An Introduction to Medicare Part B Premiums

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Everyone knows (or should know) they can sign up for Medicare at age 65. In fact, given the uncertainties regarding health insurance over the past year or so, many are chomping at the bit to get there faster! What many don’t know, though, is that there are several parts to Medicare. Part A is the more commonly known feature of Medicare. That’s the part most people are thinking about when they refer to Medicare. But there are also parts B, C and D. Part B is something you pay for, usually starting at age 65. Here are some common questions

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6 Smart Year-End Tax-Saving Money Moves

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The sun rises. The sun sets. After summer comes fall. These things we know, and we calmly accept. And then for some reason, every single year, after Halloween, we are “shocked” to find that we are hurtling towards December 31st. Please take a breath and make a promise to yourself that next Saturday, you will steal two hours from your day to focus on something very important that will help you preserve your money before heading into 2018. Sit down and estimate your 2017 taxes. Once December 31 passes, there is almost nothing you can do about your taxes. A little planning

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Don’t Get Pinged by the Social Security Earnings Limit

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I’d like to introduce you to Peggy. Born in 1956, Peggy will be 62 in 2018. She has worked in retail her whole life, the past twenty-five years spent in management. Peggy divorced from her husband 14 years ago, is still single and has no children. According to the Social Security Administration, Peggy’s Full Retirement Age (FRA) will be age 66 and four months which is when she will be entitled to full Social Security retirement benefits. FRA is a government set limit that varies based on your year, month and day of birth. FRA is gradually rising, and for those

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The Skinny on Fee-only Financial Advisors

A friend recently told me that her MBA-degreed 60 year-old-brother, Michael, admitted he didn’t know how his financial advisor Meg, affiliated with one of the country’s top financial firms, made her money. What?!?!?! Michael, with $3,000,000 in investments, is a pretty savvy fellow. How could he not know how Meg earns her keep? Is she a fee-only advisor that legally must put her client’s interests first, or a commission-based advisor that may at times have a conflict of interest between what will pay her the most and what will be best for Michael? This topic is germane right now. Earlier this

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Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

As you near your 60’s, your prime earning and saving years will transition into a period of time where you get to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” a.k.a retirement. We call this segueing from accumulation to decumulation, the period when you will be drawing from your accumulated nest egg. You need to find the best retirement investments so that you can generate regular income, without having to go back to work. Here’s an overview of the most popular income-producing retirement investments. 1) Immediate Annuities Immediate annuities provide guaranteed income immediately (hence the name). They are a form of insurance rather than

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Required Minimum Distributions: When Uncle Sam “makes” you take $ out of savings

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You’ve been putting money away in your IRA for much of your life to have some measure of economic security in your senior years (and to reduce your taxable income in boon years). And through some mixture of discipline, good fortune and wits you find that don’t have to use your IRA savings the moment they become available to you at age 59½. Good for you. Keep in mind, upon reaching age 70½ you must completely change your mindset because the U.S. Government requires you to start withdrawing money. It’s called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). If you’re like many of our

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Retire At 55? Probably Not A Good Idea

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It’s you’re 25 years old and contemplating retirement 30 years hence, an age 55 retirement is a possibility – if you start planning now. Put away at least $350 per month and plan on increasing that amount of savings each year. If you’re approaching age 40 (or older) and you’d like to retire by 55, it may be a bit more challenging, although in many cases it is still possible – if you’re willing to commit to the changes needed to make it happen. Of course, there is a third option that doesn’t get considered as often as it should. Find work

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Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

A 55-year-old friend, Jen, recently asked my opinion about long-term care insurance. Very few Americans, about eight percent, have long-term care insurance policies. Jen, who is at the age when many are weighing the pros and cons of long-term care insurance, had thought about buying a policy but didn’t feel like she had the money to do so. Recently Jen received an inheritance, as Muriel, her mother, passed away at age 87. Now Jen has the funds to pay for long-term care insurance (LTC) but is having second thoughts about it based on her experience with mom. Muriel had purchased

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How to ‘De-risk’ Your Retirement Portfolio So it Doesn’t Take a Big Plunge

Anybody who has lived in a cold climate knows what de-icing a car is like. If you’ve ever deiced a car you’ll get a chuckle out of this story, and see how you can apply it to de-risking your retirement money. When I lived in Colorado I was in a hurry one morning and scraped only a small peephole in the ice on my windshield. I made it about a mile down the road when an officer pulled me over. He poked his head in my car and with an exaggerated slow twist at the neck he made an attempt to

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Should You Be a Landlord in Your Retirement?

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In 2005, everyone I knew was buying real estate. With no experience and no money, they bought properties they couldn’t afford and were convinced they were going to make a fortune. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way, and most of them now have a foreclosure or short sale in their past. Does that make real estate a bad investment? No. It’s an investment. The good or bad part comes from how you approach it. What’s good for one person can be bad for another. To find out how to make real estate investments work, I decided to talk with a few experienced

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