Member Advantage Articles

Succession Planning

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Preparing a smoother transition. February 11, 2019 A successful finale. If you are an entrepreneur, what is the final act for you and your business? If you have been successful, you likely want the company you created to be able to continue once you are no longer at the helm. For that reason, many people in your position create a succession plan to implement when the time comes. What do you need to think about? It may be helpful to start with the end – that is, visualize how you…

Your Emergency Fund: How Much is Enough?

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An emergency fund may help alleviate the stress associated with a financial crisis. February 11, 2019 Have you ever had one of those months? The water heater stops heating, the dishwasher stops washing, and your family ends up on a first-name basis with the nurse at urgent care. Then, as you’re driving to work, giving yourself your best, “You can make it!” pep talk, you see smoke seeping out from under your hood. Bad things happen to the best of us, and instead of conveniently spacing themselves out, they almost…

Certain Uncertainties in Retirement

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Two financial unknowns may erode our degree of confidence. February 11, 2019 The financial uncertainties we face in retirement may risk reducing our sense of confidence, potentially undermining our outlook during those years. Indeed, according to the 2018 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, only 17% of pre-retirees said they are “very confident” about having enough assets to live comfortably in retirement. In addition, just 32% of retirees were “very confident” in their prospects for doing so.1 Today, retirees face two overarching uncertainties. While each one can…

Retirement in Sight – February 2019

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MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES PRESENTED BY UPAL – February 2019 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “What I know for sure is that what you give comes back to you.” OPRAH WINFREY HOW CAN A WOMAN TRY TO PREVENT OUTLIVING HER MONEY? Certain financial decisions may help a woman grow and sustain her retirement assets across the decades to make up for time out of the workforce and the prevalent earnings gender gap. Obviously, one fundamental move would be to start saving and investing for retirement as early…

The Anatomy of an Index

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The S&P 500 represents a large portion of the value of the U.S. equity market January 17, 2019 Did you know that nearly $10 trillion in assets are benchmarked to the Standard & Poor’s 500 Composite Index, including about $3.5 trillion in index assets?1 The S&P 500 is ubiquitous. It is constantly referenced in financial and non-financial media, and we may compare the return of our own investments to its performance. As the index represents approximately 80% of the value of the U.S. equity market (or about 80% of market…

Retirement in Sight – January 2019

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MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES PRESENTED BY UPAL – JANUARY 2019 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.” Lord Byron Think of these factors AS YOU think about retirement income If retirement is drawing closer, you will want to ask yourself some key questions relating to your future income. Answering these fundamental questions may help to give you a better picture of the monthly cash flow needs of your retiree household. The first two questions concern time. One, when do you…

Retirement in Sight – December 2018

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Monthly News and Information for Current and Future Retirees Presented by UPAL – DECEMBER 2018 QUOTE OF THE MONTH  “It is wonderful what we can do if we are always doing.” George Washington CAN YOU PSYCH YOURSELF UP TO SAVE MORE? You have probably spent decades saving for retirement, and you might have a decade or more of saving to go before you actually retire. At times, your resolve may be tested. The stock market may falter; household money pressures may mount; new near-term priorities may arise. What can you do…

Retirement in Sight – November 2018

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MONTHLY NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE RETIREES Presented by UPAL – NOVEMBER 2018 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Live life to the fullest.” ERNEST HEMINGWAY RETIREMENT PLANNING CONTINUES AFTER YOU RETIRE It can be easy to think of retirement planning as a means to an end: a series of purposeful meetings leading up to a life transition. This transition is not the end of retirement planning. Think of this transition (and the steps preceding it) as the first phase. The second phase focuses on managing your spending, plus enhancing your…

Do Fixed-Income Investments Belong in Your Portfolio?

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 Unappealing or too conservative for you? Think again. They have their place. December 3, 2018 When stocks soar, fixed-income investments have comparatively little allure. Investors hungry for double-digit returns may regard them as bland, vanilla securities saddled with an opportunity cost, geared to risk-averse retirees who are “playing not to lose.” An investment earning a consistent rate of return on a fixed schedule is not a negative. Fixed-income investments are something you may want as part of your portfolio, particularly when stocks fall. Fixed-income investments have a steadiness that stocks…

Ways to Ease the Cost of College

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A look at grants, scholarships, 529 plans, and other methods. December 3, 2018 How much could a college education cost in the 2030s? You may want to take a deep breath and sit down before reading the next paragraph. A MassMutual analysis projects that four years of tuition, room, and board at a private college will cost nearly $369,000 in 2031. An article at CNBC offers a slightly cheaper estimate, putting the total expense at $303,000 for a freshman setting foot on campus in 2036. (Today, the cost of four…