Increasingly as we work with people of retirement age, we’re hearing a new concern: What happens when my mother runs out of money? This is something relatively new. Those in their middle ages used to be called the sandwich generation, because they were in the middle, caring for both their children and their parents. But this is something new . . . we’re speaking of people in their 60’s and 70’s caring for parents in their 80’s and 90’s.
By the time we hit our latter 60’s, most of us hope that the retirement nest egg is firmly in place, children are married off, and grandchildren are a joy. But since we’re all living so much longer, caring for one’s very elderly parents is now a large financial planning topic.
Too often we see a client who is concerned about his parents outliving their assets. A parent with a long and debilitating illness is a common...
(Note to the reader: I originally posted this piece in mid-March of 2020. Now I'm reviewing it at the end of April 2020. Hit the nail on the head, didn't I?)
I’m sure you’ve heard the term before: asset bubble. Sounds ominous, because a bubble is generally something that’s going to pop. On the other hand, I think of bubbles with champagne. So there are two images, both conjuring up a party that has to end at some time.
What does the term refer to in terms of market valuations? It means simply that at some point assets will be trading at a price that’s too high, and that the price will come down – maybe gradually, or maybe by a pop. Why is there so much in the financial literature today about asset bubbles? Because there appears to be a big asset bubble in the making.
Before I go on, let me define two terms:
We’ve all seen the financial headlines:
“Sell everything and buy gold!”
“Time to take profits off the table!”
“The market is poised for a big upswing – get in now!”
“Make 16% guaranteed with tax lien certificates!”
“Buy my real estate flipping system and control your own rental empire!”
…I’m getting an Excedrin headache.
If you’re like many people, reading the financial headlines every day can make you crazy. Yet you continue to watch in order to stay informed. You want to be in the know about financial markets so you follow CNBC, Money Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and others. Some outlets are better than others. There is so much economic uncertainty in the air, so you invest time and energy reading, or listening, to these “experts” to get a sense of what you need to do with your money....
As a financial adviser, I am privileged to work with many wonderful people who give generously. These are people who want to leave a legacy. These are clients who want to leave money behind which will continue to accomplish the good works the donor did during his or her lifetime. You may see or hear the names of prominent donors – sponsors of a university building or underwriters of Masterpiece Theatre – and think, Well, yes; I’d love to endow this or that organization or charity, but I’m simply not in that league.
Even if you don’t have a lot of spare cash kicking around, you may still be able to leave a legacy. One of the best ways to do this is with life insurance. For a manageable annual premium, you may be able to leave hundreds of thousands of dollars to your favorite organization. It works like this:
Decide which non-profit you’d like to see flourish.
Typically, this is a...
FRS participants have a choice among two retirement plan options:
The investment option, which is a defined contribution plan (DC)
The pension option, which is a defined benefit plan (DB)
In previous posts, I covered both the FRS Pension Option and the DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Program). In this post, I’m presenting the FRS Investment Option.
The salient feature of any DC plan is the amount of contributions that can go into an individual’s account. On the other hand, with a defined benefit plan (also known as a pension plan) there is a pension formula. The inputs are usually based on years of service and average or final compensation. The formula calculates a pension amount that is guaranteed over the pensioner’s lifetime or lifetimes of the pensioner plus spouse. Here, though, I’m focusing in on the FRS investment option, which is the FRS defined contribution plan.
ERISA statues define...
All the rules for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) changed with the SECURE Act of 2019. In this piece I go through the changes.
There are two important ages in retirement financial planning: 59 1/2 and 72. The former marks the age when you can distribute from your retirement account – IRA or 401k – without paying a 10% penalty on the distribution. The IRS, with this penalty, gives us all a reason to keep our long term savings in place for its intended purpose – retirement income. (Actually, there are several other important ages. Look at them here.)
The second date is now age 72, and this is the age at which you must begin taking your RMDs from your retirement account. This is a change; the date used to be April 1st of the year after the year in which you turn 70 1/2. More specifically, if you were born anytime after July 1st of 1949, the new law DOES apply to you. Born...
The Deferred Retirement Option Program (DROP) is available to Florida Retirement System (FRS) pension plan participants. As a DROP participant, you earn your salary while your monthly pension is paid into the FRS Trust Fund. You earn interest at the rate of 1.3% on those DROP funds. This money adds up quickly. If your pension payment is $5000/month, your ultimate DROP payment will approximate $310,000!
This is a rich retirement – there’s nothing remotely like it that we’ve see in private industry.
Before you participate in DROP, you earn one month of retirement service credit for each month you work. When you enter DROP, you are considered to be retired and your pension is frozen at that level. You will still benefit from the cost of living increases, however.
To participate in DROP, you must be vested and eligible for normal retirement (based on your years of service or age). You must be an active...
This blog post is actually the first of a trilogy having to do with Social Security. The second is about the Taxation of Social Security Benefits, and the third is, Will Social Security will be There When I Retire?
The Social Security benefit program is officially called OASDI – Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance. As the name suggests, it consists of two parts – the disability income part, and the retirement income part.
The program is funded by payroll taxes under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA): 7.65% of your gross pay, matched by your employer, on your earnings up to $137,700 in 2020. This means that, on that same amount, your employer withholds $10,534.05 from your pay, and matches that amount equally. Technically, the social security amount is 6.2% and the Medicare amount is 1.45%, and these total to 7.65%. If you earn more than...
Having great investment portfolio returns may not get you to your retirement goals. You could have (in theory) spectacular returns every year for 20 years and still not realize the retirement you want. Do we like strong investment performance? Sure. Should stellar performance be your goal? Not necessarily. Goals-based investing should be the approach. The investor starts from the endpoint and works backward toward today.
In doing retirement planning, first begin with the lifestyle you want to enjoy. Then figure out how much it’ll cost you. Then evaluate your current investments to see if they’ll do the job. Your portfolio return in this approach becomes the means, not the end. In other words, start with your goals, figure out how much it’s going to cost you, and determine how you should invest to accomplish those goals.
This approach is very different from performance-based...
Original Medicare is a creation of the Johnson administration in 1965. Medicare is health insurance for those aged 65+. There is a premium associated with coverage, and this premium is deducted from the Social Security Benefit. As with any government program, there is nothing easy to understand about Medicare. In this blog entry, I’ll cover the highlights.
Please don’t confuse Medicare with Medicaid. Medicare is health insurance. Medicaid is a state welfare benefit, though partially funded with federal dollars. The Medicare beneficiary is age 65. Someone who has been receiving social security disability for more than 2 years is also covered. Coverage is for individuals, so a retiree of age 65 cannot cover his spouse of 63 on the same policy. This spouse will have to wait two more years to elect coverage.
Basically, Part A covers...