Category Archives: Independent Agents

Three Powerful Retirement Moves To Consider Now

You can do too little when planning for retirement.

Yet most of the advice is focused on one thing: Accumulating as much money as possible.

While that’s not a bad idea, you also have to pay attention to spending and lifestyle. A few key moves can make a big difference.

Knowledge is the most powerful component when it comes to retirement, click here for the information you need to help you and your clients reach their retirement goals

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Social Security Is Under Fire But It Is Here to Stay

Jamie Hopkins

For the past few years, the Annual Social Security Trustee Report has effectively served as a yearly reminder to the American public of the grave funding issues threatening the solvency of the most important retirement income vehicle in the United States. The 2015 Annual Social Security Trustee Report is no different as it highlights the tremendous funding challenges that have been threatening the program since 2010, in which the total expenditures of the Social Security Disability Income program and the Social Security Old Age and Survivors Insurance program have exceeded the non-interest earnings income to the system. Because income from taxes is not sufficient to meet promised benefits, the eventual outcome is that both programs will run out of money and not be able to meet all of its promised benefits.

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American families spent 16% more on college this year

College loan

Americans say they spent 16% more on college expenses during the 2014-15 school year than the year before, according to Sallie Mae’s annual “How Americans pay for college” report.

Families shelled out an average of $24,164 to cover college costs during the 2014-15 school year, compared to $20,882 the year prior. It’s the first time in five years that families have increased college spending year over year, according to Sallie Mae.

The rising cost of college is certainly one factor that could be contributing to this significant bump, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

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Quarter-million-dollar baby: Cost of raising kids

Young girl with magnifying glass and pile of coins

Kids cost HOW much?

Let’s face it: Kids don’t come cheap. But ask any parent and they’ll more than likely say their children were well worth the cost in not only time and treasure but blood, sweat and tears, as well. But have they—or you—actually thought about just how much, in dollars and cents, it actually costs to raise a kid to age 18? Well, the federal government has done the math for you. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, middle-income American parents can expect to spend a total of $245,340 to raise a child who was born in 2013 (the latest year for which figures are available).

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Shrinking Social Security advantage for couples

Social Security has more than its share of critics, but over the years it has managed, at least, to provide a special cushion for some women.

Because women in the past were less likely to work and tended to accumulate less in Social Security benefits, married women have disproportionately benefited from the spousal benefit, which entitles them to as much as half of their partner’s Social Security benefit. And because women tend to outlive men, they are more likely than their husbands to receive Social Security survivors benefits.

But that gender gap is closing, according to recently published research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
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Advisors ease emotional hurdles of retirement!

Smiling senior couple

Retirement is the big financial finish line, but clients often don’t know what they want to do when they get there. Advisors are delving into psychological aspects of retirement planning to help them figure it out.

The need for this became clear to Amy Jo Lauber, certified financial planner and owner of Lauber Financial Planning, 15 years ago when 10 of her clients were offered early retirement packages—and eight were dead within a year of accepting them.

“They had enough money, but they didn’t have enough interests [or] activities to make a new life,” she said.

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9 Social Security Tips You Need To Know Right Now

Whether you’re ready to retire or simply planning for the future, here are the facts you really need to know about Social Security, and can’t afford to miss.

In a recent MassMutual survey, 1,513 participants took a True-or-False quiz on Social Security retirement benefits. Only one person answered all the questions in the quiz correctly. And nearly all of those who took the survey held at least one powerful misperception about Social Security. Misperceptions are costly—and could potentially cost you or a loved thousands of dollars. Don’t overlook these nine money-boosting facts:

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State pension funds face $1 trillion funding gap


More depressing news for workers who depend on a pension to fund their retirement: State-run pension funds faced a $968 billion shortfall in 2013, up $54 billion from the year prior, according to a new report by The Pew Charitable Trusts. When local pension fund shortfalls are factored in, the total pension funding gap surpasses $1 trillion.

“Policy makers are going to need to find a way to address [this funding gap] and it’s going to have to come down to some kind of plan to pay it down in an orderly fashion,” said David Draine, a senior researcher at Pew Charitable Trusts.

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How to Save for Retirement Without a 401(k)

savings  male hand stacking...

A 401(k) plan makes it convenient to save for retirement. The money is automatically withheld from your paychecks before you ever get a chance to spend it. You immediately get a tax break on your traditional 401(k) contributions, and sometimes your employer contributes money to the account as well. Some workers are even automatically enrolled in the plan without having to fill out any paperwork or make saving and investment decisions.

Saving for retirement without a 401(k) plan takes a little more effort. But if you are willing to take some initiative, you can still enjoy many of the tax breaks and investment gains that workers with 401(k) plans enjoy. Here’s how to save for retirement when you don’t have a 401(k) plan.

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