Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/417/all en-US If You're Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-519505869.jpg" alt="Man receiving pension and doing these things" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Pensions are becoming a thing of the past &mdash; so if you're still entitled to one, consider yourself lucky. Once you have a pension, however, what will you do with it? How will you manage it? Here are a few suggestions on how to handle your well-earned windfall.</p> <h2>1. Request an Updated Pension Statement Annually</h2> <p>Call me crazy, but I check my bank account every morning when I wake up. It's all still there each day, but I don't like to take any chances. You need to keep an eye on your pension, too. Granted, you don't need to check in every day, but you should request an update once a year.</p> <p>&quot;Like your Social Security benefits, your pension benefit amounts can change,&quot; explains Brannon T. Lambert, owner of the investment firm Canvasback Wealth Management. &quot;Not only that, but pensions can have several options for payouts, survivor benefits, or cash out options. You want to know every option available to you especially if you are married or have dependents.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Weigh Your Payout Options Carefully<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Before the IRS passed a law in 1978 to make self-funded 401Ks possible, many companies provided employees pensions &mdash; a fund that accrued in value over time to ensure that their employees were at least modestly supported through their retirement. That's all but reversed nowadays. In 1979, 28% of all workers were <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/benfaq/index.cfm?fa=retfaq14" target="_blank">enrolled with pension plans</a>, whereas only 2% of today's workforce is enrolled. Conversely, between 95% and 98% of employers <a href="http://www.cheatsheet.com/personal-finance/5-best-ways-for-companies-to-improve-401k-plans.html/?a=viewall" target="_blank">offer 401K plans</a>. Go figure.</p> <p>When it's time to receive your pension, the first decision you'll need to make is how you want to receive the money&mdash; which, in turn, raises many important questions. Morgan Christen, CFA at Spinnaker Investment Group in Southern California, explains your options.</p> <p>&quot;Pension planning involves many decisions that are irrevocable; anyone that will receive a pension should learn about all of the payout options,&quot; he says. &quot;Do you want to receive income for your life? Do you want to make sure a spouse is covered should you pass away? If you want to cover a spouse, how much of your benefit do you want that person to receive &mdash; 100%, 75%, or 50%?&quot;</p> <p>These are all things to think about when it comes time to take your pension. Keep in mind that if you want to cover a spouse, you will be taking a reduced amount on a monthly basis &mdash; and if your spouse predeceases you, you may not be able to change course.</p> <h2>3. Investigate the Social Security Offset Provisions<strong> </strong></h2> <p>You may expect a certain dispersed dollar amount each month when your pension begins, but you could be caught off guard if it changes down the road. Your Social Security payments may be the culprit.</p> <p>&quot;Some pensions come with Social Security offset provisions,&quot; Lambert explains. &quot;This means that your pension benefit amount could be one dollar figure initially, but once Social Security benefits begin, your pension will be reduced somewhat depending how much they offset. It could possibly be dollar-for-dollar up to a preset limit. This can come as a big surprise if you are not aware of it.&quot;</p> <h2>4. Research Your Investment Opportunities<strong> </strong></h2> <p>If you want to roll the dice with your pension, that's your prerogative &mdash; but you need to go into any investment situation well-informed of what you're getting into. This is money that needs to last the rest of your life, and you don't want to squander it because of poor decision-making. Do you research and get level with expectations so you're not blindsided by bad news.</p> <p>&quot;When it comes to pensions, many people assume that the managers of the funds will do the investment on behalf of the participants, which is rarely true,&quot; says Justin Kumar, senior portfolio manager at investment firm Arlington Capital Management in Arlington Heights, Ill. &quot;Participants must elect their investment options from the lineup of available funds, but if they do not, they will often be invested in the default option. The problem is that the default is usually some type of cash or money market equivalent funds. Although these funds may be a safer option, they will not participate in market uptrends, leaving participants confused at the end about why they may not have more money.&quot;</p> <p>Furthermore, for those participants with limited investment options, there may be language in the pension plan documents that specifies an age &mdash; such as 55 or 59 1/2 years old &mdash; in which pension funds can be rolled over by a participant into an IRA, thus allowing access to a greater universe of investment possibilities. Participants should consult with their pension consultants and perhaps with an outside adviser to determine the best course of action when making these investment decisions.</p> <h2>5. Avoid Greedy Financial Advisers<strong> </strong></h2> <p>How do you know if a financial adviser has your best interest at heart? Mark Zoril, founder of the retirement-planning firm PlanVision, reveals how to spot the con artist.</p> <p>&quot;As someone evaluates and reviews their options, it is important to understand the pros and cons of taking the pension or transferring it to an IRA,&quot; he says. &quot;Unfortunately, far too many advisers' compensation is directly impacted by what someone does with their pension. Therefore, they are strongly incentivized to convince people of the benefits of cashing out their pension. In fact, a transfer from a pension can be a very strong payday for an adviser.&quot;</p> <p>This applies to so-called &quot;fiduciary&quot; advisers as well.</p> <p>&quot;Many of these advisers promote how they are 'fee only' and offer objective guidance,&quot; Zoril adds. &quot;However, if they charge their clients based upon assets under management &mdash; the most common model of advisers &mdash; they have a huge conflict of interest in providing guidance on this particular topic.&quot;</p> <p>It's important that you seek the guidance of a professional &mdash; perhaps someone you know well in that field, and not someone who's blinded by your potential investment &mdash; regarding your pension plan to fully understand whether or not the advice you're seeking will be influenced by their adviser's compensation. This presents a real risk to your evaluation process.</p> <h2>6. Plan for the Taxes You're Required to Pay<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Your pension is not tax-free. It will be taxed as regular income. You need to plan and save for that bill so you stay in good standing with the IRS. You don't want to spend your golden years in the slammer, do ya?</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/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">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/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">7 States With the Lowest Taxes for Retirees</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/6-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement fiduciary financial advisers investment opportunities payout pensions social security taxes Tue, 21 Feb 2017 11:00:11 +0000 Mikey Rox 1894200 at http://www.wisebread.com Your 401K in 2017: Here's What's New for You http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-502449548.jpg" alt="Learning what&#039;s new for your 401K in 2017" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There aren't many 401K rule changes to keep up with this year, but that doesn't mean you can't bring about some of your own positive changes to your retirement savings. Let's take a look at what you need to know to make the most of your 401K in 2017.</p> <h2>No Changes in the Contribution Limits</h2> <p>The amount the IRS allows you to contribute to a 401K plan this year remains as it was last year &mdash; $18,000 if you're younger than 50, or $24,000 if you're older. However, the Feds did make two changes to the retirement savings landscape, which pertain to people on either end of the income spectrum.</p> <h3>1. More May Qualify for the Saver's Credit<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Low and middle-income earners should be aware of the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-savings-contributions-savers-credit" target="_blank">Saver's Credit</a>, a tax benefit that rewards those who save for their later years through a 401K or IRA. Depending on your income and filing status, the credit is worth 10%, 20%, or 50% of up to $2,000 of contributions per person (for married couples, that means up to $4,000 of contributions).</p> <p>Married couples filing joint returns can claim at least a 10% credit as long as their adjusted gross income (AGI) is no more than $62,000. That maximum income amount is $500 more than in 2016, so more households should qualify. However, the most generous 50% credit is allowed only for those couples making no more than $37,000 &mdash; the same threshold as in 2016.</p> <p>The credit/income limits for married couples filing jointly are:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $37,000 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $37,001&ndash;$40,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $40,001&ndash;$62,000</li> </ul> <p>For singles, or married couples filing separate returns, the maximum amount you can earn and still qualify for a credit is $31,000, which is $250 higher than in 2016. In order to qualify for the maximum 50% credit, your income has to be no higher than $18,500.</p> <p>Here are the details:</p> <ul> <li>50% if AGI is $18,500 or less</li> <li>20% if AGI is $18,501&ndash;$20,000</li> <li>10% if AGI is $20,001&ndash;$31,000</li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind, a tax credit is much more valuable than a tax deduction because it is a dollar for dollar reduction of taxes.</p> <h2>2. Higher-Income Earners May Get More</h2> <p>On the other end of the income spectrum, the IRS expanded the contribution parameters pertaining to the retirement plans of well-paid workers. For example, contributions &mdash; by the employee and/or his or her employer &mdash; are limited by how much an employee is paid in total. In 2017, the amount of compensation on which contribution amounts can be based was increased by $5,000 to $270,000, and the maximum total contribution amount was bumped up by $1,000 to $54,000.</p> <h2>What Changes Will You Make?</h2> <p>Even if the two changes noted above don't pertain to you, that doesn't mean you need to &mdash; or should &mdash; stay the course with your retirement savings. The start of a new year is a good time to re-evaluate your goals and see if you're on track.</p> <p>Here are two areas to review.</p> <h3>1. How Much You Need<strong> </strong></h3> <p>Do you know how much you should have saved by the time you retire? Do you know how much that means you should be saving each month right now? If not, take a few minutes to run some numbers. If you're not saving enough, consider increasing your contributions.</p> <h3>2. How You Should Allocate</h3> <p>Do you know your optimal asset allocation? That pertains to how much of your investment portfolio should be in stocks, and how much in bonds (or stock and bond mutual funds). Vanguard offers a well-designed, free <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire" target="_blank">asset allocation questionnaire</a>, so give it a try. Then try to bring your portfolio more in line with your optimal asset allocation.</p> <p>While tax credits and employer contributions are significant benefits, the most important factors that determine your investing success are the amount of money you save each month, and whether your asset allocation is appropriate for someone of your age and risk tolerance. Take the time to evaluate your individual retirement savings scenario, and see how you can make it even better for 2017.</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/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">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-10"> <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/5-crucial-things-you-should-know-about-bonds">5 Crucial Things You Should Know About Bonds</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-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</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/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</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-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k">How to Save for Retirement Without a 401K</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k Adjusted Gross Income asset allocation bonds changes contribution limits employers investing saver's credit stocks Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1892607 at http://www.wisebread.com The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171328267.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the early 1980s, the 401K plan was introduced as a potential supplement to the pension plans offered by employers. Now, they are a staple of retirement planning, while pensions are available to fewer workers than ever before.</p> <p>A 401K allows workers to set aside a certain amount of their salary and invest into a variety of mutual funds. Often, companies will match contributions up to a certain amount. These plans can be powerful vehicles for amassing great wealth in retirement, but the founders of these plans recently voiced concerns that the plans are inadequate for many people, and that they were never meant to <em>replace </em>pensions altogether.</p> <p>For sure, 401K plans place more of the savings burden and risk onto the individual than pensions do. And many plans are lousy, with high fees and poor investment choices. So, what to do? Here's how to build that big retirement fund even when you're at the mercy of the 401K.</p> <h2>1. Save Up to the Match, Regardless</h2> <p>You may be annoyed that a 401K is all your employer has to offer, but if the company is offering to match contributions, you'd be a fool not to participate. Even if the plan has lousy mutual funds with high fees, free money is still free money. Most good companies offer at least 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to a certain amount, and that can add up to a lot of dough over time.</p> <h2>2. Get an IRA</h2> <p>A 401K is not the only vehicle for saving for retirement. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, offer some good tax advantages and better flexibility than a 401K. There's no company match for an IRA, but you have the ability to invest in just about anything. That's why many investors will put money in a 401K up to the company match, then put any additional savings in IRAs. Most people can contribute $5,500 annually into an IRA. With a traditional IRA, any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your money is taxed right away but you don't have to pay tax on any gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>3. Start Early and Have a Long Time Horizon</h2> <p>Despite the flaws of a 401K, it's still very possible to amass a large sum for retirement if you begin investing when you are young and keep it up for a long time. If you enter the workforce when you're 18 and keep saving and investing until retirement age, that means you'll have 45 years to allow your nest egg to grow. In fact, under this scenario, it's possible to retire a millionaire by putting aside less than a few hundred dollars per month.</p> <h2>4. Find the Low-Cost Funds</h2> <p>Even if your 401K plan isn't perfect, you owe it to yourself not to make matters worse by investing in bad funds. Many 401K plans offer mutual funds with high management fees and other expenses, but most also offer low-cost options, including basic S&amp;P 500 Index funds. Find those funds with the lowest fees, so you get to keep more of your money. Look for funds with expense ratios below 0.5%, if possible.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Power</h2> <p>When an employer offers a pension, it almost always contributes to a pension fund and then hopes that investment returns are enough to meet the obligations they have to employees. So in reality, the only significant difference between a pension and a 401K plan is who is in control. With a 401K plan, you have more control over how you invest. For some people, this is scary. But for others, it's just as scary to leave their financial future in the hands of others.</p> <h2>6. Make a Good 401K Part of Your Job Search</h2> <p>Think about the last time you searched for a job. When you applied and interviewed for positions, did you take the quality of the company's 401K plan into account? Chances are, this was far down the list of concerns, below salary, health benefits, and even vacation time. But imagine if more people turned down job offers because of a lousy 401K plan or a low company match. If more prospective employees voiced concerns about the quality of retirement plans during the hiring process, companies might be more likely to improve their plans.</p> <h2>7. Talk to Your Lawmakers</h2> <p>It's unlikely that the President or Congress can force companies to bring back pensions, but they are the ones who could change 401K plans to make them more attractive. Lawmakers could pass legislation that improves the tax benefits of plans or increases the amount investors are allowed to contribute. They could pressure companies to boost their matching contributions, and require more companies to offer plans to more employees. Lawmakers could also propose new kinds of savings plans managed by the government. At the very least, voicing your concerns about the quality of the 401K as a retirement option could start a conversation on Capitol Hill.</p> <h2>8. Join a Union, If You Can</h2> <p>Much of the erosion of defined benefit plans has coincided with the drop in influence of labor unions in America. According to the AFL-CIO, about 75% of union workers participate in defined benefit plans, compared to about 20% for nonunion workers. But far fewer people are part of unions these days.</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/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer match IRA nest egg pensions Roth savings Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1889313 at http://www.wisebread.com How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_chairs_beach_154894068.jpg" alt="Couple learning how to retire in Mexico for less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're thinking about retirement, you're not alone. However, out of 100 Americans who start working at age 25, only 4% are <a href="http://www.statisticbrain.com/retirement-statistics/" target="_blank">expected to have saved enough</a> for retirement at age 65.</p> <p>While this number may seem surprisingly low, retiring doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. If you can lower your monthly income requirement, you can also greatly reduce the total capital that you need to save to retire.</p> <p>One easy way to do this: retire abroad. For many Americans, Mexico is a top choice. It's not only geographically close, it's also very affordable. Adventure seekers love its bustling cities full of colonial architecture and rich culture, as well as the natural beauty found along its coastlines and highlands. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <p>If you're worried you might be among the 96% of people who haven't saved enough for retirement, moving to Mexico may be an effective way to make your nest egg go further.</p> <h2>Cost of Living in Mexico</h2> <p>The cost of living is drastically lower than in the U.S. or in Canada. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Mexico is <a href="https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/country_result.jsp?country=Mexico" target="_blank">nearly 60% lower</a> than the United States, with rent costing 79% less.</p> <p>However, keep in mind that those are costs averaged over the entire country. Expenses are higher in bigger cities such as the capital, and in places that attract a lot of foreigners, such as Playa del Carmen.</p> <h2>Rental Costs</h2> <p>Based on my experience living in Mexico City and traveling extensively through the country during 2015 and 2016, I have found rents to be far lower than the U.S. You can find a place for as low as $100 a month in off-the-beaten-track destinations, such as the small beach town of Mazunte. However, a great deal like this often means sacrificing on some of the comforts of home such as air conditioning and hot water.</p> <p>On the upper end of the budget, if you're willing to spend $600&ndash;$1,000, you can rent a luxury apartment, even in the more expensive and cosmopolitan destinations.</p> <h2>Health Insurance Costs</h2> <p>Private health insurance is significantly cheaper in Mexico than in the states. It can cost you <a href="http://rollybrook.com/health.htm" target="_blank">as little as 20%</a> of what it would cost in the U.S.</p> <p>Because the cost of routine visits and minor incidents is so small, you may also choose to self-insure, which means simply paying for these costs out-of-pocket as opposed to purchasing an insurance plan.</p> <h2>Doctor Costs</h2> <p>As with rental prices, the cost of going to the doctor also varies to some extent, so these numbers should only serve as a rough guideline.</p> <p>From my experience, a routine teeth cleaning from a dentist costs $15&ndash;$20. A regular doctor's visit costs as little as $25 to $50, while a specialist normally costs $35&ndash;$50 and up per visit.</p> <h2>Food Costs: Restaurants and Grocery Shopping</h2> <p>Groceries in Mexico are about a third of the price of food in the U.S., depending on the season and availability. You can even sometimes find American chains like Wal-Mart, where you can buy cheap groceries.</p> <p>Restaurant prices vary, too, based on type. On the lower end, you can visit food stands to get snacks, which Mexicans call antojitos for as little as 50 cents to a dollar. These include tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Freshly pressed juice and prepared fruit is also in this price range.</p> <p>One step up from the food stands are restaurants called fondas. These are small, family-owned establishments that serve two- or three-course meals, including soup or salad, a full entree, and a drink. Sometimes they also come with dessert. Expect to pay $3&ndash;$10 dollars.</p> <p>A truly gourmet, upscale dining experience should set you back $10&ndash;$30.</p> <h3>Alcohol Costs</h3> <p>Alcohol in Mexico is widely available, and enjoying tequila or mezcal is a common cultural practice. There are no taboos on drinking, and alcohol is accessible at the local corner store for very affordable prices.</p> <p>For a bottle of tequila or mezcal you can expect to pay $10 for a low-quality bottle and up to $40 for an artisanally produced bottle of very good quality alcohol.</p> <p>A six-pack of beer starts at $4&ndash;$6. There are not as many microbrew options available as in the U.S., but some bars do offer local, small-batch beer, usually priced around $4 a bottle.</p> <p>Mexico is an attractive place to retire, not only because it is an affordable option, but because of all that it has to offer, from interesting cultural experiences to the hospitable locals who often go out of their way to make you feel at home.</p> <h2>Transport Costs</h2> <p>If you're traveling by plane, prices start around $250 for round-trip tickets to or from the U.S., and $40&ndash;$100 for trips within country. Long-distance coaches are an even cheaper alternative to internal flights. An eight-hour basic bus trip costs about $25, varying a bit depending on your destination. You also have the option of paying more for a first-class bus that includes drinks, snacks, entertainment (TV and music), and seats that are designed to be comfortable to sleep in.</p> <p>Local transportation options include the bus (on average 50 cents) and, in Mexico City, the Metro (25 cents).</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg&amp;description=How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20Almost%20Anyone%20Can%20Afford%20to%20Retire%20in%20Mexico.jpg" alt="How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">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/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</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/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</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-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About 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/7-lessons-i-learned-about-money-after-living-in-mexico">7 Lessons I Learned About Money After Living in Mexico</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-i-saved-enough-for-a-down-payment-while-working-in-china">How I Saved Enough for a Down Payment While Working in China</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel cost of living expats expenses food costs foreign countries health care mexico Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:38 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1871128 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons People Don't Retire Early — and How You Can http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503452702.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons people don&#039;t retire early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retirement is undeniably a time of drastic change in most people's lives. Typically, people have spent at least four decades in the workplace by the time they accept their gold watch. The average retirement age is 62 to 65, depending on where you live, according to a survey by SmartAsset.</p> <p>While work can provide routine and stability, as the years go by it can also grow to feel burdensome and stale. When to retire is a very personal question, linked to lifestyle and finances. Here are a few of the common reasons people feel they're not ready for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might be Financially Risky</a>)</p> <h2>Worried About Having Enough Money</h2> <p>It's probably not a surprise that monetary reasons are number one on this list. Having a regular paycheck affords a lot of comfort that can be hard to walk away from.</p> <p>One of the most common reasons most individuals won't consider an early retirement is fear that their savings will be insufficient to provide the lifestyle they've been used to in their working years.</p> <p>However, if you're serious about wanting to retire now, there are ways you can make your savings go further, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security?ref=internal" target="_blank">retiring in a cheaper state</a>, or even a foreign country where the cost of living is lower. Also, using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">right credit card can save you thousands</a> of dollars a year.</p> <p>Alternatively, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy?ref=internal" target="_blank">gig economy</a> affords a lot of ways for people who are officially retired to earn disposable income. For instance, you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=internal" target="_blank">rent out a room on a site like Airbnb</a> to help pad your savings. Just make sure you check out local laws in your area for any restrictions on short-term rentals.</p> <h2>Hesitant to Lose Identity Tied to Work</h2> <p>In the Western world, one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new is, &quot;What do you do?&quot; The meaning, of course, is what do you do for work. This question is a way of situating someone socioeconomically, understanding their background and education, and gaining a window into their lives.</p> <p>Of course, identity goes beyond what you do for work, and this is an important shift to be conscious of when considering retirement. Many individuals may feel that they are giving up a part of themselves when they decide to stop working.</p> <p>However, there are many other meaningful activities outside of work that have an equally important bearing on identity. These may include hobbies such as artwork, exercise, reading, writing, or travel.</p> <p>While a loss of identity is a common fear for people facing retirement, in reality, retirement can give you the time to explore other creative outlets that you wouldn't have been able to partake in with a busy work schedule.</p> <p>Instead of viewing the end of work as losing part of your identity, try to shift to viewing this as a time to explore different components of who you are. This will make early retirement meaningful, not boring.</p> <h2>Anxious Due to No Concrete Retirement Plan</h2> <p>According to a 2015 survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, only 49% of consumers have a formal retirement plan. The problem of not having a plan for retirement is that it leaves fears and emotions to govern your decisions, as opposed to concrete numbers. Plus, by putting a plan in place, you can see very clearly what steps you need to follow to reach a certain goal, like retiring in five years, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps for Late Starters</a>)</p> <h2>Afraid of Being Bored and Restless</h2> <p>Some people simply put off retirement because they are worried about being bored with all the extra time on their hands once they're not going to the office every day.</p> <p>However, retirement doesn't mean that you have to stop working entirely. Some individuals use this time to move from a decades-long career they've grown tired of to more fulfilling employment, or even their own business.</p> <p>If your new pursuit is something that gives you the chance to vary your work schedule, that can be very stimulating, too. Additionally, some universities offer free classes to those over 65 years of age.</p> <p>You can also take up countless hobbies like yoga, dance, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, or biking. To stimulate the mind, you can throw yourself into an artistic endeavor or learn a new language, the ideal activity for those who choose to retire overseas.</p> <p>Retirement is not just the end of one chapter, but also the beginning of a new one. Often, the biggest roadblocks to retiring are fear-based. It can help to re-evaluate the situation by looking at the facts, instead of just relying on emotions.</p> <p>Of course, the decision to retire is a personal one, and the right age to retire is different for everyone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">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/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</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/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early Retirement</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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 401k early retirement IRA retirement planning saving Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1885695 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Keys to an Early Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-keys-to-an-early-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-623601680.jpg" alt="here&#039;s how to retire sooner" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Does it seem like retirement can't come soon enough? Are you tired of feeling like you're wasting time at a job you no longer enjoy, daydreaming about the day you won't have to come in anymore?</p> <p>The good news is there are several steps that you can take if retiring early is your goal. Retiring early will mean setting clear priorities and goals that you can meet, but it doesn't have to be out of reach. Consider these four tips to get there faster. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-retire-early?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things People Who Retire Early Do</a>)</p> <h2>1. Slash Costs Now</h2> <p>It's easy to go on autopilot with monthly costs, but they can add up fast, especially if you're spending more than you should. By switching providers for home or car insurance, Internet, phone, and cable TV, you could save thousands a year. In fact, do you even need cable TV? What about that gym membership &mdash; are you using it enough to justify the cost?</p> <p>Could you trim expenses even further by downsizing your home or getting by with one car? Leave no monthly cost unexamined.</p> <p>While you're at it, look at the fees you're paying on your investments. Because of compounding, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=internal" target="_blank">investment fees</a> that seem small can eat a big chunk out of your retirement savings over time.</p> <p>All of these cost savings won't be enough on their own to ensure your early retirement, but over the course of a few years they can add up and enable you to retire comfortably earlier than you may have thought. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-ways-to-retire-early?ref=seealso" target="_blank">14 Things to Do to Retire Early</a>)</p> <h2>2. Look for Tax Advantages</h2> <p>When planning for retirement, it's important to consider the taxes you will have to pay once you stop working. While you can contribute now to 401K or regular IRA accounts using pretax income, you'll have to pay taxes on the distributions once you start to draw down the accounts.</p> <p>On the other hand, you contribute to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-facts-about-roth-iras" target="_blank">Roth IRA</a> with money that's already been taxed, but then it grows tax-free and you'll pay no taxes when you withdraw the money. Often it's good to have a combination of both types of retirement accounts. A financial adviser can help you decide. But keep in mind that withdrawing from either of these accounts before you hit age 59-1/2 usually incurs a tax penalty.</p> <p>Taxes on Social Security are another expense to keep in mind for when you hit official retirement age. Social Security benefits may be taxed at the federal level, depending on what your total income is. But the IRS won't tax more than 85% of your benefits. Thirteen states tax Social Security benefits, while other states have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">low or no taxes for retirees</a>.</p> <h2>3. Retire Abroad Full Time</h2> <p>Retiring early means figuring out a way to live on what you save during a shortened working career. You can lower your needs drastically by changing your country code.</p> <p>If you've been working and saving in U.S. dollars, you can make that money go much further in a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in" target="_blank">country where the cost of living is lower</a> than in the United States. Many destinations in Central and South America, as well as many parts of Asia and even Europe, are much less expensive for Americans to retire to &mdash; and if you're looking for a warmer climate, you can find that too.</p> <p>Of course, there are some logistics that you should take into consideration when retiring abroad.</p> <h3>Taxes</h3> <p>The U.S. taxes citizens or resident aliens living abroad on worldwide income, including Social Security, other retirement income and any earnings you may get from working in your new country. However, you may be eligible for the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion" target="_blank">Foreign Earned Income Exclusion</a>, which allows you to exclude foreign earnings &mdash; up to a certain amount &mdash; from your taxable income. The exclusion is adjusted annually for inflation. For 2017 it is $102,100.</p> <p>You may also be subject to income taxes in the country where you retire, though many countries have treaties with the U.S. that make sure you are not double taxed. You'll need to research local tax laws to make sure you're in compliance.</p> <h3>Logistics</h3> <p>There are a lot of logistics involved in moving to a foreign country. You'll need to research the appropriate visa for the country you'll be living in. Many desirable locations for Americans have special visas for retirees. Generally, you'll need to show you have a certain amount of retirement income and you will not be allowed to work for a local employer on these visas.</p> <p>Think too about whether you want to sell your home in the U.S. You may want to get rid of furniture and other belongings as well, though retirement havens such as Panama and Nicaragua allow you to import a certain amount of household goods duty-free.</p> <p>Banking is another consideration. Many expats continue to hold a U.S. bank account and to transfer money between it and an account in the country where they live. If you've got a U.S. account it's also a good idea to have a U.S. travel credit card that charges <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">no foreign transaction fees</a>. A U.S. card can help you purchase from U.S. websites more easily and comes in handy during trips back home.</p> <h3>Health</h3> <p>In some countries, quality health care is so cheap that expats choose to pay out of pocket for treatment and medications. In other cases, you will need to research local health insurance options or make sure your U.S. insurance covers care abroad. Medicare is not available for health care outside of the U.S.</p> <p>Other expats can be a great resource as you try to find doctors that speak English and have a good reputation.</p> <p>The U.S. State Department has more <a href="https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/events-and-records/retirement-abroad.html" target="_blank">resources for planning to retire abroad</a>.</p> <h2>4. Move Abroad Part Time</h2> <p>You can also considerably lower your retirement expenses just by spending a portion of the year abroad, without the commitment of leaving the U.S. entirely.</p> <p>Different people choose to set up this arrangement differently. Some will return to the same place every year, while others may prefer to try out somewhere new.</p> <h3>Taxes</h3> <p>As with moving abroad full time, you will still be responsible for paying U.S. income taxes on worldwide income, and you may be subject to local taxes as well. Many tax breaks in the U.S. and abroad are dependent on how many days per year you spend in the foreign country, so you'll need to research those requirements.</p> <h3>Logistics</h3> <p>The most important consideration when you'll be spending your time in multiple locations is your accommodations. Will you rent your home while you're away? Will you hire a property manager to make sure that everything is running smoothly in your absence?</p> <p>Consider home or apartment exchanges if you are going to be overseas for a shorter period of time.</p> <h3>Health</h3> <p>For health insurance, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance for the part of the year that you'll be out of the country to supplement your plan back home.</p> <p>Early retirement doesn't have to be an unattainable goal. Focus on setting your priorities and using creative thinking to be able to retire when you want.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</a></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F4-keys-to-an-early-retirement&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F4%20Keys%20to%20an%20Early%20Retirement.jpg&amp;description=4%20Keys%20to%20an%20Early%20Retirement" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/4%20Keys%20to%20an%20Early%20Retirement.jpg" alt="4 Keys to an Early Retirement" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-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/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</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-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement">5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn&#039;t Telling You About Retirement</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/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</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/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</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/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Retirement 401k early retirement expat living abroad retirement planning travel Fri, 03 Feb 2017 10:00:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 1884232 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your Credit Score Matters in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-credit-score-matters-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-credit-score-matters-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/retired_couple_car_108348263.jpg" alt="Couple learning why credit score matters in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've left the working world and are ready to enjoy your retirement years. So, you might be forgiven for thinking that your days of fretting over your FICO credit score are over.</p> <p>Guess what? They're not. Your three-digit credit score matters even in your retirement.</p> <p>Lenders of all kinds, not to mention credit card providers, rely on your FICO credit score to determine how well you've managed your credit in the past. Having a low score can hurt you financially, even after you've left the days of commuting to work behind you.</p> <h2>Why Scores Matter</h2> <p>Your FICO credit score &mdash; you have three, one each maintained by the credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion &mdash; is a key number throughout your adult life. Lenders rely on these scores to determine if you can qualify for loans. And if your score is low, even if you do qualify, you'll pay higher interest rates.</p> <p>Generally, lenders consider a FICO credit score of 740 or higher to be an excellent one. Scores under 640 are generally considered weak by lenders, and will leave you with higher interest rates on the money you borrow.</p> <p>As you make your way through adulthood, lenders will check your scores as you apply for auto loans, mortgages, or credit cards.</p> <p>When you retire, the odds are high that you will no longer be applying for mortgage loans. However, this doesn't mean that credit scores will no longer play a key role in your financial life.</p> <h2>The Best Credit Cards</h2> <p>If you want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-people-with-excellent-credit?ref=internal" target="_blank">qualify for the best credit cards</a>, including ones with the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">most generous rewards programs</a>, you'll need a high FICO score. Financial institutions only pass out their best credit cards to those customers who've proven that they have a history of paying their bills on time.</p> <p>Having a high credit score is how you'll prove to banks that you are financially responsible. And if you want to qualify for the best credit scores during your retirement, you'll take steps to make sure that your credit score is strong in your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond.</p> <h2>A New Car</h2> <p>Maybe you plan to buy that dream car after retirement. If you can't pay for it in cash, you'll need an auto loan. And if you want to qualify for an auto loan with the lowest possible interest rate, you'll need a strong FICO credit score.</p> <p>Auto lenders will check your credit score when you apply for financing. So make sure that your score doesn't take a dip after retirement.</p> <h2>Auto Insurance Rates</h2> <p>If you buy a new car, you'll need auto insurance, too. Guess what? Auto insurers rely on a variation of your credit score to help set their rates. Again, you'll want the highest possible credit score if you expect to qualify for the most affordable auto insurance.</p> <p>Auto insurers use something called a credit-based insurance score to set rates. If this score is strong &mdash; and your driving history is good &mdash; you'll usually qualify for lower insurance rates. Your credit-based insurance score doesn't factor in your job or income. But it will rise if you pay bills such as your credit card payments and mortgage on time every month. It will fall if you miss payments, make payments 30 days or more late, have too much debt, or have accounts that have been sent to collections.</p> <h2>Refinancing to a Lower Monthly Payment</h2> <p>The goal is to enter retirement without having a monthly mortgage payment. That doesn't always happen, though. And if you are still paying off a mortgage loan when you enter your after-work years, you might want to someday refinance that home loan to one with a lower interest rate. Lowering your rate will give you a lower monthly payment. That extra cash each month could be important once you're living on a fixed income.</p> <p>To qualify for a refinance, and for the lowest possible interest rate to make such a move financially worthwhile, you'll again need a high credit score. If your FICO credit score is 740 or higher, the odds are good that you'll qualify for an interest rate low enough to make refinancing a smart financial decision.</p> <p>The lesson here is obvious: You can't put worrying about credit scores behind you just because you've entered retirement. The best move is to continue taking the steps that help guarantee a strong credit score &mdash; paying your bills on time and keeping your credit card debt low &mdash; even after you've left the working world.</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/why-your-credit-score-matters-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-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-reasons-why-youre-too-old-or-too-young-for-a-mortgage-loan">4 Reasons Why You&#039;re Too Old — Or Too Young — For a Mortgage Loan</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/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides 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-things-lenders-look-for-in-a-loan-application">5 Things Lenders Look For in a Loan Application</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/building-a-credit-history">Building a Credit History</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/is-it-safe-to-re-finance-your-home-close-to-retirement">Is it Safe to Re-Finance Your Home Close to Retirement?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement car insurance credit history credit score fico insurance rates mortgages new car refinancing Mon, 30 Jan 2017 10:00:08 +0000 Dan Rafter 1870059 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Things Your Financial Planner Isn't Telling You About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-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/couple_financial_planner_485026010.jpg" alt="Couple learning what their financial planner isn&#039;t telling them about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Personal finances can get complicated fast, which is why many people seek the assistance of a financial adviser. Especially when considering your retirement, it can give you extra confidence to know that a professional is helping ensure you make the best decisions for your future.</p> <p>It may therefore come as a surprise to know that historically, financial advisers haven't been required to put your best interests first. But in April 2016, the Labor Department finalized a new rule that requires financial advisers who deal with retirement accounts to respect what's known as the fiduciary standard, meaning they <em>have</em> to put the client's interests first.</p> <p>Before, financial advisers just had to follow the suitability standard, which meant they were only required by law to provide clients a &quot;suitable&quot; plan, which might satisfy your basic requirements but isn't necessarily the best plan for you.</p> <p>When they're doing their job well, a financial adviser can help you invest your money wisely and plan for retirement. But it's always important to do your own research and stay informed. When it comes to retirement, here are some things your financial planner may not have brought to the table.</p> <h2>1. Fees May Grow With Your Assets</h2> <p>Financial advisers often charge based on a percentage of the assets they are managing for you. Unfortunately, the fees compound over time, just as your returns do. By the time you're ready to retire, that could mean you're paying thousands of dollars a year in fees.</p> <p>As your nest egg grows, keep an eye on your fees and renegotiate your rates, so you don't end up paying too much for their services.</p> <h2>2. Retiring Abroad Can Halve Living Costs</h2> <p>If you're feeling tight on funds for retirement and you're not sure how to make your money go further, there's an important alternative that you should be considering. Retiring abroad can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=internal">cut your retirement costs in half</a>. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p>However, many U.S.-based financial advisers are entirely focused on domestic retirement and that's what they'll help you plan for. Plus, it may be in their interest to keep you close so you don't decide to move your funds elsewhere.</p> <p>If retiring abroad is something you want to truly consider, seek an expert who brings that specialty expertise to the table. You should also do your own research, including finding online forums for expatriates to answer your questions about retiring abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Incredible Places to Retire</a>)</p> <h2>3. Travel and Retirement Go Hand in Hand</h2> <p>If you've written off the idea of traveling as being too expensive, and these views are being reaffirmed by a conservative financial planner, it's time to re-evaluate. Retirement affords you great flexibility and the price of travel may be within closer reach than you realize.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-woman-retired-at-60-and-traveled-the-world?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How One Woman Retired at 60 and Traveled the World</a></p> <p>Costs in many countries are often much lower than at home, and if you plan carefully &mdash; especially if you're able to start socking away money early in your career &mdash; your monthly budget may be able to absorb the extra expense of plane tickets, accommodations abroad, food, and entertainment. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">Rewards credit cards</a> can help you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips" target="_blank">earn free travel</a>, too.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less?ref=seealso2" target="_blank">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></p> <h2>4. An HSA Could Lower Your Health Care Costs</h2> <p>If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you may be eligible for a Health Savings Account. As with an IRA, HSA contributions are tax-free and they grow tax-free. You can leave money in the account for years and if you withdraw the funds to pay for qualified health care costs, you will still not pay taxes on the money. If you have a balance at age 65 and want to use it for nonmedical expenses, you can, but the withdrawals will be taxable. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>.)</p> <p>Keep in mind that only people enrolled in qualifying high-deductible health care plans are eligible. But if you're one of them, an HSA could be an important part in reducing your health expenses during retirement.</p> <h2>5. You May Be Able to Ditch Your Life Insurance</h2> <p>Having a life insurance policy is useful if someone else will be financially hurt when you die. However, depending on your particular situation, you may no longer have dependents after you retire. Or you may have investments and pensions that pay 100% to the surviving spouse. In that case, your spouse won't suffer financially from your death and you probably don't need life insurance.</p> <p>There are a lot of variables to consider when planning for retirement, and a financial planner can clarify your options. But while a financial planner can be a helpful resource, they aren't the ultimate authority on what's best for you. Stay informed and choose what's best for you and your family.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-financial-planner-isnt-telling-you-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-6"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</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-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early 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/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</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-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement expats fees fiduciary financial advisers financial planners health care life insurance living abroad retiring overseas travel Tue, 10 Jan 2017 11:00:09 +0000 Nick Wharton 1870053 at http://www.wisebread.com These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less in Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-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/woman_bike_dog_492263352.jpg" alt="Woman finding things that cost a lot less in retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of scary headlines out there about how poorly prepared people are for retirement. And it's hard to deny the research: Many people simply are not saving enough.</p> <p>One silver lining in the retirement funding equation, though, is that you'll probably spend less in your later years. Let's take a look at some of the most common costs that decline after exiting the workforce, along with some that may go up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>1. Housing Costs</h2> <p>Ideally, you'll retire your mortgage by the time <em>you</em> retire. Of course, you'll still be on the hook for property taxes and insurance, but entering retirement mortgage-free is one of the best ways to reduce the cost of living in your later years.</p> <p>You may also decide to downsize, which could cut the cost of home maintenance, repairs, and insurance, too.</p> <h2>2. Work Costs</h2> <p>If you're no longer working, you no longer have to worry about the cost of commuting, work-related clothing, or all those restaurant lunches. Plus, you'll no longer have to contribute to Social Security or Medicare as you probably had been doing via withholdings from your paycheck.</p> <h2>3. Car Costs</h2> <p>If you've been a two-car household during your career, it's possible that you could make it just fine as a one-car household in retirement, which would reduce the cost of vehicle maintenance, repairs, insurance, and gasoline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-cant-make-it-as-a-one-car-family-now-what?ref=seealso">You Can't Make It as a One-Car Family: Now What?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Saving &quot;Costs&quot;</h2> <p>It's hard to call adding money to a 401K or IRA a cost, but the reality is that once you're done working you'll probably stop contributing to your retirement accounts and start withdrawing from them.</p> <p>By the same token, if you had been stocking a 529-plan account or two with college money for your kids, hopefully they'll be done with school by the time you retire, so those &quot;costs&quot; should disappear as well.</p> <h2>5. Kid Costs</h2> <p>Speaking of kids, even though people are marrying and starting families later in life, by retirement, the kids should be on their own. Just think of all the money you've been spending on their clothing, food, activities, medical care, insurance, and more.</p> <h2>Caution: Your Retirement Spending May Change</h2> <p>While many costs may come down when you leave the workforce, keep in mind that retirement is not a homogeneous season of life. You'll probably be healthiest and most active when you're newly retired. That means some of your costs could actually go <em>up</em> right after retirement. You may spend more on travel and recreation, for example.</p> <p>Then, as you age, you'll probably become less mobile, which means eventually you'll spend less on recreational activities than before you retired.</p> <h2>The Big Unknown</h2> <p>The largest question mark looming on the retirement horizon is health care. Your monthly insurance premiums may decline once you go on Medicare. However, what about your potential need for nursing home care?</p> <p>While that's not the happiest topic to think about, it's far better to deal with it now than when you actually may <em>need </em>the care. To manage that risk, you may want to look into the cost of long-term care insurance. And keep in mind, your choice is not just between paying the high cost of as much coverage as possible or none at all. You could opt for a more affordable policy that would help with <em>some </em>of the costs, while leaving you responsible for some, as well.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>The very real possibility that your living expenses will be less in retirement than they are now is not an excuse to shortchange your retirement accounts. The best approach is to run some numbers, creating pre- and post-retirement budgets based on your unique circumstances and retirement goals.</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/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-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-7"> <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/how-to-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</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-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited 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/11-budgeting-skills-everyone-should-master">11 Budgeting Skills Everyone Should Master</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-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement">5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Cars expenses family housing costs kids saving money spending the future vehicles working Wed, 14 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1852822 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Financial Moves Now That You'll Regret When You Retire http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_uh_oh_175531215.jpg" alt="Learning financial moves now that you&#039;ll regret when you retire" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make thousands of decisions every day. Come tomorrow, many of them won't matter much at all. But some decisions do have long-lasting implications. Here are five choices that may leave you longing for a do-over in retirement.</p> <h2>1. Borrowing From Your 401K</h2> <p>It's relatively easy to borrow from most 401K plans. However, the purpose of your 401K isn't to save for a down payment on a house or college bills. It's to build a nest egg for retirement. The more you nibble away at that, the less you'll have for your later years. The best approach? Consider your workplace retirement funds to be off limits &mdash; until retirement.</p> <h2>2. Resetting Your Mortgage Clock Past Your Retirement Age</h2> <p>Interest rates are very low, which has prompted many people to refinance their mortgages. It can be wise to swap out a high interest rate loan for one at a lower rate. However, if this is the home you plan to live in during retirement, make sure your new mortgage will be retired by the time you are. That may mean opting for a shorter term (15 or 20 years instead of 30) or committing to making extra monthly payments. (Use <a href="http://financialmentor.com/calculator/mortgage-payoff-calculator">this calculator</a> to help you figure out how much extra to pay.)</p> <h2>3. Claiming Social Security Too Early</h2> <p>There are some people who may benefit by claiming their Social Security benefits at the earliest possible age &mdash; 62. If longevity doesn't run in your family or if you absolutely have no other options but to take the money sooner than later, go ahead. But good things come to those who wait. When it comes to delaying the start of Social Security, those who can hold off will get quite a boost in benefits.</p> <p>When I looked up my own benefits (<a href="https://secure.ssa.gov/SiView.do">here's where to look up yours</a>), I saw that I'm eligible for $1,780 per month if I claim benefits at age 62. If I wait until my Full Retirement Age of 67, that amount jumps to $2,694 &mdash; a 51% increase. And if I wait until age 70, I would receive $3,441 per month &mdash; nearly twice as much as my age-62 benefit.</p> <p>And here's the other benefit from waiting. Men, I hope I'm not the first to break this to you, but you're probably going to die before your wife, unless she's a lot older than you are. And if your Social Security benefit is larger than hers, the more you can maximize yours, the more it'll benefit your wife once you're gone. That's because upon your death, she'll have the choice of continuing to take her benefit or yours.</p> <p>Social Security claiming strategies are so varied, complex, and important that it would probably benefit you to seek additional guidance via <a href="http://www.socialsecuritysolutions.com/">Social Security Solutions</a> or <a href="http://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/">Maximize My Social Security</a>.</p> <h2>4. Ignoring Inflation</h2> <p>I talked with a newly-retired woman recently who thought she was set for life. She took her savings, divided by her estimated number of years remaining, and was satisfied with her answer. Until I rained on her parade by asking how she planned to account for inflation.</p> <p>She didn't like the idea of investing any of her money in the stock market because she thought that was too risky. And yet, keeping all of her money in a bank savings account virtually guarantees that her buying power will steadily decline. Even a modest annual inflation rate of 2% will cut buying power nearly in half over the course of a 30-year retirement.</p> <p>Most retirees will need to accept the idea of maintaining some level of exposure to the stock market with their investment portfolio in order to make sure their money lasts as long as they do.</p> <h2>5. Counting on Paid Work in Your Later Years</h2> <p>One of today's most significant retirement-related disconnects is the difference between the number of today's workers who are planning to work in retirement (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron) and the number of retirees who actually do still work.</p> <p>An increasing number of people still in the workforce are pushing back their retirement date &mdash; some because they want the mental stimulation that comes from work, some because they realize they'll need the money. And yet, nearly half of people who are now retired left the workforce sooner than intended, many times because of health issues.</p> <p>By the same token, nearly two-thirds of today's workers expect to work for pay to some degree after retiring from their main career, whereas less than one-third of those who are now retired have worked for pay since ending their main career.</p> <p>The best advice? Plan physically, emotionally, and vocationally to work longer than you might prefer while you plan financially to retire earlier than you think you will.</p> <p>Clearly, what you don't do as you prepare for a successful retirement is just as important as what you do. Avoiding the five miscues just discussed will help you prepare well.</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/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">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-8"> <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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement">4 of the Fastest Ways to Go Broke in 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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k full retirement age inflation Mistakes money moves mortgages regrets social security Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1843961 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_blocks_73115095.jpg" alt="New investor learning retirement terms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations! By starting your retirement fund, you've taken one of the most important steps toward a comfortable retirement. But as a novice investor, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the available information, including contribution limits, early penalty fees, and Roth 401Ks. To help you make sense of it all, let's review 15 key terms you should know:</p> <h2>1. 401K</h2> <p>The 401K is the most popular qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan in the U.S. The two most common types of 401K plans are the traditional 401K, to which you contribute with pretax dollars, and the Roth 401K, which accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. Earnings in a traditional 401K grow on a tax-deferred basis (you'll pay taxes on the funds when you withdraw them during retirement) and those in a Roth 401K grow tax-free forever, since you've paid taxes upfront.</p> <h2>2. After-Tax Contributions</h2> <p>Only certain types of retirement accounts, such as Roth 401Ks and Roth IRAs, accept contributions with after-tax dollars. When you contribute to a retirement account with after-tax dollars, your retirement funds grow tax-free forever, since you've already paid Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>3. Catch-Up Contribution</h2> <p>Retirement investors who are 50 and older at the end of the calendar year can make extra annual &quot;catch-up&quot; contributions to qualifying retirement accounts. Catch-up contributions allow older savers to make up for lower contributions to their retirement accounts in earlier years. In 2016 and 2017, catch-up contributions of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-catch-up-contributions">up to $6,000</a> (on top of traditional annual contribution limits) are allowed for 401Ks and up to $1,000 for IRAs.</p> <h2>4. Contribution Limits</h2> <p>Every year, the IRS sets a limit as to how much you can contribute to your retirement accounts. In 2016, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits">contribute up to $5,500</a> ($6,500 if age 50 or over) to traditional and Roth IRAs and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-contributions">up to $18,000</a> ($24,000 if age 50 or over) to a traditional or Roth 401K. These annual contribution limits to retirement accounts remain unchanged for 2017. If you exceed your contribution limit, you'll receive a penalty fee from the IRS, unless you take out excess moneys by a certain date.</p> <h2>5. Early Distribution Penalty</h2> <p>To discourage retirement savers from withdrawing funds before retirement age, the IRS imposes an additional 10% penalty on distributions before age 59 &frac12; on certain retirement plans. Keep in mind that you're always liable for applicable income taxes whether you take a distribution from your retirement plan before or after age 59 &frac12;. Under certain circumstances, you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">withdraw money early</a> from a retirement account without the penalty.</p> <h2>6. Fee</h2> <p>You've heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch and no retirement plan is exempt from this rule. There's always a cost for the employer or employee, or both. Always check the prospectus from any fund for its annual expense ratio and any other applicable fee. An annual expense ratio of 0.75% means that for every $1,000 in your retirement account, you're charged $7.50 in fees. And that's assuming that you don't trigger any other fees! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <h2>7. Index Fund</h2> <p>An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks of a basket of securities (generally a market index, such as the Standard &amp; Poor's 500 or the Russell 2000). An index fund is a passively managed mutual fund that provides broad market exposure, low investment cost, and low portfolio turnover. Due to its low annual expense ratios, such as 0.16% for the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/vfinx">VFINX</a>], index funds have become a popular way to save for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?Ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>8. IRA</h2> <p>Unlike a 401K, an individual retirement account (IRA) is held by custodians, including commercial banks and retail brokers. The financial institutions place the IRA funds in a variety of investments following the instructions of the plan holders. A traditional IRA accepts contributions with pretax dollars, and a Roth IRA accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. An advantage of using a Roth IRA is that it provides several exemptions to the early distribution penalty.</p> <h2>9. 401K Loan</h2> <p>Some retirement plans allow you to take a loan on a portion of your available balance &mdash; generally, 50% of your vested account balance, or <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-loans">up to $50,000</a>, whichever is less. While the loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes fully due within 60 days from separating from your employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>10. Mutual Fund</h2> <p>By pooling funds from several investors, money managers are able to invest in a wide variety of securities, ranging from money market instruments to equities. Investing in a mutual fund enables an individual retirement investor to gain access to a wide variety of investments that she wouldn't necessarily have access to on her own. Depending on its investment strategy, mutual funds can have a wide variety of fees. So, make sure to read the fine print. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=seealso">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a>)</p> <h2>11. Pretax Contribution</h2> <p>When you contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account with pretax dollars, you're allowed to reduce your taxable income. For example, if you were to make $50,000 per year and contribute $5,000 to your 401K with pretax dollars, then you would only have to pay applicable income taxes on $45,000! You delay taxation until retirement age when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <h2>12. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)</h2> <p>You can't keep moneys in your retirement account forever. At age 70 &frac12;, you generally have to start taking withdrawals from an IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or 401K. An RMD is the minimum amount required by law that you have take out from your retirement account each year to avoid a penalty from the IRS. You can use of one of these <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets">requirement minimum distribution work sheets</a> to calculate your RMD.</p> <h2>13. Rollover</h2> <p>When you separate from your employer, you generally have up to 60 days to transfer moneys in your previous retirement account to a new retirement account accepting those moneys. This process is known as a rollover. In a direct rollover, the process is automatic; in an indirect rollover, you receive a cash-out check from your previous employer to rollover the moneys to a new qualifying retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>14. Target-Date Fund</h2> <p>A target-date fund is a retirement investment fund that seeks to provide higher returns to young investors and gradually reduce risk exposure as they get closer to retirement age. Since the Pension Protection Act granted target-date funds the status of qualified default investment alternative in 2006, these type of funds have gained popularity. About half of 401K participants <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3347">hold a target-date fund</a>.</p> <h2>15. Vesting</h2> <p>In any retirement account, only money that is fully vested truly belongs to you. While all of your contributions and the matching contributions from your employer to your retirement account are always fully vested, some employer contributions, such as company stock, may follow a vesting schedule. In <em>cliff vesting</em>, you only become fully vested after a certain period of time. In <em>graded vesting</em>, you gradually gain ownership of those employer contributions.</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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">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-9"> <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-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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer-sponsored retirement index funds IRA new investors Roth savings target date funds taxes terms Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1834559 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-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/couple_retired_happy_62784562.jpg" alt="Retired couple shortchanging their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether retirement is decades away or if it is knocking on your door, there are some key mistakes that couples sometimes make when planning for their retirement. It's not too late to fix them, and addressing these problems now can potentially stave off issues in the future.</p> <p>Are you and your spouse making these retirement mistakes?</p> <h2>Relying on One's Spouse's Retirement</h2> <p>One common mistake that couples make is that they only rely on <em>one </em>spouse's income and retirement savings. While you might be able to live comfortably off one spouse's income now, when you are healthy, you have to calculate just how much you and your spouse will both need in retirement. Hopefully you will both be healthy well into your last years, but plan for the &quot;what ifs.&quot; Have both partners contribute to separate retirement accounts, if you both are working. If one spouse is self-employed or a freelancer, there are still retirement options for them.</p> <p>Even if one spouse does not work, they can still contribute to an IRA account. Carol Berger, CFP&reg;, of Berger Wealth Management, says that spousal IRA accounts are available for married couples who file taxes jointly. Berger says, &quot;This allows a contribution to be made for the nonworking spouse and helps his or her retirement nest egg grow. For example, in 2016, a nonworking spouse can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in their name ($6,500 if age 50 or older).&quot;</p> <h2>Putting Your Kids First</h2> <p>There is no doubt that you love your children and that it is easy to put their needs above retirement needs. However, don't delay on saving for retirement for your kids' sake. Saving for retirement should always trump saving for college education. Furthermore, retirement savings should not be dipped into to pay for college.</p> <p>The simple reason is that your children will have access to scholarships, loans, and work to help support them through college. Even if they graduate with a heavy load of debt, they have a long time to pay it off. There are no scholarships for retirement, and I am guessing the last thing you want to do is return to work.</p> <p>&quot;Time does not favor waiting because you lose the benefits of compounding,&quot; says Good Life Wealth Management president, Scott Stratton, CFP&reg;, CFA. &quot;If you put $5,000 into an IRA and earn 8% for 25 years, you'd have $34,242. Invest the same $5,000 10 years before retirement, and you'd only have $10,794. Or to put it another way, if you waited until 10 years before retirement, you'd have to invest $15,860 &mdash; instead of $5,000 &mdash; to reach $34,242.&quot;</p> <h2>Avoiding the Issue</h2> <p>Money is not always the easiest thing to talk about, however, if you avoid the issue, then you will only cause the problem to grow. Sit down with your spouse and talk about your present financial situation. Talk about where you want to be financially in the next year, in five years, and in retirement.</p> <p>If you both agree that you want to spend your retirement traveling and not tied to credit card debt or a mortgage payment, then you need to put in place the right money habits now.</p> <p>You should develop realistic action steps that will help you reach your financial goals a year from now, five years from now, and most importantly, in retirement. That means you might have to tighten your budget and pay more toward debt. Having clear financial goals will also help you stand firm as a couple when it is tempting to refinance the house to redo the backyard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Not Planning for Medical Costs</h2> <p>As discussed briefly above, many couples forget to financially plan for medical costs. It is easy to think, &quot;We won't need that much money in retirement because we won't buy anything or have to care for kids.&quot; However, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially in the last years of life. The cost of caretakers, regular doctor's visits, special medications, and even residency at a hospice can drain retirement savings in a matter of a few years.</p> <p>The worst thing is that many adult children are stuck with the financial burden of their parents' medical costs. Nearly one in 10 people over 40 are considered in the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">sandwich generation</a>.&quot; This means they are caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that Medicare doesn't cover the most common types of long-term care and that a nursing home can cost as much as <a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Sandwich-generation-worried-about-own-long-term-care-.aspx">$90,000 per year</a>. If retirement funds don't cover the necessary care for aging parents, their children will either have to foot the bill or try to take care of their parents themselves.</p> <p>Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at WageWorks says that there is a retirement tool that is often overlooked. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">health savings account</a> (HSA) can help cover medical costs. Dietel says, &quot;It's important to understand that there's a place for both a 401K and an HSA. Establishing an HSA gives you the ability to amass savings to be used exclusively for health care expenses and preventing the need to dip into 401K funds for medical-related costs in retirement.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-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-10"> <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/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</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-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</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-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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</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/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k couples expenses health care health savings accounts HSA income IRA marriages medical costs Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830892 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions Couples Must Ask Before Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-couples-must-ask-before-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_sailboat_89092071.jpg" alt="Couple asking questions before retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>What kind of retirement do you imagine? Do you picture taking a long cruise, traveling to international destinations, and racking up the frequent-flier miles? What if your partner is dreaming about a retirement of lazy days spent reading books, watching movies, and visiting the grandkids?</p> <p>Those retirements are two very different kinds. And if you and your partner can't agree on a version of your after-work years that satisfies both of you, your retirement might be a stormy one.</p> <p>Fortunately, you can boost the odds that you and your partner will enjoy your retirement years by asking five key questions before you leave the working world.</p> <h2>1. What Kind of Retirement Do You Want?</h2> <p>This is the most basic of questions, but it might be the most important. Couples need to hammer out exactly what kind of life they want to lead after their working years are over.</p> <p>When you're working, much of your life is planned out for you. You know when you have to be on the job, for instance. If you're raising kids, your weeks are often filled with band practices, soccer games, and gymnastics meets. You and your partner might not even spend much time together during an average week.</p> <p>But when you retire? That all changes. Those hours in the office are now hours spent at home. You and your partner need to determine what you want to fill those hours with. You might want to travel and take on new hobbies. Your partner might prefer quiet days with favorite books.</p> <p>The type of retirement you want also impacts how much money you'll need to save. You'll need more money if you plan to travel the globe and less if you picture quiet nights in your existing home.</p> <p>If you discuss this before retirement, you might be able to work out compromises. Maybe you agree to take two trips a year. Maybe you agree that you'll investigate a new hobby while your partner plows through <em>War and Peace</em>. But you won't be able to agree on anything if you don't first talk about what your ideal retirements look like.</p> <h2>2. Where Do You Want to Live?</h2> <p>Do you want to stay in your current home? Or perhaps you'd like to sell your home and move into an apartment in the middle of downtown? These are both good choices. But you and your partner need to discuss them before you retire. You don't want to be dreaming of a downtown apartment if your partner is making plans for a new sunroom in your current home.</p> <p>And what about your grandkids? Do you want to move closer to them? Or do you want to stay put? This, again, is another conversation that you must have before retirement.</p> <h2>3. When Do You Want to Retire?</h2> <p>You might plan on working late into your 70s. Your partner might be counting down the days to 67. Make sure you and your partner discuss when you both plan on retiring.</p> <p>Your partner might expect that you'll both retire at the same time. Don't make it a surprise that you want to retire earlier or later. The timing of your retirement plays an important role in how much you have to save each year to meet your retirement goals. So talk about this choice early and often.</p> <p>And if you change your mind? Don't keep it a secret from your partner.</p> <h2>4. How Much Money Do You Need?</h2> <p>This might be the most perplexing question of all to couples. It's also the one that couples need to talk about early in their relationship. Couples need to agree on how much money they'll need each year to live a comfortable retirement. If they don't? The odds are high that money issues will be a constant source of tension.</p> <p>How much money couples need in retirement varies depending on the lifestyles that they want. Couples who want to travel during their retirement will need more money. Those who want to spend their time visiting their grandkids will need less.</p> <p>Those couples who plan on living in a pricey seniors' center or an urban apartment building will probably need more money than those who plan to live for as long as possible in a home that they have already paid off.</p> <p>There are plenty of formulas for determining how much money couples should save during retirement. Your best bet, though, might be to meet with a financial adviser who can help you and your partner work through your retirement goals and determine the best way to save for them.</p> <h2>5. Who Will Do What Chores?</h2> <p>You might have been happy with being the home's main cook if your partner worked longer hours. But what about when you are both retired? Will you still want to handle the bulk of the cooking chores then? Maybe not.</p> <p>It pays to talk with your partner about who will handle the bills, cook the meals, clean the house, and mow the lawn once retirement arrives. The old ways of splitting these chores might no longer make sense after you both settle into retirement.</p> <p>Again, not talking about this issue could cause tension. You might not be thrilled to serve your partner dinner if that partner spent all day watching TV or reading a book. So don't be shy about the chores conversation. It might be time to work out a new household schedule.</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-couples-must-ask-before-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-11"> <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/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</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/these-5-expenses-will-probably-cost-you-a-lot-less-in-retirement">These 5 Expenses Will Probably Cost You a Lot Less in Retirement</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-10-worst-states-for-retirees">The 10 Worst States for Retirees</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/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</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-help-your-kid-build-their-first-budget">How to Help Your Kid Build Their First Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement chores couples family grandchildren lifestyle marriage moving relocating retirement planning saving money traveling Thu, 10 Nov 2016 09:00:09 +0000 Dan Rafter 1830271 at http://www.wisebread.com Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths http://www.wisebread.com/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/social_security_card_76556001.jpg" alt="Learning to stop falling for social security myths" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over 166 million taxpayers pay into Social Security, which pays benefits to over 65 million Americans. As with any program as large and sprawling as Social Security, myths about how it works can run rampant &mdash; and since the facts tend to require more than a sound bite to explain, those myths become entrenched in our collective consciousness as fact.</p> <p>But not only are these Social Security myths untrue, believing them can cause you to make poor decisions about your Social Security benefits. Here are six of the most common and harmful myths about Social Security, debunked:</p> <h2>1. The Government Is Raiding the Social Security Trust Fund</h2> <p>You will often hear people complain about how untrustworthy our government is, and offer the fact that Congress &quot;raids&quot; the Social Security Trust Fund as proof. While it is true that the Trust Fund is where excess Social Security taxes are placed for future beneficiaries, and it is also true that the government uses money in this account to pay for government programs, it is simply not true that the fund is being &quot;raided.&quot;</p> <p>Here's what's going on. Money placed in the Social Security Trust Fund may sound like it is being put in a vault somewhere for the safekeeping of future beneficiaries. But that's not how money works. Not only would that be a security risk, but the money in such a vault would lose value to inflation. In order to maintain and increase the value of the trust fund, the money must be invested in government programs.</p> <p>Think of it this way: Any time you invest money commercially &mdash; whether by putting it in an interest-bearing bank account or by buying stocks or bonds &mdash; you are probably aware that the institution is immediately spending the money you have invested. The private institution spends your investment with the understanding that it will earn profits and be able to pay you back, with interest.</p> <p>The government is no different. It spends money invested in the Social Security Trust Fund on infrastructure, military spending, government salaries, welfare, and the like, knowing that those investments will earn interest. But unlike a private institution, this kind of government spending is backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.</p> <p>The government's spending of money from the Social Security Trust Fund is just as valid a use of invested money as is the lending and spending that a bank or corporation does with investors' money.</p> <h2>2. Social Security Is Going Bankrupt</h2> <p>This myth is based on a kernel of truth &mdash; specifically, Social Security benefit payments exceed payroll tax revenues and have done so since 2010. In order to maintain promised benefits, Social Security has had to dip into the Social Security Trust Fund. As of 2013, the Trust Fund began losing value, and it will become entirely depleted by 2037.</p> <p>This is the point at which most analysis stops, and that is why you will often hear the myth that Social Security is circling the drain. But it is impossible for Social Security to go bankrupt, because it was always designed as an immediate transfer of funds from current workers to current beneficiaries. (When there were more workers than beneficiaries, excess taxes were placed in the Trust Fund. This was the case until 2009). The program does not count on a specific pool of money, but on the tax revenue of current workers.</p> <p>That being said, once the Trust Fund is depleted, tax revenue is only expected to pay for approximately 79% of promised benefits. This is the shortfall you will hear experts referring to when discussing the future of Social Security. But it does not spell the end of the program. It is just a shortfall that we need to find a way to make up.</p> <p>Social Security was created specifically so it could be changed and tweaked to meet the changing needs of Americans &mdash; changing needs like this anticipated shortfall. We might have little faith in Washington right now, but it is specifically the job of our government to make changes to Social Security to deal with this coming shortfall. Eventually, they'll get around to it.</p> <h2>3. It's the Baby Boomers' Fault We're in This Mess</h2> <p>There are plenty of articles out there that place the blame for Social Security's financial woes squarely at the feet of the baby boomer generation &mdash; the largest-ever generation of Americans, born between 1946 and 1964. There are 76 million baby boomers, and having that many people retire over a couple of decades places an enormous burden on Social Security. Since our system is based upon an immediate transfer from current workers to current retirees, having the boomers retire all at once puts too many retirees into the equation.</p> <p>But the boomers' retirement is hardly a surprise. They've been around for six or seven decades now, and we have seen this mass boomer retirement phase coming for many years. According to Virginia P. Reno and Joni Lavery in the Social Security brief <a href="https://www.nasi.org/usr_doc/SS_Brief_022.pdf">Can We Afford Social Security When Baby Boomers Retire?</a>, &quot;Policymakers began to plan as early as 1983, when Congress lowered the cost of Social Security benefits for boomers and later generations by raising the age at which unreduced retirement benefits will be paid.&quot;</p> <p>Believe it or not, our government has been trying for quite some time to prepare for this moment. Part of the reason we had such a surplus in the Social Security Trust Fund was because of our preparation for the mass retirement of the boomer generation. We are far better prepared for the boomers than many doomsayers might have you believe.</p> <h2>4. Waiting for Benefits Means You Risk Not Getting Your Fair Share</h2> <p>It is possible to take Social Security benefits as early as age 62, although your benefits will be permanently reduced by up to 25% to 30 percent by taking them early. Wait until your full retirement age (66 for individuals born between 1943 and 1954, rising to age 67 for anyone born in 1960 or later), and you will receive your full benefits. If you can wait until age 70, you will receive delayed retirement credit equal to approximately 8% per year between your full retirement age and 70.</p> <p>If you calculate the break-even analysis on your Social Security benefits, it often looks like you're better off by taking early benefits. Early, reduced benefits offer you more lifetime benefits for nearly 15 years into the break-even analysis.</p> <p>The problem with this thinking is that the only way for you to &quot;win&quot; these calculations is to die young. It would actually be far worse for you to take early benefits and then live a long life on a reduced income. It is much smarter to delay your benefits as long as possible to provide yourself with the largest benefit you can get.</p> <h2>5. Immigrants Are Taking Social Security Benefits They Didn't Pay For</h2> <p>This myth is an election year favorite, and it conflates Social Security benefits with Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Social Security benefits are only available to beneficiaries who either paid into the system themselves, or who are the dependents of those who paid into the system. If you have not paid any Social Security payroll taxes (or you haven't been the dependent of someone who has), you are not getting Social Security benefits. Period.</p> <p>SSI, on the other hand, is a welfare program designed to provide aid to the elderly and disabled, and SSI benefits are paid through general governmental revenues. Immigrants are eligible to collect SSI benefits, but only if they show the same level of extreme need as any other SSI beneficiary.</p> <h2>6. Privatizing Social Security Would Make the System Fairer</h2> <p>The possibility of privatizing Social Security is a common suggestion for fixing many of the problems inherent in such a large government program. These suggestions often promise that privatization will be cheaper for the government, more lucrative for beneficiaries, and fairer for everyone since you will get out what you put in.</p> <p>Unfortunately, none of those three promises would be true. Social Security is a very efficiently run program, with administrative expenses totaling less than 1% of the program's budget. But creating and maintaining individual investment accounts would be incredibly expensive, since it would incur broker commission fees and/or mutual fund management fees, which would either come from the program budget or individual investors.</p> <p>In addition, it is unlikely that the majority of beneficiaries would be able to improve upon their Social Security &quot;return on investment&quot; through investment accounts, since humans are notoriously irrational investors. Social Security benefits are guaranteed, while investment returns are not.</p> <p>Finally, attempting to create pay-for-what-you-get fairness in a social insurance program like Social Security is a non-starter. The intention of Social Security is to provide guaranteed income to the elderly, the disabled, and their families, by spreading the cost of that income over all of society. Strict fairness in such a system would leave our most vulnerable citizens in abject poverty or worse. It's also important to note that the transition costs of privatizing Social Security have been estimated at nearly <a href="http://www.ncpssm.org/Document/ArticleID/14">$5 trillion over the first two decades</a>. Those costs would need to be paid by current workers, who would potentially be paying into their privatized accounts and still be paying taxes that go toward current beneficiaries &mdash; which would feel incredibly unfair.</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/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">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-12"> <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/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to 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/tiny-nestegg-retire-abroad">Tiny Nestegg? Retire abroad!</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Retirement baby boomers benefits Congress full retirement age government immigrants myths privatized social security ssi Mon, 07 Nov 2016 10:30:29 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1827091 at http://www.wisebread.com New Job? Don't Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shaking_hands_77096849.jpg" alt="Woman making mistakes with new job benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In September 2016, total nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">rose by 156,000</a>. If you were among those Americans who recently landed a new gig &mdash; or plan on landing one within the near future &mdash; congratulations! But as you get your benefits and retirement planning set up at your new workplace, don't make these seven mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Not Setting Up Your New Retirement Account Before December 31st</h2> <p>Make to sure to set up your new employer-sponsored retirement account before December 31st. Otherwise, you won't be able to reduce your 2016 taxable income by making contributions before Tax Day (April 17th, 2017) or the day you file your federal tax return, whichever is earlier. If you wait until the new year to set up your retirement account, any contributions made before Tax Day will reduce your 2017 taxable income &mdash; and you'll lose the opportunity to reduce your 2016 AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by any contributed amount.</p> <h2>2. Not Completing a 401K or IRA Indirect Rollover</h2> <p>If you had a balance of less than $5,000 in your previous job's 401K or IRA plan, there is a good chance that you received an automatic cashout with a 20% withholding from your employer for applicable taxes. From the last day of your employment, you have 60 days to put the entire balance of the previous retirement account (including the mentioned 20% withholding!) into a new employer-sponsored retirement account that accepts rollovers. This process is known as an indirect rollover.</p> <p>You'll get that 20% withholding money back from the IRS in next year's tax return. In the event that your new employer's retirement account doesn't accept a rollover from your previous account, consider opening an IRA with a local financial institution before the 60-day deadline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leaving W-4 Forms Alone</h2> <p>Depending on a variety of factors, your old W-4 tax withholdings may not cut it at your new gig. To figure out whether you're withholding too much (or too little), grab all of your latest pay stubs, find a copy of last year's tax return, and visit the online <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>.</p> <p>After punching in your data, this tool will provide recommendations on how to adjust your W-4 with your new employer to make sure that you meet your tax liability and minimize your refund. There's no sense in over-withholding and expecting a large refund, since the IRS doesn't pay interest while it sits on excess withholdings. That's money better kept in a savings or retirement account, where it can gain interest and compound over time.</p> <h2>4. Missing the Deadline to Make an Additional Estimated Tax Payment</h2> <p>If the IRS Withholding Calculator were to tell you that you're seriously behind your tax liability, you'll probably need to make amends <em>pronto, </em>lest you end up owing Uncle Sam at tax time. It's to your benefit to make an additional estimated tax payment to reduce or eliminate such a liability. For example, in the event that you know that there is an end-of-year bonus or commission check arriving before January 17, 2017, you have the option to use part of that check to make an estimated tax payment with <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf">Form 1040-ES</a>.</p> <p>Make sure to use the IRS Withholding Calculator to estimate the right amount to mail to the IRS with Form 1040-ES and keep a photocopy of both the form and check for your own records.</p> <h2>5. Not Enrolling in a New FSA Plan Within 30 Days</h2> <p>You have up to 30 days from your hire date to enroll in an employer's flexible spending account (FSA). If you miss that deadline, you'll have to wait until your company renews its FSA plan, your plan administrator announces an open enrollment period, or you have a qualifying life event, such as changing marital status or having a baby.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting About Balances in Previous FSA Accounts</h2> <p>You may be so busy training at your new job and completing paperwork that you forget about remaining benefits at your previous employer. Check the rules from your previous FSA account regarding the expiration date of available money once you separate from your old employer. Most FSA plans provide a grace period to use the money, but some of those deadlines may be as early as the end of the month in which you separate from your employer. Unless you use your FSA funds in full by the applicable deadline, you'll lose them all.</p> <h2>7. Going More Than Two Months Without Health Coverage</h2> <p>As you're transitioning from one job to the other, keep an eye on the start and end dates of previous and current health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you owe a fee for any period greater than two months in which you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don't have qualifying health coverage. In most cases, the penalty fee is 1/12 per month of <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">2.5% of your household income</a> or $695 per adult, whichever is higher.</p> <p>Being uncovered for only one to two months, qualifies you for a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2015/details/short-gap">short gap exemption</a> and you're not liable for the fee. Find out whether or not you're able to claim a health coverage exemption with <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/">HealthCare.gov's Exemption Screener</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/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-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-13"> <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/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? 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