Add Life to your Retirement Years

A recent article in the Encore section of the WSJ, entitled “How to Add Life to Longer Lives” talks about the scientific advances which are extending our lives.  The point made by the article is that although these advances are being made and the first person in modern times who will live to 150 is alive today, as a society we are not prepared to deal with all the associated aspects that significantly longer lives will impact. The idea that we, as a society, are unprepared for longer lifespans is not something just for future generations to ponder and solve, it is a conversation that needs to be elevated and discussed today. Over the past 15 years, we have seen most large employers freeze pension plans for their employees, eliminate these plans for all newer employees, and put more of the responsibility for retirement savings on the employee themselves, through 401(k) only options.  The boomers who are retiring today are among the first who don’t have the safety net of an employer pension and in many cases did not adequately Read on! →

Financial Planning Shouldn’t Stop at Retirement

Most of us understand we need to give careful consideration to planning, saving and preparing for the future.  This typically includes planning for the purchase of our first house, saving for the education of our children, mapping out our careers, our retirement, and even our eventual death. However, I’ve seen too many consumers get to retirement, breathe a sigh of relief and then put their lives on auto-pilot, thinking they’ve handled all the big decisions.  The reality is that many times the decisions which will be faced in the years between retirement  and death can be some of the most overwhelming, impactful and costly decisions of our lives. When these things are left to chance, or are assumed it won’t happen to us, we effectively take ourselves out of the driver’s seat and hand over the controls to someone else.  If you’ve spent the first 50 or 60 years of your life trying to plan and prepare for what’s ahead, why would you leave the rest of your life to chance? When you first had children, you likely began saving Read on! →

Extra Income? What to do before it’s gone.

As spring’s arrival gets closer, you may also be anticipating the arrival of a large inflow of “extra” income.  This may be in the form of an income tax refund, pay raise, annual bonus, stock grant or restricted stock vesting.   Before this extra income actually hits your bank account, take some time to consider the best use for these additional assets.  Otherwise, it is too easy for the additional dollars to erode away while they sit in your checking account commingled with your regular income. Tax Refunds: In the case of a tax refund, let’s first examine the circumstances surrounding a big refund.  If this is a rare occurrence, then you need to consider the best use for your one-time windfall.  This might include a contribution to a Roth IRA, rebuilding your emergency savings or setting aside for an upcoming car purchase. If a sizeable refund is an annual event for you, consider the following.  By withholding more tax than you need on all your paychecks throughout the year, not only are you forfeiting use of that money, but typically Read on! →

Being Mortal

Conversations are essential, especially concerning the end of life. I am currently reading the book “Being Mortal – Medicine and What Matters in the End” by Atul Gawande.  Recently on PBS, Frontline chronicled Dr. Gawande and others about how the medical profession deals with the end of life with patients and their families.  You can view the feature here: While none of us want to think about the end of our lives or those of family members, one of the main focuses of the show was on patients at the very end of life and being able to have conversations about their preferences as the end drew near.  Frontline’s documentary brought to light that for some patients, emphasis was placed on the quantity of their remaining days, rather than the quality of their last days, which can make the end of life even more difficult.  This scenario can sometimes place physicians, patients and family members at odds so it is important the patient, or family members advocating on their behalf, have a voice in end of life choices and Read on! →