Living Well In Retirement: Be Optimistic, But Prepare

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being-optimisticJust this morning I was reading about a phone survey conducted in March by the National Council on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA TODAY. It involved 2000 participants, half of whom were over 60 with the other half being 18 to 59. I found the results interesting and honestly, baffling. Baffling because it’s just not what we see day in and day out. Maybe our practice is outside the norm. Maybe the survey participants are exceptionally optimistic. Or maybe they’re just crazy.

89% of older adults and 84% of younger adults say they’re confident they can maintain a high quality of life throughout their senior years”

It’s the first number that surprised me the most. But I’m pretty happy about it actually. Pessimism isn’t a fun or profitable way to go through life.

Support of friends and family topped the chart in reasons why people felt this way. Being happy about their living situation, being well-prepared financially, being in good health and generally being optimistic were among the other top 5 reasons offered.

When you look more closely you begin to see optimism being tempered. About 45% of the older participants of the survey said they wish they had saved more. The reality is that Social Security and other pension benefits aren’t going to provide the safety and security many Americans once thought they would. About 31% of the older participants admitted they wish they had made better investments.

It seems there are new survey results published daily. We don’t lack data or information. We may lack accuracy and objectivity, but it’s still interesting to see how people view retirement and their financial future.

Another survey conducted by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies discovered an increase in financial optimism over a year ago, but still almost half (49%) of the 60-and-older respondents are concerned that their savings and income may be insufficient for their future. In 2013, 53% of them felt that way. We all realize that the current economic climate often dictates how people feel about the future. So it makes sense that as our economy lumbers out of the recession, optimism lumbers forward, too.

Except for the extremely wealthy, I think many older Americans are fearful they don’t have enough. Some will likely never feel they have enough, no matter how much they have. Others are in a riskier position because they didn’t act sooner. Preparing for the future is best done today. Eventually, your future becomes your present so you can’t delay.

I could dazzle you with many more survey results, but that wouldn’t help YOU. Knowing how the rest of the entire world feels about retirement may affect your psychology, and your mindset could certainly impact your decisions…but today I’m urging you to be optimistic and prepare! Forget what other people are doing, or feeling. Take care of yourself. Do what you need to do to build the future you want.

Every single day at Accelerated Wealth we’re helping the young and old alike plan for the future by focusing on the present. It’s not voodoo or wishful thinking. It’s purposeful. Intentional. Strategic.

Call us today and we’ll do our very best to make sure you’re the smiling face in the crowd.

Living Well In Retirement: Avoiding Financial Infidelity In Your Marriage

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Broken Piggy Bank

Oh, no! Somebody has cracked open my piggy bank.

When you were a kid did anybody ever crack open your piggy bank? Or steal your wallet?

Surely you’ve lost some money before. And it made you sick at your stomach. To think of how much you lost. Knowing you wouldn’t likely ever get it back.

The older you are, the worse it is. It’s one thing to lose some money when you’re 6. It’s something quite different when you’re 60.

Over ten years ago I encountered an elderly lady who had a confession to make.

My husband has cheated on me. He’s opened up so many credit cards without my knowledge…I don’t know how bad it is.”

When I heard the phrase, “cheated on me” financial infidelity wasn’t exactly the first thing that popped into my mind. But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

He had indeed cheated on his wife of over 50 years. Their financial welfare was now at risk all because he didn’t have enough restraint to stop buying stuff they couldn’t afford. It seems his answer to the lack-of-cash problem was to get more credit. Namely, to open up more credit cards.

His wife was angry, hurt and scared. For good reason. Her husband had busted open their proverbial piggy bank and pilfered their retirement.

I’m not a marriage counselor, but the betrayal that occurred in this marriage likely needed an injection of wisdom. This wife had an advantage that too many spouses don’t. She knew what had happened. So many times money goes missing and the other spouse has no clue what happened. I guess she had a bit of a head start because she knew what was happening and began to take immediate steps to confront the problem, her husband.

With the help of some adult children this family had a bit of an intervention and they stopped the flow of money (and piling debt). The damage was bad, but I thought of families where this is happening and one spouse hasn’t a clue! Ignorance isn’t bliss.

There are some steps you can take to insure your marriage avoids financial infidelity.

1. Don’t hide money matters from your spouse.

This includes income or expenses. I’m not suggesting a control-freak arrangements where neither of you can buy a cup of coffee without the expressed, written permission of your partner. I am suggesting – strongly – that you avoid sneaking and hiding money issues. Be open with each other. Make decisions together by agreeing on how you’ll handle your money issues. This is an individual (okay, a couples’) kind of a decision. One size doesn’t fit all.

Through the years I’ve encountered a number of men who have a weekly allowance. They sat down with their wives, who often handle the financial affairs of the home, and agreed to a designated amount. Rather than constantly going to their wife (and this would just as easily work for wives, too), for a bit of spending money, they predetermined an amount.

Maybe you don’t like that whole allowance arrangement, but you need some type of agreed upon arrangement that will prevent secrecy and deception. Find something that works for you. Put it into place and don’t alter it unless you both agree.

2. Talk about the present realities and prepare for the future.

Things change. Sometimes we get a raise at work. Sometimes we encounter some unforeseen expense. Many things can happen that affect our financial situation. Right now!

The transmission goes out on the car and suddenly we need to spend a few thousand dollars that we didn’t plan on spending. Make your decision and include an agreed upon plan to make adjustments. It may mean you agree that you’ll reduce how often you dine out for 6 months. Whatever decision you make, make it together.

Don’t bury your head in the sand about your present situation. Face the reality of where you’re at today.

Now, think about the future you want – financially. Devise a plan to get there. Commit (both of you) that you’ll stay on that plan until you both decide to change it. Revisit the plan often, especially when things change.

3. Come to terms with your own tendencies and the tendencies of your spouse.

Money is a primary source of strife in too many marriages. Maybe the husband can spend money too easily and the wife is more thrifty. Enter tension, arguments and anger.

Money is a very personal thing. Don’t let it wreck your marriage. Agree to sit down together with a calm demeanor and an open mind to your own money habits, and the money habits of your spouse.

Many of our money habits stem from our beliefs and notions about money. Share those with each other. Find a way to help each other. So many married couples never face these realities and they allow money issues to disrupt their marriage. Avoid that like you’d avoid a nest of bees.

It’s better to help your spouse than to condemn them. Head it off at the pass. If your spouse is a spend thrift and they think every expenditure is frivolous, then agree to a monthly amount for day-to-day purchases that you can both live with…and one that won’t negatively impact your financial security. Maybe that’s why that weekly allowance seems quite commonplace. It certainly eliminates the, “You bought what?” kind of confrontations.

All of this centers around one fundamental principle: HONESTY.

Financial fidelity isn’t any different than other kinds of fidelity. You can avoid a lot of heartache and worry if you’re honest with yourself and your spouse. Don’t let your spouse walk in and see a piggy bank that’s been busted into pieces…and see you standing there with a hammer in your hand. Be true to each other!

 

Living Well In Retirement: Is There An Upside Of Aging?

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The Upside of Aging by Paul IrvingEric Clapton is tired. He turns 70 next year. In a recent interview with Uncut magazine, Clapton said he was thinking of reducing his road trips. “The road has become unbearable,” he said. Clapton, known by many as the world’s finest guitarist, said he’d likely spend more time in the studio, but he indicated he’s looking at retirement. It’s the touring that’s grueling and Clapton is at a point in life where he can make that call. He’s earned the right to do what he wants.

Clapton isn’t the only aging rocker making decisions based on their age, health and preferences. Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac – the list is growing longer every year of rock stars who are embracing life with a different approach than when they were younger. There’s an upside to growing older. There’s an upside to being older.

In April, 2014 a book was published entitled, “The Upside Of Aging: How Long Life Is Changing The World Of Health, Work, Innovation, Policy and Purpose.” So much focus is given in some circles to the downside of older age, we’re beginning to see the tide turn, at least in book publishing. The titles alone indicate the shift:

The list goes on. These books prove a few things.

One, the aging population cares about these topics. Older Americans are looking for information and assistance to find their way toward more fulfilling ways of life. Eric Clapton doesn’t look like he’s almost 70. His age isn’t preventing him from playing the guitar, singing or recording. However, he no longer loves being on the road. That grind just doesn’t suit him as it once did.

Two, publishers recognize that readers want to read about these things. They continue to publish scads of new titles each year. People are obviously buying these books. Some are likely even reading them.

Three, growing older isn’t what it once was. Americans are staying active longer. That means they’ve got options and they’re investigating those options. These books are aimed at helping them do it.

Mr. Irving’s book may speak to the very heart of the issue. Namely, that there is an upside to aging. He’s the President of the Milken Institute, a think tank dedicated (in part) to improving public health and aging in the United States. This book is a collection of writings by some very smart people. The people who are cited by Mr. Irving at quite upbeat and optimistic, but they do offer some exhortations to change.

The author writes that we need to re-think the value of longevity by focusing more on the quality and purpose of our time, not just trying to extend our time. You can see by those book titles that many older Americans are interested in entrepreneurship, learning and service. Irving points out how those things are going to continue to impact innovation and economic growth.

Living longer and having good health give many of us more options than ever. The book focuses much on a central question:

How can we make a difference in our older age?

The thing I like most about this type of writing is the optimism. Growing older isn’t all doom and gloom. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Regardless of our age, we’re all able to make whatever we want of life. It’s rather nice to read the voice of 16 people cited in the book. It’s a broad range of people, from academic types to non-profits. Brainiacs from Stanford and M.I.T. and other smart folks from AARP and Encore.org speak their mind about the changes happening as our population’s age shifts increasingly toward the gray.

The resounding answer to the question focuses primarily on the fact (yes, fact) that aging does indeed give all of us the opportunity to make a difference. Those cited in the book expound on various ways they think that can happen.

Yes, growing older is filled with challenges, but haven’t you experienced challenges at every stage of your life? There’s no reason to think that there are any trouble-free ones.

Growing older can give you opportunities you didn’t have when you were younger. The book titles indicate how broad and deep these opportunities are.

At Accelerated Wealth, our work focuses on helping older people just like you create or protect the life they want. Eric Clapton wants to keep making music. He just wants to do it mostly in the studio and not on the road. What do you want to do? Do you have a plan in place that will afford you that opportunity? If not, call us right now at (859) 353-5523. We’d love to help you write your own book by living the life you want.

Well, I Rest My Case

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acc-logoKing Solomon said, “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.” – (Proverbs 18:17)

A few weeks ago Todd and I discussed an article that appeared in AARP by Allan Roth. The article criticized several legitimate and viable options that people have for their money. We called that show Philosophy or Propaganda.

Recently, NAFA (National Association of Fixed Annuities) submitted a letter to the editor in AARP’s periodical. The letter answers Mr. Roth’s arguments. We thought this deserved more space and attention.

Find a link to both articles below. We hope you enjoy the show.

Links:

5 Bad Money Moves – AARP

NAFA’s Response To The AARP Article

Like The Jeffersons, We’re Movin’ On Up

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Todd and I wish to announce our new location at 1795 Alysheba Way Suite 3106 (Douglas Hawkins Law, PLLC) and Suite 3206 (Accelerated Wealth Advisors) Lexington, KY 40509.

We recently purchased an office condominium in the Stonecrest Office Complex just off I-75 at exit 108 (Man-O-War) and have both the main level and upstairs’ suites. The move demonstrated to us the transitions of life – already, in less than a year, our business is transitioning.

Today, Todd and I talk about the phases of life and the transitions that we undergo financially from our early adult lives until death. This relates to LIFE STAGE FINANCIAL PLANNING™ and emphasizes THE FIVE BASKETS OF WEALTH™. We hope you enjoy the show.

Call Your Reserves Up To Active Duty

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army_reservesIn a few weeks we will celebrate “memorial day.” A part of that celebration involves remembering soldiers who have sacrificed so much (they gave their lives) for us to enjoy the freedoms and privileges that we have in this Country.

The military has both active duty military and the reserves. The reserves are occasionally called up to active duty in times of war or national crisis.

A part of financial planning includes educating people about the importance of having money in reserves. We call it the sleep at night basket.

Today, Todd and I discuss our five baskets of wealth emphasizing the cash reserves and how you can make one dollar do the work of three. Learn how a reserve account can provide a living benefit of long-term care and a death benefit for legacy.

Enjoy the show.