Higgins recommends the auto-rebalancing feature that more employers are offering. “It takes out the emotional decisions,” he says. Otherwise, get quarterly statements and rebalance at least annually to keep on track. At the same time, you should reassess your risk level, taking into consideration any life changes, he adds.

Confirm your beneficiary designations. Remember it’s your beneficiary form—not your will or living trust—that controls who gets your 401(k) when you die. Make sure to name both primary and contingent (alternate) beneficiaries.

Run a lifetime income illustration. Have you modeled how long your 401(k) balance will last over your lifetime? “The challenge a lot of people are having is that they’ve built up this war chest and don’t have any idea what to do next,” says Joseph Adams, an employee benefits lawyer with Winston & Strawn in Chicago. Some employer plans include lifetime income illustrations on your statement. If not, run one on your own. Vanguard has a free retirement income calculator here.

Fees. Some target date funds charge less than 0.10% of assets a year, while others charge more than 1%. You can see how the fees in your company’s 401(k) compare overall at Brightscope.com.  Analyze your own fund fees at Personal Capital or FeeX.com.

Author’s note: This is an updated version of an article that ran in 2017.

I’m an associate editor on the Money team at Forbes based in Fairfield County, Connecticut, leading Forbes’ retirement coverage. I manage contributors who cover retirement and wealth management. Since I joined Forbes in 1997, my favorite stories have been on how people fuel their passions (historic preservation, open space, art, for example) by exploiting the tax code. I also get into the nitty-gritty of retirement account rules, estate planning and strategic charitable giving. My favorite Forbes business trip: to Plano, Ill. to report on the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, then owned by a British baron. Live well. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ashleaebeling Send me an email: aebeling@forbes.com

Source: Tune Up Your 401(k) For 2019

How Does Sequence Of Returns Risk Impact Your Retirement?

For many investors, a long bull market like the one we’re in is leading to some frayed nerves.

When will there be a downturn? The “when” question is especially relevant to investors nearing or at retirement age. While it’s true that returns have historically evened out — for the 93-year period between 1926 to 2018, large cap stocks have gained a 10% compounded rate of return — what happens if your retirement happens to occur during a year the market suffers a loss over 20%?

After all, if this sort of downturn occurs in your twenties or thirties, it’s a setback, but time and earnings potential are on your side, explains Roger G. Ibbotson, Chairman and CIO at Zebra Capital Management and professor in the practice emeritus of finance at the Yale School of Management. If the same downturn occurs during retirement, would your portfolio be able to weather the downturn?

Implementing safeguards against this possibility can protect your portfolio from sequence of returns risk — the potential that years of bad returns early in your retirement could deplete your retirement savings for the future. Ibbotson advises that conservative withdrawals in early retirement, several streams of cash flow and a diverse portfolio including bonds and annuities can all be tools to help ensure your retirement savings won’t freefall even if the market does.

Scroll down for a guide to sequence of returns risk and how to protect your portfolio from a potential market downturn.

Consider De-risking Before Retirement, Even In A Bull Market

While some camps stay true to a buy-and-hold strategy, Ibbotson recommends de-risking your portfolio as you approach retirement, regardless of how the market is performing. According to Ibbotson, “twenty-percent proofing” your portfolio — or safeguarding your portfolio from historic losses in early retirement — can help ensure your retirement savings are able to survive a substantial market dip.

“When you’re young, you’re in what’s called an accumulation phase,” explains Ibbotson. You have high human capital (the value of future earnings, like income) but low financial capital (investments in stocks and bonds). Early on in your career, when you’re primarily dependent on human capital, you can afford to take more risk with your financial capital. But as you evolve toward the “pre-retirement phase,” when you might not be earning a steady income and are more reliant on the financial capital you’ve grown over time, it may be a good idea to de-risk your portfolio.

Rethink A Standard Annual Withdrawal

While a retirement plan based on a standard yearly withdrawal rate can give you a good ballpark of your returns and cash-flow expectations, this model doesn’t account for large market fluctuations at a key moment: early in retirement, when you begin taking withdrawals. Even if the market eventually evened out to an average that’s not far from your expected return, being dependent on those withdrawals through a bear market could hurt your savings for decades to come because so much of your portfolio would have been depleted by market losses in early retirement.

Of course, you may be required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), and you may also depend on retirement withdrawals to fund your expenses. But following the popular 4% rule of thumb — plan on withdrawing 4% of your retirement savings each year — in early retirement could leave your money vulnerable during a bear market, Ibbotson argues. “Since you can’t predict when a downswing will occur, it’s best to be conservative during early retirement, when you don’t have the luxury of time and human capital potential to make up the difference,” he says.

Consider Alternate Retirement Income Streams To Ride Out A Market Downturn

In addition to de-risking your portfolio, it may be smart to consider alternate income streams that won’t make you overly dependent on portfolio withdrawals in early retirement, says Ibbotson. “There’s a longevity risk to consider as well, which means that you may need money to last for thirty plus years,” he says.

Some ways to mitigate longevity risk — and put yourself in a stronger position to ride out a potential bear market — include working into retirement to provide a source of cash flow (which may also eliminate the need to take out RMDs on your 401(k)), making sure you’re maximizing Social Security benefits or downshifting and earmarking that money as funds for your early retirement, giving your nest egg more time to grow. Depending on your circumstances, a HELOC or second mortgage taken in early retirement can also help safeguard your retirement savings, says Ibbotson. Even lowering your withdrawal rate slightly in the first years of retirement can protect your savings from a market downturn during those early years.

Consider “Laddering” Bonds And Annuities

While bonds may have lower rates of return than stocks, their low risk and guaranteed principal return can be one way to de-risk your portfolio. One strategy to consider is called a bond ladder, says Ibbotson. This is a set of bonds purchased specifically to mature in different years, so instead of investing in a single $100,000 bond, you might invest in ten $10,000 bonds. One might mature in one year, another in three, another in five and so on, diversifying cash flow and protecting against market dips.

The same is true for annuities. Annuities can be purchased over a period of years and purchased from an array of insurance companies, which can minimize the risks of market fluctuations or the underperformance of one insurer. Annuities can be purchased as a fixed, variable or hybrid product, with aspects of both fixed and variable annuities. One popular example of a hybrid annuity product is a fixed-indexed annuity (FIA). Fixed annuities guarantee both an interest rate — around 2.5 to 3.5% as of publication date — as well as the principal. Variable annuities are typically riskier, as neither the interest nor the principal is guaranteed. Meanwhile, a product such as an FIA guarantees a stated return on the investment along with an investment return based on market performance. As the annuity reaches the annuitization stage, this money can then be used as income.

Keep Plans Flexible

Strategy exists so you can change course if necessary. Having several options for how to weather a stock market slump can help ensure you won’t run out of savings. As with any retirement planning options, speaking with a financial advisor can help you navigate the best course of action for you, your money and your retirement goals.

This content was brought to you by Impact PartnersVoice. Certain opinions expressed herein are those of Professor Roger Ibbotson and/or others acting in an academic and/or research-related capacity and not as a representative or on behalf of Zebra Capital Management, LLC (“Zebra Capital”). Roger Ibbotson is Professor in the Practice Emeritus of Finance at the Yale School of Management and the Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Zebra Capital.  

Annuities have limitations. They are long-term vehicles designed for retirement purposes. They are not intended to replace emergency funds, be used as income for day-to-day expenses or fund short-term savings goals. All guarantees and protections are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurer. You should read the contract for complete details.

This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or roll over any asset, adopt a financial strategy or purchase an annuity policy. It does not take into account the specific objectives, tax and financial conditions or particular needs of any specific person. You should work with a financial professional to discuss your specific situation. 

The content herein includes the results of academic research conducted by Professor Ibbotson and others outside of the services provided by Zebra Capital and which may have been funded, in whole or in part, by parties unaffiliated with Zebra Capital. The results of that research should not be considered as having any relevant or material financial bearing on the services provided by Zebra Capital.

Zebra Capital is entitled to receive certain compensation in consideration for, among other things, the granting of certain license rights and/or sub-licensing rights of certain of its intellectual and other property rights to one or more third parties for the creation, sponsorship, compilation, maintenance and calculation, among other things, of one or more indices to which certain fixed indexed annuities make reference.

Revolutionizing retirement for baby boomers with relevant tips, tricks, and strategies for a new age in retirement preparation.

 

Source: How Does Sequence Of Returns Risk Impact Your Retire

ment?

You’d Be Better Off Just Blowing Your Money: Why Retirement Planning Is Doomed

Between interest rates and poor financial planning, the comfy retirement you may have dreamed of is most likely to remain a dream.

I know this is a bold, and possibly controversial title, but retirement planning is broken and leaving people broke.

The destructive narrative is, “work hard, save money in a retirement plan, wait and it will all work out in the long run.”

The reality is, without the ingredients of responsibility and accountability, there is no easy solution for retirement. Meaning, if we just work hard and set money aside, we are putting money into a market we have no control over.

The institutions are winning though. Taking fees along the way. Convincing us to separate ourselves from our hard earned money, encouraging us to take it out of the business we know and put it into investments we don’t.

Low interest rates are great for those borrowing money, but terrible for those wanting to take income from a retirement plan. Those low interest rates are not providing enough cash flow, so that even if you’re a millionaire on paper, you still may be living like a pauper. For example, if you could find 4% interest in a fixed income account, that is only 40,000 dollars a year per million in your retirement account. Oh, and that income is taxable if it isn’t coming from a Roth IRA.

The concept of retirement has robbed the public of the responsibility and accountability required with personal finance. It has become too easy to hand money over to so-called experts due to the busyness of business, kids, hobbies, and other obligations competing for our time.

The reality is, we have more opportunity for time now than ever. For thousands of years people were limited and constrained with the monumental duty of providing for their family by having to hunt, farm or provide shelter with less technology, efficiency and access to resources. We have become addicted to saying yes to things less important than financial stability and freedom…..

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/garrettgunderson/2019/07/16/youd-be-better-off-just-blowing-your-money-why-retirement-planning-is-doomed/#18c0d351302d

Why 8,000 Is The Most Important Number For Your Retirement Plan

What an 81-year old Uber driver can teach us about retirement.

My Uber driver and I struck up a conversation about the Orlando traffic and weather. The chatter soon drifted into stories about his experiences living and driving in Florida. I soon learned my driver’s name was Bob.

Raising his voice, and turning to get a look at my face in his rearview mirror, Bob asked me, “How old do you think I am?”

I am always nervous to make such a guess — uttering a number either too old, or too young, can chill the air.

But, before I could make a guess, Bob volunteered his age with a wry smile, “I am 81 years old and still working! Heck of a thing, don’t you think? 81, and still working.”

Bob’s voice trailed off, as he gently turned the wheel steering his Camry off the highway into the driveway of my hotel. At a volume almost too low to be heard, he muttered, “I had no idea it would be so long.”

“What’s that?” I asked.

Bob’s eyes darted to the rearview mirror again staring back at me. He replied flatly. “Retirement.”

Bob and millions of others are experiencing the new retirement. Yes, there have always been older people, and millions have retired before us, but retirement today is different.

There are many factors that can describe how life in retirement has changed. But, perhaps the biggest difference is time.

Social Security was enacted in 1935. More than an entitlement program, Social Security culturally framed how we think about retirement — particularly when to retire. While the ‘when’ of retirement, 65 years old, was simply a product of legislative negotiation, the number is now engraved into our social consciousness with nearly the same indisputable truth as Newton’s law of gravity. In the 1930s retirement was a story about a brief period of life that offered much needed rest from a life of work. As I observe in my book, The Longevity Economy, shortly after World War II, with the advent of pensions, social security, and modestly longer life, the retirement story framed older age as a short time filled with well earned relaxation, leisure, and family.

But, as my 81-year old driver keenly observed, retirement is very likely to be longer than planned and include more than simply play and rest. According to the Social Security Administration, an American male at 65 years old is likely to live an average of another 20 years. Likewise, an American woman, on average, is likely to live approximately another nearly 22 years.

Numbers alone, such as the cold clarity of 20 years, rarely provide insight. Instead, stories that explain what the numbers may mean can give context and inspiration to comprehensive retirement planning. So how might the 20-plus years in retirement be imagined?

Translating years to days, two-plus decades of retirement is about 8,000 days. 8,000 days is also roughly the same amount of time from birth to legal drinking age – 21 years old. Put another way, life between 21 years old and what many might call midlife in their later 40s, is another 8,000 days. And, from midlife, to the seemingly preordained retirement age of 65 years old, is – you guessed it – about another 8,000 days.

The point is retirement is not a brief period of life after full-time work. Rather, retirement is equal to one-third of your adult life.

Moreover, life in retirement is equal to other major life stages that benefitted from countless people, institutions, media, advertising, social norms, and more that guided how you lived in, and moved from, one phase of life to another. And, during each of those 8,000-day periods there were many transitions as well as planned and unplanned events that punctuated life.

Unlike other life stages, there are far fewer guideposts to help navigate the later one-third of adult life. Images of golf courses, bike trails, cafés, beaches and other trite imagery often found in retirement brochures may provide dreams and inspiration to some, but 8,000 days sitting at a café is not realistic for most. And not even desirable for many. Why should we assume that retirement, another 8,000 days of adult life, should be somehow more predictable, or any less filled with transitions, celebrations, and revelations, than any other life stage?

Viewing retirement as a full, long 8,000 days stimulates the imagination and raises many questions about later life.

There is the seemingly singular retirement planning question that becomes even more critical when realizing that there is the real possibility that our lifespan could out live our wealth span. How much money will be needed, not for a brief time, but for a much longer time than most of us imagine?

Then there are the less obvious considerations that are not typically part of our retirement planning story. Here are just a few.

What will we do with all that time – work part-time, play, travel, learn something new, remarry, volunteer, provide care? Have we made the plans, and established the connections, and formed the relationships necessary to engage in those activities before punching-the-clock one last time and entering into retirement?

Where will we live? In the previous 8,000 day periods of life we may have moved at least one or more times. Why shouldn’t we assume that we might move once, twice or more in older age as our preferences, health, and perhaps finances demand?

Retirement planning for most has been about numbers – savings and the amount of money necessary to ensure financial security through the years – certainly not incorrect, but woefully incomplete. Reframing retirement for what it is, one-third of adult life forces us to realize that there are far more opportunities, and challenges, than our current story of retirement planning includes.

8,000 days of retirement. As my 81-year old driver Bob might say, “heck of a thing.”

I lead the Massachusetts Institute of Technology AgeLab (agelab.mit.edu). Researcher, teacher, speaker and advisor – my work explores how global demographics, technology…

Source: Why 8,000 Is The Most Important Number For Your Retirement Plan

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