It wasn’t that long ago that I wrote a 3-part series entitled “The Middle Ages”. No, not the kind that you studied about in school and have read books and seen some great flicks about. I know you weren’t there, but you do remember it, right? It was the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the beginning of the European Renaissance, roughly from the 5th century through the 15th century AD. But now it’s practically 2019!
Although times have changed a tad since the Middle Ages, financial needs, dreams, goals, and their importance have not. So that’s why today I thought I would talk to you about another period of your life that requires a great plan and execution. Yet often we just don’t do it the way we should. I’m talking about your 60’s and 70’s and beyond, the golden years that usually spell retirement and big adjustments in life.
I’m willing to bet that almost every one of you has dreamt about the day when you no longer have to deal with your 9-5 workday routine. I have to laugh though when I think about me and that kind of timeframe. I certainly didn’t 9-5 most of my work life, especially in my jobs in retail management. More often than not my work hours spanned an earlier start time at around 8 a.m. and ran into evenings, weekends, and holidays with many weeks running 6 days.
In fact, I’d guess that I almost never worked a 40-hour week and typically did 50-55 hours as a matter of routine. So, yes, I can honestly say that I did dream of the day when I would sleep in, roll out of bed whenever I felt like it, and then do pretty much anything I’d ever want to do without worrying about the old clock on the wall! Continue reading
One of the things that always worried me before I retired was that I couldn’t honestly figure out what I would actually need to live on after I stopped getting my weekly paycheck. In other words, what would my retirement expenses be?
Almost all of us dream of the day we can stop working for good, but we all still worry about our finances and that can cloud even the sunniest visions of retirement. What will be and how will you cover everyday expenses when you no longer can count on a payday? Fortunately, there are some costs that actually do go down or simply disappear once you quit the daily rat race. That really helps you add some bucks to your new budget and keeps your standard of living from crashing down on your head when you start depending on your retirement savings and Social Security for most of your spendable funds. Continue reading
It’s hard to believe, but it’s that happy time again for those who have Medicare benefits and use Medicare Advantage plans when the open enrollment period begins on October 15th and ends on December 7th 2018 for 2019. You’ll get the hint I am certain when you begin seeing the massive advertising, mail, and phone calls about it starting any second, but this time around there is something to actually celebrate.
The good news just ahead for Medicare recipients are some potentially big savings. The over 60 million people who currently participate in the program (which has been around for over 50 years now) benefit from lower administration costs than private insurers have and that is despite the losses from fraud which it suffers from. But for 2019, things are about to get even better.
It’s rare that I can report to you that there’s such good news, but with very little fanfare and parades, this is the case thanks to the passing of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, signed into law last February. The bill covers a lot of important and even controversial spending changes as it always does, but when it comes to changes that are lowering the cost to our healthcare and affect Medicare then bravo and thank you are in order! Continue reading
Update 10/11/2018: The Social Security COLA for 2019 has been announced as a 2.8% increase.
It’s once again the time of year that we are anticipating information about the Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) for 2019. So, this is more of a “heads up” rather than a “super saving tip” you might say, for the over 60 million Social Security recipients in the US and even those who have relocated abroad.
As per usual, we already do have some clues as to where we are heading. Although the final decision for COLA for 2019 won’t be announced for another six weeks or so, here’s what I foresee as to what will happen. Brace yourself for it because it may not be good news. Good news is often hard to find when it comes to COLA and cost of living calculations. Continue reading
I have always earned my living in the greater New York City metropolitan area, technically here in suburban central NJ (and as the late great Rodney Dangerfield often said, “we don’t get no respect!”). Because of that fact, I have always known that living around here was way more expensive than most other places and the purchasing power of a buck got you significantly less here than, say, someplace in the southern part of the USA. That’s always been one of the big downsides of living in this area.
This fact is verified every year by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis that has been measuring this phenomenon since 2013. It recently published its latest data and using this info, the Tax Foundation demonstrates the real value of what $100 buys you in every state in the Union. It revealed once again that the power of your money really does depend on where you live. I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
You’ve probably already heard of the many schemes and pitches designed to separate you from your money—emails from Nigerian princes, phishing scams, etc. But does your bull$h!t detector go off when confronted with a slick come-on for perfectly legal-but-somewhat-questionable retirement investment pitches? There are a ton of them out there and as you inch closer and closer to retirement, you are more likely to hear about them and yes, even get roped into a presentation by a so-called retirement expert!
Retirement Investment Pitches You Should Ignore
That’s why I’m posting this today so you can get a heads up about some of these pitches that are often targeted to people just like you and I when planning our golden years in retirement. There are some investments that make sense in certain situations, but here are 7 specific BS pitches you should probably ignore! Continue reading
Inflation has been low for the past 25 years and that sounds like a really good thing. In fact, the inflation rate since 1992 has remained under 3.0% annually every year with just a few exceptions when it was only slightly higher.
That’s 25 years of fairly stable overall consumer prices so you might just think all is well as we roll merrily along in our working years aiming for a great retirement. Unfortunately, if you truly believe that, you are probably not quite getting the impact that even an annually low inflation rate has on your future buying power. The fact is inflation is a merciless tyrant on your financial future. Continue reading
Planning your finances is never really simple. But when one spouse is many years younger than the other, there is often even more to consider. For example, instead of planning a typical retirement income stream of 30 years, it’s going to be more like 40, maybe even 50 years. Financial planning when there’s an age difference can be a bit more complicated.
For me and my wife Suzanne, this is that situation. I am currently 68 and she is just 47. To be honest, it didn’t really dawn on me as to what might make it very different when we are 20+ years apart in planning retirement life until just a few years ago. Having met her when I was working and just in my mid 50’s, I thought retirement was far off in the distance and never dreamed that I would “have” to retire early because of my health and that she would become disabled for health reasons too. That’s made me ask the question: “What do we do differently to deal with our finances when one spouse is so much younger than the other?” Continue reading
Almost 62 million people, most of them retired workers, receive a Social Security check every month. That’s about 20% of all Americans these days and I’m one of them. For the vast majority of retirees, their Social Security income isn’t just some extra cash to count at the end of the month. It’s actually an indispensable source of income that they couldn’t do without. Social Security Administration (SSA) data shows that 62% of all retired workers get at least half their income, if not more, from Social Security. In some cases, it is the difference between life and death. And now that it’s tax time, many of us wonder “do you pay taxes on Social Security?”
The sad facts are that America’s most important social program isn’t in the best of shape. You probably know that Social Security will begin paying out more in benefits than it generates in revenue by 2022. By 2034, Social Security’s asset reserves are expected to be depleted. Continue reading