Between the trade war heating up, and the recent market volatility, there’s no telling what kind of market we’re heading into. After enjoying a 10 year long bull market, there could be rougher times ahead in the near future, or down the road after you’re retired.
Many experts are looking at the fact that China has, and likely will devalue their currency as part of the developing trade war if tariffs are imposed on $550 Billion worth of Chinese goods. Last time they did this, there was a market drop. If current trends continue, we could see lower interest rates, higher inflation, and future market corrections.
So, what happens if you retire during in a bear market? Or if – and when – there is volatility in the future? Luckily, there are ways to help protect yourself when retirement planning in a volatile market. Generally, as someone gets closer to retirement, they’ll want to limit their risk exposure. They might invest less in stocks and more in bonds. For some retirees, an annuity can act as a steady and predictable source of income for a certain period of time, or their entire lives. Whatever the best plan is for you, it’s probably not to panic in times of market volatility. This is because decisions based on the emotions of the moment tend not to be the best decisions for the long term. In the end, no one can predict where the market will be in a few months, let alone in 20 years, but it’s likely that the recent market drops won’t be the last you’ll see in your lifetime.
There are many experts out there writing about what people nearing or already in retirement should do with their money to keep it safe. Some of it might be good advice, but the problem is that it may or may not apply to you and your particular financial situation. Knowing all possible options for your money and considering your risk tolerance can help you make the right decision for yourself in the long-term.
Retirement plans are not one size fits all, especially when it comes to protecting yourself from market volatility. Here at Peak Financial Freedom Group, we can take the time to learn about your unique retirement goals and risk tolerance, and create a plan for a 30 plus year retirement. To get started, click here to schedule a no cost, no obligation financial review.
Between the trade war heating up, and the recent market volatility, there’s no telling…Read More
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 traveling in retirement without overspending, you’ve probably spent some time vacation planning. Retirement is the longest vacation of your life, and also requires planning. The professionals at Peak Financial Freedom Group 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.
If you’re traveling this summer, or plan to travel often in retirement, there are…Read More
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 Peak Financial Freedom Group, 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.
Turning 65 means a lot of great things – you’re eligible for Medicare, you’re…Read More
Even though finances are important, life isn’t just about money. Rather than have your finances dictate your retirement lifestyle, your retirement lifestyle can help dictate how you plan for your finances. After all, two people with similar amounts of money could have completely different concepts of what constitutes their desired retirement lifestyle. No matter if your priority is traveling, working part-time for fun, or just enjoying your free time, it’s important to have a comprehensive financial plan in place. Whether you’re a few years from retirement or adjusting to retirement, spend time thinking about your desired retirement lifestyle.
There are many things to love about retirement, and having the freedom to choose how you want to spend your time is one of them. Maybe you plan on having a simple retirement, which could look something like this: You’ll primarily live off your pensions, retirement account withdrawals, and Social Security benefit. Your house and cars will be paid off, and you’ll hopefully have no debt. Most days, inexpensive activities like making dinner, gardening, playing with the grandkids, and walking the dog will keep you occupied. You’ll have ample leisure time and a slower-paced lifestyle.
Or, maybe you want more activity in your retirement, in which case your retirement might look more like this: You receive most of your retirement income from retirement accounts and investments. Rental properties, dividends, and interest income afford you enough to do activities like dine out, sail, golf, and travel. And, maybe you own a vacation home. In a more active retirement, you can also be tasked with managing your investments, including your rental properties, which can be a lot of work in retirement.
You may be ready to leave your current career, but not quite ready to retire when you reach retirement age. Maybe your ideal lifestyle involves working part or full-time doing something you love. Some people may become bored by the lack of purpose or social activity normally provided by a career when they first enter life in retirement. If you want to work, you’ll have some added income in addition to your other retirement income sources.
Everyone’s ideal retirement will look different, but these general types of retirement lifestyles can help get you thinking about the one you will create for yourself based on your unique financial situation and goals for the road ahead. The professionals at Peak Financial Freedom Group can help you figure out how you can finance your desired retirement lifestyle by building a comprehensive retirement strategy. To sit down with them and start the discussion, click here to sign up for a complimentary review.
Even though finances are important, life isn’t just about money. Rather than have your…Read More
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.
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.
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 Peak Financial Freedom Group, 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.
Retirement is a major event that can drastically change your day-to-day life, your financial…Read More
If you’re planning on taking a vacation, it’s probably something that you’ve looked forward to for a while now. And, that’s what retirement is about… It’s your 30 or more year vacation. Whether you’re traveling, volunteering, taking up new hobbies, or relaxing with friends and family, retirement is a time to unwind and do something you enjoy. One thing that’s great about life in retirement is the freedom you have to choose how you want to spend your time, and the people you want to surround yourself with. So, here are some potential ideas to consider when spending your free time in retirement.
First, consider spending more time with family and friends. Ask yourself this question: Am I nurturing my relationships? Sometimes, it can be hard to set yourself up for a retirement full of friends, connections, and fun. Why? Because leading up to retirement, many of us are so focused on work that we don’t leave enough time to nurture those relationships. In retirement, social networks are more important than ever. After all, this is when you’re going to have more time to invest in friendships both old and new. We all need networks of family, friends, and community. Whether that’s a band, a religious group, or some old golf buddies, retirement can allow you to make more time for the people who really matter, and the things that really make you happy.
Next, you may want to consider volunteering. Few things can be as fulfilling and stimulating as doing good deeds around the local community. Activities include walking animals at the local shelter, assisting at a hospital, tutoring and mentoring, or volunteering at a local non-profit. Most towns and cities have websites that post local volunteer opportunities, or you could stop by your local YMCA and read the community bulletin board. Transitioning into retirement is no small task, but you can make the most of it by taking more time for yourself in retirement. Some people become bored if they have too much free time on their hands.
So, what is another helpful idea to consider spending your free time on in retirement? Try taking up a new hobby. For example, you can start writing a blog. The wisdom that you accumulated from a long career can be shared through a blog about your area of professional expertise. You can also consider photography. In the age of digital photography, amateur photographers do not have to deal with the hassles of a dark room or spending money on rolls of film. It is an economical hobby for all seasons, and with practice, there may be opportunities to participate in local exhibits or at least showcase the photos online. Or, perhaps you want to take a class at a local community college offering courses on interesting topics. And, if the classroom isn’t for you, then consider traveling. It can also be a good motivation to get or stay in shape throughout retirement. Remember, new adventures can help keep one young.
Start planning today to help you take advantage of the added free time you’ll likely have in retirement. It’s your 30 or more year vacation, and the professionals at Peak Financial Freedom Group can help you create a comprehensive retirement plan with your desired lifestyle and unique goals in mind. Click here to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review to get started!
If you’re planning on taking a vacation, it’s probably something that you’ve looked forward…Read More
The recent market volatility may have you concerned, especially if you’re approaching or already in retirement. Feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, and uneasiness are all common during any scary and volatile market. These feelings are normal and sometimes it can be beneficial to take a step back and look at the big picture. We can’t predict the markets, so acting with haste and making emotional decisions can potentially negatively impact your retirement outlook. Make sure to remind yourself of the reasons you’re planning and investing in the first place. Focusing on your priorities and unique goals can help you put your market exposure and risk tolerance into perspective. Now that you’ve done this, you can focus your time and efforts on what’s really important.
As you find yourself at, near or in retirement, you’ll want to know how much retirement income you’ll need, and where it’ll come from. Additionally, you’ll want to consider having a diversified investment strategy based on your personal goals and risk tolerance level. With significant market drops and sharp jolts, it can be nerve-wracking. We get that. But, it’s important to try and stay calm and not let your emotions impact your financial decisions. This is just one reason why having a comprehensive retirement strategy to help you survive volatile markets can be a good idea.
One of the best ways to help achieve your retirement goals is to diversify and monitor your future income. The risk management technique of mixing a wide variety of investments within a portfolio is called diversification. Generally speaking, the purpose of a portfolio constructed in this manner is to give you a mix or a variety of investments to help get as much of the upside as possible, without putting too much at risk. Diversifying your investments, maintaining an appropriate mix of stock and bonds based on your age and risk tolerance, and having a long-term plan for your retirement can help you feel more secure and prepared during times of market volatility.
Ultimately, the right approach to retirement planning in a volatile market depends on you and your unique situation. That’s why it’s important to work with a trusted financial professional who takes into account your particular needs, goals and concerns when creating your custom, comprehensive retirement plan. At Peak Financial Freedom Group, we’ll work together to help you make smart and sound financial decisions so that your retirement is prepared for whatever the stock market brings. Click here to schedule your complimentary, no obligation review and we can help answer your retirement planning questions, while making sure you’re on-track for a successful life in retirement.
The recent market volatility may have you concerned, especially if you’re approaching or already…Read More
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.
You’ve worked the majority of your life, and deserve to have many blissful years…Read More
We all know that a 401(k) is one of the most important retirement planning tools we have: The potential tax benefits and power of compound interest can make it a great savings and investment tool for anyone who practices financial discipline and contributes regularly. But your contributions aren’t the only things to consider when figuring out how to make the most of your 401(k).
First, you should get a copy of your 401(k)’s summary plan description to double check the information you receive from HR when figuring out a 401(k). It can also include more information, like if your plan has a brokerage window, if it allows in-service distributions where you can take withdrawals penalty-free at age 59 ½ even if you’re still working, and if it allows for after-tax contributions to help you save more. It’s also important to look at the fees you are charged, as they can range from less than 0.10% of assets a year to more than 1%. If you have 401(k)s from former employers, you should assess their fees and consider rolling them over.
You may have automatically enrolled to contribute 3% of your salary to your 401(k), so if you would like to contribute more, you will have to adjust. Contributing more might mean saving more for retirement and benefiting from your full employer match. As of 2019, you can contribute up to $19,000 per year to a 401(k) if you are under 50 and an additional $6,000 per year if you are 50 or older to help with saving for retirement while reducing your taxes.
Your 401(k) is a long-term investment: You pay into it for decades and will likely need to rely on it, among other sources of income, for decades in retirement. With a professional advisor, you can run a lifetime income illustration to see how long your 401(k) could last you in retirement, and how much you can withdraw from it each year. You should also consider reviewing your asset allocation as you get closer to retirement to help maintain a risk level appropriate for your age, future goals, and overall financial situation. Finally, remember that your 401(k)’s journey might not end with you: Confirm or update your beneficiary designations with a primary and contingent beneficiary.
It can take a well-trained eye to spot hidden fees or less than ideal investment options, which is why it can be helpful to consult a financial advisor when working to make the most of your 401(k). If you’ve been contributing to a 401(k) plan for most of your career, then it may be helpful for you to schedule your no cost, no obligation financial review. At Peak Financial Freedom Group, we’ll work with you to help better understand your goals for the future and how your 401(k) plan can help to fund your retirement.
We all know that a 401(k) is one of the most important retirement planning…Read More
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 Peak Financial Freedom Group 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.
Everyone talks a lot about how to prepare for retirement financially, but there is…Read More