Pros, Cons and Why the SECURE Act WON’T Make Your Retirement More Secure

The SECURE Act of 2019 is supposed to help more Americans save for retirement. The new legislation will have an impact on retirement plans – and not all of them are good.

In December of 2019, Congress passed H.R.1994 – the SECURE Act of 2019 – which contains the most sweeping changes to government-controlled retirement accounts – such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs – in more than a decade.

The SECURE legislation – which stands for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement” – put into place several provisions supposedly intended to strengthen retirement security.

Not surprisingly, the financial services industry spent many millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure passage.

So is the new legislation in your best interests? Is the SECURE Act really likely to increase your retirement security?

[Read more…] “Pros, Cons and Why the SECURE Act WON’T Make Your Retirement More Secure”

Four Helpful Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions to Spend Less and Save More

It probably won’t come as a surprise that the two most common New Year’s financial resolutions are to save more money… and to spend less.

And it also should come as no surprise that most New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned by Valentine’s Day – if not sooner!

So I thought this would be a great time to give you some tips to help you stick with it.

Let’s start with tips for spending less money because if you don’t spend less, it’s very difficult – or impossible – to save more.

Tip #1 for Curbing Spending: Get the Right Budgeting Program

I know, I know! The moment many people even hear the word “budget,” they get turned off because the word conjures up “deprivation,” just like the word “diet.” But hear me out… [Read more…] “Four Helpful Tips for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions to Spend Less and Save More”

3 Reasons Why the Money in Your 401(k)/IRA Doesn’t Belong to You

If you get regular account statements, you probably know the approximate current value of your 401(k) and/or IRAs, so please write that total down now.

Do you think all that money belongs to you?

It doesn’t… and what people find most surprising is how little of your account value actually does belong to you.

3 Reasons the Money in Your 401(k) Doesn’t Belong to You…

Reason #1: You May Not Be Fully Vested

[Read more…] “3 Reasons Why the Money in Your 401(k)/IRA Doesn’t Belong to You”

Conscious Spending: How to Live a Richer Lifestyle Without Busting Your Budget

Ben Simon, a college student at the University of Maryland, founded an organization called the Food Recovery Network that organizes campus dining halls to donate left over food to hungry Americans. Ben noticed how many billions of tons of food are wasted each year by restaurants, caterers and other food providers.

He believes that, especially in this country, we don’t need to produce more food to see that everyone is fed. We simply need to stop wasting the food we have.

And so it is with many of us and our money.

Rather than increasing the speed of our hamster wheel to make more money, most of us would do well to figure out how to waste less.

Too many of us spend on items that give us very little in return: no lasting satisfaction, joy, or value

[Read more…] “Conscious Spending: How to Live a Richer Lifestyle Without Busting Your Budget”

Can You Answer This Critical Question About Your Retirement Plan? (Most People Can’t)

Here’s the most critical question you must be able to answer about your retirement plan…

Do you know what your retirement account(s) will be worth on the day you plan to tap into them?

If you’re saving for retirement the way most people do, you couldn’t answer this question if your life depended on it!

And When You Get Right Down to it, Your Life Does Depend on it!

Here are three reasons why… [Read more…] “Can You Answer This Critical Question About Your Retirement Plan? (Most People Can’t)”

The Wall Street Journal Podcast Interview with Pamela Yellen: Why You Won’t Work as Long as You Planned

I was recently interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for an episode of their “Your Money Briefing” podcast.

The episode is described as, “Financial security expert Pamela Yellen explains why most people stop working earlier than planned, and offers safe investment tips to reduce the chances of running out of money in retirement.”

In this interview I discussed: [Read more…] “The Wall Street Journal Podcast Interview with Pamela Yellen: Why You Won’t Work as Long as You Planned”

Retirees Will Outlive Their Savings by 10 Years, According to a New Study by the World Economic Forum

The typical 65-year-old has only enough savings to cover 9.7 years of retirement income. That leaves the average American man with a gap of 8.3 years, and women (who live longer) face a 10.9-year gap with no savings left.

That’s according to a scary new study by the World Economic Forum. This assumes you live an average lifespan. If you’re one of the “lucky” ones who lives longer, you could outlive your money by 20 to 25 years or more.

6 Challenges You Face that Could Turn Your Retirement Dreams into a Retirement Nightmare…

How many of these challenges have you prepared for?

Challenge #1: The typical household nearing retirement has an average of only $135,000 in their combined retirement accounts – enough to provide at most $600 per month income. (Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances)

Challenge #2: Even healthy couples will face extreme health care costs in retirement. [Read more…] “Retirees Will Outlive Their Savings by 10 Years, According to a New Study by the World Economic Forum”

Retirement Can Be Fantastic … If You’re Prepared

What do you think of when you think of retirement? Freedom? Enjoyment? Less stress?

You’re not alone. Most workers today associate retirement with those concepts, according to What Is “Retirement”? Three Generations Prepare for Older Age, the latest study from the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

But the big question is … Will You Be Ready?

Will You Be Healthy Enough to Retire the Way You Hope To?

Just 16% of Baby Boomers surveyed said their health is “excellent.” But only about half of the workers in the survey said they exercise regularly … or eat healthfully … or get enough sleep.

Here’s the issue, as laid out bluntly by life coach Peter Sage …

If you don’t make time for health, you’ll have to make time for illness.”

How successful at life can you be, when your body refuses to serve you? And it will eventually refuse to serve you if you ignore your health.

Will You Have Enough Money to Do What You Want to Do?

Two out of three workers say their big retirement dream is travel. Half of those surveyed said they’re looking forward to spending time with their family and friends. And nearly half get a smile on their faces when they think of the time they’ll have to pursue their hobbies.

The problem is this: half of those surveyed have less than $50,000 total in all their household retirement accounts.

How far will $50,000 take you? [Read more…] “Retirement Can Be Fantastic … If You’re Prepared”

There’s a Good Chance You May Be Forced to Retire Sooner Than You Expect

Perhaps you’ve heard that the best way to make God laugh is to tell him your plans. … Particularly your plans for retirement!

And you’ve probably heard that with the unpredictability of the markets – stocks, bonds, real estate, whatever – you’re going to need to work longer than you had planned, in order to have enough to live on in retirement.

But that doesn’t mean the universe will cooperate.

Research from the Center for Retirement Research reveals that on average 21 percent of workers intend to work to age 66 or later. But more than half of them fail to reach this target.

The share of workers who say they expect to work past age 65 rose from 16% in 1991 to 48% in 2018. But the study shows that 37 percent of all workers end up retiring earlier than they had planned.

How can this be?

Why Are Hard-Working Americans Retiring Earlier Than Planned?

[Read more…] “There’s a Good Chance You May Be Forced to Retire Sooner Than You Expect”

Record-High Credit Card Debt Promises Problems for Many

According to the Federal Reserve, credit card debt in the U.S. is at its highest level ever. In December 2018, credit card debt was $26 billion higher than it was just three months earlier.

Americans over age 60 hold nearly one-third of all credit card debt in the country – and they’re seeing their accounts go delinquent at an increasing pace.

We’re not surprised. Eighteen months ago, we at Bank On Yourself bemoaned the fact that household debt at the end of 2017 was at a then all-time high of more than $13 trillion. Now credit card debt is poised to overtake auto debt as one of the “big three” consumer debt millstones (after mortgages and student loans).

Carrying significant credit card debt can cause serious problems

Living with a large balance on your card(s) can be like trying to cross Niagara Falls on a tightrope: You hope and pray nothing goes wrong.

What could go wrong while your cards are maxed out? [Read more…] “Record-High Credit Card Debt Promises Problems for Many”