Member Advantage Articles

Now 64? Prepare to Sign Up for Medicare.

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This is the time to arrange lifelong health coverage. January 10, 2018 Age 64 is the age when you are reminded that you are a baby boomer growing older. Regardless of how young or old you feel at 64, you should make sure to sign up for Medicare. The sign-up period will be here before you know it. In fact, you might already be within it, so act quickly if you are. Medicare gives you a 7-month window in which to enroll. That initial enrollment window opens three months prior…

Home Bias and Global Diversification

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December 2017 By pursuing a globally diversified approach to investing, one doesn’t have to attempt to pick winners to achieve a rewarding investment experience. Every day we enjoy the benefits of an interconnected world. We might start our day with a cup of coffee that originated in South America, check our email on a smartphone designed in California and manufactured in Taiwan, then shower and change into clothes woven from Egyptian fabrics before driving a German-made car or riding in a French-built train to work. As consumers, we rarely think…

As Goes January, So Goes the Year?

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January 2018 As investors ring in the new year, some may see the occasional headline about the “January Indicator” or “January Barometer.” This theory suggests that the price movement of the S&P 500 during the month of January may signal whether that index will rise or fall during the remainder of the year. In other words, if the return of the S&P 500 in January is negative, this would supposedly foreshadow a fall for the stock market for the remainder of the year, and vice versa if returns in January…

Things to Consider if You Plan to Retire Before 60

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Financially speaking, what moves might you want to make? January 9, 2018 By choice or by chance, some people wrap up their careers before turning 60. If you sense this will prove true for you, what could you do to potentially make your retirement transition easier? As a start, you may need to withdraw your retirement funds strategically. The I.R.S. wants you to leave your retirement accounts alone until your sixties. To encourage this, it assesses a 10% early withdrawal penalty for most savers who take money out of traditional…

Fear Must Not Inhibit a Financial Strategy

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Too often, it persuades investors to make questionable moves. January 9, 2018 Fear affects investors in two distinct ways. Every so often, a bulletin, headline, or sustained economic or market trend will scare them and make them question their investing approach. If they overreact to it, they may sell low now and buy high later – or in the worst-case scenario, they derail their whole investing and retirement planning strategy. Besides the fear of potential market shocks, there is also another fear worth noting – the fear of being too…

To Bit or Not to Bit: What Should Investors Make of Bitcoin Mania?

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December 2017 Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are receiving intense media coverage, prompting many investors to wonder whether these new types of electronic money deserve a place in their portfolios. Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin emerged only in the past decade. Unlike traditional money, no paper notes or metal coins are involved. No central bank issues the currency, and no regulator or nation state stands behind it. Instead, cryptocurrencies are a form of code made by computers and stored in a digital wallet. In the case of bitcoin, there is a finite…

Should We Reconsider What “Retirement” Means?

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The notion that we separate from work in our sixties may have to go. December 5, 2017 An executive transitions into a consulting role at age 62 and stops working altogether at 65; then, he becomes a buyer for a church network at 69. A corporate IT professional decides to conclude her career at age 58; she serves as a city council member in her sixties, then opens an art studio at 70. Are these people retired? Not by the old definition of the word. Our definition of “retirement” is…

Retirement in Sight – November 2017

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November 28, 2017 Ways to Possibly Produce More Retirement Income Your income determines your level of financial comfort in retirement more than any other factor. Some mid-life financial moves may help to boost it. One important move is to max out retirement accounts. Yearly contributions of $5,500 to an IRA starting at age 45 will grow to $214,460 by age 65 at a 6% annual return. At an 8% annual return, that becomes $271,826. (This does not even take catch-up contributions into account.) You can also delay retiring. At an…

Can We Afford to Live to 100?

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Our increased longevity poses a retirement planning challenge. November 28, 2017 Some of us may retire at 65 and live to 100 or 105. Advances in health care may make this a strong possibility. The corresponding question is: will we outlive our money? More people are spending more of their lives in retirement. According to the actuaries at Social Security, today’s 65-year-olds have roughly a 25% chance of living into their nineties, and about one in ten will live to 100 or longer. Clearly, this puts a strain on Social…

Your 2018 Financial To-Do List

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Things you can do for your future as the year unfolds.   November 28, 2017 What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2018? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to lowering your taxes. You have plenty of options. Here are a few that might prove convenient: Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2018, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional…