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Do NCAA Tournament Winners Predict Market Returns?

If you’re a college basketball fan, this is your favorite time of year.

 

March Madness is in full swing. That means a full schedule of games every weekend, buzzer-beating finishes and unbelievable upsets. If you’re like many fans, your bracket is already a mess.

 

It’s nearly impossible to predict the outcome of the NCAA Tournament. According to a Duke University professor, the odds of predicting a perfect bracket are 1 in 2.4 trillion.1 Even getting the Final Four correct can be difficult: In last year’s Capital One Bracket Challenge, only 54 entries had the Final Four teams correct.2

 

It may also feel like it’s impossible to predict the movement of the financial markets. The major indexes can swing in any direction on any given day, influenced by an infinite number of events and updates from around the world. In the short term, it’s virtually impossible to predict where the markets are headed.

 

But can you use the winner of the NCAA Tournament to make a market prediction? Researchers from Schaeffer’s Investment Research recently studied S&P 500 index returns from April to December along with past NCAA Tournament champions to see if there’s any correlation between the two.

 

The research found that the market has consistently had positive annual returns when the NCAA Tournament champion has come from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). That’s happened 11 times. The S&P 500 has gone on to have a positive return the rest of the year in each of those instances. The median return from April to December when the champion is an SEC team is 9.56 percent.3

 

The market has also had positive returns at least 75 percent of the time when the champion has come from the ACC, Pac-12 or Big East. The ACC and Pac-12 have produced the most champions, with each conference winning 16 times. During years in which the ACC has won, the market had a positive return 75 percent of the time, with a median return of 9.59 percent. When the Pac-12 wins, the market has been positive 88 percent of the time, with a median return of 8.91 percent.3

 

When does the S&P 500 have a negative return from April to December? When the NCAA Tournament winner comes from the Big Ten Conference. In those years, the market has been positive only 36 percent of the time, with a median return of -4.76 percent.3

 

Coincidence Isn’t the Same Thing as Correlation

 

Of course, just because these patterns exist doesn’t mean there’s an actual correlation between the tournament winner and the returns of the market. There’s no factor tying the championship outcome to the S&P 500, so these patterns are entirely coincidental. They shouldn’t be used to try to make any kind of market predictions.

 

If you want to stabilize your investment performance and reduce volatility, there are other steps you can take besides relying on the outcome of a basketball tournament. Below are a few steps to consider:

 

Review your allocation. As you get older and approach retirement, it’s natural to become less tolerant of risk. You may not be able to stomach the ups and downs of the market like you used to. That’s understandable. After all, you’ll need to rely on those savings for income in the near future.

 

Now could be a good time to review your allocation with your financial professional. It’s possible that your current allocation isn’t right for your goals, needs and risk tolerance.

 

Rebalance. The market moves up and down, but not all asset classes move in the same direction at the same time. As some asset classes increase in value, others decline. That means your actual allocation is always in a state of flux. Over time, it may become far different than your desired allocation.

 

It’s helpful to regularly rebalance your portfolio so it always adjusts back to your target allocation. When you rebalance, you sell some of the assets that have increased in value and buy those that have declined. That can help you lock in gains and stay aligned with your desired strategy.

 

Use an annuity. An annuity can be an effective tool to potentially increase your assets but also limit downside risk. For example, a fixed indexed annuity pays an interest rate based on the performance of an index, like the S&P 500. The better the index performs over a defined period, the higher your rate. If it performs poorly, you may get little or no interest.

 

In a fixed indexed annuity, however, your principal is guaranteed*. There’s no risk of loss due to market performance. That means you get upside potential without the volatility.

 

Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project to learn more.

 

1https://ftw.usatoday.com/2015/03/duke-math-professor-says-odds-of-a-perfect-bracket-are-one-in-2-4-trillion

2https://www.ncaa.com/news/basketball-men/bracketiq/2018-03-26/54-ncaa-brackets-correctly-predicted-final-four

3https://www.schaeffersresearch.com/content/analysis/2017/03/23/march-madness-indicator-why-the-stock-market-should-root-for-kentucky

 

*Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values.

 

18583 – 2019/2/27

4 Tax Tips to Consider for 2019

The deadline for filing your 2018 tax return is right around the corner. Have you filed your return yet? If so, were you satisfied with the outcome? Or were you surprised by how much you paid in taxes last year?

The recent tax law dramatically changed the tax code. For many Americans, the law means reduced taxes. If you don’t plan accordingly, however, it’s possible that you could owe money to the IRS after your filing. It’s also possible that you could pay more in taxes than necessary.

Now is a great time to review your strategy and identify action steps that could reduce your tax exposure. If you haven’t reviewed your financial plan recently, you may be missing out on a number of tax-efficient tools and products. Below are a few tips to consider as you review your taxes:

Review your deductions.

 

One of the biggest changes of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is the elimination and reduction of a wide range of deductions. Most itemized deductions were eliminated, including those for alimony payments and interest on many types of home equity loans. Caps were also implemented for state, local and property tax deductions. The law also eliminated personal exemptions.1

To make up for these changes, the law more than doubled the standard deduction.1 For many people, that means it will be more advantageous to take the standard deduction than to itemize deductions. If you’ve planned your spending based on the ability to itemize and deduct certain expenses, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Those deductions may no longer be allowed under the new law.

Check your withholding amount.

 

The law also reduced tax rates across the board and changed the income brackets for each rate level. As a result, many employers adjusted their withholding amounts. Not all did, however. And some may have adjusted their withholdings incorrectly.

In fact, according to a study from the Government Accountability Office, 30 million people, or just over 20 percent of taxpayers, are not withholding enough money from their paychecks to cover taxes.2 Are you part of that group? If you’re not sure, talk to your financial professional about whether you should increase your withholdings.

Maximize your tax-deferred savings.

 

Tax deferral is a great way to reduce current taxes and save for the future. In a tax-deferred account, you don’t pay taxes on growth in the current year as long as your money stays in the account. You may face taxes in the future when you take a distribution.

Many qualified retirement accounts, such as 401(k) plans and IRAs, offer tax-deferred growth. In 2019 you can contribute up to $19,000 to your 401(k), plus an additional $6,000 if you are age 50 or older. You can put as much as $6,000 into an IRA, or up to $7,000 if you’re 50 or older.3

Want more tax deferral beyond your 401(k) and IRA? Consider a deferred annuity. Annuities offer tax-deferred growth. They also offer a variety of ways to increase your assets. Some pay a fixed interest rate and have no downside risk. Others let you participate in the financial markets according to your risk tolerance and goals. A financial professional can help you find the right annuity for your strategy.

Develop sources of tax-efficient retirement income.

 

Taxes don’t stop when you quit working. If you’re approaching retirement, now may be the time to plan ahead and minimize your future tax exposure. You can take steps today to create tax-efficient income for your retirement.

For example, distributions from a Roth IRA are tax-free assuming you’re over age 59½. You may want to start contributing to a Roth or even consider converting your traditional IRA into a Roth.

You can also use a permanent life insurance policy as a source of tax-efficient income. You can withdraw your premiums from your life insurance cash value tax-free. Also, loans from life insurance policies are tax-free distributions. You may want to discuss with your financial professional how life insurance could reduce your future taxes in retirement.

Ready to take control of your tax strategy in 2019? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project.. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://www.thebalance.com/trump-s-tax-plan-how-it-affects-you-4113968

2https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/01/30-million-americans-are-not-withholding-enough-pay-for-taxes.html

3https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/01/heres-how-much-you-can-sock-away-toward-retirement-in-2019.html

 

18582 – 2019/2/27

 

 

Is the Downturn Threatening Your Retirement? 3 Tools to Protect Your Nest Egg

Worried about the direction the financial markets have taken over the past few months? You’re not alone. After nine consecutive years of growth, the markets ended 2018 on a down note. The S&P 500 finished the year down more than 6 percent, the first time it has ever finished a year negative after being positive through the first three quarters.1

In fact, some indexes have already entered bear market territory. The Nasdaq dropped more than 23 percent from its Aug. 29 high. The Wilshire 5000 and Russell 2000 also dropped more than 20 percent from their respective peaks in early September.1

If you’re approaching retirement, these losses could be stressful. When you’re younger and just starting your career, you have time to absorb losses and recover. That may not be the case if you’re only a few years from retirement. You’ll soon need to use your assets to generate income. A substantial decline may force you to delay retirement or make cuts to your planned lifestyle.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your nest egg and your retirement. Below are three tools that can help you reduce your exposure to downside risk. Talk to your financial professional to see how these may play a role in your financial strategy.

Fixed Indexed Annuity

 

When it comes to investing, risk and return usually go hand in hand. Those assets that offer the most potential return often come with the highest exposure to risk. Assets that have little risk also offer little potential growth. It’s difficult to find growth opportunities that don’t have downside market risk.

There are some tools available, though. One is a fixed indexed annuity. In a fixed indexed annuity, allows your money the potential to grow on a tax-deferred basis. The potential growth comes in the form of interest credited to the contract typically anually.

Your interest credited each year is based on the return of a specific external index, like the S&P 500. The better the index performs in a given period, the higher the potential for the interest credits, up to a certain limit. If the index performs poorly, you may receive less or zero interest, but your contract won’t decline in value.

Fixed indexed annuities have guarantees* on the value of the contract. That means you’ll never lose premium because of market declines. A fixed indexed annuity could be an effective way to plan for retirement income without exposing yourself to market risk.

Deferred Income Annuity

 

Are you concerned about your ability to generate retirement income in the future? Or are you worried that your retirement income isn’t guaranteed*? A deferred income annuity, also known as a longevity annuity, could be an effective option.

With a deferred income annuity, you contribute a lump-sum amount and pick a date in the future to begin receiving income. At the specified time, the annuity company will begin paying you an income stream that’s guaranteed* for life, no matter how long you live. Work with your financial professional to project your income and see if a deferred income annuity can help you fill any gaps.

Life Insurance

 

You’ve probably purchased life insurance at some point in your life with the goal of protecting your spouse, children or other loved ones. Life insurance is a highly effective protection tool, but it can also do more.

Some life insurance policies have a cash value account. Each time you make a premium payment, a portion goes into the cash value. Those funds grow on a tax-deferred basis over time. The growth usually comes in the form of dividends or interest, depending on the policy. You can also use the life insurance policy to generate tax-free income in retirement via loans or withdrawals.

If you have a life insurance policy, you may want to explore how you can use it to achieve low-risk, tax-deferred growth and possibly create supplemental income in the future. Or you may want to look at new policies and see how they can help you protect your assets.

 

Ready to protect your nest egg? Let’s talk about it. Contact us at Retirement Peace Project. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://www.nasdaq.com/article/is-a-recession-coming-heres-how-to-survive-cm1081931

 

*Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values.

 

 

18412 – 2019/1/16

Can Baby Boomers Learn Financial Lessons From Millennials?

It’s graduation season. Perhaps you have family members such as children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces or others who are graduating from high school or college this year. Members of the current generation of graduates are known as millennials, a group loosely defined as those born between the mid-1980s and early 2000s.1

Millennials sometimes get a bad rap as being entitled and self-focused. However, their relationship with technology has given them a unique worldview. They grew up with cellphones, internet access and other technology that previous generations couldn’t even imagine. Millennials recognize how to use technology to their advantage, and they may see opportunities that older generations don’t recognize.

Technology isn’t the only factor that’s had an impact on the thinking of millennials. They’re influenced by major world events like 9/11 and the economic collapse of 2008. They also struggle with student loans, which may influence their view on money and debt.

As a baby boomer, you may feel it’s your responsibility to impart wisdom to millennials. However, there could also be important financial lessons you can learn from them, especially as you approach retirement. Below are three ways you can think like a millennial as you enter retirement:

 

Use the sharing economy to generate side income.

 

Sharing is a basic life skill that most people learn in kindergarten. However, technological advances have helped reshape the economy through the idea of sharing. The “sharing economy” is based on the concept that anyone can earn income by sharing the use of their assets, such as cars, homes, tools and even their time.

Millennials have embraced the sharing economy, as both users and sellers. You may be able to do the same in retirement to generate side income. For example, you could use your car to drive part time for a ride-hailing company. You could earn extra income by renting out a room in your home to travelers. There are even sharing services that allow you to make money by running errands for others or loaning out your tools. Do some research and be creative to find moneymaking opportunities.

 

Budget your spending so you can enjoy memorable experiences.

 

Many millennials say they would rather spend their money on experiences than on stuff. They value activities like travel, concerts, parties and other social events. To finance those experiences, they often take a minimalist approach to the accumulation of “stuff,” such as clothing, furniture and more.

That could be a wise approach to take in retirement. If you’re like many retirees, your plans may include travel, hobbies, dining out and spending time with family and friends. Those activities require money.

If experiences are important to you, consider funding them by cutting spending in other areas of your budget. For example, cut back on shopping for new clothes. Consider downsizing to a smaller home, which would reduce your costs for things like mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance and more. That could give you more money for the activities that are most important to you.

Use technology to your advantage.

 

There’s no doubt that many millennials are much more tech-savvy than their baby boomer counterparts. You may even turn to your children or grandchildren for help with your tablet, cellphone or other devices.

However, now could be the time to embrace technology and learn how to use it to your advantage. For example, a number of apps can help you budget and track your spending in real time. That could keep you on the right path so you don’t deplete your assets. Also, your financial professional could help you take advantage of planning tools that can forecast your retirement and monitor your investments. Look for technology that can help you keep your retirement on track.

 

Ready to implement these tips into your retirement? Let’s talk about it. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/03/here-is-when-each-generation-begins-and-ends-according-to-facts/359589/

 

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.

16694 – 2017/5/23

What Can You Expect From the New Tax Law in 2019?

A new year is here, and with it comes a flood of year-end tax documents like W-2s, 1099s and others. Before you know it, the April 15 tax filing deadline will be upon us, and it will be time to submit your return.

It’s always wise to meet with your financial professional at the beginning of the year. It gives you an opportunity to discuss the past year, your goals for the coming year and your tax strategy. However, a consultation with your financial professional could be especially helpful this year.

 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was signed into law in late 2017 by President Trump. While some of its changes went into effect last year, 2018 was the first full calendar year under the new law. The return you file in April will likely be the first that reflects much of the law’s changes. Below are a few of the biggest changes and how they could affect your return:

 

Increased Standard Deduction

 

The new tax law impacted a wide range of credits and deductions, from the deduction of medical expenses to credits for child care. Those who itemize deductions may have felt the brunt of these changes.

 

However, the tax law significantly increased the standard deduction. In 2017 the standard deduction was $6,350 for single filers and $12,700 for married couples. The new law increased those numbers to $12,000 and $24,000, respectively.1

 

Given the changes to itemized deductions and the increased standard deduction, you may want to consult with a financial or tax professional before you file your return. If you’ve traditionally itemized deductions in the past, that may no longer make sense.

 

New Tax Brackets

 

The new tax law also made significant changes to the tax brackets. There are still seven different brackets, just as there were before the passage of the law. And the lowest rate is still 10 percent. The top income tax rate is down to 37 percent, however, from 39.6 percent.2 There are similar cuts throughout the rest of the brackets as well.

 

The law also made changes to the income levels for each bracket. Generally, the bracket levels were increased throughout the tax code, which means you have to earn more before moving into a higher bracket. Under the old tax code, for example, a married couple earning $250,000 would be in the 33 percent bracket. Under the new law, that same couple would be in the 24 percent bracket. A single individual earning $80,000 would be in the 28 percent bracket under the old law but is now in the 22 percent bracket.2

 

Itemized Deduction Changes

 

As mentioned, the new tax law increased the standard deduction amounts. However, those increases came at the expense of many itemized deductions. The new law eliminated or reduced many common deductions, including those for state and local taxes, real estate taxes, mortgage and home equity loan interest, and even fees to accountants and other advisers.

 

However, there could be other opportunities to boost your itemized deductions above the standard deduction level. Charitable donations are still deductible, as are medical expenses assuming they exceed the 7.5 percent threshold. If you’re a business owner, you can deduct many of your expenses, including up to 20 percent of your income assuming you meet earnings thresholds.3

 

Ready to develop your tax strategy? Let’s connect soon and talk about taxes and your entire financial picture. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project. We can help you analyze your needs and goals and implement a plan.

 

1https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/standard-deduction/

2https://www.hrblock.com/tax-center/irs/tax-reform/new-tax-brackets/

3https://money.usnews.com/investing/investing-101/articles/know-these-6-federal-tax-changes-to-avoid-a-surprise-in-2019

 

18326 – 2018/12/26

What is Long-Term Care?

If you’re planning for retirement, you’ve probably heard about long-term care and the need to plan for it. It’s a common need for retirees. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that today’s 65-year-olds have a 70 percent chance of needing long-term care at some point in their lives.1 The average senior will need care for three years.

But what exactly is long-term care? How is it provided? And what kind of health issues cause a need for long-term care? Long-term care is a broad term that applies to a variety of services. It’s difficult to plan for something when you don’t know exactly what it will look like or how much it will cost.

Long-term care is generally defined as extended assistance with basic living activities, like mobility, bathing, eating, household chores and more. It can be provided in the home or in a facility. It’s often caused by cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s but can also be needed as a result of stroke, cancer, heart disease, joint issues and a wide range of other conditions.

You can’t predict what kind of health issues you’ll face in the future, but you can plan for potential costs. Below are three common ways in which long-term care is administered. A financial professional can help you develop a strategy to pay for your future care needs.

 

Family Support

 

For many seniors, long-term care is progressive. It often starts with support for simple tasks like meal preparation, cleaning or running errands. As health issues become more intense, they need more hands-on assistance with things like mobility or bathing.

You may be able to count on a family member or friend for help in the early stages of care. However, family-based care usually doesn’t last forever. At some point, your care needs may progress to a level that is beyond your family’s capability. For instance, you may reach a point where your spouse can no longer transfer you from a bed to a wheelchair. Or you may need round-the-clock support and that may be too much for your family to provide.

While these thoughts aren’t pleasant, they’re a reality for many seniors. According to projections, it’s likely that most seniors will need paid, professional care at some point. Even if your family is able to help, don’t count on that low-cost assistance to meet all your needs.

 

Home Care

 

Even if your needs have progressed beyond what your family can provide, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to move into a facility. You may be able to stay in your home and get the care you need, especially if you’ve developed a strategy to pay for care.

For example, you could modify your home to accommodate health equipment such as a bed, a wheelchair or even grab bars. You might be able to hire an in-home health aide to provide custodial care and possibly even skilled nursing.

Genworth estimates that a full-time in-home health aide costs an average of $4,195 per month.2 Most long-term care insurance policies cover home care, even if it’s provided by a family member. Many policies also cover home modifications and equipment.

Facility Care

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 35 percent of all seniors spend at least a year in a nursing or assisted living facility at some point.1 You may need skilled nursing as the result of a specific injury or illness. Or you may decide to move into an assisted living facility, so you have full-time support available.

Either way, your facility care is likely to be a costly proposition. Genworth estimates that the average room in an assisted living facility cost $4,000 per month in 2018. A room in a nursing home cost more than $7,000.2

It’s possible that these costs will be covered by Medicare or Medicaid, but that’s not usually the case. Medicare only covers skilled nursing that’s related to a specific hospitalization. Even if you qualify for Medicare, the coverage typically lasts only several months. Medicaid only covers nursing home care if you have few assets and little income. You may want to think about alternatives to Medicare, like long-term care insurance, to pay for your stay in a facility.

 

Do you have a strategy to pay for long-term care? If not, let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project. We can help you develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need.html

2https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

 

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.

18148 – 2018/10/17

Retirement Income: How Much Will You Have?

How much income will your assets generate in retirement? Do you know?  If you answered no, you’re not alone. A recent study from the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute (LIMRA SRI) found that more than half of all workers don’t know how their retirement assets will translate into income.1

Creating a retirement projection can boost your confidence in your strategy and help you identify areas for improvement. According to the LIMRA study, almost 70 percent of the surveyed participants said they were more confident in their ability to retire after estimating their income. Of those who hadn’t estimated their income, only 30 percent were confident.1

You can use a retirement income estimate to gain insight into your planning. You may see that you need to increase your contributions or perhaps make a change to your allocation. Below are a few tips on how to use a retirement income estimate in your planning:

 

Review all your retirement accounts and income sources.

 

Job change is a common occurrence today. Many people change employers or even industries several times in their career. Each time they do, they may leave a 401(k) account behind at their old employer. It’s possible that you have old 401(k) plans and IRAs spread across multiple employers and financial institutions.

 

The first step is to gather information from all your accounts into one view so you can analyze your asset balances. Gather statements from your investment accounts. Contact old employers to get information on old 401(k) balances, deferred compensation and other retirement accounts.

You’ll also want to estimate possible income sources. Social Security’s website can provide an estimate of your future benefit. If you’re fortunate enough to have a pension, contact your human resources department or plan administrator for a benefit estimate.

Once you’ve gathered that information, consolidate it in one report. You may need to work with a financial professional to convert your balance information into an income estimate. However, adding up your total assets and income is a good first step.

 

Project your income.

 

Once you’ve gathered your balance information, the next step is to project your retirement income. With your Social Security income and pension benefit, you may know exactly what the amount will be. It can be more difficult to project income from an investment account because the distributions aren’t guaranteed* or predictable.

A financial professional can run withdrawal simulations for you that can project your retirement income using different variables. For example, your financial professional may be able to use software to model different rates of return and withdrawal amounts to show you what is sustainable in retirement. That could give you more confidence or help you identify areas for adjustment.

 

Create a retirement budget.

 

A budget is always a helpful financial tool, but it’s especially powerful when planning for retirement. You can project your retirement expenses based on your current spending and inflation. You can then compare your estimated spending with your projected retirement income.

If your income exceeds your expenses, you may be on the right track. If there’s a gap, you may need to do more work and consider saving more money to reach your retirement goal.

Again, this is a process in which you may benefit from speaking with a financial professional. They have experience building retirement budgets and can advise you on costs and issues that you may not have anticipated.

 

Ready to estimate your income and boost your retirement confidence? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://www.limra.com/Posts/PR/Industry_Trends_Blog/More_Than_Half_of_All_U_S__Workers_Have_Difficulty_Understanding_Retirement_Savings_in_Terms_of_Future_Monthly_Income.aspx

 

*Guarantees, including optional benefits, are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer, and may contain limitations, including surrender charges, which may affect policy values.

Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency.

18184 – 2018/10/22

3 Ways to Help Your Elderly Parent with Their Long-Term Care Need

It’s a situation every child fear, but one that is a painful reality for many families. A parent, after spending decades raising a family, building a career and maintaining a home, no longer has the physical or mental ability to care for themselves. They either need care and support in their home, or they need to transition into an assisted living facility.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of Americans age 65 and older can expect to use long-term care at some point in their lives. On average, they will need care for three years, although 20 percent of retirees will need it for five years or more.1

If you’ve already started exploring your care options, you know how costly these services can be. In some cases, you may be looking at thousands of dollars per month for several years. If your parent doesn’t have significant assets or long-term care insurance, that could be a tough bill to pay.

At the same time, you may be preparing for retirement, or you could be newly retired. You might not have the resources or financial flexibility to shoulder some of the burden. While you may want to help your parent get the care they need, you also don’t want to sabotage your own plans.

Fortunately, you have options available. Below are three sources to explore as you plan your parent’s long-term care:

 

Government Assistance

 

There are a variety of government assistance programs you may want to look into. While Medicare is the most prominent, it often doesn’t cover long-term care costs. The exception is if the long-term care is a direct result of a hospitalization. In that case, Medicare may cover costs temporarily, but it usually isn’t a long-term solution.

Medicaid will cover long-term care almost as long as it is needed. The catch, though, is that your parent will have to be nearly destitute before they’re eligible. To qualify for long-term care, you must have a very low level of cash and few other assets.

Finally, if your parent is a veteran, they may qualify for a program known as Aid & Attendance (A&A) from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The A&A program is designed to help housebound veterans with their care expenses.

The A&A benefit is paid monthly in addition to any existing military pension. The VA uses a complex formula to arrive at the A&A benefit amount, so you’ll want to consult with the agency for more information.

 

Non-Obvious Assets

 

If your parent needs long-term care, you’ll probably start your planning process by evaluating their bank accounts, pension plans, investment accounts and more. Those are all great resources to consider.

However, there may be other assets that are just as helpful. For example, your parent could have old permanent life insurance policies that have been accumulating cash value in the form of dividends or interest for years or even decades. You could tap into that cash value to pay for care.

Also, look at your parent’s physical assets. It may be difficult to part with a treasured car, art collection or even the family home, but if it gets your parent the care they need, it could be worth it. You could also consider a reverse mortgage to tap into the home’s equity without surrendering the house itself.

 

Family Care Agreements

 

If you have siblings, you may find that the most efficient way to provide your parent with care and support is to handle it within the family. This could be especially true if your parent needs help only with basic activities like cleaning, dressing and bathing, rather than with medical issues.

In some families there’s one sibling who may have the time, temperament and skills to provide such care. Of course, it also may not be fair for that sibling to shoulder the entire burden. In that case, you may wish to create a family care agreement. That’s a document by which the siblings who aren’t providing care contribute compensation to the sibling who is handling the day-to-day care and support.

While it may be uncomfortable for siblings to pay one another, that kind of arrangement could also make it more feasible for your parent to stay in their home and to get care from someone they know, love and trust. If you opt for this strategy, make sure you create a formal, legal document and spell out every detail.

 

Ready to develop a long-term care strategy for your parents and yourself? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project. We can help your family develop and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need/

 

3 Questions to Ask Yourself About Your 401(k) After You Retire?

You’ve probably spent years, even decades, diligently contributing to your 401(k) plan. You’ve taken advantage of employer matching contributions, managed your investments and possibly even made catch-up contributions after age 50. Now retirement is quickly approaching, and you’ve started to wonder what you should do with your 401(k) after you leave the working world.

Many workers view their 401(k) plan as an accumulation vehicle. That’s a correct perspective while you’re working, but after you retire, the 401(k) may be a distribution tool. If you’re like many retirees, you’ll need income from your 401(k) and other investments to fund your lifestyle. The question is how to best utilize your plan to manage those distributions.

You have a few options available. Before you choose the option that’s best for you, though, you should ask yourself some questions about your risks, concerns and goals. Below are a few questions to consider. Your answers should give you guidance on how best to manage your 401(k) plan after retirement.

Should you roll your 401(k) funds into an IRA?

 

There’s nothing saying you have to do anything with your 401(k) funds. In fact, in many cases you can leave your funds in the plan indefinitely even if you are no longer with the employer. If you’re comfortable with the investment options and the plan’s service capabilities, you may wish to stay in the plan.

However, you may find that rolling your 401(k) funds into an IRA is a preferable strategy. With an IRA you can often choose from a wide range of investment options, far beyond what is usually available in a 401(k). An IRA may give you the flexibility and capability to find investments that better align with your risk tolerance and growth needs.

What’s the right allocation for you?

 

When you were working and contributing to your 401(k), you may not have been as sensitive to risk. In retirement, that could change. After all, you will likely be dependent on your retirement distributions to fund your lifestyle to some degree. As you begin to withdraw money, you may become more risk-averse.

The challenge is to find investments that not only limit your downside exposure but also provide growth opportunities. Many investments that have little risk also have little growth potential. That can be an issue, because you will likely need growth to combat inflation and support your withdrawals.

There are some financial tools, such as fixed indexed annuities, that offer protection against loss but also offer upside opportunity. However, those tools often aren’t available in 401(k) plans. To access those tools, you may need to roll your funds into an IRA.

What level of withdrawals should you take?

 

Another important decision point is in what level of withdrawals you should take from your 401(k) funds after you retire. It’s a tricky decision. Take too little, and you may not have enough to support your desired lifestyle. Take too much, and you may drain your 401(k) funds, putting yourself in a challenging position later in retirement.

It’s hard to determine the appropriate withdrawal level without first developing a retirement budget and a projected income plan. Once you understand your expenses and your estimated income, you can then make an accurate and informed decision about potential distribution

 

Single in Retirement: Tips to Plan for Long-Term Care

Planning for retirement is always a complex process, but it brings unique issues for singles. Married couples often benefit from joint pension payments and dual Social Security income streams, as well as multiple 401(k) accounts and IRAs. Single retirees may find it more challenging to plan for retirement without the benefit of a partner’s income and assets.

Increasing amounts of Americans are single as they enter retirement. That’s especially true for women. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of all women age 65 and older in 2014 were single.1

If you expect to be single in retirement, you may face unique planning challenges and issues. One of the biggest could be the need for long-term care, which is extended assistance with daily living activities such as eating, dressing and bathing. Long-term care is often provided either in a facility or in the home and can cost thousands of dollars per month. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 70 percent of retirees will need some form of long-term care.2

Unless you have a strategy in place, long-term care could drain your retirement assets. Below are a few questions you can ask yourself to start planning for long-term care expenses. If you haven’t started planning, now may be the time to do so. It’s never too early to consider the risk and your options.

 

Who can assist you if you need care?

 

Long-term care is often caused by cognitive issues like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or the aftereffects of a stroke. In the beginning stages of these conditions, a spouse may be able to provide much of the necessary support and assistance. That can delay the need for an in-home aide or a move to a facility.

However, single retirees don’t have the benefit of a spouse to help with day-to-day living activities. Consider who could provide assistance if you should develop a cognitive issue. Do you have grown children in the area? What about other relatives, like a sibling or nieces or nephews? Could you rely on friends or neighbors?

Be careful about depending on friends and family for too much help. While they may be willing to pitch in occasionally, you don’t want to be dependent on someone who has other important obligations. Consider that you may need to pay for a full-time health aide if you wish to stay in your home.

 

Who can make financial and medical decisions on your behalf?

 

Incapacitation is another big concern in retirement. Incapacitation is the inability to make or communicate decisions about your finances or health care. Again, this is often caused by cognitive issues.

Without any input from you, your relatives or doctors may be forced to make decisions on your behalf. They may make choices that you wouldn’t make for yourself. You can avoid this risk by establishing written planning documents such as a power of attorney or a living will. These legal documents provide exact instructions on how your health and finances should be managed and who should make decisions on your behalf.

How will you pay for care?

 

A recent Genworth study found that the average room in an assisted living facility cost $3,750 per month. An in-home health aide was more expensive, costing on average more than $4,000 per month.3 How long could you afford to pay those costs out of your retirement assets? Consider that many people need long-term care for several years.

You may want to look at long-term care insurance. You pay premiums today in exchange for long-term care coverage in the future. Coverage varies by policy, but most insurers cover care that’s provided either in a facility or in a home, and will pay some or all of your costs. A financial professional can help you find the right policy for your needs and budget.

Ready to plan your long-term care strategy? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Retirement Peace Project. We can help you analyze your needs and implement a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.

 

1https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2016-09-23/many-women-will-be-single-in-retirement-are-you-ready

2https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need.html

3https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html