Dave Lopez

ABOUT

Dave Lopez has been featured as a contributor in many publications including Yahoo! Finance, Market Watch, and The Star Tribune. He is a recognized speaker on the topic of Retirement Planning. Through workshops and adult education classes, Dave has presented on over 200 occasions to over 4,000 attendees over the last 9 years. Through his classes and workshops, Dave walks attendees through a step-by-step process to build out a plan for their retirement, using strategies designed to protect and preserve assets, manage market risk, increase retirement income and reduce taxes.

Dave is an Investment Advisor Representative with AlphaStar Capital Management and the Founder and Managing Member of ILG Financial, located in Stafford, Virginia. ILG Financial is a member of the Better Business Bureau and the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce. Dave is also proud to be a member of the National Ethics Association.

Dave graduated from James Madison University with a double major in Mathematics and Computer Science. After graduation, he spent 18 years in the Insurance Industry helping clients protect assets from loss. In 2008/2009 Dave watched several family and friends struggle with the loss of their life savings when the Stock Market crashed. He was amazed to see that most had no real plan for managing their savings. This drove Dave to look into a system based on fact and data that families could utilize to build out a plan for retirement. Each plan is unique, and factors-in negative events that could affect their retirement.

Dave and ILG Financial currently have over 70 Million dollars under management for their Clients in a combination of Investments and Insurance-based tools. Dave is happily married to Cheryl, his wife of 28 years, and is the proud father of Megan, Christian and Madison. As the founder of ILG Financial, he has been working with families and individuals building unique individual retirement plans for the last
10 years.

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Blogs

tax strategies

Most people don’t expect their taxes to disappear in retirement, but they may assume they’ll decrease substantially. However, this may not be the case. Between collecting Social Security, interest, dividends, and Required Minimum Distributions, your retirement income could be substantial. All of these types of income can be subject to tax, and there are strategies to help minimize those taxes. Before you retire, it can help to find out if your tax burden will decrease in retirement.

You might want to give the money in your 401(k) or IRA more time to grow once you retire. However, keep in mind that at age 70 ½ you will most likely have to start taking withdrawals. Required Minimum Distributions are based on your life expectancy and account balance, and encourage withdrawals from your account. In some cases, RMDs could push you into a higher tax bracket, which could mean that more of your retirement savings go towards taxes.[1] Fortunately, there are other options for investing accumulated wealth that don’t have strict rules regarding withdrawing funds. Talk to your financial advisor to learn more about some of those strategies.

One reason why it’s important to consider your tax burden in retirement is that tax rates are prone to fluctuations. If there’s a potential tax increase when the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act expires in 2025, or if there is new legislation in the future, how will it affect you and your savings? No one knows what taxes will be like in 10, 20, or 30 years, and that’s why when it comes to taxes, plan for your future self.

There are multiple tax strategies available, and everyone will require a different kind of strategy depending on their circumstances. One common strategy that you may have heard of is to convert part, or all of your traditional 401(k) or IRA into a Roth IRA. You pay taxes on contributions to a Roth IRA, and then withdrawals are taken tax-free. And, unlike with a traditional IRA, you are never subject to Required Minimum Distributions.[2] Having both a Roth and a traditional retirement account can be part of a plan to help minimize your taxes in retirement. This is just one of many opportunities that may be available to those planning for, or are currently in, retirement. Make sure to talk to your financial advisor to find the strategy best suited for you.

Here at ILG Financial, we don’t ignore our clients’ future tax burdens when helping them create a retirement plan. A comprehensive plan takes all types of retirement income and how they are taxed into account. We offer complimentary financial reviews so that we can meet you and learn more about your unique financial situation and retirement planning needs.

[1] https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-required-minimum-distributions-rmds

[2] https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/ten-differences-between-a-roth-ira-and-a-designated-roth-account

** Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered or guaranteed by AlphaStar.

The post Will Your Tax Burden Decrease in Retirement? appeared first on ILG Financial.

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Will Your Tax Burden Decrease in Retirement?

October 18, 2019

Most people don’t expect their taxes to disappear in retirement, but they may assume…

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retirement lifestyle

They say there are people who watch things happen, people who make things happen, and people who say, “what happened?” You certainly don’t want to be the last kind, and it’s not so great to be the first kind either. But distractions can get in the way, and the best of us procrastinate. If you want to be the kind of person who makes things happen, consider these tips.

Divide time into 15-minute blocks

There are endless distractions, and it’s easy not to realize how much time we spend on them. You sit down to watch one episode of your new favorite series and suddenly you’re on the third. You open Facebook for five minutes and it becomes 20. One way to beat procrastination is to divide time into 15-minute blocks. By setting aside blocks for specific tasks or leisure activities, you can more easily keep tack of how much time you spend on each thing, and limit time-wasting activities.

Make Lists

We’re all familiar with the to-do list. Maybe we’re also familiar with lists that never get completed, or are simply forgotten about. Having a designated place for either a physical list (like the fridge), or digital list (the notes section of our phone) can help you not lose it. Rather than forego putting tasks on the list you know you’ll complete and are in no danger of forgetting about, add them. That way, you can have the satisfaction of crossing them off, which can help you build momentum and make you feel more productive.

Consider Your Future Self

Sometimes getting things done is unpleasant in the moment, but later there can be feelings of accomplishment, and even relief. When you feel unmotivated, you can image how you’ll feel later knowing you procrastinated and didn’t produce what you wanted to produce. It’s never a good feeling, so avoiding it can help motivate you to push yourself in the moment.

One task you can add to your to-do list is to create a retirement plan. This upcoming 30 plus year period of your life requires preparation. You’ve worked hard during your career, and should be able to retire without worrying about how to generate retirement income, pay for healthcare costs later in life, or minimize your tax burden in retirement. The professionals at ILG Financial can help you accomplish this task, and the first step is to sign up for a complimentary review.

The post How to Stop Procrastinating appeared first on ILG Financial.

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How to Stop Procrastinating

October 14, 2019

They say there are people who watch things happen, people who make things happen,…

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retirement lifestyle

Have you heard of “Blue Zones”? No, they’re not places where everyone is a Democrat. They’re places in the world where there is an unusually high number of people living into their 90’s and even 100’s. Specifically, these people are relatively healthy in their old age. These populations are known for having lower instances of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. It’s not that they have special technologies, or the best doctors, or special genes – it’s thought to be their lifestyle. These “Blue Zones” are found all the around the world: The Italian island of Sardinia, Okinawa in Japan, Loma Linda in California, Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, and the Greek island of Ikaria were the first to be identified. So, what makes a Blue Zones special?

Plant-Based Diet

People who live in blue zones tend to eat less meat and more vegetables, fruits legumes, and nuts. People on the islands on Sardinia and Ikaria have diets rich in fish, which is associated with slower brain decline and a lower risk of heart disease.[1] Many of the Seventh Day Adventists in Loma Linda do not eat meat. Many Americans hear that they should eat less meat and processed food, but don’t necessarily hear what to replace these with. Legumes like beans, peas, and lentils are rich in protein.

Active Lifestyle

It’s not that there are more gyms in Blue Zones, it’s that people have more activity built into their everyday lives through walking, gardening, hiking, and doing daily chores. For example, people in Sardinia who raise animals in mountainous regions have a walk far to work, and have to climb steeper slopes.[2] It’s often hard to build exercise into your daily routine if you work full-time, but having more free time to get in shape is one of the things to love about retirement.

Enough Sleep

You may have seen studies that suggest that not getting enough sleep, or too much sleep, can increase the risk of heart disease or stroke.[3] In Blue Zones, people tend not to go to sleep and wake up at rigidly set hours. Instead their sleep is more tied to how tired they feel, and can include short daytime naps.

If you’re thinking about your desired retirement lifestyle, consider ways in which you can make healthier choices. If you plan on living into your 90’s or even 100’s, financial planning can become even more important. To learn more about ways to help make your savings last as long as you do, you can schedule a complimentary review with the professionals at ILG Financial. We can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your longevity risk into account in case your household becomes a miniature Blue Zone.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19262590

[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/blue-zones#section5

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20469800

** Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered or guaranteed by AlphaStar.

The post What Makes a Blue Zone Special? appeared first on ILG Financial.

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What Makes a Blue Zone Special?

October 12, 2019

Have you heard of “Blue Zones”? No, they’re not places where everyone is a…

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retirement planning

Your retirement account has a long life, and it doesn’t necessarily end when yours does. If you’ve contributed to a 401(k) or IRA throughout your career, you’ve probably accumulated a substantial nest egg. Then once you turn 59 ½ you can start withdrawing. And at 70 ½ you must start withdrawing. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) will force you to draw down your account balance, but might not deplete it. No matter how much money is left in your account, you need to designate a beneficiary. If you did so more than a few years ago, there may be reasons to update your retirement account beneficiaries.

Maybe you designated a beneficiary when you first established your retirement account and haven’t looked at the paperwork since. During that time, you may have gotten married, divorced, had children, or become involved with a charity you would like to leave money to.

Even if you updated your will or set up trust, you need to update your retirement account beneficiary because beneficiary designations trump will and trust directives. For example, you may want to divide your IRA equally among your children, but only have the oldest one actually named as beneficiary because you forgot to make updates when your other children were born. This could result in a court battle.

To prevent a situation like this, you should review your beneficiary designation immediately after events like the birth or death of an intended beneficiary, marriage, and divorce. If you never designated a beneficiary, federal or state law may determine one after you pass away. For qualified plans such as 401(k)s, the automatic designation is the spouse of the account owner. If you are divorced, widowed, or have another beneficiary in mind, you should review your beneficiary designation. If you decide you want to leave your retirement account to a charity, make sure it’s a qualified charity and continues to operate as such.

Naming a beneficiary for your retirement account is important, but it isn’t the only thing to consider when estate planning for your loved ones. There are ways to minimize taxes for your heirs, stretch the amount of time they have to draw down an inherited IRA, and gift money to future heirs during your lifetime. At ILG Financial, we can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your estate and legacy planning needs into account. Click here to schedule a no cost, no obligation financial review with us.

The post Reasons to Update Your Retirement Account Beneficiaries appeared first on ILG Financial.

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Reasons to Update Your Retirement Account Beneficiaries

October 7, 2019

Your retirement account has a long life, and it doesn’t necessarily end when yours…

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You Don’t Have to Downsize to Declutter

If your nest isn’t as full as it once was, or you have more time on your hands in retirement, consider decluttering. Even if downsizing in the near future isn’t part of your desired retirement lifestyle, having less clutter in your living space and better organizing the remaining stuff can help make a world of difference. If you’ve accumulated more possessions than you need over the years, consider these strategies for decluttering your home.

The Kitchen

It’s easy for the kitchen to get cluttered with things that don’t belong there, like a book someone was reading at the kitchen table, or important documents that someone put on the counter after they got them from the mailbox. The first step is to remove items that don’t belong in the kitchen. Next, organize what is supposed to be there by how often you use it: Things you use daily can go on top of surfaces, things you use weekly can go in top drawers or at the front of cabinets, and things you use less frequently can go in the harder to reach places.

Your wardrobe

Take it one clothing type at a time, moving from shoes, to casual wear to business wear. It’s easier to figure out which pairs of jeans to get rid of if you’re looking at all your jeans at once. If there are two items that are very similar to each other, consider donating one of them. As you go through each item, separate into a bins: A bin for dirty laundry, a bin of clothes that need to be repaired or dry cleaned, and a donation bin. If you have trouble deciding what clothes you don’t need, think about if you’ve worn the item in the past year – if not, consider donating it.

Your desk

Go through old papers to see which you need to keep and which you can throw out. As for financial documents, it’s generally fine to get rid of tax returns and supporting documents after three years. Other important documents can be organized in physical folders, or digitized and stored on a flash drive to save space.

If you’re looking to declutter your finances as well, the professionals at ILG Financial can help by creating a comprehensive retirement plan tailored to you, based on your unique financial situation and goals for the road ahead. Rather than go to multiple professionals for your retirement planning needs, you can get it all done here. To get started, click here to request a complimentary financial review.

** Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered or guaranteed by AlphaStar.

The post You Don’t Have to Downsize to Declutter appeared first on ILG Financial.

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You Don’t Have to Downsize to Declutter

October 4, 2019

If your nest isn’t as full as it once was, or you have more…

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retirement lifestyle

If you’re traveling this summer, or plan to travel often in retirement, there are certain staples you can bring wherever you go. When packing for a trip, everyone immediately thinks of underwear and a toothbrush, but there are other essentials that don’t come to mind as easily. And besides, you can buy a new toothbrush or extra pair of underwear pretty much anywhere in the world. Here are 5 essential items to pack on your next trip.

First Aid Kit

You don’t have to bring much, but it can be good to have the basics with you in case of an emergency – bandages, pain and fever reducers, antihistamines for allergic reactions, adhesive tape, and alcohol wipes. If you wear glasses, packing an extra pair, or extra contact lenses can be important, as can an extra week’s worth of any prescription medications you might take.

Phone Charger(s)

It’s hard to forget your phone, but it can be easy to forget a charger. You don’t know how long you might have to go before you can buy another one, and you certainly don’t want to travel with a dead phone. In addition to your regular charger, consider bringing a portable charger. You’re on vacation – don’t waste time sitting around in a Starbucks waiting for your phone to charge! If you know you’ll be walking around for long periods of time, or are using your phone as a camera, carry a portable charger with you to extend your phone’s battery life. Portable chargers are typically about the size of a phone, and a bit lighter. There are also phone cases that act as chargers in case you don’t want to carry around anything extra.

Adaptor

If you’re traveling internationally, you might also need an adaptor for your charger. There are universal adaptors that can be used in just about every country, and more simple ones to adapt to a specific kind of outlet.

Luggage Tag

Want to distinguish your black suitcase from over other traveler’s? Get a unique, eye catching luggage tag. It will help you spot your bag more easily on the luggage conveyor belt. This might minimize the amount of time spent looking for your luggage, or even the chance of you mistaking someone else’s bag for your own – or worse, someone mistaking your bag for theirs.

Luggage Tracker

If your luggage has ever been lost before, you know it’s not a good way to start or end a vacation. While you can’t guarantee this won’t happen, you can track where your bag is by putting a small, light, luggage tracker in it. There are apps that allow you to see where the tracker is on your phone. So when the airline tells you they’ve lost your luggage, you can tell them where it is.

If you’re interested in deciding how to spend your free time in retirement, you’ve probably considered taking a trip. Retirement is the longest vacation of your life, and also requires planning. The professionals at ILG Financial can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your retirement goals into account. Click here to sign up for your no cost, no obligation financial review.

The post 5 Essential Items to Pack on Your Next Trip appeared first on ILG Financial.

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5 Essential Items to Pack on Your Next Trip

September 30, 2019

If you’re traveling this summer, or plan to travel often in retirement, there are…

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Common Social Security Scams

Turning 65 means a lot of great things – you’re eligible for Medicare, you’re at or near your full Social Security age, and of course you can get into some museums, buy Amtrak tickets, and eat at certain restaurants for a discounted price. Unfortunately, you may also be targeted by criminals trying to steal your Social Security number. It’s important to recognize what these common Social Security scams look and sound like so you can avoid them.

We all know how bad it is to have your identity stolen. You know to keep your Social Security card and number safe, but criminals are always developing new methods of tricking people. One method is by calling retirees and claiming to be a Social Security Administration employee. The caller might say that your Social Security number has been suspended due to fraudulent activity, and ask you to confirm your number or else payments will be suspended. Other times the caller might claim that the Social Security Administration’s computers are down, and the government needs to confirm your personal information in order to continue sending you payments.

You should also watch out for fraudulent emails asking you to click on a link that could download a virus or ask you to send your Social Security number. Keep in mind that the Social Security administration probably won’t email or call you asking for personal information if there is a problem with your account – they will send you a letter.

Keep in mind that there has been a change to Social Security, and you won’t necessarily receive benefits statements by mail. You can to go the Social Security website and create a “my Social Security” account. There you can review your earnings history and benefits statements regularly to make sure everything is correct. If a criminal changes your address and bank account information to steal your benefit, you can find out sooner by checking your account. You can also make sure that your earnings history is recorded correctly, as your benefit is based on the number or years you worked and your income during your highest earning 35 years.

Learning to recognize common Social Security scams can help you avoid them. Remaining alert and being proactive about threats can help you minimize your risk, and the same can be said about financial security planning. At ILG Financial, we can help you assess risks and create a comprehensive retirement plan. You can sign up for a complimentary review so that we can meet face to face and discuss your retirement preparedness, financial goals, and concerns.

** Fixed insurance and annuity product guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing company and are not offered or guaranteed by AlphaStar.

The post Common Social Security Scams appeared first on ILG Financial.

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Common Social Security Scams

September 27, 2019

Turning 65 means a lot of great things – you’re eligible for Medicare, you’re…

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When it Comes to Taxes, Plan for Your Future Self

Retirement is a major event that can drastically change your day-to-day life, your financial strategies, and even your tax burden. Retirees may no longer receive taxable income from an employer, but they will likely receive income from other sources which can be taxed. This is why when it comes to taxes, it’s important to help plan for your future self.

Now vs. Tomorrow

Right now, many people are enjoying relatively low tax rates: In 1944 the highest income tax rate was 94%, and in 1978 the maximum capital gains tax rate was almost 40%.1 Currently, the highest income tax bracket is 37% and the highest long-term capital gains tax rate is 20%. 2 With a growing national debt and leadership in Washington always subject to change, it can be hard to predict what tax rates will look like in 10, 20, and 30 or more years into the future. That’s why it’s important to have a plan to help minimize your taxes in retirement.

Social Security

To help determine if you will owe tax on your Social Security benefit, add up your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefit. If it’s more than $25,000 as an individual, or more than $32,000 if you’re married and filing jointly, then you will likely owe tax on up to 50% of your benefit. As a single filer, if your combined income is more than $34,000, or as a married couple filing jointly with combined income over $44,000, then up to 85% of your benefit can be taxed.3 This is why integrating a Social Security maximization strategy with an overall plan to help minimize your tax burden in retirement is vital when planning for your future self.

Retirement Account Distributions

If you have a traditional 401(k) or IRA, you will transition from enjoying their tax-deferred status to paying taxes on distributions in retirement. Even if you don’t need the money right away, you will eventually have to start withdrawing from them annually after you turn age 70 ½. Distributions from Roth accounts however, are not taxed because they are funded with after-tax dollars. One tax minimization strategy to consider is to convert funds from traditional retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs to a Roth account. In this case you would pay tax on the amount converted at today’s rates, rather than pay the unknown rates of the future on distributions from a traditional retirement account.

Investment Sales

You might sell an investment in retirement, and that sale can trigger a capital gains tax. Investments held for under a year are taxed at regular income-tax rates, but investments held for over a year are taxed at the preferential rates of 15% and 20%. And, long-term capital gains are not taxed if your income as a couple is under $78,750 or under $39,375 as single filer.4

Here at ILG Financial, we can help you plan for the long-term by assessing your current situation and potential future tax burden in retirement. Taxes don’t disappear in retirement, so plan for your future self. We offer complimentary financial reviews so that you can get your questions answered, and we can help you take the first step towards creating a comprehensive retirement plan built to last for the long road ahead.

The post When it Comes to Taxes, Plan for Your Future Self appeared first on ILG Financial.

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When it Comes to Taxes, Plan for Your Future Self

September 23, 2019

Retirement is a major event that can drastically change your day-to-day life, your financial…

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You’ve worked the majority of your life, and deserve to have many blissful years ahead. With a proper plan and execution strategy in place, you should be on-track to accomplish all of your retirement goals and dreams. If it’s been a little while since your last retirement review, then CLICK to request your complimentary, no obligation meeting.

Here are 3, quick and easy lifestyle tips to consider for your life in retirement.

The first, is to not “check out” of society in retirement. Retirement is a time to relax, but relaxing shouldn’t mean that you stop everything.  A body in motion stays in motion.  Use this time to increase your involvement in your community and the lives of others, or simply do what you love. This can allow you to meet and make more friends, discover hobbies that you never knew you’d enjoy, and keep you engaged, active, and busy.

The second, is that your wisdom is priceless. So, why not try and find an opportunity to mentor someone younger. Whether it’s someone at work, a grandchild, or someone random, spending time with a younger person can be a great way to utilize your wisdom, feel useful, and have fun.  Your mentee will benefit from your time, knowledge, and experiences, and mentorship can be a rewarding way for you to spend some of your free time.  Your mentee may even engage in reverse mentorship and offer knowledge in areas that you wish you knew more about.

And the third, is to resist the urge to not spend money in order to leave more behind for heirs. It is possible to pass money on to your children without feeling broke in retirement.  Your children would likely rather see you enjoy your retirement than not spend any of your hard-earned savings.  A happy medium between saving and spending can make all parties better off.

The post Lifestyle Tips to Consider for Retirement appeared first on ILG Financial.

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Lifestyle Tips to Consider for Retirement

September 20, 2019

You’ve worked the majority of your life, and deserve to have many blissful years…

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4 Phases in Retirement

Everyone talks a lot about how to prepare for retirement financially, but there is less focus on how to adjust your mindset in retirement and manage expectations. You might not be happy every single day in retirement, but that doesn’t mean your retirement won’t be happy. Transitioning into retirement is no small task, and research shows that the way people feel about their retirements follows a u-shaped curve; first people are quite positive, then not as much, and then are positive again. It seems that there are 4 phases in retirement.

Stage 1: The Honeymoon

Many people idealize retirement: We see advertisements for trips we can take, cabins in the woods and beach houses we can move to once we don’t have to go into an office every day, and when we’re busy, the idea of unlimited free time is tempting. So, when people finally reach retirement and don’t wake up to an alarm clock everyday and go golfing instead of commuting, it’s no surprise that they experience an initial honeymoon phase. During the first few months, it’s easy to enjoy the simple pleasures and newfound freedom retirement offers, but after a while boredom, loneliness, or a lack of purpose can set in.

Stage 2: Disenchantment

The second stage is disenchantment; some retirees feel an emotional letdown after a while of living without a schedule or productive role. If a retiree hasn’t replaced the social contact they had at work with frequent social engagements, they can feel lonely and miss the socialization work offered them.

Stage 3: Reorientation

After experiencing disenchantment, retirees can re-orient themselves. Once they come to a more realistic understanding of what retirement is, they can make adjustments to their lifestyle that improve their attitude towards their retirement. Filling in schedules with more trips, time with family and friends, and meaningful hobbies, mentorships, or volunteering can help to re-orient retirees towards a more meaningful retirement.

Stage 4: Stability

The final stage is stability. After a while, careers are seen as in the past, and new routines and goals are seen as the new present. Even during times of boredom or disillusionment with retirement, retirees can remember that when it comes down to it, the financial stability that allows them to stay retired instead of going back to work is priceless.

Understanding the stages of retirement can help you through times when reality doesn’t live up to expectations. Making adjustments to your lifestyle and not taking the many things to love about retirement for granted are ways to re-establish a positive feeling about your retirement. The professionals at ILG Financial can help you get to and through retirement by creating a comprehensive retirement plan that takes your needs and goals into account. Click here to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review today.

The post 4 Phases in Retirement appeared first on ILG Financial.

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4 Phases in Retirement

September 16, 2019

Everyone talks a lot about how to prepare for retirement financially, but there is…

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