Financial Planning, Retirement Issues

Why is Compounding Important to Retirement

August 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Retirement Income | No Comments »

why is compounding important to retirementThe question, why is compounding important to retirement is one that everyone should understand the answer to. If you can take advantage of compound interest, compound dividends and income, your retirement savings are going to be significantly higher and your quality of life is going to be much better in retirement. This is where you let your savings work for you and help you. Many people would say that interest rates are so low right now that it does not really matter. You are not going to earn much anyway. Yes interest rates are low, but even 3% income is better than no income and over 30 years it can still add up to a significant amount. A few examples will help to illustrate.

Why is Compounding Important to Retirement

If you start saving $100 per month at age 25 for retirement and continue until you are 55 assuming that you do not generate any kind of interest or dividend income, your savings will be 30 years times 12 months times $100 = $36,000. Not very much and not enough to live on in retirement.

If you averaged 3% over those same 30 years,  your savings would jump to over $58,000. In fact your compound income is almost equal to what you contributed. Interest rates and dividend rates are low at this time, however over 30 years they probably will average close to 6% making your $100 investment over 30 years grow to over $100,000!

Consumers who can save more for retirement or who work longer will find that their money grows even further. Many people will work until they are 65 or 40 years in our example. Their money would grow to almost $200,000 at 6% or almost doubling over that extra 10 years.

If you can save more early on, your compound interest income is going to grow even faster. Focus on high quality dividend paying stocks that have a history of increasing dividend every year and you will do very well in deed over your working career.

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Nearing retired stage of life how much life insurance do you need?

August 1st, 2016 ernie Posted in Life Insurance | No Comments »

Nearing retired stage of life how much life insurance do you need?If you are nearing retired stage of life how much life insurance do you need? This is the question that many seniors ask themselves. You probably have heard the horror stories about people who canceled their life insurance and died shortly after. They left a huge debt for the family and no income to support dependents. They were simply trying to save money and did not expect to die so soon.

How do we know how much to have and when should we cancel our life insurance coverage? Frankly it depends on your personal situation, both financial and your overall health. On a personal level, the writer has been evaluating their needs for the last few years. They have been decreasing the amount of coverage as they age and the need decreases. It basically comes down to how much debt you have, income needed by dependents after you are gone and your savings.

Nearing retired stage of life how much life insurance do you need?

If you are nearing retirement or are retired, add up your total debt and determine how your estate would pay for this debt. Sell the house, disperse your savings etc. If you have enough to pay off your debt and you have no dependents then you probably have no need for life insurance.

On the other hand you do not want to have your dependents left destitute. They should not be forced to sell the home and lose all of the family savings. Have sufficient life insurance to cover the debt that you owe . Also provide for income as well might be the right answer. A life insurance sales person can help you with deciding the correct amount.

By the time you have retired, your debt levels should be relatively low or zero. Pension income should be sufficient to support any dependents that you may have.

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BREXIT Impact on Retirement Portfolios

July 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Personal Finance | No Comments »

BREXIT Impact on Retirement PortfoliosEveryone is wondering what the long term BREXIT Impact on Retirement Portfolios will be. Markets were down significantly and then have rebounded again. In effect in the short term there has been little impact on portfolios so far. But what will be the long term impact be on your retirement nest egg? If anyone tries to tell you they know, don’t believe them. They just cannot predict what will happen in the future. There are so many financial decisions that will be made by governments over the next couple of years, no one knows. It will take them several years to unwind the UK’s involvement in the EU. So what should an investor do in the mean time?

BREXIT Impact on Retirement Portfolios – Long Term

Bottom line, if you have a well diversified strategy in quality investments stick to your plan. Adjust as you would normally based on your plan and do not make any sudden or emotional changes.

There will be many more equivalent volatile events over the next few years. Investing for the long term means you need to be prepared for this volatility and invest accordingly. If you had spare cash available, you have already missed the window to take advantage of the downturn.

Timing the market is almost impossible for the average investor. Most people are far better off investing for the long term in blue chip dividend paying stocks across a diversified set of companies.

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Laid off – over 50 no pension no retirement savings – what now?

July 9th, 2016 ernie Posted in Personal Finance | No Comments »

over 50  no pension no retirement savingsI cannot imagine a worse nightmare. Being laid off and over 50  no pension no retirement savings! There are not many viable alternatives for someone in this situation. Obviously the first thing they need to do is find another job. Aside from finding another job, they need to also really think about what they will do later in life. How will they afford to live? Where will they live and how will they pay for groceries etc. There are so many questions, bit bottom line is life will be difficult unless they find a solution to their problems.

Over 50  no pension no retirement savings

The following are a list of steps that can be considered to minimize the impact during retirement. Even by taking these actions and working hard at them, life will still be difficult. Here are the ideas we have for someone in this situation:

  • Become an extreme saver
  • Embrace forced savings
  • Plan to work well into your 60’s or even 70’s
  • Develop plans to move in with family
  • Minimize your costs in every area of your life
  • Take advantage of all government programs
  • Invest your savings carefully – diversely, high quality blue chips
  • Avoid get rich quick schemes
  • Work with an investment / savings advisor



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Teaching Your Kids About Managing Money

July 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Life Style | No Comments »

Teaching Your Kids About Managing MoneyTeaching your kids about managing money can be among the most important life skills that parents can impart to their kids. If you can manage your money, avoid debt problems and save for things you want as well as retirement, you should have a pretty good life at least financially. It is never too late to begin teaching your kids about managing money, as well as pre-teens, young adults and even older adults. So what are the things you should do to help people and kids start learning about money, how to manage money and how to avoid getting into problems later in life over money?

Teaching Your Kids About Managing Money

These points are listed in general from an age perspective, however many can be applied even for older teens and adults:

  • Save 10% of all income, including allowances and pay checks
  • Pay an allowance
  • Assign age appropriate tasks tied to their allowance
  • Open a savings account to teach about saving
  • Establish emergency savings
  • Establish goal oriented savings accounts
  • Young adults should start saving for retirement
  • Learn the power of compounding interest rates and income
  • Older teens should obtain a credit card to learn about credit, debt and credit ratings
  • Start saving for a down payment on a home
  • Learn about debt ratios and the 35% rule

We will expand on this list and explain some of the items in our next post about teaching your kids about how to manage money.

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Banks Failing to Stop Elder Abuse

June 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Life Style | No Comments »

Banks Failing to Stop Elder AbuseIf you are surrounded by a caring and loving family, chances are that elder abuse will not be an issue for most people. On the other hand many people are still taken advantage of by family members as well as scam artists and this is where the banks can help in a number of ways. With baby boomers aging banks failing to stop elder abuse in a financial sense is a real issue. They are assessing placing safe guards in place that will monitor unusual amounts of money being with drawn from accounts and alerting appropriate people.As a senior you have to tell the banks who they should contact and when, so there is a part for the senior and the care giver to play here as well.

Banks Failing to Stop Elder Abuse

While the banks figure this out there are a number of things that individuals can do to manage abuse of your own accounts or on accounts that you are managing for someone else. All banks now offer email alerts that can be set at various thresholds. An email is sent to the specified address any time this threshold is exceeded.

If you are a care giver, this is an excellent way to keep track of what is going on in someones account. As a senior you may want to have more than one person manage the account to avoid temptation for a single care giver.

Make sure that there is a living will that specifies who can manage your affairs if you are incapacitated and set up the safe guards as mentioned to avoid being scammed or finding that all of your money has been removed by someone who you trusted. Tell the bank who this person is and add controls on the account to avoid large sums of money being removed without your knowledge.

Take control of the elder abuse possibility yourself to avoid becoming a victim.

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Banks and Elder Abuse

June 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Personal Finance | No Comments »

Banks and Elder AbuseElder abuse can come in many different forms. In some cases it is a failure to provide adequate care while in others it is actual physical abuse. But there is another form of abuse and this is where banks and elder abuse  come together and also where they can make a difference. Financial elder abuse can come from scams that are perpetrated by 3rd parties on confused seniors. They somehow persuade them to part with large sums of money. In other cases, it is the actual family members who have responsibility for the senior’s financial affairs. It may be a son or daughter or a relative that just cannot resist taking some of the money out of the bank for their own personal use.

There are a number of ways that the banks as well as individuals can protect themselves from this sort of financial abuse. The banks are gradually putting systems and triggers in place that will alert them when large sums are removed from an account. Also abnormal amounts that do not fit the profile of the account owner can also trigger alerts. But there are more ways that you can protect yourself as well as your elder family member.

Banks and Elder Abuse

We will list a few steps that consumers can take to protect themselves. This applies to the senior as well as the person responsible for looking after their accounts. It is not fool proof, but it is a step in the right direction.

Living Will – make sure that there is a living will that specifies at least two people who will look after health decision and financial decisions. Make sure the bank is aware of the living will.

Account Alerts – emails can be sent based on triggers of both deposits and withdrawals to the designated living will executors and the senior in question, providing information about activity taking place in the account.

Monitor – Check online at least once a month and more often to make sure that nothing suspicious is going on with the accounts finances.

Place Limits – on the account in terms of transactions. Anything larger than a specified amount triggers a phone call to the executors or the account owner for approval.

If you have these items in place and make good decisions regarding your living will executors there is a much higher probability of avoiding elder abuse.

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How Long Should You Plan For Your Nest Egg to Last

May 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Life Style | No Comments »

How Long Should You Plan For Your Nest Egg to LastIn our last post we suggested that consumers should really try to assess how long should you plan for your nest egg to last. What this question is really asking is how long will you live? And also how long will your spouse live. No one really knows, however you can look for indicators such as how long your parents, uncles and aunts lived. This is a good indicator from a genetic perspective. There could be all kinds of external issues such as health and accidents, but you really have to ignore these. No one can tell what will happen in the next 5 minutes let alone years from now.

How Long Should You Plan For Your Nest Egg to Last

If you want to be conservative, take the average age of your parents and add at least 5 years to that life span to reflect we have better health care and we have lived generally in a healthier manner over the years. Next take a look at your extended family to assess if there are any that lived significantly longer. Compare your health to that person and make an adjustment to the average number you calculated earlier with the 5 years also added.

If you plan to retire at a specific age, you now have an indicator of how long you need your savings to last. This answers the question of how long should you plan your nest egg to last. From here you can use a calculator of some kind that takes into account the income you should make on your investments and how much you should withdraw each year. Our previous post gave a simple method of calculating this number.

The longer answer is that you must take into account your investments, what income you can expect from them, what the inflation rate will be and how the markets will change over the years. This is a complicated calculation and most advisers will be happy to help you with developing a conservative answer.

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Will Your Emergency Fund Meet Your Needs

May 7th, 2016 ernie Posted in Financial Planning | No Comments »

Will your emergency fund meet your needs? What is an emergency? Do you have enough saved? Can you access it when you need it? How do you determine How much you will need to set aside to feel that your financial needs will be met if an emergency comes along? First we can discuss what an emergency fund actually is!

Will Your Emergency Fund Meet Your Needs?

Definition of an emergency fund: Money sitting in a savings account at a bank or credit union in accounts that are insulated from the ups and downs of the stock and bond markets, and easily accessible online. Interest rates are pitiful on these accounts, but the emphasis is on safety over returns. In other words you can count on the money being there when you need it. It is there to help you during your emergency!

Most experts suggest you should have the equivalent of 6 months salary. If you cut back on expenses to the bare minimum, and you have 6 months salary saved, it will actually last you more than 6 months. This type of emergency fund is for a job loss and will help you survive while looking for another job.

Our experts also suggest you look into the details a little more before finalizing the amount. For example how long will it realistically take you to find a job? If it is longer than 6 months then you better save more!

Are their major repairs or some other kind of emergency you need to plan for. Does your car need repair? What about the house? How about health issues? These are all things that an emergency fund might be able to help you with.

Take a look at your life and see what emergencies you should plan for! Don’t forget to top up your fund if you need to draw on it . You want it to have sufficient funds for the next time!

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File Taxes Online

April 21st, 2016 ernie Posted in Tax Savings | No Comments »

Turbotax is one of the online tax filing services that consumers can use to file taxes online. Turbo tax can be found at and can be down loaded to your PC and you can file your taxes easily online and then make your payment from your bank account if you happen to owe taxes to the Federal Government.   This program will also help you make sure you get all of your tax deductions,  and get your tax refund early. File taxes online prior to April 15th in the US and prior to April 30 in Canada to avoid any tax penalties on tax amounts owing.

Many people use a tax preparation service from companies that use Turbo tax and provide  tax services. In some cases they may even prepare your tax forms for free. File your taxes,  for both federal and state taxes. Canadians can do the same, filing for provincial and federal taxes online.

If you are a  business or a  consumer, it does not matter it is easy to file  using the efile, capabilities of Turbotax. All of the financial forms you will need are included covering all income,  interest, and investment income. If you have loans or mortgage interest expense, you can use Turbotax to track all of your income.


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