Tuning Out the Noise

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May 2018 For investors, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the relentless stream of news about markets. Being bombarded with data and headlines presented as impactful to your financial well-being can evoke strong emotional responses from even the most experienced investors. Headlines from the “lost decade”[1] can help illustrate several periods that may have led market participants to question their approach. May 1999: Dow Jones Industrial Average Closes Above 11,000 for the First Time March 2000: Nasdaq Stock Exchange Index Reaches an All-Time High of 5,048 April 2000:…

Set Goals as You Save & Invest

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Turn your intent into a commitment. June 11, 2018 Goals give you focus. To find and establish your investing and saving goals, first ask yourself what you want to accomplish. Do you want to build an emergency fund? Build college savings for your child? Have a large retirement fund by age 60? Once you have a defined motivation, a monetary goal can arise. It can be easier to dedicate yourself to a goal rather than a hope or a wish. That level of dedication is important, as saving and investing…

What Women Shouldn’t Retire Without

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A practical financial checklist for the future. June 11, 2018 When our parents retired, living to 75 amounted to a nice long life, and Social Security was often supplemented by a pension. The Social Security Administration estimates that today’s average 65-year-old female will live to age 86.6. Given these projections, it appears that a retirement of 20 years or longer might be in your future.1,2 Are you prepared for a 20-year retirement? How about a 30- or 40-year retirement? Don’t laugh; it could happen. The SSA projects that about 25%…

Including Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

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What should you know? What should your executor know? June 11, 2018 When people think about estate planning, they may think in terms of personal property, real estate, and investments. Digital assets might seem like a lesser concern, perhaps no concern at all. But it is something that many are now considering.1 Your digital assets should not disappear into a void when you die. You can direct that they be transferred, preserved, or destroyed per your instructions. Your digital assets may include information on your phone and computer, content that…

Why Medicare Should Be Part of Your Retirement Planning

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The premiums and coverages vary, and you must realize the differences. June 11, 2018 Medicare takes a little time to understand. As you approach age 65, familiarize yourself with its coverage options and their costs and limitations. Certain features of Medicare can affect health care costs and coverage. Some retirees may do okay with original Medicare (Parts A and B), others might find it lacking and decide to supplement original Medicare with Part C, Part D, or Medigap coverage. In some cases, that may mean paying more for senior health…

Retirement in Sight – May 2018

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Would You Pay More for a Better Employee Retirement Plan? If that trade-off sounds worthwhile, rest assured you are not the only one who feels that way. Sixty-six percent of the working Americans surveyed late last year by consulting firm Willis Towers Watson said that they would defer a greater percentage of salary than they currently do if their potential retirement benefits were upgraded, and 61% said that they would increase their plan contributions if they were offered a guaranteed benefit, in the manner of a traditional pension. The quality…

Retirement Planning Weak Spots

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They are all too common.  May 17, 2018 Many households think they are planning carefully for retirement. In many cases, they are not. Weak spots in their retirement planning and saving may go unnoticed. Couples should recognize that they may face major medical expenses. Each year, Fidelity Investments estimates how much a pair of newly retired 65-year-olds will spend on health care throughout the rest of their lives. Fidelity says that on average, retiring men will need $133,000 to fund health care in retirement; retiring women, $147,000. Even baby boomers…

Adjusting Your Portfolio as You Age

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As you approach retirement, it may be time to pay more attention to investment risk. April 27, 2018 If you are an experienced investor, you have probably fine-tuned your portfolio through the years in response to market cycles or in pursuit of a better return. As you approach or enter retirement, is another adjustment necessary? Some investors may think they can approach retirement without looking at their portfolios. Their investment allocations may be little changed from what they were 10 or 15 years ago. Because of that inattention (and this…

New Medicare Cards Are on the Way

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In the coming months, they will reach retiree mailboxes. April 27, 2018 New Medicare cards will be mailed out between now and next April. They have an 11-digit I.D. number instead of your SSN, and they are made of paper rather than plastic. This new 11-digit number is called the Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). If you have recently moved, be sure to provide the Social Security Administration with your new address so that your new card can reach you without delay. Once you get the new card, be sure to…

Retirement in Sight – April 2018

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What That First Year of Retirement May Teach You When any plan is followed through, there are lessons to be learned, refinements to be made. That certainly holds true for retirement plans. The initial year of retirement may prompt you to revise your monthly budget, your investment approach, and your lifestyle expectations. In fact, a shift in the investment markets might lead to revisions in all three areas. In addition, you will want to track real-world spending and see how it corresponds to your initial estimate. (Review your monthly bank…