Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/417/all en-US How to Make Sure You Don't Run Out of Money in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nest_made_of_american_currency_horizontal.jpg" alt="Nest Made of American Currency Horizontal" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An annuity is a stream of fixed payments that's guaranteed, often for as long as you live. Having an annuity can make retirement more secure, but it's hard to recommend them as investment vehicles, because almost every annuity on the market is a terrible investment. They tend to be sold by salesmen, so they're often loaded with fees. And, because being upfront about the fees would make them hard to sell, these fees are obscure (often outright hidden) and are typically different for every product, making it especially hard to comparison shop. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-know-what-annuities-are-you-might-be-missing-out?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Should You Get an Annuity?</a>)</p> <p>But my experience these past few years &mdash; helping older relatives with their finances, and starting to take the little pension I earned as a software engineer &mdash; has given me a new perspective on annuities. Having an annuity is more than just nice: It's wonderful! It's just <em>buying</em> them that's usually terrible.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are a few that are worth buying. You don't hear about them often, because they don't siphon off a big chunk of your investment to pay a salesman, so salesmen don't push them.</p> <h2>Why annuities are great</h2> <p>It used to be that anyone with a good job retired with an annuity in the form of a pension. This is how I've gotten my recent experience with just how great it is to have an annuity: All my older relatives are now receiving pensions.</p> <h3>You never outlive your income</h3> <p>The main thing that's great about an annuity is that having one means you're never going to be broke. Even if you overspend and run down your savings, even if the stock market crashes or you make terrible investment decisions and your investment portfolio takes huge losses, you'll still get that monthly check for as long as you live.</p> <p>You don't <em>need</em> to have an annuity to arrange that &mdash; you can live off capital in a way that makes it last the rest of your life &mdash; but an annuity makes it much easier.</p> <h3>They can raise your income</h3> <p>The other thing that's great about an annuity is that it can, at least potentially, be more money to live on. See, the only safe way to live off capital is to just spend the income from your investments. But that's not much money (especially these days).</p> <p>If you knew how long you were going to live, you could spend down your capital so that you'd die with just enough money to pay off your last month's bills. But since you don't know how long you're going to live, you have to make a conservative estimate, holding back enough capital so that you won't go broke even if you live to 100. (Of course even that might not be enough. What if you live to 114?)</p> <p>The company that provides your annuity has a much easier job. They don't need to know whether you'll live to 97 or kick the bucket at 67. They count on the fact that the average person will live an average life span. They can arrange the terms of the annuities so that the payouts don't exhaust the total pool until the last person dies. The fact that some people die the month after their pension starts means that there's enough money to pay for the people who go on to live for decades.</p> <p>Offset against that is the fact that the company that's providing your annuity needs to make a profit, and it also needs to hold back a reserve against the possibility that it'll get unlucky and a bunch of their customers will live longer than average &mdash; but both of those factors are relatively small.</p> <h2>Annuitize, but how much?</h2> <p>If you accept the idea that you probably ought to have an annuity of some size, the next question is: How big should the annuity be?</p> <p>At one extreme, you could just annuitize all your money &mdash; take all your savings and investments (except your checking account and your emergency fund) and buy an annuity. Then you'd know what your income would be for the rest of your life and you could budget for it.</p> <p>I recommend against that. There are many reasons why it's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/on-the-importance-of-having-capital" target="_blank">worth having some capital</a>. Your capital earns an investment return and it also provides a measure of safety as a backup to your emergency fund. It makes it possible to fund expenses beyond your bare-bones budget. Perhaps most important, having some capital saves you money in all kinds of different ways &mdash; because you have funds on hand, you can take advantage of deals, you can avoid high-interest borrowing, and you have money to put down a large security deposit in cases where that will save you money.</p> <p>At the other extreme, you could annuitize none of your money and just live off your capital. I've just explained the downsides to that.</p> <p>You want to be somewhere in the middle. With a modest annuity, you're protected from running your income down to zero, and yet you can preserve some amount of capital.</p> <p>My advice is this: You should annuitize <em>enough to cover your rock-bottom expenses</em>, the lowest amount you could live on indefinitely. That way, you're putting yourself in a position where you can be sure you can get by no matter what happens to your investments, while preserving enough of an investment portfolio to fund your other life goals &mdash; travel, making a major purchase, leaving an estate to your heirs, etc.</p> <p>Before you start shopping for annuities, be sure to take into account any annuities you already have. But unless you're old, and even then only if you had a pretty good job at a pretty big company for many years, you probably aren't going to have a great pension. (If you're only kind of old, and worked at a pretty big company for a few years before they all phased out their traditional pensions in the early 2000s, maybe there's a small pension waiting for you. If so, that's great. Even if it's not enough to live on, it's a very positive contribution to your retirement income.)</p> <p>However, most people reading this probably won't get a good pension.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is an annuity you very likely do have.</p> <h2>The annuity you already have</h2> <p>You almost certainly already have an annuity in the form of a national pension scheme, such as Social Security. The amount of Social Security you will get depends on your own employment history. For most people, it will provide a large fraction of the &quot;rock-bottom expenses&quot; I recommend you cover with an annuity, but you can generally expect there to be some gap.</p> <p>If you have an employer-sponsored pension, even a small one, it may well cover the gap. If you don't, I recommend that you cover it with an annuity that you buy.</p> <h2>How to buy an annuity</h2> <p>As I said at the beginning, most of the annuities you can buy are terrible investments, but there are good ones. It is possible to buy an individual annuity and get an OK deal. It's just hard because the companies that sell them make it virtually impossible to compare one annuity to another.</p> <p>This is especially true for the sorts of annuities that are most like a pension: The ones set up so you make a payment every month starting in your 30s or 40s, then get a check every month starting when you're 65.</p> <p>Those are called deferred annuities (because you defer getting your money until age 65), and they're always terrible. They always have what are called &quot;back-end&quot; fees &mdash; money that the salesman gets to keep when you figure out that you've made a terrible deal and want to get (some of) your money back. The rules on back-end fees are always different.</p> <p>To make it even harder, these sorts of annuities are usually bundled with some sort of life insurance (supposedly so that if you die before you retire your estate won't &quot;lose&quot; all the money paid into the annuity) &mdash; and of course the details of those insurance policies are always different as well.</p> <h3>Comparison shopping</h3> <p>It is possible to buy an annuity in a way that does allow you to compare them. Don't buy one with monthly payments. Instead, save and invest the money in the stock market yourself during your working years. Then, when you're ready to retire, buy what's called a &quot;single premium immediate annuity&quot; &mdash; you put up a big chunk of money today, and then start receiving monthly payments immediately that last for the rest of your life. (The monthly payments, of course, should equal the gap you identified between your Social Security and your rock-bottom budget.)</p> <p>That is something that's easy to compare: How much do you have to pay today for a stream of income that starts next month and lasts the rest of your life? You can get a few quotes and pick the best deal.</p> <p>These sorts of annuities usually don't have the life insurance policy that supposedly protects against your dying before you start taking payments, because the payments start immediately. That's good. Bundling in life insurance just makes it harder to compare prices. If you need life insurance, buy a life insurance policy separately.</p> <p>Be very careful of letting them include any sort of survivor benefit, because that can also make the annuities harder to compare (although as long as the rules are exactly the same, it is at least possible). One alternative, if you need a survivor benefit, is to buy a life insurance policy that will pay off enough for your spouse to buy his or her own annuity.</p> <p>As an aside, let me mention that the annuity salesmen among you are going to jump in and point out that you're giving up an important tax advantage if you only consider an immediate annuity. This is technically true, but in fact is pretty unimportant. Let me just say this: If you are maxing out your 401(k), <em>and</em> your IRA, <em>and</em> your Roth IRA, there is an opportunity to tax shelter a bit more money through an annuity contract. In practice, I'm willing to bet that the tax advantage will never equal the fees you're going to end up paying.</p> <p>If you do save your money in a 401(k) or IRA, there are tax rules for using that money to buy your annuity. Follow the rules and you won't owe any taxes when the money is used to buy the annuity. You will, however, pay taxes on the annuity payments when you receive them (just like you would if you'd taken distributions from the tax-deferred plan directly).</p> <h3>Where to buy</h3> <p>Pretty much any life insurance company will sell you an annuity, but I only know of two places to get a good one: Vanguard and TIAA-CREF. (There used to be a third, but Berkshire Hathaway got out of the business a few years ago.)</p> <p>The main problem with buying directly from an insurance company is just that their annuity sales operations are organized around their annuity salesmen, who will immediately start trying to sell you something that's more profitable (to them) than a single premium immediate annuity &mdash; that's the step you avoid by going through Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (They also have enough buying power to get especially good rates, because they bring in large numbers of customers.)</p> <p>If you're sure you can bear up under the sales pressure, there's no reason not to get quotes directly from the insurance companies. (Just because I don't know of any other good places to buy one doesn't mean there aren't any.) Insurance companies that sell annuities will be very easy to find &mdash; just do an internet search for information about annuities and you'll get a dozen ads for them and for online tools to compare their offerings.</p> <p>You're handing over a large fraction of your wealth and counting on the insurance company to be around for the rest of your life, so you want to have considerable confidence in the financial soundness of the company you pick. I would not consider any company rated less than A by the insurance grading firm A.M. Best, and I'd be happier with one rated A+.</p> <h3>Buy when rates are high</h3> <p>To buy an annuity, you have to put up a pretty sizable chunk of cash. (Vanguard quotes the cost today to a 65-year-old male buying a single premium immediate annuity of $1,000 a month for the rest of his life as being $180,052.)</p> <p>Unless you're rich, the cost of an annuity that covers your rock-bottom expenses is going to be a large fraction of your entire retirement savings &mdash; which is OK, because it's going to be a large chunk of your entire retirement income.</p> <p>The insurance company that sells you your annuity is going to invest that sizable chunk of cash in a portfolio of stocks and (mostly) bonds, and then use the dividends from those stocks and (mostly) the interest payments from those bonds to pay your annuity. Because of this, an annuity is much cheaper when interest rates are high.</p> <p>If you bought an annuity right before the financial crisis, you made out very well. If you wanted to buy one in the past eight or nine years, you probably found that they were incredibly expensive. But in the current era of rising interest rates, annuities are becoming more affordable again.</p> <p>Still, if you're approaching retirement age, understand that there is no rush. Figure out your rock-bottom expenses &mdash; and then live with that budget as an experiment. Maybe you'll find that you'll need more than that in retirement. Maybe you'll actually need less. Do some comparison shopping. Take your time. Then, when you've got a pretty good handle on the expense of your retirement lifestyle, at a time when interest rates are up a bit and you're ready to quit working, go ahead and buy that annuity.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-stocks-and-bonds-that-will-profit-from-the-fed-rate-hike">10 Stocks and Bonds That Will Profit From the Fed Rate Hike</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-safe-investments-that-arent-bonds">9 Safe Investments That Aren&#039;t Bonds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement annuities benefits bonds fees interest rates investment vehicles life insurance pensions stocks Fri, 26 May 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Philip Brewer 1953940 at http://www.wisebread.com We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt? http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-514332608.jpg" alt="Couple wondering if they should save for retirement or pay off debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? If you're carrying a card balance, you may be wrestling with whether to put all your resources into attacking the debt, or start building your retirement nest egg while you slowly pay off debt.</p> <p>Which one will give you a better net worth? There's no simple answer. For some people the situation may warrant clearing credit card debt first; for others, it's better to start investing right away. To figure out which scenario is better in a given situation, we'll need to do some math. Don't worry, we'll show you how to do it in a few easy steps.</p> <h2>Step 1: Gather important numbers about your debt and your retirement plan</h2> <p>First, look through your credit card statements and accompanying information to pull up the following numbers:</p> <ul> <li>Credit card debt. You'll find this on the front of your credit card statement.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Credit card interest rate, or APR (Annual Percentage Rate). You'll find this further down on your statement, in a section labeled &quot;Interest Charged&quot; or something similar.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment. You'll find this in your card's terms and conditions, under a discussion about how minimum payments are calculated. It will probably be a percentage, but there may also be a flat sum.</li> </ul> <p>Next, consider any retirement plan you are enrolled in or have available. What is the average annual return? You can identify past returns by reviewing your retirement account statements. For example, your 401(k) plan account may list your annual return. Note that past returns don't guarantee or predict future returns, but we'll use the average annual return as a proxy for future returns in this case, knowing that if our portfolio takes a long-term downward turn, our calculations will change.</p> <p>Finally, how much extra do you have in your monthly budget that you could put toward credit card payments, retirement investments, or both?</p> <p>Follow along as we consider a hypothetical debt situation and retirement opportunity. Let's say there's $500 in our monthly budget, which equals $6,000 annually ($500 x 12 months = $6,000) to put toward debt or retirement.</p> <p>Currently, the balance on our credit card is $5,000. Our APR is 22%. Our minimum monthly payment is 3% of our outstanding balance or $25, whichever is greater.</p> <p>Our employer offers a 401(k) plan. For the sake of keeping this illustration simple, we'll say our employer doesn't match employee contributions and we choose to make taxable contributions with a Roth designated account within the 401(k).</p> <p>In reality, you might choose instead to make tax-deductible contributions to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=internal" target="_blank">traditional retirement account</a>. With a Roth 401(k) there are no immediate tax benefits, which makes our calculations simpler and therefore better suited for this purpose.</p> <p>We'll say the default investment in our 401(k) is a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-4-best-investments-for-lazy-investors?ref=internal" target="_blank">target-date mutual fund</a> with an average annual return of 6.3% since its inception. We know that future performance is unpredictable. But to run the numbers for the retirement vs. debt decision, we'll apply an annual return of 6% to our retirement account.</p> <p>We'll look at the retirement account and credit card balance after five years to compare the two choices: 1) making minimum payments on our card balance so we can start investing right away, or 2) putting all our extra money toward our credit card debt before we consider retirement investing.</p> <p>In both scenarios, we'll assume that we won't make additional charges on our credit card. In addition, we'll contribute to our retirement account when we have money available to invest.</p> <h2>Step 2: Calculate net worth if you prioritize retirement savings over paying off credit card debt quickly</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll see what happens if we only make minimum payments on our credit card so that we can get started investing for retirement right away. Your credit card statement should state very clearly how long it will take to pay off your balance if you make minimum payments.</p> <p>You can also find an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/how-long-will-it-take-to-pay-off-my-credit-card" target="_blank">online calculator</a> to help you with these calculations. Here's the information we'll enter for our example (you can put in your own numbers from your real-life situation):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 3%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $25<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>Results indicate that we'll carry this debt for more than 17 years (205 months) and pay more than $7,000 in interest during this time. Click the button that says &quot;Detailed Results&quot; to see a breakdown of the payments. Make sure that under the Assumptions tab, you've asked for a monthly table display.</p> <p>In the first month, our payment is $150 and this amount slowly diminishes until we're paying the minimum amount of $25 for the last several years.</p> <p>Since we're making minimum payments on the credit card, we'll be able to put $350 of our total available $500 toward retirement in the first month ($500 - $150 = $350). The second month and subsequent months, we'll be able to increase the amount we invest, as our credit card balance dwindles. Every month we also earn some interest (6%/12 months), so our retirement account balance grows in that way, too.</p> <p>After five years (60 months), our credit card balance will be trimmed to less than $2,500.</p> <p>At the end of five years, our retirement account grows to just over $27,300. Considering our debt and retirement balances, our net worth is $24,800 ($27,300 in assets and $2,500 in liabilities). Note that investment returns are not guaranteed; the 6% rate is for illustration purposes only.</p> <p>You can&nbsp;<a href="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/Rains_We Do The Math Spreadsheet - Sheet1.pdf" target="_blank">download the spreadsheet</a> with these calculations.</p> <h2>Step 3: Calculate net worth if you pay off credit card debt completely before investing for retirement</h2> <p>In this scenario, we'll apply all of our extra income to credit card debt first. When the debt is paid in full, we'll begin to contribute to the retirement account.</p> <p>We enter this information to learn how quickly we'll pay off the debt with $500 per month (again, enter your own information to get personalized results):</p> <ul> <li>Current credit card balance: $5,000<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Annual percentage rate: 22%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment percentage: 0%<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Minimum payment amount: $0<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Proposed additional monthly payment: $500<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Skip December payment when offered? No</li> </ul> <p>To keep the credit card payment at $500 per month (and pay off credit card debt first), we'll enter the minimum payment percentage as 0% and the minimum payment amount as $0 &mdash; even though the actual terms of the credit card agreement will most likely specify a percentage of 2% or more and a minimum payment of $10 or more. When we view the results, we find that the payoff happens in 12 months. We'll make 11 payments of $500 and one payment of $74.</p> <p>After we finish paying off the credit card debt, we can begin investing. We'll invest $426 in the twelfth month ($500&ndash;$74) and $500 in subsequent months. Consider using a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.calculator.net/future-value-calculator.html" target="_blank">Future Value calculator</a>, to determine how much your retirement account will be worth at the end of five years.</p> <p>Here's the information we entered into the Future Value calculator:</p> <ul> <li>Number of periods: 48. (We'll invest for four years, or 48 months.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start amount: $426. (We'll start with the first month's contribution as the balance in our account.)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Interest rate: 0.5% (6% annual rate divided by 12 months).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Periodic deposit: $500.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Deposit made at the beginning or end of the period: End.</li> </ul> <p>If we earn 6% annually on our investments, our retirement account grows to $27,590 in five years. In addition, our credit card debt is paid off. Our net worth is $27,590 &mdash; that's $2,790 <em>more </em>than if we had prioritized retirement savings first and stuck with only paying the minimum on our credit card debt each month.</p> <h2>What else to consider</h2> <p>These calculations are a starting place. Your situation may be similar to this scenario, but it might not be. For instance, if your APR is considerably lower and your retirement returns higher than in the scenarios above, you may very well find that you're better off investing in the market while reducing your credit card debt slowly. Changes in one or several of these factors could alter results:</p> <ul> <li>Larger or smaller credit card balances;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Higher or lower credit card APRs;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Better or worse investment performance;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Availability of a company match on your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Administrative fees associated with your 401(k);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Choosing to invest in a traditional 401(k).</li> </ul> <p>If you opt for a traditional 401(k), your contributions come out of your pretax income, thereby reducing your taxable income, which could result in a lower tax liability and a higher tax refund. A tax refund could be applied to your credit card balance, allowing you to more easily pay off debt while also saving for retirement.</p> <p>To calculate the immediate tax benefit of saving within a traditional 401(k) account, multiply the contribution amount by your marginal tax rate. In addition, you could be eligible for a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">saver's credit</a>, which further increases the benefit of retirement savings.</p> <h2>How to get started with either scenario</h2> <p>Whatever path you choose, you may need help taking first steps. Consider these ways to get started:</p> <h3>Debt payoff</h3> <ul> <li>Consider transferring or consolidating your balances on a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">0% balance transfer card</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Consider a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-one-month-spending-freeze?ref=internal" target="_blank">no-spend week or month</a> in which you don't spend on anything except essentials.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Apply cash gifts from family to credit card balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Work a part-time job to pay down balances.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Find ways to spend less on everyday expenditures and apply savings to debt payoff.</li> </ul> <h3>Retirement saving</h3> <ul> <li>Consider enrolling in your employer's retirement plan, if offered. You may have the opportunity to contribute to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different?ref=internal" target="_blank">401(k) or 403(b) account</a>, for example.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Set up an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=internal" target="_blank">IRA</a> with a brokerage account or&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=internal" target="_blank">robo-adviser</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Start an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss?ref=internal" target="_blank">SEP-IRA</a> if you have self-employment income.</li> </ul> <p>When considering your choices, keep in mind that credit card interest rates are relatively fixed, whereas investment returns tend to be much more variable. The main instances in which credit card rates fluctuate these days are when the Federal Reserve raises the federal funds rate, or when you make late payments and are charged a penalty interest rate.</p> <p>The point is, if your card's APR is 22%, you could be certain to save at least 22% of your balance by paying off credit card interest early. In contrast, the precise benefit of early investing is less certain.</p> <p>Should you save for retirement or pay off credit card debt? Doing the math can help you make a decision.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might Be Financially Risky</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/funding-your-401k-when-youre-in-debt">Funding your 401(k) when you&#039;re in debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Retirement 401(k) APR bills calculating comparisons interest rates nest egg Paying Off Debt Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Julie Rains 1949201 at http://www.wisebread.com Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-174631043.jpg" alt="Start planning now for when your target date fund ends" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a reason why so many people invest their retirement savings in target-date mutual funds offered within their 401(k). These funds are designed to be simple: Your money is automatically invested in a mix of stocks, bonds, and other asset types based on your age and the year you plan to retire.</p> <p>As you get closer to your target date (the year you expect to hit retirement), the managers of your target-date fund gradually ramp down your risk &mdash; moving more of your dollars away from high-risk, growth-oriented investments like stocks, and focusing instead on safer, more conservative investments like bonds or cash. This &quot;set it and forget it&quot; approach allows you to easily stash money away for retirement without constantly rebalancing the fund yourself.</p> <p>The goal is to have the right asset mix when your target-date fund hits its target. But this leads to the big question: What do you do when your target-date fund finally does reach this endpoint?</p> <h2>Reaching the target date</h2> <p>According to the Investment Company Institute, the target date isn't a date when investors should automatically cash out their entire target-date fund. It's simply an estimate of when investors will retire, and therefore stop making new investments in the fund. Most target-date funds can be kept open beyond the target date.</p> <p>What happens when the fund reaches that target date depends on whether the fund is guided by one of two basic investing approaches.</p> <p>If a target-date fund has what is known as a &quot;to&quot; glide path, the fund manager will stop adjusting the fund's asset mix once it hits the target date. In this scenario, your investment mix will remain in place until you cash out the fund.</p> <p>There's also the &quot;through&quot; glide path. In this approach, the fund manager will continue to adjust the fund's mix of investments even as the target date comes and goes.</p> <p>It's important to remember that target-date funds offer no guarantees. Your fund manager will rework your asset mix as your target date approaches to minimize your investment risk. But no manager can guarantee any set amount of dollars by this date.</p> <h2>What can you do when your target date arrives?</h2> <p>When your target-date fund hits its target date, you have three basic choices of what to do with your money.</p> <h3>1. Do nothing</h3> <p>First, you can essentially choose to do nothing. You can instead leave your money in your target-date fund after you retire. You won't be able to make new contributions to the fund, of course, but as with all 401(k) investments, your target-date fund will continue to grow on a tax-deferred basis. This will remain the case until you begin making withdrawals from the fund. You are required to begin taking your minimum withdrawals from your 401(k) by age 70 &frac12; at the latest.</p> <h3>2. Roll over funds into an IRA</h3> <p>If you want to be more hands-on with your investments, you can instead roll over the target-date fund, and any other investments in your 401(k), into an IRA. If you roll the money into a traditional IRA, you can continue to make contributions until you hit the year in which you turn 70 &frac12;. If you roll your 401(k) funds into a Roth IRA, you can continue making contributions as long as you are earning income. If you are not working, though, and not earning income, you can't contribute to a Roth no matter your age.</p> <h3>3. Cash out your fund</h3> <p>Finally, you can cash out your 401(k) (and the target-date fund within it) once you stop working for the employer who offered it to you. If you rollover your 401(k) into an IRA, you won't have to pay taxes. But if you cash out, you will owe income tax on the amount you withdraw from the plan. If you cash out before you turn 59 &frac12;, you'll have to pay income taxes and a 10 percent penalty.</p> <p>The best option of the three depends on how much time you want to spend focusing on your investments. If you prefer to let others manage your investment, the &quot;do-nothing&quot; approach might be your best move. If you'd rather have more control, on the other hand, rolling over your target-date fund into an IRA is probably the better choice.</p> <p>If you need liquid cash immediately, cashing out your fund might be necessary &mdash; but the tax hit you'll take often makes this the least attractive option.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio">The Most Important Thing You&#039;re Probably Not Doing With Your Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Your 401K in 2017: Here&#039;s What&#039;s New for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement assets bonds investments mutual funds rebalancing rollover stocks target date funds Fri, 12 May 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1942910 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172208749.jpg" alt="Finding expensive mistakes of the newly retired" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Transitioning to retired life on a fixed income will undoubtedly have a few bumps in the road. This is a brand-new chapter of life for you, and it's reasonable to expect some challenges ahead. The last thing you want to do, however, is compromise your nest egg with costly, easily avoidable mistakes. After all, you need that money to get you through the rest of your life.</p> <p>As such, consider these costly mistakes of the newly retired so you don't follow suit.</p> <h2>1. Not balancing your portfolio</h2> <p>Retiring doesn't mean you have to stop investing. You can still dabble in the stock market, but perhaps not as aggressively as you once did. Risky bets could cost you your life savings, which means that you'll either have to go back to work past age 65, or put your hat out on a street corner. Neither of those options sound great in the golden years of life, so it's important to ensure your retirement portfolio is balanced.</p> <p>&quot;Annuitizing a significant portion of one's retirement income can complement a portfolio of stocks and bonds,&quot; says Jim Poolman, executive director of the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council. &quot;Fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) can serve as part of a balanced financial plan because they do not directly participate in any stock or equity investments and [they] protect your principal from fluctuations in the market.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Not changing your lifestyle after retirement</h2> <p>Your spending habits as a retiree will need to change if you're going to make it for the long haul. This is especially true if you're not receiving any kind of monthly payments, like Social Security or disability, to help with bills. You can live off what you have in the bank (hopefully; otherwise you shouldn't be retiring yet), but you may have to downsize and rethink your spending strategy.</p> <p>This means you need to start learning how to save money on everyday expenses, and re-evaluate your budget to find places for cuts. Don't expect yourself to suddenly drop 30 percent or more of your spending. Work your way to it by making small cuts at a time before you retire.</p> <h2>3. Not evaluating risk</h2> <p>When you start saving for retirement, you may have a certain monetary goal in mind &mdash; either based on what financial sources have told you, or what you've calculated you'll need based on your lifestyle. But you may not be accounting for the ups and downs of Wall Street and inevitable inflation.</p> <p>&quot;Revisit your retirement plan to make sure your savings reflect your new needs, and adjust for market conditions,&quot; Poolman advises.</p> <h2>4. Spending too much money too soon</h2> <p>When you retire, what you have is what you have. Unless you still have income coming in somehow, you have to mind your money and avoid the temptation to spend it on splurges, especially if you find yourself bored in the first year of your forever vacation.</p> <p>&quot;Before finalizing your retirement, you must take into consideration that you will only be living on a fixed amount of money,&quot; Andrew Fiebert, co-founder of Listen Money Matters, says. &quot;Oftentimes the amount of retirement savings looks pretty large, but retirees must keep in mind that money will have to last a very long time &mdash; hopefully a very, very long time.&quot;</p> <p>The enticement to spend your money can be almost irresistible, but discipline is vital. Depleting your money beyond the interest that it earns will hurt the principal and leave you with nothing after just a few years.</p> <h2>5. Loaning money to adult children</h2> <p>I get it &mdash; you love your kids. But at what cost?</p> <p>According to a 2015 Pew Research Center poll, a whopping 61 percent of parents in the U.S. admitted to <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/05/21/5-helping-adult-children/" target="_blank">helping their adult children financially</a>. That may be well and good if you have that kind of disposable income lying around (though it only fortifies your children's reliance on you; learn to say NO!). However, if you already need to cut back because you didn't save enough to live an easy, breezy retirement &mdash; which applies to most Americans &mdash; providing handouts, the payback of which you may never see, could put you in a financial pickle.</p> <p>Don't be afraid to cut your grown children off. If you don't have the extra money, neither do they.</p> <h2>6. Taking Social Security benefits too early</h2> <p>The overriding argument against claiming Social Security benefits too early is that you won't receive your full benefit potential. That could come back to bite you later in life.</p> <p>If you decide to claim Social Security benefits before you reach your full retirement age, you'll receive a smaller monthly payout &mdash; up to 30 percent less. If you absolutely need that money before your benefits fully mature, then by all means do what you have to do to survive. You'll be better off, however, the longer you wait.</p> <h2>7. Not taking required minimum distributions after age 70-&frac12;</h2> <p>Starting at age 70-&frac12;, you must take required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA each year to satisfy rules set forth by the IRS. If you don't, you'll pay penalties.</p> <p>You can calculate your required RMD by dividing your IRA account balance as of Dec. 31 of the prior year by the applicable distribution or life expectancy. Qualified charitable distributions can satisfy your RMD, by the way, which you would report on Form 1099-R on the calendar year in which the distribution is made. Do good and save yourself the penalties while you're at it.</p> <h2>8. Falling victim to money scams</h2> <p>Scammers love retirees and the elderly. Why? Because they've usually got money to burn, and they're much easier to fool than the average working-age person. Sad, but true.</p> <p>There are plenty of scams out there, too, and they're getting more intricate all the time &mdash; like one where the scammer poses as the victim's grandchild and begs the grandparent to send money. To prevent yourself from being scammed, remember these two major rules: Never provide personal information over the phone or via email, and never wire any money unless you've spoken directly to your family member or friend who is requesting the transfer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-when-you-suspect-a-scam?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What to Do When You Suspect a Scam</a>)</p> <h2>9. Failing to account for the unexpected</h2> <p>The reality of retirement is that while you'll certainly have more time to kick back and relax, life isn't necessarily going to get easier &mdash; and you have to prepare for that. Everyone will die eventually, and it's smart to plan ahead not only for end-of-life accommodations, but also long-term medical care.</p> <p>You may live a long and healthy life, but eventually you'll need someone to care for you &mdash; whether that's in a family member's home or a professional facility &mdash; and that will cost money. Hedge your bets by looking ahead and putting those funds aside now. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">5 Financial Moves Now That You&#039;ll Regret When You Retire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-can-you-afford-to-spend-in-retirement">How Much Can You Afford to Spend in Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be Wrong</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/social-security-is-not-a-ponzi-scheme">Social Security Is Not a Ponzi Scheme</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expenses investing loaning money long term care Mistakes newly retired required minimum distributions scams social security Wed, 10 May 2017 09:00:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 1940416 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Retirement "Rules of Thumb" That Actually Work http://www.wisebread.com/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-451590917.jpg" alt="Learning retirement rules of thumb that actually work" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning for retirement can sometimes feel daunting, but there are ways to temper these worries. Over the years, financial experts have come up with several useful rules of thumb that can help you get your finances organized. To be sure, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to retirement savings, but these strategies are a great place to start.</p> <h2>1. The 50/30/20 rule</h2> <p>You may know Senator Elizabeth Warren for her fiery speeches on and off the floor of the U.S. Senate, but she is also a serial author with 12 books under her belt. Teaming up with her daughter, Amelia Warren Tyagi, Warren provides practical budgeting advice in <a href="http://amzn.to/2pq1gQQ" target="_blank">All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan</a>.</p> <p>The golden nugget from Warren's book is the 50/30/20 rule, which suggests that you split your budget into three buckets:</p> <ul> <li>50 percent to pay for must-haves, including rent or mortgage payments, groceries, and minimum debt payments;</li> <li>30 percent to cover non-essentials, such as going to the movies or on vacation; and</li> <li>20 percent to save for retirement, build an emergency fund, and make additional debt payments.</li> </ul> <p>The 50/30/20 rule has become very popular because it strikes a balance between wants and needs, and provides a simple approach to setting your monthly budget. Assuming a monthly paycheck of $2,800 after taxes, you would allocate $1,400 ($2,800 x 50 percent) to needs, $840 ($2,800 x 30 percent) to wants, and $560 ($2,800 x 20 percent) to debt and/or your retirement fund.</p> <h2>2. At least 10 percent of your income to retirement savings</h2> <p>There's another rule of thumb for how much of your income should go specifically toward retirement. According to many financial advisers, you should contribute <em>at least</em> 10 percent of your paycheck to your 401(k), IRA, or workplace savings plan.</p> <p>Why is 10 percent a rule of thumb? One possible explanation is the ease of calculation: Just take out a zero. With a gross monthly paycheck of $3,500, you know that you have to contribute $350 to your retirement account. Easy!</p> <p>A caveat here is that you should be doing this for as long as you are working, starting as soon as possible. Young retirement savers will benefit the most because of compounding interest. The more that you contribute to your retirement account in your early working years, the more time the funds will have to grow.</p> <h2>3. The 90/10 rule from Warren Buffett</h2> <p>In 2013, legendary investor Warren Buffett revealed that he ordered the trustee of his estate to allocate 90 percent of his cash to a very low-cost S&amp;P 500 index fund, and the remaining 10 percent to short-term government bonds. &quot;I believe the trust's long-term results from this policy will be superior to those attained by most investors &mdash; whether pension funds, institutions, or individuals &mdash; who employ high-fee managers,&quot; he concluded. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-warren-buffett-says-you-should-invest-in-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Warren Buffett Says You Should Invest in Index Funds</a>)</p> <p>This advice didn't go unnoticed by investors. Between 2011 and 2016, investors took $5.6 billion out of actively managed funds, which attempt to beat the market, and dumped $1.7 trillion into passively managed funds, such as index funds. As the name implies, index funds simply aim to generate a return equal to the index they're tracking, such as the S&amp;P 500, after fees.</p> <p>Putting 90 percent of your retirement savings in a low-cost index fund greatly minimizes your investment costs, since the expense ratios (the annual fees charged to shareholders) are much less than for actively managed funds. This means more money is left in your account to grow, and therefore you increase your chance of hitting your savings target. Some equity index funds have annual expense ratios as low as 0.05 percent, and those tracking the S&amp;P 500 had an average annual return of 8.65 percent over the 2007&ndash;2016 period.</p> <p>As you get closer to retirement age, you may want to consult with a financial professional on how to adjust your portfolio allocation according to your changing needs.</p> <h2>4. The 4 percent rule</h2> <p>After testing a variety of retirement withdrawal rates using historical rates of return, financial planner William Bengen determined that four percent was the highest rate that held up over a period of at least 30 years.</p> <p>Here's how it works: Assuming a $600,000 nest egg, you would withdraw $24,000 in your first year of retirement. In the second year, you would withdraw the same amount plus extra to cover inflation. Assuming an annual rate of inflation of 2.5 percent, your second and third withdrawals would be $24,600 and $25,215, respectively.</p> <p>While the four percent rule is not without critics, nor is it the perfect calculation for everyone, it continues to help retirees plan ahead the size of their withdrawals during their retirement years. Just make sure that once you reach age 70 &frac12;, you meet your required minimum distributions (RMDs) set by the IRS. Some years you may have to withdraw a bit extra beyond your planned four percent to avoid the hefty 50 percent tax penalty for failing to take your scheduled RMD.</p> <h2>The bottom line</h2> <p>These four rules of thumb can give you a leg up on your retirement strategy. However, think of them more as guidelines and not so much as commandments. Every financial situation is different, so make the most of the available information and resources through your employer-sponsored retirement plan. Consult a financial adviser whenever necessary. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Who to Hire: A Financial Planner or a Financial Adviser?</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-wasting-68000-on-gas">Are You Wasting $68,000 on Gas?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4% rule 50/30/20 rule compound interest drawdown elizabeth warren index funds passively managed funds rules of thumb savings warren buffet Tue, 09 May 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1941241 at http://www.wisebread.com What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-649699796.jpg" alt="Learning about the easiest way to save for retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a 401(k), chances are you've been given the option to invest in a &quot;target-date&quot; fund. This is a balanced mutual fund that gradually changes its investment mix depending on how close you are to retirement. It's designed to hold a higher percentage of riskier, growth-oriented investments like stocks when you're young, and increase the proportion of more conservative investments, such as cash and bonds, as you age.</p> <p>Many brokerage firms offer target-date funds, which come with names like Fidelity Freedom 2050 or Lifepath Index 2045. The idea is to pick one associated with the year you expect to retire.</p> <p>There are advantages to these funds, especially for those who don't want to spend a lot of time managing their investments. But there are some drawbacks, too.</p> <h2>Pros</h2> <p>Let's start with the upsides.</p> <h3>1. They automatically rebalance</h3> <p>Target-date funds are designed to build wealth while you're working, and protect it as you approach retirement. They accomplish this by gradually and automatically changing the investment mix over time, which is referred to as rebalancing. Because it's not particularly easy for the average investor to make these kinds of changes on their own, a target-date fund offers the convenience of &quot;set it and forget it,&quot; saving you time and extra work.</p> <h3>2. They are easy to select</h3> <p>Picking which mutual fund is right for you is tricky, because there are often so many choices. There are funds for specific industries, funds for growth, and others for income &mdash; it can be overwhelming. When choosing which target-date fund is right for you, though, all you need to do is pick one that lines up best with the year you expect to retire. So if you are now 30 years old and plan to retire at age 63, you would pick a fund labeled with the year 2050.</p> <h3>3. They offer diversification</h3> <p>Most target-date funds are essentially &quot;funds of funds.&quot; In other words, they are comprised of a mix of mutual funds, which are already made up of a blend of stocks and bonds. Thus, investors are hardly at risk of placing too much of their money in any single investment.</p> <h2>Cons</h2> <p>All that convenience comes at a price.</p> <h3>4. They have high fees</h3> <p>If you invest in target-date funds, you can expect that fund managers and brokerage firms will take a bigger chunk of your money than they would for basic index funds. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that the average expense ratio on more than 2,200 target-date funds was more than 0.9 percent. Meanwhile, there are many basic index funds that have ratios of less than 0.1 percent.</p> <p>An expense ratio measures what it costs an investment company to run a mutual fund, and is calculated by the fund's annual operating expenses divided by the average dollar value of its assets under management. Those operating expenses are taken out of the fund's assets and lower the return for investors. Over time, a higher expense ratio could impact your overall investment balance by thousands of dollars.</p> <h3>5. They aren't one-size fits all</h3> <p>Not everyone generates the same amount of income during their lifetime, and expenses in retirement can vary wildly. Thus, the right mix of bonds, stocks, and other investments will differ depending on the investor. Target-date funds don't take this into account. One investor may be able to retire comfortably with a portfolio of bonds and cash, while another might need more growth stocks to meet their retirement goals.</p> <h3>6. Funds with similar names may actually be quite different</h3> <p>There are thousands of target-date funds out there. Many of them have very similar names and similar goals, but differ in their investment mix. For example, the Fidelity Freedom 2035 fund is currently comprised of 64 percent U.S. stocks, 31 percent international stocks, and 5 percent bonds. The Vanguard Target Retirement 2035 fund, however, is 48 percent U.S. stocks, 32 percent international stocks, and about 20 percent bonds. Thus, the performance and risk of these funds may vary even if their names and goals are very similar.</p> <h3>7. They may not be aggressive enough for some older people</h3> <p>On one hand, you probably don't want to be investing in all stocks when you are approaching retirement age. But if you become too conservative, you might miss out on big returns. There are some financial advisers who argue that it's OK to stay aggressive in retirement as long as you have enough saved to endure a possible downturn. In fact, one 2013 study argued in favor of a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2324930" target="_blank">counterintuitive approach to retirement saving</a> &mdash; more conservative investing when you're young, and more aggressive investing as you get closer to retirement.</p> <p>If you think you want a more aggressive fund than the target date that corresponds with your projected retirement age, you can always choose one with a later target date. For instance, if you're planning on retiring in 15 years, but want a fund that's more aggressive now, you might choose a 2040 or 2050 target date fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/start-planning-now-for-when-your-target-date-fund-ends">Start Planning Now for When Your Target-Date Fund Ends</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401-k-is-not-an-investment">Your 401(k) is not an investment</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio">The Most Important Thing You&#039;re Probably Not Doing With Your Portfolio</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">Why invest in the stock market?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) aggressive bonds conservative risks stocks target date funds Tue, 09 May 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1940329 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511524588 (1).jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before claiming social security benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a 2016 poll conducted by Gallup, 59 percent of retirees rely on Social Security payments as a major source of income. Odds are that you, too, will need Social Security benefits to cover at least <em>some </em>of your living expenses after you retire. Because of this, you'll want these benefits to be as large as possible when retirement actually arrives.</p> <p>Here are five key questions to ask before you start taking your Social Security benefits.</p> <h2>1. Are you willing to take a smaller monthly benefit for the rest of your life?</h2> <p>Taking Social Security benefits before your full retirement age will cost you in the form of a lower monthly payout. This payout will remain at this lower level for the rest of your life.</p> <p>You can determine how much of a hit you'll take claiming benefits early by visiting the Social Security Administration's <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html" target="_blank">retirement planner site</a>. As the site shows, if you start taking your Social Security payments before you hit your full retirement age, your monthly benefit will be lower.</p> <p>How much lower? If your full retirement age is 67 and you start taking your benefits at 62, your monthly Social Security payment will be reduced by about 30 percent. If you start taking them at 64, they'll be lower by about 20 percent. Even if you start taking them one year earlier at 66, they'll still be lower &mdash; by about 6.7 percent a month. And remember, this is for the rest of your life.</p> <p>As you can see, claiming benefits early can significantly reduce the amount of money you receive each month. Let's say you are slated to receive $1,000 a month in Social Security benefits and your full retirement age is 67. If you started taking your benefits at age 62 &mdash; the earliest you can take them &mdash; your monthly benefit would fall to $700.</p> <h2>2. Can you continue working?</h2> <p>While retiring early reduces your monthly Social Security benefits, working past your full retirement age actually increases them.</p> <p>The Social Security Administration says that if you delay receiving your Social Security benefits until you hit 70, your monthly payment will be 32 percent higher than if you had retired at full retirement age.</p> <p>Say your full retirement age is 66, and you'd receive $1,000 from Social Security every month starting at that age. If you wait to start claiming your benefits until you turn 70, your monthly payment would rise significantly to $1,320. You'd just have to determine whether you could hold off on receiving those payments until your 70th birthday.</p> <h2>3. How much have you saved for retirement?</h2> <p>Most people can't survive on Social Security benefits alone during their retirement years. Instead, they rely on a mix of savings from different sources &mdash; everything from 401(k) plans, to IRAs, to annuities.</p> <p>How much you've saved for retirement will play a key role in how early you should take your Social Security benefits. If you've saved a significant amount of money for retirement, you might not need as large a monthly Social Security payment to meet your retirement goals. But if you haven't saved much, you might need that larger benefit payment. At the same time, working for a few extra years might help you boost your retirement nest egg, at least by a bit.</p> <h2>4. How healthy are you?</h2> <p>While there are financial upsides to waiting to claim your Social Security benefits, there are also times when this doesn't make sense. Often, this depends on your health.</p> <p>If you're not healthy, you might need to retire early for your physical wellbeing. And while it's impossible to predict how long you'll live after retiring, if you're suffering from health problems, your post-retirement life might not last as long. Retiring as early as possible, and claiming those Social Security benefits earlier, might then be the best choice. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a>)</p> <h2>5. What kind of retirement do you want?</h2> <p>How do you plan to spend your retirement years? Are you looking forward to quiet days spent with your grandchildren, reading books, and pursuing a hobby? Or do you want to travel the world?</p> <p>If you're looking for a lower-key, less-costly retirement, taking your benefits early &mdash; and receiving smaller Social Security payments &mdash; might make sense. But if you want a busier, more extravagant retirement, holding off until full retirement age, or later, might be the smarter choice.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn&#039;t Panic Over</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement benefits early retirement full retirement age health Teaser: income social security Mon, 08 May 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1940328 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-639428420.jpg" alt="Learning social security facts you shouldn&#039;t panic over" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most people tend not to think about Social Security until they are in a position to collect benefits. Unfortunately, letting Social Security be something you worry about &quot;later&quot; can cause costly problems &mdash; both for you as a beneficiary, and for the program as a whole.</p> <p>Here are five sobering facts about Social Security that you should know now so that you will be prepared for potential issues in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. The Social Security Trust Fund may be entirely depleted by 2034</h2> <p>Social Security is set up as a direct transfer of funds from current workers to current beneficiaries. However, when the taxes coming in to pay for Social Security exceed the expenses for the program, the surplus is placed in the Social Security Trust Fund, where it earns interest. As of 2010, Social Security expenses have exceeded the tax revenue, and the Social Security Administration has had to dip into the Trust Fund in order to pay out all promised benefits. As of 2013, the Trust Fund began losing value, and it is projected to be <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/oact/trsum/" target="_blank">entirely depleted by the year 2034</a>.</p> <p>When the Trust Fund runs out of money, the projected tax revenue will cover only 79 percent of promised benefits. This means anyone who is entitled to a $1,500 monthly benefit will only receive $1,185.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>While the coming depletion of the Social Security Trust Fund is troubling, the problem is neither new nor imminent. It's also important to note that the United States is the only country in the world that attempts to predict the 75-year longevity of its social insurance funds, which means we are in a position to do something about the anticipated shortfall. Over the next couple of decades, it is likely that our government will make relatively small changes to the Social Security program in order to make up the 21 percent anticipated shortfall that will occur once the Trust Fund has run dry.</p> <p>However, it is smart for current workers to recognize that Social Security should not be heavily relied upon for a financially secure retirement.</p> <h2>2. The average Social Security retirement benefit is $1,360 per month</h2> <p>As of January, 2017, the average benefit for a retired beneficiary is <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/news/press/factsheets/colafacts2017.pdf" target="_blank">$1,360 per month</a>, which doesn't go very far if that is your only source of income. In addition, beneficiaries who are signed up for Medicare Part B (which is the Medicare medical insurance) will see $134 deducted from their Social Security benefit check for the Part B premium.</p> <p>While very few retirees live solely on their Social Security benefits, these benefits do constitute at least half the income of 71 percent of single seniors and 48 percent of couples. And for a whopping 43 percent of singles and 21 percent of married couples, Social Security benefits represent 90 percent or more of total income.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>What you need to remember is that you have a great deal of control over how much of your budget your Social Security benefit will represent. If you diligently save for retirement, then receiving an &quot;average&quot; benefit of $1,360 will provide a nice financial cushion on top of your retirement portfolio. While $1,360 is tough to live on by itself, having it available on top of your necessary expenditures would be a wonderful supplement.</p> <h2>3. Cuts to Social Security benefits may be coming</h2> <p>President Trump promised during his campaign that there would be no cuts to current payments for Social Security or Medicare beneficiaries. However, although the White House has made it clear that current beneficiaries' payments are safe, it will not rule out the possibility of making cuts that will affect future beneficiaries. Some of the changes that have been proposed include:</p> <ul> <li>Raise the full retirement age for workers who reach age 62 in 2023, gradually increasing it from the current age of 66 to age 69.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Change the formula for calculating benefits for retirees becoming newly eligible in 2023 in phases over 10 years. The changes would slightly increase benefits for below-average earners and slightly decrease benefits for above-average earners.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Beginning December 2018, change the calculation of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to a chained consumer price index (CPI) calculation, which will reduce the amount of money beneficiaries receive in their annual COLA. The current formula for determining the COLA uses something called the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). The CPI-W is a useful index for tracking the inflation of all goods, but it does not take into account the fact that many consumers make substitutions when prices go up. (For instance, if the price of beef rises, many consumers will buy chicken or pork instead.) A chained CPI calculation takes these sorts of substitutions into account, so its inflation rate is calculated at approximately 0.3 percentage points lower than the CPI-W rate.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eliminate the earnings test beginning in January 2019. This test reduces benefits for beneficiaries who are younger than Social Security's full retirement age (currently age 66), are currently receiving Social Security benefit payments, and have income from wages or self-employment that exceed $16,920 per year in 2017.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Eliminate federal income taxation of Social Security retirement benefits as of 2054 and later, phased in from 2045 to 2053.</li> </ul> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>Although making cuts to future beneficiaries' payments is hardly something to cheer about, we do need to recognize that it is much more important to protect the benefits of current beneficiaries. Since current beneficiaries generally cannot go back to work or cut expenses, they are much more vulnerable to cuts in payments than current workers are. In fact, the proposed switch to a chained CPI calculation for COLA may be burdensome to current beneficiaries, since it has been proposed for December 2018, thereby affecting those who have already retired.</p> <p>What current workers need to do is plan for their Social Security to be an addition to their retirement savings. Then, if these changes and cuts do come to pass, you will not be worried about losing important income.</p> <h2>4. High earners don't pay as much into Social Security</h2> <p>Social Security is paid for through a payroll tax of 6.2 percent for workers and 6.2 percent for their employers, making the total tax contribution 12.4 percent of gross income. However, workers and their employers do not pay Social Security taxes on earnings above $127,200.</p> <p>While $127,200 is a pretty significant chunk of change, it does mean that very high earners get a break once they are earning that amount. The reasoning behind this earnings cap is to maintain the connection between contributions paid in and benefits received. Since Social Security benefits are paid progressively, lower-income beneficiaries receive a higher percentage of their pre-retirement income in benefits than do high-income beneficiaries. The more money that high-income earners pay into Social Security, the less of a return they see on their contributions.</p> <p>The progressive nature of Social Security benefits is the reason why it is unlikely that there will ever be a complete elimination of this earnings cap, even though the program could certainly use the funds that such a cap elimination would represent. However, even if we were to increase the earnings cap to $229,500 &mdash; which would return taxation to the same level it was in the early 1980s &mdash; we could make a major dent in the coming benefits shortfall.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>Although raising taxes is never popular, there is some indication that our government is working to bring the earnings cap closer to early 1980s levels. In 2016, the earnings cap was set at $118,500, which was the same as the 2015 earnings cap. Raising it to $127,200 represents a 7 percent increase.</p> <h2>5. 10,000 baby boomers are retiring every day</h2> <p>Social Security works pretty well when the ratio of workers to retirees is balanced. Unfortunately, the extra-big generation known as the baby boomers is putting the program out of whack. The 76 million members of that generation began reaching age 62 (the earliest you may take Social Security benefits) as of 2008, and they are just going to keep retiring &mdash; at a rate of <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/07/24/do-10000-baby-boomers-retire-every-day/?utm_term=.56b6dff4374c" target="_blank">10,000 per day</a>.</p> <p>This huge retirement boom could potentially put an enormous burden on our Social Security program, especially considering the increased life expectancy of this generation as compared to their parents and grandparents.</p> <h3>Why you shouldn't panic</h3> <p>While it's true that approximately 10,000 baby boomers are going to be retiring every day until 2034 (when the last of the boomers will reach age 70, which is the latest you would want to start taking Social Security benefits), there is more to this story than just their retirement.</p> <p>First, it's important to remember that we've known the boomers would be retiring en masse for quite some time. Policymakers began to plan as early as 1983, when Congress raised the full retirement age.</p> <p>Second, the boomers are the workers who built up the Social Security Trust Fund, so they will be beneficiaries of the money they themselves contributed through taxes.</p> <p>Finally, as of 2015, <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/04/25/millennials-overtake-baby-boomers/" target="_blank">millennials had overtaken the boomers</a> as the largest living generation in the U.S. With such a large group of young workers in the workforce, we should be able to handle the financial cost of 10,000 boomers retiring each day.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-start-claiming-your-social-security-benefits">5 Questions to Ask Before You Start Claiming Your Social Security Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-to-claim-social-security-before-your-retirement-age">3 Reasons to Claim Social Security Before Your Retirement Age</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement beneficiaries benefits facts full retirement age government social security ssa supplemental income taxes trust fund Thu, 04 May 2017 08:00:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1938308 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Dangers That Could Derail Your Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-dangers-that-could-derail-your-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-dangers-that-could-derail-your-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_stressed_money_531414656.jpg" alt="Couple learning dangers that could derail their retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found articles on dangers that could derail your retirement, pros and cons of container gardening, and tips to improve your home&rsquo;s layout.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/retirement/T064-C032-S014-7-dangers-that-could-derail-your-retirement.html">7 Dangers that Could Derail Your Retirement (and What to Do About Them)</a> &mdash; Carrying too much debt in retirement can be disastrous, especially if you aren't getting paychecks anymore. [Kiplinger]</p> <p><a href="http://www.everybodylovesyourmoney.com/2017/05/01/pros-and-cons-of-container-gardening.html">Pros and Cons of Container Gardening: Does It Actually Save Money?</a> &mdash; There may be significant upfront costs to container gardening, but the expense drops considerably as you repeat the process. [Everybody Loves Your Money]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pennymacusa.com/blog/home-staging-secrets-for-everyday-living">Staging Secrets: Improve Your Home&rsquo;s Layout with Advice from a Home Stager</a> &mdash; Create height in a room by taking window treatments as high to the ceiling as possible. [PennyMac]</p> <p><a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2017/0419/Netflix-nears-100-million-subscribers-Why-that-doesn-t-mean-the-end-of-cable-TV">Netflix nears 100 million subscribers: Why that doesn't mean the end of cable TV</a>&nbsp; &mdash; Netflix's partnerships with certain cable and cellphone carriers give these more traditional companies a leg up over the competition. [The Christian Science Monitor]</p> <p><a href="https://www.popsugar.com/smart-living/Fun-Activities-Introverts-38912181">22 Hobbies For People Who Really Love to Be Alone</a> &mdash; Work out your brain and challenge yourself with some puzzles. There are lots of different kinds you can try, like jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, crosswords, and a Rubik's cube. [PopSugar Smart Living]</p> <h2>Other Essential reading</h2> <p><a href="http://wellkeptwallet.com/how-to-make-700-fast/">How to Make $700 Super Fast</a> &mdash; Check Craigslist for gigs in your city. The &quot;Gigs&quot; section offers a wide variety of jobs, so odds are good that you'll find some that fit your skill sets. [Well Kept Wallet]</p> <p><a href="https://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/5-ways-to-craft-your-own-happiness-at-work/">5 Ways to Craft Your Own Happiness at Work</a> &mdash; Don't try too hard to be happy at work. The extra pressure will actually make you feel worse. [Pick The Brain]</p> <p><a href="http://lifeguider.com/become-better-listener-active-listening/">How To Become A Better Listener: Active Listening</a> &mdash; Pay attention to body language. Your posture and facial expression can show the speaker whether or not you're interested in the message. [Life Guider]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2017/04/28/the-power-of-consistent-routine/">The Power of Having a Consistent Routine</a> &mdash; A consistent routine allows you to structure your day so that you have time to relax. [Life Optimizer]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-things-to-consider-before-giving-your-child-an-allowance">5 Things to Consider Before Giving Your Child an Allowance</a> &mdash; Make sure your child understands that he'll need to earn the allowance. [Parenting Squad]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-dangers-that-could-derail-your-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-retirement-rules-of-thumb-that-actually-work">4 Retirement &quot;Rules of Thumb&quot; That Actually Work</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement best money tips retirement dangers Wed, 03 May 2017 08:30:07 +0000 Amy Lu 1939100 at http://www.wisebread.com How Single Parents Can Juggle Retirement Savings, Too http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-541585308.jpg" alt="Single parent learning how to juggle retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being a single parent is hard work. It's also expensive, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reporting that the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610. That comes out to nearly $14,000 a year.</p> <p>If you're a single parent with one income, paying for your children's clothing, food, education, and activities might not only be consuming most of your money, but most of your time, too. At the end of another long day, you might think that it's simply too difficult to plan or save for your own retirement.</p> <p>Fortunately, this isn't true. Yes, saving for retirement will be more challenging for single parents. But it can be done, and the steps to start saving and investing for retirement aren't overly difficult.</p> <p>Here are five moves single parents should make today to prepare for their future retirement.</p> <h2>1. Make a budget</h2> <p>Nothing is more important than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps" target="_blank">creating a household budget</a>, and making one is simpler than you think. Once you have a budget, you'll be able to figure out how much money you can allocate to retirement savings each month.</p> <p>First, write down how much money you bring into your household every month. Next, list how much you spend. Start with your fixed expenses, which includes everything from your monthly mortgage payment to your insurance costs. Then, calculate an average cost for expenses that fluctuate. These can include utility bills, transportation, clothing, groceries, and entertainment. Don't forget to include intermittent expenses, such as haircuts and car maintenance bills, which you might think of in annual terms &mdash; find the average so you can estimate a monthly amount. Once you have these figures, you'll know how much wiggle room is left each month to put toward your retirement.</p> <p>Compiling a budget can also help you make positive changes to your overall spending habits. Maybe you'll find that you're spending more money than you're bringing in. You might then make a few small adjustments &mdash; such as eating out less, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-tv-must-haves-once-you-cut-the-cable-cord" target="_blank">cutting the cable cord</a>, or dropping a gym membership &mdash; that will free up money each month.</p> <h2>2. Start small and build an emergency fund</h2> <p>After making a budget, set aside at least some of your leftover money in the month to build an emergency fund. You'll use this fund to pay for any unexpected financial emergencies (such as a broken water heater) with cash instead of charging repairs to a credit card. The key to saving for retirement as a single parent is to avoid building debt, and nothing can derail your savings goals faster than <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" target="_blank">high interest credit card debt</a>. By having that emergency fund, you'll be far less likely to add big bills to your credit cards.</p> <p>You might not have much money to devote to an emergency fund. That's OK. Even if you can only save $50 a month, do it. By the end of a year, you'll have $600. That may not be a huge amount, but it's a start. Your ultimate goal should be to build an emergency fund that can cover daily living expenses for three to six months. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/change-jars-and-8-other-clever-ways-to-build-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Change Jars and 8 Other Clever Ways to Build an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>3. Save in tax-advantaged investment vehicles</h2> <p>As a single parent, it's important to keep as many of your dollars in your household as possible. Tax-advantaged savings vehicles can help you do this.</p> <p>If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, take advantage of it. Contributions to your 401(k) are made with pretax dollars from each paycheck. This means that when you file your taxes for the year, the IRS will treat your income as smaller than it actually was. This will help lower your tax burden each year while simultaneously growing your retirement.</p> <p>You can also invest in a traditional IRA if you don't have access to a 401(k). Contributions to a traditional IRA are also made with pretax dollars, which again, will lower your taxable income.</p> <h2>4. Prioritize retirement over college savings</h2> <p>Like most parents, you probably want to give your child as much financial help as you can to get them into a good college. But too many parents save for their children's education while skimping on building their own retirement fund. This is a mistake.</p> <p>Remember, your kids have options when it comes to their education. They can attend a community college or less-expensive university, seek financial aid, or work their way through school. They might not be able to attend their dream school, but that doesn't mean they can't get a solid college education.</p> <p>You won't have as many options when it's time to leave the working world. You certainly don't want a retirement in which you're struggling to pay your bills, so you need to avoid the impulse to prioritize your child's college fund over your own retirement savings. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>5. Resist the temptation to overspend</h2> <p>As a single parent, it can be tempting to overspend on gifts and expensive vacations in an effort to make up for whatever challenges you and your children face. The problem is, this kind of emotional overspending can wreck your monthly budget. And when money gets tight, it's your retirement savings that often suffers.</p> <p>It's OK to treat your children, of course. But make sure these little rewards don't come at the expense of building a retirement fund.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-single-parents-can-juggle-retirement-savings-too">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-golden-rules-of-personal-finance-everyone-should-know">10 Golden Rules of Personal Finance Everyone Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Retirement budgeting children college costs emergency funds investments overspending saving money single parents tax advantaged Fri, 28 Apr 2017 18:43:15 +0000 Dan Rafter 1935491 at http://www.wisebread.com Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-172427755 (1).jpg" alt="Couple learning they&#039;re wrong about their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Some financial mistakes are easier to recover from than others. Failing to properly plan for retirement falls into the not-so-easy camp. And yet, the latest in a long series of retirement preparedness studies indicates that many working age households in the U.S. are making this very mistake.</p> <p>This new study, prepared by the Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College, analyzed two key findings. First, it compared people's objectively measured, actual retirement preparedness with their perceived preparedness. And second, instead of just highlighting how many people are less prepared than they think (a common finding among retirement studies), it also found that some people are actually more prepared than they realize, causing needless worry.</p> <p>Let's break it down.</p> <h2>Over half are not well prepared</h2> <p>According to the CRR study, over half (52 percent) of working age households are at risk of not being able to maintain their current standard of living in retirement. That's even if these households work until age 65, annuitize all of their financial assets, and turn their home equity into an income stream via a reverse mortgage.</p> <p>In 1989, just 30 percent of households were deemed to be at risk. The study's authors attribute the growth in this number to three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>The increased time people are spending in retirement &mdash; the result of a fairly static average retirement age (around 63) combined with lengthening life spans.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Increases in Medicare premiums.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>The sweeping change from defined-benefit to defined-contribution retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans. In managing their own retirement accounts, the authors said, &quot;individuals make mistakes at every step along the way,&quot; which has resulted in a woefully inadequate median retirement account balance of just $111,000 for households nearing retirement.</li> </ul> <h2>Over half of the unprepared don't realize it</h2> <p>Of the 52 percent of households that are at risk of not being able to maintain their standard of living in retirement, the CRR study found that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) don't know they're in trouble at all &mdash; the worst possible situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The study's authors identified two main reasons.</p> <p>First, there is a &quot;wealth illusion&quot; that comes from having a 401(k). In other words, a person may have what seems like a lot of money in their plan, but not realize how little income it could actually produce in retirement.</p> <p>For example, a standard assumption is that 4 percent of your retirement savings can be withdrawn each year in retirement without too much danger of running out of money. A $100,000 balance would then translate into just $4,000 per year.</p> <p>The second reason is a false sense of security that comes from having a relatively high income. A high-income earner may not understand that Social Security benefits will replace a smaller percentage of his or her income than someone with a lower income. In other words, for high-income people, it takes more personal savings to maintain their standard of living in retirement than they may realize.</p> <h2>Of those who are prepared, half don't realize it</h2> <p>If 52 percent of all working age households are not adequately preparing for retirement, that means 48 percent are doing a good job. However, of those prepared 48 percent, the CRR study found that half worry that they're not on track. Of course, that's a much better problem to have than not realizing you're unprepared, but unnecessary worry is still a problem.</p> <p>The study's authors cited three main factors:</p> <ul> <li>For homeowners, not understanding how much income could be generated through a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reverse-mortgages-the-best-way-to-eat-your-home?ref=internal" target="_blank">reverse mortgage</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For those still covered by a defined-benefit pension plan, not fully appreciating just how valuable that benefit is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do?ref=seealso" target="_blank">If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a>)<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If married, not understanding how much money they may be entitled to via spousal Social Security benefits.</li> </ul> <h2>Solutions</h2> <p>What should you do if you realize you may be under or over-preparing for retirement? Run some numbers using a retirement planning calculator &mdash; preferably a couple of calculators since different tools use different assumptions &mdash; and rerun the numbers periodically. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Should You Have Saved for Retirement by 30? 40? 50?</a>)</p> <p>Knowledge is your best bet when it comes to staying on track with your retirement savings. Don't just guess. Figure out how much you need to be investing each month so that you can afford to live comfortably in your retirement years, and then, make the necessary changes in your budget to set that money aside. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">One Smart Thing You Can Do for Your Retirement Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investing IRA nest egg preparedness saving money Fri, 28 Apr 2017 09:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1935019 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways Retirees Can Build Credit http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-retirees-can-build-credit <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-retirees-can-build-credit" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-471849363.jpg" alt="Learning ways retirees can build credit" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that once you reach retirement, your credit score is just one of those things you get to stop worrying about. While it's true that most retirees won't be applying for mortgages, it's not true that you don't need to maintain a decent credit score. What if you want to apply for a car loan? What about credit cards? You certainly won't get the lowest interest rates and best rewards programs possible without a good credit score to back you up.</p> <p>A low credit score can also hurt you if you want to downsize to an apartment, or even move into a senior living facility. You might need a solid credit score to qualify.</p> <h2>Why it's hard for retirees to build credit</h2> <p>According to FICO, to have a credit score, you must have at least one credit account that is at least six months old. You must also have at least one account that has been updated by a creditor or lender during the last six months.</p> <p>If you aren't paying a mortgage, paying off an auto loan, or using credit cards, you might not meet any of these requirements. This might lead to you becoming what FICO calls an &quot;unscorable,&quot; a consumer who has no credit score at all.</p> <p>Fortunately, there are ways for retirees to continue building credit. They require the same good financial habits you've been practicing before retirement.</p> <h2>Use the credit cards you have</h2> <p>You might prefer paying for items in cash. Instead, make small purchases throughout the month with your credit card. If you pay off your entire card balance each month, you'll continue to boost your credit score. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-use-credit-cards-to-improve-your-credit-score" target="_blank">How to Use Credit Cards to Improve Your Credit Score</a></p> <p>Make sure that you don't charge more than you can pay off by the due date. If you do, you'll be stuck paying interest.</p> <p>Never pay late. If you pay your credit card 30 days or more late, your card provider will report your payment as late to the national credit bureaus of TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. This will cause your credit score to plummet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-simple-ways-to-never-make-a-late-credit-card-payment?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Simple Ways to Never Make a Late Credit Card Payment</a>)</p> <h2>Keep unused credit card accounts open</h2> <p>You might have a credit card that you never use, but don't close it. Having open credit card accounts helps your credit score, thanks to something called a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-ratio-is-the-key-to-a-good-credit-score?ref=internal" target="_blank">credit utilization ratio</a>.</p> <p>This ratio measures your credit card balances against your total available credit limits, and it accounts for 30 percent of your score. Using too much of your available credit will cause your score to drop, while using a modest amount will help it rise. It's typically recommended that you not let debt tip this ratio beyond 30 percent. If you have a paid-off credit card that isn't getting much use, closing it will lower your overall available credit limit and your utilization ratio will then increase. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a>)</p> <p>So, keep those unused cards tucked in your wallet. Having that extra credit that you're not using will provide a boost to your score.</p> <h2>Apply for a secured credit card</h2> <p>If you no longer have any credit cards, and you've become an unscorable, you can still build your credit. Your first step should be applying for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-secured-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">secured credit card</a>.</p> <p>You don't need a credit score to qualify for one of these cards. Their line of credit is based on the amount of money you deposit into an account with the financial institution issuing the card. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-secured-credit-card-can-repair-your-credit-score-heres-how-to-pick-the-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Pick the Best Secured Credit Card</a>)</p> <p>If you deposit $1,000 into an account, you can then charge up to $1,000 on your secured credit card. Every time you use your secured card and pay off these charges on time, you'll get a boost to your credit score. Do this long enough, and you can build a score that's high enough to qualify for a traditional credit card.</p> <p>Again, take the same precautions you'd take with a traditional credit card. Pay your bill on time each month, and never charge more than you can afford to pay in full by your due date.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-retirees-can-build-credit">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-ditch-a-credit-card-without-dinging-your-credit-score">How to Close a Credit Card Without Dinging Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-myths-about-credit-cards-that-wont-go-away">5 Myths About Credit Cards That Won&#039;t Go Away</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-debt-payoffs-that-boost-your-credit-score-the-most">The 7 Debt Payoffs That Boost Your Credit Score the Most</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-moves-to-make-if-your-loan-gets-denied">5 Moves to Make If Your Loan Gets Denied</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement building credit credit score credit utilization ratio debts fico retirees Wed, 26 Apr 2017 20:00:10 +0000 Dan Rafter 1934072 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-614527864.jpg" alt="Finding retirement accounts you don&#039;t need a ton of money to open" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When I graduated from school and started working, my parents and friends told me repeatedly how important it was to start saving for retirement. But when I looked into opening an account, most institutions required $1,000 or more to get started. I didn't have that much money to set aside, and it seemed so overwhelming. So I didn't open an account until years later.</p> <p>I'm kicking myself for it. The earlier you start saving for retirement, the more compound interest it builds and the less you need to invest to retire comfortably. I missed out on years of interest because I was too intimidated by account minimums, and didn't think of alternatives. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>Instead of making my same mistakes, you can start saving for retirement today by opening a Roth IRA. Below, find out why Roth IRAs are such a useful option and where you can open one without a lot of startup cash. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <h2>What is a Roth IRA?</h2> <p>If you're just starting out, don't have access to a 401(k), or want to supplement your retirement nest egg, a Roth IRA is a fantastic savings vehicle.</p> <p>Unlike a 401(k), where you make your retirement contributions with pretax dollars, with a Roth you contribute your after-tax income. While that means you don't get an upfront tax break, you won't owe money on account withdrawals once you retire. You already paid taxes, so you can take out the money free and clear.</p> <p>A Roth IRA is a perfect tool for young people just starting out. Because your contributions are made after taxes, you can take out the principal from the Roth IRA in the case of an emergency without owing any penalties or fees. While you should never touch your retirement savings except in the most dire of circumstances, having money in a Roth IRA can give you additional peace of mind. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Using Your Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund &mdash; Ever a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <h2>Roth IRAs with low minimums</h2> <p>While many institutions require a minimum investment of $1,000 or more to open an account, there are several reputable firms where you can open a Roth IRA without a minimum investment.</p> <h3>1. TD Ameritrade</h3> <p><a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-12012738" target="_blank">TD Ameritrade</a> does not charge any setup, low-balance, or annual fees for Roth IRAs, and they do not have a minimum startup investment. You can open an account with just a few dollars. There are commission and brokerage fees, but TD AmeriTrade's fees are low compared to other big-name banks and brokerage firms.</p> <h3>2. Capital One</h3> <p><a href="https://www.capitaloneinvesting.com/main/retirement/individual-retirement/choose-investments-SB-360.aspx?intcmp=10001038" target="_blank">Capital One</a> is one of the oldest online brokerage firms around, and they offer low fees and automatic contribution and investment options. There are no minimums to open a Roth IRA and they do not charge inactivity fees, but you do need to be a Capital One 360 customer. If you have a checking or savings account with Capital One, you can sync your account so you can view them all at once and make contributions or withdrawals between them.</p> <h3>3. Scottrade</h3> <p>With <a href="https://www.scottrade.com/investment-products/ira/roth-ira.html" target="_blank">Scottrade</a>, you can open a Roth IRA with no minimum investment, zero account maintenance fees, and trades for as little as $7 each. You can invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).</p> <h3>4. Merrill Edge</h3> <p><a href="https://www.merrilledge.com/retirement/ira" target="_blank">Merrill Edge</a> offers Roth IRAs with no minimum investment. Ranked #1 in Kiplinger's Best Online Brokers list in 2016, the company charges just $6.95 a trade. And right now, they're offering up to $600 in cash bonuses to new investors who open an account.</p> <h3>5. Betterment</h3> <p>If you are a hands-off investor and would like help choosing and managing your investments, <a href="https://track.flexlinkspro.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.2101559&amp;foc=1&amp;fot=9999&amp;fos=1" target="_blank">Betterment</a> may be for you. It's a robo-adviser company that assesses your financial situation, goals, and risk tolerance and calculates an investing strategy for you. There is no account minimum, and the management fee ranges from 0.25&ndash;0.50 percent.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-trust-your-money-with-these-4-popular-financial-robo-advisers?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">Should You Trust Your Money With These 4 Popular Financial Robo-Advisers?</a></p> <h2>Start investing</h2> <p>If you've been putting off opening up a retirement account because you thought you didn't have enough money, know that there are plenty of options, and a Roth IRA is a great place to start. Opening an account and starting the saving habit now &mdash; even just a little at a time &mdash; will pay off over the long-term.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kat-tretina">Kat Tretina</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement accounts after-tax dollars low minimums nest egg Roth IRA savings goals Mon, 24 Apr 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Kat Tretina 1930983 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-155373418.jpg" alt="Learning ugly truths about retirement planning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most working Americans still have a long way to go to ensure a comfortable, financially secure retirement. But, with consistency and dedication, retirement planning can be a feasible project. Let's review some of the ugly truths of retirement planning, and the strategies you can use to conquer them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. Employer matches require work</h2> <p>While people often like to think of employer matches as free money, the truth is that you do need to do some &quot;work&quot; to earn those matches.</p> <p>First, your employer may require a minimum period of employment or contribution to your retirement account before you become eligible for employer contributions. According to a Vanguard analysis of 1,900 401(k) plans with 3.6 million participants, 27 percent of employers <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/06/29/how-does-your-401-k-stack-up" target="_blank">require a year of service</a> before providing any matching contributions. And that waiting period may be on top of the waiting period to be eligible for an employer-sponsored 401(k) in the first place.</p> <p>Second, once you're eligible for the employer match, you may have to contribute a minimum percentage from each paycheck yourself to get it. According to Vanguard, 44 percent of employers required a 6 percent employee contribution to get the entire 401(k) match on offer.</p> <p>Third, only 47 percent of surveyed employers provide immediate vesting of employer contributions. Since only moneys in your retirement account that are fully vested truly belong to you, you may have to wait up to six years to get to keep it all. If you part ways with your employer earlier than that, you may have to say goodbye to some or all of those employer contributions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a>)</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>Find out the applicable rules for employer contributions under your employer-sponsored retirement account. Ask about the waiting period for eligibility, how much you should contribute to get the full employer match, and what is the applicable vesting schedule for employer contributions. This way you'll know how to make the most (and keep the most!) of any employer contributions.</p> <h2>2. Full retirement age is higher than many of us think</h2> <p>According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), one in every two American workers expected to retire <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/ebri_ib_422.mar16.rcs.pdf" target="_blank">no later than age 65</a>.</p> <p>The problem with that plan is that only those with born in 1937 or earlier have a full retirement age of 65. Your full retirement age is the age at which you first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Retiring earlier than your full retirement age decreases your retirement benefit from the SSA.</p> <p>For those born 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. If this were your case, retiring at age 62 or age 65 would <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html#chart" target="_blank">decrease your monthly benefit</a> by about 30 percent or 13.3 percent, respectively. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a>)</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>If you're one of the 84 percent of American workers expecting Social Security to be a source of income in retirement, then you need to keep track of your retirement benefits. There are two ways do this.</p> <p>First, since September 2014, the SSA mails Social Security statements to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 and over, who aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits and don't have an online &quot;my Social Security&quot; account. Here is a <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/materials/pdfs/SSA-7005-SM-SI%20Wanda%20Worker%20Near%20retirement.pdf" target="_blank">sample of what those letters look like</a>. Second, you could sign up for a my Social Security account at <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount" target="_blank">www.ssa.gov/myaccount</a> and have access to your Social Security statement on an ongoing basis.</p> <p>Through either one of these two ways, you'll get an estimate of your retirement benefit if you were to stop working at age 62 (earliest age you're eligible to receive retirement benefits), full retirement age, and age 70 (latest age that you can continue delaying retirement to receive delayed retirement credits). That way you can plan ahead for when it would make the most sense to start taking your retirement credits.</p> <h2>3. Retirement accounts have fees</h2> <p>One of the most common myths about 401(k) plans is that they don't have any fees. The reality is that both you and your employer pay fees to plan providers offering and managing 401(k) plans. One study estimates that 71 percent of 401(k) plan holders <a href="http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-02-2011/401k-fees-awareness-11.html" target="_blank">aren't aware that they pay fees</a>.</p> <p>While an annual fee of 1 to 2 percent of your account balance may not sound like much, it can greatly reduce your nest egg. If you were to contribute $10,000 per year for 30 years in a plan with a 7 percent annual rate of return and an 0.5 percent annual expense ratio, you would end up with a balance of $920,000 at the end of the 30-year period. If the annual expense ratio were to increase to 1 percent or 2 percent, your final balance would be $840,000 or just under $700,000, respectively.</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>One way to start minimizing investment fees is to pay attention to the annual expense ratio of the funds that you select.</p> <ul> <li>When deciding between two comparable funds, choose the one with the lower annual expense ratio. Research has shown that funds with a lower expense ratio tend to better performers, so you would be minimizing fees <em>and </em>increasing your chances of higher returns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Explore index funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [<a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=vfinx" target="_blank">Nasdaq: VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.14 percent, which is around 84 percent lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings. The Admiral version of this equity index fund has an even lower annual expense ratio of 0.05 percent.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check the prospectus of your funds for a schedule of fees. From redemption fees to 12b-1 fees, there are plenty of potential charges. Review the fine print of any fund that you're considering investing in and understand the rules to avoid triggering fees. For example, you may need to hold a fund for at least 65 days to prevent triggering a redemption fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401(k) Fees</a>)</li> </ul> <h2>4. 401(k) loans are eating away nest eggs</h2> <p>According to the latest data from the EBRI, 23 percent of American workers <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/ebri_ib_422.mar16.rcs.pdf" target="_blank">took a loan</a> from their retirement savings plans in 2016. On top of the applicable interest rate on your loan, you'll also be liable for an origination fee and an ongoing maintenance fee. Given that origination fees range from <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17118.pdf" target="_blank">$25 to $100</a> and maintenance fees can go up to $75, 401(k) loans are one expensive form of financing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>Additionally, when you separate from your employer, the full unpaid balance is due within 60 days from your departure. If you don't pay back in time, that balance becomes taxable income, triggering potential penalties at the federal, state, and local level. One penalty that always applies is the 10 percent early distribution tax for retirement savers under age 59-1/2.</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>Don't borrow from your retirement account. Studies have shown that 401(k) borrowers tend to come back for additional loans, increasing their chances of default. One study found that 25 percent of 401(k) borrowers came back for a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html" target="_blank">third or fourth loan</a>, and 20 percent of 401(k) borrowers came back for <em>five </em>or more loans. Borrowing from your retirement account should be a very last-resort option because there are few instances when it's worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might Be Financially Risky</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/we-do-the-math-save-for-retirement-or-pay-off-credit-card-debt">We Do the Math: Save for Retirement or Pay Off Credit Card Debt?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) contributions employer match fees full retirement age loans nest egg social security ugly truths Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1922316 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/men_tablet_work_579235928.jpg" alt="Men learning what financial advisers wish they knew about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wish you had a crystal ball for retirement planning? Most of us do, and for good reason. Even if you're sure you'll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=internal">enough money to retire</a>, there are no guarantees until you get there. If your nest egg runs short, it will be far too late for a do-over.</p> <p>This is where a financial adviser can help. A financial adviser will know if you're heavy on risk, not diversified enough, failing to maximize tax advantages, or simply not saving enough. They will also make sure to take into account your lifestyle and preferences to ensure you're on the right path to your ideal retirement, and not just following a cookie cutter plan that's not going to be the right fit.</p> <p>We asked financial advisers for some of the most important ideas they wish their clients understood when it comes to money, retirement, and the future.</p> <h2>1. Social Security will be around in some form</h2> <p>]Andrew McFadden, a financial adviser for physicians, says many clients refuse to accept that Social Security will still be around when they retire. This is especially true if they are part of Gen X or Gen Y, he says, since they are decades away from receiving benefits.</p> <p>However short on funds we may be, the Social Security Administration projects the ability to pay around 75 percent of current benefits after the fund is depleted in 2034. This is a key detail, notes McFadden, since many people hear Social Security is going bankrupt and refuse to acknowledge any benefits in their own retirement planning.</p> <p>&quot;It's not all roses, but that's still a far cry from those bankruptcy rumors,&quot; says McFadden. &quot;So lower your expectations, but don't get rid of them altogether.&quot;</p> <h2>2. It's ok to &quot;live a little&quot; while you save for retirement</h2> <p>Russ Thornton, founder of Wealthcare for Women, says too many future retirees sacrifice living now for their &quot;pie in the sky&quot; dream of retirement. Unfortunately, tomorrow isn't promised, and many people never get to live out the dreams they plan all along.</p> <p>&quot;So many people assume they can't really live until they're retired and not working full-time,&quot; says Thornton. &quot;Nothing could be further from the truth. Find ways to experience aspects of your dream life now, whether you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.&quot;</p> <p>With a solid savings and retirement plan, you should be able to do both &mdash; save and invest adequately, and try some new experiences that make life adventurous and satisfying now.</p> <p>&quot;Don't accept the deferred life plan,&quot; he says. That future you dream about and plan for may never come.</p> <h2>3. The 4 percent rule isn't perfect for everybody</h2> <p>Born in the 90s, the 4 percent rule stated retirees could stretch their funds by withdrawing 4 percent per year. The catch was, a good portion of those investments had to remain in equities to make this work.</p> <p>The 4 percent rule lost traction between 2000 and 2010 when the market closed lower than where it started 10 years before, says Bellevue, WA financial adviser Josh Brein. As many retirement accounts suffered during this time, it was shown that the 4 percent rule doesn't always work for everybody.</p> <p>It doesn't mean the rule should be thrown out completely though, nor should it still be followed like gospel. In fact, in 2015, two-third of retirees following the 4 percent rule had double the amount of their starting principal after a 30-year stretch. These retirees could have benefited from taking out more than the limited 4 percent, which could have meant an extra vacation each year, or another luxury that they were indeed able to afford.</p> <p>There's absolutely no denying the importance of making your retirement dollars last. But, after a lifetime of working and saving, you also deserve to enjoy those dollars to their full capability.</p> <p>Bottom line, take time to re-evaluate your drawdown strategy every few years and make adjustments as necessary. While you don't want to go broke in retirement &mdash; you also don't want to miss out on all the incredible things this time in your life has to offer.</p> <h2>4. Retirement looks different for everyone</h2> <p>Minnesota financial adviser Jamie Pomeroy says he wishes people would abandon their preconceived notions on what retirement should look like. He blames the financial industry in part for perpetuating the idea that certain retirement planning accounts and products work for everyone. &quot;They don't,&quot; he says.</p> <p>&quot;Some enjoy retiring to the beach, some take mini-retirements before reaching a retirement age, some work part-time in retirement, and some just want to spend time with their grandkids,&quot; he says. &quot;The concept of retirement is dynamic, ever-changing, and defined very differently by lots of different people.&quot;</p> <p>To find the right retirement path and plan for your own life, you should sit down and decide what you really, truly want. Once you know what you want, you can craft a realistic plan to get there.</p> <h2>5. Investment returns aren't as important as you think</h2> <p>According to North Dakota financial adviser Benjamin Brandt, too many people focus too much energy on their investment returns &mdash; mostly because they are an immediate and tangible way to gauge the success or failure of our financial plans.</p> <p>Investment returns should only be judged in the proper scope of a long-term financial plan, and &quot;over decades,&quot; he says.</p> <p>In the meantime, our behavior can make a huge impact when it comes to reaching your retirement goals. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving?ref=internal">spending less and saving more</a>, for example, we can avoid debt and potentially invest more money over the long haul. Those moves can help us retire earlier whether the market performs the way we hope or not.</p> <h2>6. Small changes add up</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement planning, many people feel overwhelmed right away. For example, some people may realize they need $1 million or more to retire and give up before they start.</p> <p>Financial adviser Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents says this could change if everyone realized how small changes &mdash; and small amounts of savings &mdash; add up drastically over time.</p> <p>&quot;Someone who invests just $200 per month for 30 years and earns 7 percent would have more than $218,000 in the end,&quot; says Rose. &quot;Now imagine both spouses are saving, or that they boost their investments incrementally over the years.&quot;</p> <p>As Rose points out, a couple who invests $500 per month combined and earns 7 percent would have more than $566,000 after 30 years.</p> <p>Looking for ways to save money and invest more will obviously make this number surge. If you boost your contributions each time you get a raise, for example, you'll have considerably more for retirement. Remember even the smallest contributions can greatly add up over the years.</p> <h2>7. Don't forget about long-term care</h2> <p>Joseph Carbone, founder and wealth adviser of Focus Planning Group, says many future retirees are missing one key piece of the puzzle, and that piece could cost them dearly.</p> <p>&quot;I wish many of my clients understood the biggest hurdle from passing wealth on to their heirs is long-term care costs,&quot; says Carbone. &quot;Whether it is home health care, assisted living, or the dreaded nursing home. It is real and it is scary.&quot;</p> <p>According to Carbone, most people have no idea how much long-term care costs and fail to plan as a result. &quot;Even though the average stay is only 2.7 years in a nursing home, the total cost for those 2.7 years could be well over $400,000,&quot; he says</p> <p>To help in this respect, Carbone and his associates suggest working with an attorney who specializes in elder law. With a few smart money moves, families can prepare for the real possibility of using a nursing home at some point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>One more thing advisers wish you knew</h2> <p>While financial advisers don't know everything, their years of experience make them painfully aware of what lies ahead for those of us who fail to plan. And, if there's one thing financial planners can agree on, it's this: The sooner we all start planning, the better off we'll be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-expensive-mistakes-of-the-newly-retired">9 Expensive Mistakes of the Newly Retired</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-enjoy-retirement-if-you-havent-saved-enough">How to Enjoy Retirement If You Haven&#039;t Saved Enough</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4 percent rule advice contributions financial advisers investments long term care planning social security Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Holly Johnson 1921765 at http://www.wisebread.com