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…

No, That Is Not the I.R.S. Calling

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Watch out for crooks impersonating I.R.S. agents (and financial industry professionals). December 3, 2018 Do you know how the Internal Revenue Service contacts taxpayers to resolve a problem? The first step is almost always to send a letter through the U.S. Postal Service to the taxpayer.1 It is very rare for the I.R.S. to make the first contact through a call or a personal visit. This happens in two circumstances: when taxes are notably delinquent or overdue or when the agency feels an audit or criminal investigation is necessary. Furthermore,…

Is Generation X Preparing Adequately for Retirement?

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Future financial needs may be underestimated. November 14, 2018 If you were born during 1965-80, you belong to “Generation X.” Ten or twenty years ago, you may have thought of retirement as an event in the lives of your parents or grandparents; within the next 10-15 years, you will probably be thinking about how your own retirement will unfold.1 According to the most recent annual retirement survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, the average Gen Xer has saved only about $72,000 for retirement. Hypothetically, how much would that…

How Medigap Choices Are Changing

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Plan F is fading away, and Plan G may become the most selected option. November 14, 2018 Soon, the most popular Medigap policy will no longer be sold. Seniors will lose the chance to buy Plan F in 2020 as well as the less popular Plan C.1,2 These policies cover Medicare’s Part B deductible, which is currently $183. A new federal law prevents the sale of any Medigap policies that cover this deductible once the 2020s begin.2 Be assured, if you already have Plan F (or Plan C) coverage, you…

When You Retire Without Enough

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Start your “second act” with inadequate assets, and your vision of the future may be revised. November 14, 2018 How much have you saved for retirement? Are you on pace to amass a retirement fund of $1 million by age 65? More than a few retirement counselors urge pre-retirees to strive for that goal. If you have $1 million in invested assets when you retire, you can withdraw 4% a year from your retirement funds and receive $40,000 in annual income to go along with Social Security benefits (in ballpark…