It can be difficult for clients to imagine how much they’ll spend in retirement.

New retirees sometimes worry that they are spending too much, too soon. Should they scale back? Are they at risk of outliving their money? This concern may be legitimate. Some households “live it up” and spend more than they anticipate as retirement starts to unfold. In 10 or 20 years, though, they may not spend nearly as much.

By The Numbers

The initial stage of retirement can be expensive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show average spending of $70,570 per year for households headed by pre-retirees, Americans age 55-64. That figure drops to $52,141 for households headed by people age 65 and older. For people age 75 and older, that number drops even further to $45,820.1

Spending Pattern

Some suggest that retirement spending is best depicted by a U-shaped graph — It rises, then falls, then increases quickly due to medical expenses.

But a study by the investment firm BlackRock found that retiree spending declined very slightly over time. Also, medical expenses only spiked for a small percentage of retirees in the last two years of their lives.2

What’s the best course for you? Your spending pattern will depend on your personal choices as you enter retirement. A carefully designed strategy can help you be prepared and enjoy your retirement years.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023
2. BlackRock.com, 2023. (Based on a 2017 landmark study that looked at retirement spending.)
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Tips for setting up children for financial success

It’s the time of year when many parents are sending kids off to college to start newly independent lives full of exciting opportunities – new classes, new friends and many new opportunities. It may also be one of the first times some parents realize their children will face real-world decisions that may affect their future financial standings.

The truth is, parents should be preparing their children for financial success long before college. The time to teach kids about financial responsibility and decision making should start when they are young and be cultivated all the way through their childhood.

Here are four important tips for raising children to be financially successful:

 

  1. Help your child connect with trusted resources to learn from professionals. Rather than telling your child what they should do, help them learn important financial skills from the experts. Find a trusted banker, lender or financial advisor and introduce them. Encourage your child to ask questions or, if they’re young, ask questions for them. When your child enters high school, student loan advisors are an excellent resource for learning about options for financial aid.
  2. The internet can be helpful for research, but make sure any online research is done through trusted sources. Financial professionals can help you find good resources. Online calculators are helpful to show how student loans, or any loans, are not “free.” Understanding the total interest paid over the term of the loan can empower your student to make more informed decisions. We recommend www.finaid.org for resources on student financial aid.
  3. Be an example of what financial health looks like. Our thoughts and attitude toward finances are often reflected in our personal financial health. How we manage our money depends on how we prioritize it. The number one indication of financial health that leads to financial wealth is the ability to spend less than what is earned. Talk to your child about the choices he/she makes and how those decisions affect spending and saving. Show them your own budget or help them create a spending plan as they start their first job as a teenager. Take them with you to your own financial planning session and allow them to ask questions of your trusted advisor.
  4. Discuss the power of choices with your child. Tap into what they want for their future and what drives them. Talk about how life circumstances can change, and how planning and choices made now can affect how they weather certain life storms. Help them to ask themselves about the “what ifs” of life and be financially armored to stop changes from becoming crises. My youngest daughter (how old?) loves to have fun. If it isn’t fun or leading to fun, it isn’t worth her effort. So, I like to talk to her about spending her money for fun – but also how NOT fun it can be when bad choices lead to negative consequences.
  5. Practice makes perfect – and this includes the practice of finance! If you have a credit card, talk with your child about how it is used and paid off each month. Discuss also when it’s appropriate to use debit cards as opposed to credit cards. When they reach the age of 21, they are authorized to apply for credit cards. Instead, let your child be an authorized user on one of your credit cards – consider using it as a “practice” or emergency card. If they charge anything, they are expected to pay it off within the next billing period.

When my first child was born, one of my clients wisely told me, “You are raising an adult not a child.” Most of us dream that our children will always come to us for our wisdom and sage advice. The reality is, they may not. We have limited years to emulate our knowledge, set them up with mentors, and introduce them to professionals who will foster their independence and responsibility. Start now. Set your child up to be healthy with financial abundance to contribute to a better world.

The item most homeowners forget on their home improvement project checklist is insurance.

If you are like most homeowners, you love selecting the fixtures, fabrics, and paint colors of your home improvement project. But there is one very important item that you may overlook—making certain you are properly insured.

Why Proper Insurance Matters

You may need to review your insurance before beginning any home improvement project since it can expose you to additional financial risks.

If you choose to act as your own general contractor (in other words, you organize and order supplies while hiring sub-contractors to do the work), you may be opening up yourself to additional liability (such as an injury to a worker or third party) that may not be fully covered by your current homeowners insurance policy.¹

Whether it’s an extra room or an updated bathroom, many home improvement projects will increase the value of your home. However, too many homeowners fail to review the policy’s replacement value limits, which may no longer be high enough to cover any losses that occur after your home improvement.

Obtaining additional coverage shouldn’t wait until you’ve completed the remodeling. After all, at any point in the process, you will have supplies and completed work that may not be covered under your existing policy.

To ensure that you are properly covered, meet with your insurance agent about your projects and discuss with them any need for modifying your current insurance coverage.

1. The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult legal or insurance professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

You can plan ahead to protect yourself and your family against the financial consequences of deteriorating health.

As Teddy Roosevelt once observed, “Old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.”

The challenges seniors have met throughout their lives have made them wiser and stronger, preparing them for the unique challenges that come with aging.

As we age, the potential for cognitive decline increases, ranging from simple forgetfulness to dementia. Long-term illness can sap time and energy from tending to your financial affairs in retirement. Even a decline in vision may make it harder to manage your financial affairs.

Fortunately, you can look ahead to help protect yourself and your family against the financial consequences of deteriorating health, and in many cases, insurance may play an important role.

Let’s examine some of the ways you can employ insurance to help protect your financial health.

Healthcare Costs

For some, healthcare costs represent a larger share of their budget as the years pass.

Recognizing this, you may want to consider Medigap insurance to cover the expenses that Medicare does not, which can add up quickly. You also might want to consider some form of extended-care insurance, which can be structured to pay for nursing home and home healthcare services—two services that Medicare doesn’t cover.

Managing Your Wealth

The involvement you have with managing your investments may change as you age. For many seniors, that sort of day-to-day responsibility is unattractive and even untenable.

If that’s the case, you may wish to consider what role annuities can play. Annuities can be structured to pay you income for as long as you live, relieving you of the concern of outliving your retirement money. Certain annuities even offer extended-care benefits, which allow you to address two concerns with one decision.1

Transferring Your Estate

If you’re like many seniors, you have a strong desire to leave something to your children, grandchildren, and perhaps a favorite charity. Through the use of life insurance, you can pursue these objectives. For example, life insurance can be used to create an estate or to equalize an estate transfer among your heirs.2

Insurance will never be able to prevent the health issues that come inexorably with age, but it can be used to mitigate their potential financial consequences.

1. The guarantees of an annuity contract depend on the issuing company’s claims-paying ability. Annuities have contract limitations, fees, and charges, including account and administrative fees, underlying investment management fees, mortality and expense fees, and charges for optional benefits. Most annuities have surrender fees that are usually highest if you take out the money in the initial years of the annuity contact. Withdrawals and income payments are taxed as ordinary income. If a withdrawal is made prior to age 59½, a 10% federal income tax penalty may apply (unless an exception applies).
2. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Tips and strategies for women approaching retirement to ensure a smooth transition.

Retirement is a significant transition, and it can bring both challenges and opportunities for women who have spent many years focused on their careers. For women approaching retirement age, it is crucial to consider various tips and strategies to ensure a smooth and fulfilling transition. An elegant pivot from work life to a life of one’s own requires careful consideration. A woman retiring at 65 may live another two decades or more. That’s not only a long time to finance, it’s also a long time to figure out how to fill your life with meaningful activities.1

A Change of Identity

Retirement can change a woman’s identity, especially those who have worked in the same profession for many years. Exploring new interests and finding a new sense of purpose could involve taking on a new job title, pursuing a passion, or simply embracing new hobbies and activities. But you’ll enjoy your retirement more if you start thinking about establishing the new “you” independent of your career.

Addressing Your Finances

One of the first steps to take when preparing for retirement is to address financial matters. This includes reviewing your estate strategy, getting all necessary documents in order, and having contingency plans in place for the emergencies and the unexpected. Consider meeting with a financial professional before and after retiring to help establish that the appropriate steps are being taken.

Pivot to a New Career

For women concerned about their savings or Social Security benefits, considering part-time work, working from home, or starting a small business can provide income and social interaction. You have the choice here to ease into retirement while still keeping active and engaged. The Department of Labor says that women are more likely to work part time in retirement. Many part-time jobs may not have retirement plans, making it necessary to plan accordingly.1

Another option for women is volunteering. Many miss the engagement and challenge of the workforce, and volunteering allows them to dedicate their time to helping others while gaining personal fulfillment. Volunteering can be a way to stay connected to the community while making a difference.

Now that you have the time, why not try something new? Taking classes is also a way for women to continue learning and growing in retirement. Many courses covering various topics are available online or in person, allowing you to explore new interests and stay mentally active.

Focus on Your Health

Beyond addressing financial matters and finding ways to stay engaged, women must prioritize their health in retirement. This includes eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting the right amount of sleep. But your overall health includes more than just your physical body. Social engagement is also essential for happiness and health. Even for natural homebodies, spending time with others can have a positive impact.

It’s essential to remember that adjusting to retirement takes time. Transitioning into retirement can be a significant change for women who have dedicated many years to their careers. However, with careful preparation and consideration, women can make the most of this new phase of life. By addressing financial matters, finding ways to stay engaged, prioritizing health, and exploring new interests, women can embrace retirement as a new beginning and enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding experience. It is normal to experience a range of emotions after retirement, but these feelings will likely change over time. Being patient with yourself and understanding that it is a process may help alleviate frustration

1. Dol.gov, September 14, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

The YOLO Economy is a focus on experiences over material possessions, prompting Boomers to consider a similar mindset.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented transfer of wealth, with trillions of dollars being moved from one generation to the next. This transfer challenges many commonly held notions as new values and interests become more prominent. In short, the economy is changing, and while some of these new practices might raise an eyebrow or two, not all of these ideas are without merit.

For someone from the boomer generation, it might be easy to become upset with or confused by millennials’ differing points of view. However, taking note of the differences between the two generations can foster better communication and understanding.

The younger generations, including millennials, Gen Z, zoomers, and whatever else you call them, have a different perspective on wealth than their forebears. As these generations reach middle age, an interesting trend has emerged in emphasizing YOLO (You Only Live Once). Now that these generations have the steering wheel, they seem to be stepping on the gas and running full force into exciting, once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

At this point, it bears looking at the “why” of the YOLO economy. In other words, why do these forty-somethings spend as if there is no tomorrow?

Less money: Your average 40-year-old earns about $49,000 a year. While this is more than the 40-year-olds of the previous generation, the rising cost of living has taken a significant bite out of that difference.1

Less control: This generation also holds a smaller piece of the pie. While the post-WWII cohort controlled 22 percent of wealth in the United States once it reached middle age, millennials only controlled seven percent.2

Perhaps the biggest factor is less marriage: Middle-aged millennials are less likely to be married or start families than prior generations. Only 44 percent of millennials have walked down the aisle by age 40, compared to 61 percent for Generation X and 53 percent for baby boomers. Only 30 percent of millennials live with a spouse and at least one child, far lower than prior generations. This means that the expenses that come with a family are also off the table. If you aren’t married, the costs of a possible divorce are simply gone. Without children, you don’t have to pay for school clothes each fall, braces, and everything else that comes with helping a child grow up.3

The result is a very different economic picture for today’s middle-aged individuals. Consequently, all of these differences have informed a different set of values. Among millennials, 78 percent prefer spending money on experiences rather than material things. While prior generations may have placed more importance on things like home ownership, car purchases, and investments, millennials are looking at a different future with disparate priorities. For these reasons, spending on travel, exclusive events, and entertainment has become a priority.4

Of course, many boomers today find themselves in similar situations as middle-aged millennials. Most of the boomer generation is in their retirement, with their children growing and perhaps finding themselves needing further stimulation in their golden years. While many keep working part-time, start businesses, or help their families with childcare, there may be a pang of that YOLO spirit in them as well, and a similar yearning for adventure.

And for good reason. While their middle-age experiences may have been very different, there is no better time than now to take that big trip you’ve always thought about. Maybe it’s time to splurge on those expensive concert tickets or challenge yourself through a special adventure that always seemed impractical, like learning to SCUBA dive or skydive.

This might be too far for some, but it’s important to remember that wealth can serve us in two ways: providing security and allowing us to enjoy life. If you’ve been working hard with your financial professionals to pursue that security, maybe it’s time to talk to them about your need for enjoyment.

It’s also possible that the younger people in your family have done too much YOLO and not enough saving and investing. A conversation with a trusted financial professional may help them understand how to balance living for today and preparing for tomorrow.

1. Businessinsider.com, February 22, 2023
2. Fortune.com, March 22, 2023
3. Pewresearch.org, October 19, 2023
4. Harris Interactive, October 19, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.
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