Women Live Longer Than Men So Retirement Planning Is Critical

Financial Planning Association:  “The odds are extremely good that my wife will outlive me. Whatever the reason – genetics, a healthier diet, the fact that she uses our treadmill as something other than a clothes rack – there will likely come a day when she bids me adieu.

Most people know that women have a longer life expectancy than men, living about 81 years compared to 76 for the average male. But what they may not have considered is what this statistic means in reality: namely that the overwhelming majority of people in retirement are women.

In the U.S., women make up nearly 60 percent of the population over age 65 and nearly 70 percent of the population of those over age 85.How should that reality affect the retirement planning of the fairer sex?” 

Working With Financial Planners

AARP:  “A widow just shy of her 90th birthday recently asked me to review her investment portfolio. This happens a lot: Much of my practice involves giving second opinions to other financial planners’ clients.  This widow had a reason to worry. She had been sold two expensive annuities — just about the last thing a 90-year-old needs — and the rest of her portfolio consisted mostly of risky stock funds and junk bond funds. The planner was making a fortune as the widow’s nest egg dwindled.

A natural reaction would be to file this story next to that of Bernie Madoff or other brazen crooks. But that would be too easy. Like every financial planner I know, the widow’s adviser really seemed to believe that she was doing her client a great service. In fact, she considered her a dear friend.

My point is this: Bad advice is epidemic in my industry, and it doesn’t come only from villainous fraudsters such as Madoff. It also comes from pleasant, empathetic folks who are merely responding predictably to my industry’s perverse incentives and self-serving ethical standards.  We financial planners are masters at persuading ourselves that what’s in our best interest also happens to be the moral thing to do. By and large, we’re good people, which is why we can be so convincing — and so potentially dangerous to your money.”

Is A Roth IRA Conversion Right For You?

Seacoast Online:  “The Roth IRA, originally established as an attractive retirement savings vehicle for middle-income Americans, had been out of reach to high-income earners until now. As of 2010, investors of any income can convert retirement plans and IRAs to Roth IRAs. This means that even high earners who convert to Roth IRAs will benefit from the tax-free withdrawal benefits the Roth IRA offers.

There is ample reason to consider a Roth conversion and to discuss this notion with your own tax adviser. Roth IRAs present certain advantages to eligible investors. The Roth affords eligible investors tax-free withdrawals, tax-free growth, no minimum distribution requirements and estate planning benefits.

So now that anyone can convert, does it make sense to convert pre-tax retirement plans to a Roth IRA?

6 Ways To Use Your IRA

Bankrate.com:  Since its inception more than three decades ago, the individual retirement account, or IRA, has solidified its role as the investment tool of choice for long-term savers seeking tax-favored growth.

Some 46 million U.S. households, or 39 percent, own an IRA, according to the Investment Company Institute, most with the intent of using those dollars to supplement their income after they stop collecting a paycheck.

But the ubiquitous IRA can flex far more muscle than that.

From estate-planning vehicle to emergency reserve to college savings plan, assets held within an IRA can be deployed for a multitude of reasons, often without penalty.

Continue reading 6 ways to use your IRA.

Time To Retire?

Yahoo! Finance: The first wave of Baby Boomers turned 65 earlier this year. Once, that was the official retirement age, the birthday after which you could spend entire Tuesdays on the golf course with no judgment. It was also the age at which people would start to look askance at the office.

Indeed, a broad swath of older workers once faced mandatory retirement age policies, and until this spring, Great Britain had a “Default Retirement Age” (DRA) of 65. Past that, an employer could dismiss an employee simply because she was getting on in years.

But Britain’s DRA has now been largely phased out, and social norms are changing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the U.S., the labor force participation rate among people aged 65 to 74 rose from 16.1% in 1988 to 25.1% in 2008. To be sure, the increased participation among older workers is at least partly due to financial necessity — though the increase began during good times, rather than simply spiking during the recent recession. But even if you are financially comfortable, or if you can be flexible with living expenses, this increase in working seniors raises different questions: in the absence of social norms or laws, when is the right time to retire? What are the signs that you should stay, and what are the signs it’s time to move on?

 

Retirement Planning – For Your Parents

CBS Boston:  As an adult child you may have begun to worry about the physical decline in your parents.

They can’t maintain their garden without some help. Dad needs you to help him put in the air conditioners. Mom is having trouble balancing her checkbook.

All signs of normal aging. Nothing to be concerned with. But what if they need more than a Saturday afternoon of your time?

What if they need financial help to stay in their home? Are you prepared? Are they?

What To Do With Your 401(k) When You Get A New Job

Daily Breeze:  Changing jobs after a long stint with a single employer can be challenging in itself.  But for those who’ve paid scant attention to their 401(k) plans over many years, deciding what to do with the funds can be downright daunting.

Allen, a Long Beach computer programmer, writes:

“After 18 years at my job, I am changing employers, and I’m getting mixed opinions about what I should do with my 401(k) funds – $287,000.  Some say move it to the new plan but it’s a much smaller company. Others say an IRA is the only way to go. I’m 46 with two kids, so I’ve got many earning years ahead. What’s my best move?”

Planning Your Exit Strategy

Phoenix Business Blog: Death and taxes may be two certainties in life, as Benjamin Franklin once pointed out. But for business owners, there’s another sure thing: the time will come to exit the business.

Yet, in working with business owners in peer advisory boards, I’ve found that most business owners don’t plan for that exit. They think about creating an exit strategy, but in most cases, they don’t do anything about it.

Each day, business owners work hard to enhance the value of their business, which, aside from a home, is typically the majority of an owner’s total wealth. But too few of their activities are directed toward increasing the value of the business when it’s time to leave it.

The Advantage of a Roth IRA

Free Money Finance.com: In looking at Wikipedia’s 401(k) IRA matrix that compares the benefits of a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, a 401k and a Roth 401k, the following stands out as a BIG advantage of the Roth IRA:

Forced Distributions: None. This is a huge advantage for Roth IRAs within estate planning.

They’re right — this is a gigantic advantage for a Roth IRA over all the other options. FYI, the others force distributions at 70½. But with a Roth you can let the money sit and grow forever — like until you die. Then the money can be used to pay your estate taxes (if you have any — hopefully you’ve planned to minimize those as well.)

Why You Should Delay Retirement

U.S. News & World Report:  Increasingly, Americans are pushing back their ideal retirement age. The age workers expect to retire rose from an average of 60 in 1995 to 66 in 2011, according to a recent Gallup poll. And a Harris Interactive survey released last week found that Americans age 55 and older plan to work until they’re 69, up from age 64 in 2001. Working longer has a variety of economic and social benefits. “At the bottom end of the socioeconomic scale, people need the money and the insurance to make ends meet, and at the upper-end people are working because they want to,” says Joseph Quinn, a Boston College economics professor. Here are 10 reasons you may want to consider delaying retirement…