Creative Retirement Planning

Well Within Your Reach!
Your Subtitle text
Directory

                                        ACHIEVE YOUR PEACE OF MIND
                             

                            How to Use this Site

Thank you for visiting my website. You will happily discover this is a valuable resource for your retirement plan development and it won't cost you a penny. Congratulations on recognizing that retirement is your problem and opportunity. Whether you are putting the final touches on your retirement plan or at the beginning stages, I'm here to help. Perhaps you have a question? Are you interested in attending an online seminar on a particular topic. Perhaps you would benefit from listening to my educational series of CD's The New Creative Retirement. Are you interested in being coached? Maybe you would like to receive specific information reports or hand-outs that interest you.

                                          I look forward to hearing from you at  

                                        rokeefe@creativeretirementplanning.net                              

                                     Scroll down this page a bit further and...
                           TAKE THE CREATIVE RETIREMENT CHALLENGE 
                                              AND RETIRE CONFIDENTLY! 
                                               


                                    Website Navigation


Page 2 - Complimentary Skype Webinars
Attend a Webinar and Get Motivated!
 
Page 3 - Educational Series
Sets of CD's Available Upon Request

Page 4 - Directory
How to Best Use This Website to Develop Your Retirement Plan

Page 5 - Background Reading - Links - Tools - Resources
Read Articles , Links to Free Tools and  Resources
 
Page 6 - Personal Finance - Steps to Getting One's Financial House in Order
Determine Your Net Worth and What You'll Need to Retire, Related Topics 

Page 7 - Emotional Preperation For Retirement- The Happiness Quotient
Create The Life You Want For Yourself and Be Happy!

Page 8 - Best Places to Live in Retirement
Discover In Retirement Where to Best Live In and Outside the US
 
Page 9 - Travel in Retirement, Vacation Destinations
Visit the Coolest places on the Planet and Experience Serendipity Travel

Page 10 - The Aging Athlete, Best Practices - Best Results
Learn How To Best Be an Aging Athlete


                        
CREATIVE RETIREMENT PLANNING 101
                      Initial Steps to Develop a Creative Retirement Plan
 

1. Personal Finances - See page 6 of this website

A. Nest Egg Development
B. Nest Egg Protection
C. Retirement Savings in Roth IRA, 401k, 403b,Thrift, SEP, Goal Alignment?

Download Free Planning Tool Calculator - Determine Net Worth - See Page 5 complimentary links and resources and select the retirement calculator

2. Pensions and Social Security - See page 6 of this website

A. Determine When Best To Take Your Benefits
B. Identify The Size Date of Your Monthly Benefit Check
C. Define Tax Implications, Impact of Working on Benefit, Net Take-Home

3. Becoming Debt Free One Day - See Page 6 of this website, request CD's

A. Balancing Your Lifetime Checkbook
B. Mortgages
C. Automobiles

4. Work and Retirement - Determining Your Life's " Work Arc" - See Page 6

A. Work Transitions
B. Creative Work
C. Boomer Jobs

5. Expenses In Retirement - See Pages 5 & 6 of this website

A. Budgets
B. Flexible Frugality
C. Inflation

6. Where To Live In Retirement - See page 8 of this website

A. Primary Residence
B. Retirement Homes
C. Living Inside and Outside The US

7. Health Care In Retirement - See page 7 of this website

A. Determine " Health Benefits Arc"
B. Medicare, Medicade, Long Term Care, Caregiving
C. Prevention Strategies

8. Physical Fitness In Retirement - See page 10 of this website

A. Staying Active, Fit In Retirement
B. The Bucket List
C. The Aging Athlete

9. Emotional Preparedness For Retirement - See page 7 of this website

A. Perception is Everything
B. Aging
C. The Little Secrete of Retirement

10. Putting Your Affairs In Order - See page 7 of this website

A. Living Wills, and Trusts
B. Life Resource Plan
C.Term life Insurance



              THE CREATIVE RETIREMENT CHALLENGE !


Questions:

Do you know how to best grow your nest egg?
Do you know what amount or size your nest should be?
Do you know your net worth?
Do you know how to protect your nest egg?
Do you know when it is best to access your pension, social security benefit?
Do you know the in's and out's of healthcare, medicare, and medicad
Do you know how to put a life resource plan together?
Do you know how to out - live your money?
Do you know how to put your affairs in order?
Do you know how to be a caregiver?
Do you know where to  best live outside the U.S. in retirement?
Do you know where to best live within the U.S. in retirement?
Do you know how to best travel in retirement?
Do you know what the best age to retire is?
Do you know what to do regarding work, if anything in retirement?
Do you know when to start on your bucket list?

FOR HELP WITH THE ANSWERS TO THESE FUNDEMENTAL RETIREMENT QUESTIONS PLEASE READ THE ARTICLES BELOW. 

IT IS HIGHLY RECCOMENDED THAT YOU HAVE THE FOLLOWING IN PLACE SOONER AS OPPOSSED TO LATER:


1. A will, preferably a living will
2. Term Life Insurance
3. Beneficary information is updated and accurate
4. Use a CPA to prepare you tax returns, develope a long - term relationship


GROWING ONE'S NEST EGG




Growing One’s Nest Egg

Be Aggressive Early – Roughly Half of Your Total Lifetime Investment Return Comes After One’s Retired

The numbers are pretty straightforward regardless of the formula used to determine the proper size of one’s nest egg. The formula is 9x’s one’s highest salary (example $50,000 income x's 9 = a $450,000 nest egg which will last 25 years. The number for most folks is likely in the $375,000 to 600,000 plus range depending on an individual’s personal income levels. This assumes conservative growth on investments and a 4% annual withdrawal rate for 25 years. It is recommended to have one’s mortgage paid off before retiring. Experts warn 250,000 is likely the amount needed to cover a retirees medical costs.

SAVING AT WORK - I recommend future retirees save smart, and aggressively while being consistent and saving 10 – 20% of their income. If you are not meeting your saving goals double your contributions. Take advantage of dollar cost averaging, look for large mutual funds with proven successful managers that have averaged 10% returns over the last ten years (Mutual Fund 60/40 stocks & Bonds). Stick with no load funds with low expense ratios or A shares with commissions paid up - front. Thrift savings plans should be balanced 50% in the C fund, 40% in the S fund and 10% in cash (money market fund). Please remember you are in these accounts for the long haul. You’ll have good years and bad years but you’ll leave your money in the account. Over time things will balance out. I recommend one to avoid fixed annuities, try to keep your money in programs with minimal restrictions.

The following strategy is recommended for saving money with or without your financial partner/spouse for retirement:

Match all dollars at work in pre – tax programs, 401k, 403b, 1099 employees should contribute to the SEP program – Mutual Fund 60/40 stocks & Bonds

Next contribute to Roth IRA, if you’re over 50 years of age use and max out catch- up options - Mutual Fund 60/40 stocks & Bonds

Once you’ve maxed out your Roth IRA and still have money to contribute go back to your pre-tax program at work and make additional contributions

Once you retire consider buying bonds up to 20% of your portfolio (nest egg) depending on the market

Once you retire consider keeping up to 10% of your portfolio (nest egg) in cash

Don’t get too conservative to fast you need to grow your nest egg throughout much of your retirement years

Once you turn 72 -75 years of age consider keeping up to 30% of your portfolio (nest egg) in cash, the rest in bonds

 
ROTH IRA

1      The Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

1.1    The History

The Roth IRA was established by the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-34) and named for its chief legislative sponsor, Senator William Roth of Delaware.

1.2     Differences from a traditional IRA

In contrast to a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. Withdrawals are generally tax-free, but not always and not without certain stipulations (i.e., tax free for principal withdrawals and the owner's age must be at least 59½ for tax free withdrawals on the growth portion above principal). An advantage of the Roth IRA over a traditional IRA is that there are fewer withdrawal restrictions and requirements. Transactions inside an account (including capital gains, dividends, and interest) do not incur a current tax liability.

Why the Roth IRA, the short version:

*You can save more with money a Roth IRA 
*You enjoy easy access to your money at any age without paying taxes or penalties
*The money you earn on your investments comes tax - free when you retire at the age of 59 1/2
*This account is tax - free to your heirs
*No forced date to start taking withdrawals
*Can continue to make contributions past age 70
*Helps keep taxes lower in your 70's and beyond
*Exempt from calculation that increases cost of Medicare premiums based on income


LONGER VERSION

 Advantages

  • Direct contributions to a Roth IRA may be withdrawn tax free at any time Rollover, converted (before age 59½) contributions held in a Roth IRA may be withdrawn tax and penalty free after the "seasoning" period (currently 5 years). Earnings may be withdrawn tax and penalty free after the seasoning period if the condition of age 59½ (or other qualifying condition) is also met. This differs from a traditional IRA where all withdrawals are taxed as Ordinary Income, and a penalty applies for withdrawals before age 59½. In contrast, capital gains on stocks or other securities held in a regular taxable account for at least a year would be taxed at the lower long-term capital gain rate. This potentially higher tax rate for withdrawals of capital gains from a traditional IRA is a quid pro quo for the deduction taken against ordinary income when putting money into the IRA.
  • Distributions from a Roth IRA do NOT increase your Adjusted Gross Income. This is important because it means that these distributions are income tax free (as noted immediately above), but it also has the important, additional advantage of not increasing your marginal income tax bracket. Distributions from a traditional IRA are not only taxable, but because they are income, they can also cause other income to be taxed in a higher marginal tax bracket. A corollary to this is that Roth IRA distributions can help you avoid the "unearned income" tax contained in Affordable Health Care for America Act. Although, traditional IRA distributions are not subject to this tax, they do increase the taxpayer's Adjusted Gross Income for purposes of determining if this tax applies.
  • If there is money in the Roth IRA due to conversion from a traditional IRA, the Roth IRA owner may withdraw up to the total of the converted amount without penalty, as long as the "seasoning" period (currently five years) has passed on the converted funds.
  • Up to a lifetime maximum $10,000 in earnings withdrawals are considered qualified (tax-free) if the money is used to acquire a principal residence for a first time buyer. This house must be acquired by the Roth IRA owner, their spouse, or their lineal ancestors and descendants. The owner or qualified relative who receives such a distribution must not have owned a home in the previous 24 months.
  • Contributions may be made to a Roth IRA even if the owner participates in a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k). (Contributions may be made to a traditional IRA in this circumstance, but they may not be tax deductible.)
  • If a Roth IRA owner dies, and his/her spouse becomes the sole beneficiary of that Roth IRA while also owning a separate Roth IRA, the spouse is permitted to combine the two Roth IRAs into a single plan without penalty.
  • If the Roth IRA owner expects that the tax rate applicable to withdrawals from a traditional IRA in retirement will be higher than the tax rate applicable to the funds earned to make the Roth IRA contributions before retirement, then there may be a tax advantage to making contributions to a Roth IRA over a traditional IRA or similar vehicle while working. There is no current tax deduction, but money going into the Roth IRA is taxed at the taxpayer's current marginal tax rate, and will not be taxed at the expected higher future effective tax rate when it comes out of the Roth IRA. There is always risk, however, that retirement savings will be less than anticipated, which would produce a lower tax rate for distributions in retirement. Assuming substantially equivalent tax rates, this is largely a question of age. For example at the age of 20, one is likely to be in a low tax bracket, and if one is already saving for retirement at that age, the income in retirement is quite likely to qualify for a higher rate, but at the age of 55, one may be in peak earning years and likely to be taxed at a higher tax rate, so retirement income would tend to be lower than income at this age and therefore taxed at a lower rate.
  • Assets in the Roth IRA can be passed on to heirs.
  • The Roth IRA does not require distributions based on age. All other tax-deferred retirement plans, including the related Roth 401(k), require withdrawals to begin by April 1 of the calendar year after the owner reaches age 70½. If the account holder does not need the money and wants to leave it to their heirs, a Roth can be an effective way to accumulate tax-free income. Beneficiaries who inherited Roth IRAs are subject to the minimum distribution rules.
  • Roth IRAs have a higher "effective" contribution limit than traditional IRAs, since the nominal contribution limit is the same for both traditional and Roth IRAs, but the post-tax contribution in a Roth IRA is equivalent to a larger pre-tax contribution in a traditional IRA that will be taxed upon withdrawal. For example, a contribution of the 2008 limit of $5,000 to a Roth IRA may be equivalent to a traditional IRA contribution of $6667 (assuming a 25% tax rate at both contribution and withdrawal). In 2008, one cannot contribute $6667 to a traditional IRA due to the contribution limit, so the post-tax Roth contribution may be larger.
  • On estates large enough to be subject to estate taxes, a Roth IRA can reduce estate taxes since tax dollars have already been subtracted. A traditional IRA is valued at the pre-tax level for estate tax purposes.
  • Most employer sponsored retirement plans tend to be pre-tax dollars and are similar, in that respect, to a traditional IRA, so if additional retirement savings are made beyond an employer sponsored plan a Roth IRA can provide tax risk diversification.
  • Unlike distributions from a regular IRA, qualified Roth distributions do not affect the calculation of taxable social security benefits.

 

How to Balance Your Lifetime Checkbook

Don’t you love it when a good plan comes together?

 

Let’s assume you have 6-9 months of your bills saved in your emergency fund, you have paid off all of your non-mortgage debt, you are saving 15-20% of your income, have the right insurance, a secure job and your nest egg is right on track, your children’s education costs are covered, all multi-generational responsibilities (caring for others) are covered, your long-term care policies (LTC) are planned and paid for, your primary home mortgage will be paid off before you retire, you’ve accounted for inflation, retirement income tax implications, rising health care costs, household replacement costs, and have some wiggle room for unexpected family emergencies even including divorce.

           Congratulations you have balanced your life-time checkbook!



                   PROTECTING ONE'S NEST EGG

                                        Got Unfunded Liabilities?

 

One important aspect of retirement planning is identifying underfunded and unfunded liabilities. Multi-generational liabilities taking care of others has a huge impact one’s retirement. College costs can also be a threat to one’s nest egg. Typically a parent spends $200,00 raising one child but this does not include college costs. We all love our children and want to do the very best we can for them. As of late much attention has been focused on young people starting off their lives with significant amounts of debt.

In the event your child is studying to be a doctor, lawyer or engineer then this is a no brainer. This debt is an investment worth making with a solid return. Other career pursuits may require a careful review to determine what constitutes a reasonable investment and return. In some cases living at home and completing the first two years of one’s degree at a Public two year College may be warranted. Scholarships, Grants and working part-time are core components of a student’s college experience today. Getting good grades and working part-time are true indicators of a child’s future success and demonstrates commitment to their education and future career.

Given today’s slim financial margin of error, parents in retirement are forced to make tough decisions. One’s reminded when they fly in the event of an emergency to put the oxygen mask on themselves first then their child. One needs to take care of oneself first then their child. It is critical one be realistic about the actual costs of college at the time of their child’s enrollment.

According to the College board annual costs are as follows:

Public 2 – year college

Tuition fees $2, 960

Room & Board $7,400

Pubic 4 – year college

Tuition fees $8,240

Room & Board $8,890

Private 4 – year college

Tuition fees $28,500

Room & Board $10,090

For example funding college costs to get a B.A degree for one student at private 4 year college today is 154,360 vs. a public – 4 year college at 68,520. The question then becomes what will the actual costs be when one’s child enrolls in college? If it’s 20 years from today it likely to be in the neighborhood of $300,000 at a private 4 year college and $120,000 at a public – 4 year college maybe even higher. It becomes pretty clear if one’s not saving a minimum of $200 – 250 a month for 18 years one has an underfunded college costs plan. I recommend you check historical returns on your account to see if you are on target with your college saving goals. Please factor in scholarships, grants, and student contributions. I encourage you to be reasonable regarding what you can and can’t do for your child’s college education.

Assuming you have paid off all of your debt with the exception of your mortgage, are saving 15% of your income for retirement then you may wish to investigate the following programs:

ESA – Education Savings Account, tax free, very flexible

529 College Savings Program with mutual funds you pick up front, tax deferred until enrollment, flexible

529 Pre-paid allows you to pay today’s tuition costs but could pose a problem down the road, somewhat flexible

Nellie May and Sallie May college student loans, very flexible, last resort

FASA – Applications Scholarships typically Jan. 1, be sure to check on current assets reporting requirements

It turns out not underfunding one’s children’s college costs is key to everybody’s happiness and financial security. Turns out identifying unfunded or underfunded liabilities early on is key to nest egg, protection.

 


Nest Egg Protection

Is Your Nest Egg Safe?

 

The primary threats to one’s nest egg over the next 30 years are poor investment returns on one’s nest egg, inflation, unexpected college costs, and health care/long term care costs. 10,000 people retire everyday now so now for the first time the ratio of retirees to young workers has begun to flip flop. Instead of 10 workers to one retiree now it is the other way around 10 retirees to one new worker. This will make it tougher to sell one’s nest eggs overtime with decent pricing, and profit.

Inflation is a concern for many retirees living on a fixed income.  I recommend future retirees have a plan in place to reduce energy and food costs by 25% on a monthly basis if and when warranted.

Health care costs are the big elephant in the room. Experts cite 200,000 to 300,000 as the out of pocket cost including health care premiums to a retiree. Estimates are as high as 25% of total retirement expenses will be on health care. A January report by the “Insured Retirement Institute said that a healthy 65-year-old male can expect the cost of health care expenses, including premiums, for the rest of his life to total $350,000, and a 65-year-old woman can expect to pay at least $417,000.”

This year, the average annual cost of nursing home care is nearly $76,500, while assisted living facilities cost, on average, about $36,100 per year. This could quickly deplete even a size able retirement nest egg. Others, who have fewer assets, will likely rely upon the Medicaid program for their long-term care needs.

The LTC product now provides more comprehensive coverage for additional types of long-term care services, such as home health care, respite care, hospice care, personal care in the home, and services provided in assisted living facilities, adult day care centers and other community facilities.

The benefits of long term care insurance policy are nest egg protection and independence. Retirees are more self – sufficient and don’t need to be dependent on their family or children. They are more likely to be able to stay in their homes longer. They are financially secured and don’t have to be a burden on anyone.

For many retirees with a size able nest egg as well as other assets a Long – term Care policy is recommended. The younger one is the cheaper an LTC monthly premium will be.

However before rushing out and getting the cheapest policy one can find a future retiree must really do their homework or due diligence on the company providing you with the policy. Unfortunately this type of insurance policy can be tricky. The representative will be quick to get you to buy without really considering your financial circumstances. The biggest problems you face are you may get priced out of the policy (premium rate increases) before you can possibly use it or that the insurance company will go bankrupt. The solvency of companies offering long-term care policies assumes they can pay claims for the policies they have sold. Assume nothing. Start with your States Attorney General’s office and work your way down when researching a potential LTC provider.


Credit Cards and Nest Egg Protection

 

                                                     It was Sir Henry Taylor who said,
“The art of living easily as to money is to pitch your scale of living one degree below your means.”

The financial collapse has resulted in more Americans being wiser, more conservative regarding credit card use. Some of this has been good consumer decision making some has been a result of new banking policies. For example Eighty-eight million accounts and credit lines, representing $751 billion in credit, have been closed since September of 2008.(source: www.cardtrak.com, September 2009)

Either way it is good to have an end date for when one has one’s mortgage paid off, hopefully before retirement. One should never use one’s home as a credit card with lines of credit. One should also have an end date as to when one’s non-mortgage debt is paid off. These dates indicate exactly when one will kiss one’s debt good-bye and balance one’s life-time checkbook. Balancing one’s life-time checkbook is required nest egg protection. After all one never really knows what one has in one’s nest egg if it is tethered by debt. It is also important to recognize what a huge difference it makes in terms of one’s ability to grow one’s nest egg aggressively by eventually applying the money previously spent paying off credit cards to one’s nest egg.

Americans have conflicting attitudes about debt. While 91% believe debt can be controlled by disciplined saving and spending, 72% also believe that debt is a part of modern life and difficult to avoid.(source: www.bankrate.com , Feb 2008) Personally I like using Debt It cards and cash. I often times receive cash discounts for purchases usually around 10%. By counting out my dollars especially on larger purchases it really helps me focus on my needs vs. wants. I also recognize the need to shop patiently (master shopper) sometimes on E-bay or even barter networks. I keep a buying journal and evaluate the strength of my decision making and purchases. When I see purchases on paper first I make better decisions period. I’ve learned the importance of reading online what other consumers say about products, travel costs etc. 66% of Americans say debt is often the result of unfortunate circumstances beyond a person’s control, while 60% say it is usually the result of bad decisions.(source: www.bankrate.com , Feb 2008)

 

 

Social Security

When to Access One’s Benefit


Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Should some retirees take their pension, Social Security benefits later rather than sooner?

I’m reminded ours is a nation of work as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Should I perform creative work and delay and maximize my pension or Social Security benefit? A mosquito buzzes in my ear. Huge Brown Trout work their way downstream. Many would argue it could be a good strategy for some retirees. I agree especially when a retiree is faced with reasonably good health and a family history of living a long time.

Many retirees performing creative work for compensation may opt to delay their enrollment in their pensions and or Social Security to maximize the size of their monthly check. For example Social Security taken later rather than sooner results in a significantly larger monthly check. Retirees in reasonably good health may decide to take their Social Security benefits at age 66 or even 70.

This strategy enables retirees to earn money without reducing their benefit. Due to the fact Social Security reduces a retiree’s benefit one dollar for every two earned over 14,160 in 2011 for example; a retiree earning $50,000 annually would wipe out their entire benefit. This issue is eliminated for those who begin taking benefits at age 66. Taking benefits at age 66 – 70 also provides one with higher cost of living increases. Some couples may opt to have their spouse collect at age 66. Using this approach they can claim 50% of their own benefit which allows their benefit to grow 8% a year until age 70. Bottom line, these strategies significantly increase one’s retirement income.

The following is another strategy worthy of consideration for retirees who continue to work in their traditional careers while in their 60’s. They may opt to stop their 401k, 301B or SEP nest egg contributions in their 60’s. This assumes their reasonably appropriate sized nest egg is growing at 4-5% annually at that time. One’s final contributions make little impact on one’s nest egg and are perhaps better invested in one’s bucket list adventures. This money can also be used to help one’s transition into creative work. Individuals attacking their bucket list while working full-time find it can be a great way to make one’s sixties both exciting and fulfilling.

Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages. A significantly bigger Social Security check every month, sometime down the road, sounds good to me. Patience is a virtue. A bigger benefit check is a just reward.

How to Pick the Right Age to Retire?

The Politics of Retirement __________________________________________________________

As retirees we often times depend on two different economies. The first being global trade-able sector-companies which are efficiently competing everywhere with everybody enjoying new rapidly growing markets. Retirees also depend economically on industries not facing global competition like Health Care, Education, and Government. Republicans often embrace the private market, global trade-able sector-companies are efficiently competing everywhere, model. Democrats tend to highlight the disparity (huge profits for a few at the top) and the stagnant wages in the middle while attempting to protect healthcare, education, and government, model.

The notion that we as a nation can come together and be on the same page regarding short-term and long-term spending, cutting, taxing and investing simultaneously is, at best, wishful thinking. America’s continued political stalemate will likely result in a negative perception regarding America’s economic standing in the world.

Politically speaking; regarding the deficit, we may get the grand compromise between capped spending limits and cutting future benefits from what they otherwise would be, and cutting benefits and raising taxes. If politicians can’t agree then taxes will go up and spending will be cut across the board. This will likely cause politicians to try and save face by kicking the can down the road with a legislative commitment to deal with the deficit later.

The Middle Class and Retirement

Restoring prosperity to the middle class is a tall order. Middle class families work longer, delay retirement, rely on double incomes, need more help from government to help ends meet, and accumulate debt. Working- age adults now make up 56.7 percent of the poor making less than $22,113 for a family of four.

According to AARP, Harris and Gallup polls 53% of families don’t think they have enough for comfortable retirement. 75% of families in 2010 are living paycheck to paycheck, and the middle class saw a 292% increase of median debt of middle-class families.

Deciding When to Retire

Knowing when to pull the trigger on this most difficult of decisions is critical to one’s happiness in older age. We now hear the phrase “I retired again” all too often. Every situation is different, no one size fits all. The bottom line in my view is in the event one decides to retire earlier rather than later; one seriously needs to embrace creative work for compensation. In the event one decides to retire later rather than sooner one’s nest egg must be sizeable. Delaying of retirement should include realistic work, shelf-life expectations. Last but not least in many cases one’s personality drives the decision making process. Consequently communication between spouses and financial partners is critical.

In a recent article April 13 2012 a US and World Report News survey reveals- How Baby Boomers are Picking a Retirement Age.

Here’s how the oldest baby boomers are choosing when to retire:

Retired baby boomers left their jobs at an average age of 60 for men and 57 for women. Over a quarter (29 percent) of those surveyed retired between ages 56 and 61, and 20 percent retired at age 62. Just over a third (36 percent) of these boomers say the main reason they retired was because they reached retirement age and wanted to. But about half (51 percent) of retired boomers report they retired earlier than they originally expected to.

 Baby boomers currently working expect to retire at an average age of 69, and over a third (37 percent) hope to retire in 2012 at age 66. The planned retirement age of baby boomers born in 1946 has increased by over two years since they were previously surveyed in 2008. Working baby boomers say they are planning to delay retirement because they need to continue receiving a salary to pay for day-to-day expenses (27 percent) and they enjoy working or want to stay active (24 percent) are Financially prepared.

Only a small minority of baby boomers left their jobs upon hitting a retirement savings goal. Just 6 percent of the baby boomers surveyed retired primarily because they had enough money and could afford to. Most senior citizens have very small retirement incomes. The median income for those age 65 and older was $25,757 in 2010, according to a new
Social Security Administration report. The most common retirement income level is between $15,000 and $19,999 annually, an income range that 12.6 percent of retirees fall into.

Perform Creative Work all Through-out retirement, and Grow One’s Nest Egg all Throughout one’s Career

Sources of Income for Retirees:

Social Security -The median Social Security payment amount was $15,701 in 2010.Income from assets – The median asset income was just $1,260 in 2010. Pensions, Government employee pensions generally paid considerably higher annual benefits ($20,000) than private pensions and annuities ($8,844) in 2010. Employment. People who work at age 65 and older earned a median of $28,000 in 2010, considerably less than the median of $45,000 earned by people age 62 to 64 and the $54,000 workers age 55 to 61 were paid.

I recommend the following movies to help one get into the right frame of mind as a precursor to the decision making process on when or at what exact age one actually retires. About Schmidt (2002). The Artist (2011). The Bucket List (2007). Gran Torino (2008). The Notebook (2004) Something’s Gotta Give (2003).]Up(2009).

Good decisions involve asking the right questions of both your mind and heart. Clear communication between spouses and financial partners is critical. Whatever age you decide to retire at, I wish you continued growth and happiness.

 

CARGIVING

You Are Not Alone

 

If you are new to caregiving or have been caring for someone for a very long time, remember that the perfect family on television is not reality for many Americans. You are not the only one with these challenges. A recent study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP found that 44.4 million Americans age 18 or older are providing unpaid care to an adult. In fact according to the survey the holidays can also be a time of stress and sadness for those who are caring for family members that are struggling with health problems, frailty, dementia and loss. Those who care for these individuals may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed or resentful as they watch “perfect” families enjoying the holidays. There are many surveys and documents that show that caregivers are highly susceptible to these feelings.

Provided by the National Family Caregivers Association:

·         The typical caregiver is a 46-year-old Baby Boomer woman with some college education who works and spends more than 20 hours per week caring for her mother who lives nearby.

·         Female caregivers provide more hours of care and provide a higher level of care than male caregivers.

·         Almost seven in ten 69%) caregivers say they help one person.

·         The average length of caregiving is 4.3 years.

·         Many caregivers fulfill multiple roles. Most caregivers are married or living with a partner (62%), and most have worked and managed caregiving responsibilities at the same time (74%).

Second; Find help.

There are many resources available to a caregiver. Some of these include family members, friends, a local religious group, elder care agencies and homecare providers. The internet provides many great resources and help. The National Care Planning Council offers many articles, brochures and local referrals to help caregivers find the help that they need.

“When my husband’s stepfather was released from the hospital in December of 2009, he called us to give him a ride home. Once he was home, we quickly realized that he was not able to care for himself at all. He lived alone and we found ourselves driving back and forth three or four times a day to assist all of his needs. It was overwhelming and frightening to suddenly become a caregiver to a man we weren’t even that close to. With my husband working full time days, I became his primary caregiver. I would pack up my two little girls every day to come with me to take him to the doctor, do his laundry and feed him his meals, do his grocery shopping and help him with his bills. I had no idea what his finances were like or how to pay his medical bills. He was too sick to care or even understand what I was saying to him. I quickly realized I was going to have to find help. First I called his children. They were sympathetic, but gave all kinds of excuses as to why they could not help. Next, I went to the internet. I went to the website for National Care Planning Council www.longtermcarelink.net and found and contacted a Care planner in my area. The Care Planner came to my stepfather’s house and met with the two of us. They helped me get organized and set up time to meet with someone to explain his Medicare services and what my next steps would be. It was such a relief to have a plan and to know what to do.” MH- Salt Lake City, Utah

Most family members are willing to help, but just don’t know what to do. Many caregivers feel that they are the only one who can give the best care. It is important to communicate with other family members about what kind of help you need and let them know specifically what they can do.

A number of organizations and private companies will give you advice and guidance -- many for free. If your care recipient has a very low income, you might get free help from your local Area Agency on Aging. A lot depends on available funds. Click here for a nationwide list of agencies.

A good source for professional advice is the rapidly growing business of non-medical home care companies. Most will offer free consultations and will provide paid aides to help you with your loved-one with such things as bathing, dressing, shopping, household chores, transportation, companionship and much more. These people may also help you coordinate adult day care or other community services.

You may wish to pay for a formal assessment and care plan from a professional geriatric care manager. Even though it may cost you a little money to hire a care manager, this could be the best money you will ever spend. Care managers are valuable in helping find supporting resources, providing respite, saving money from care providers, finding money to pay for care, making arrangements with family or government providers and providing advice on issues that you may be struggling with.

Lastly; it is important to take care of yourself first in order to give effective and loving care.

Stephen Covey tells a story in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People about a man who is sawing a tree. A woman approaches and asks the obviously exhausted man how long he has been sawing the tree. He tells her that he has been there for hours.

She says “Well, I see that your saw is dull, if you would just sharpen your saw you would be able to saw it much faster and with less effort.”

He replies, “I don’t have time to stop and sharpen my saw, I need to chop this tree down now!”

It seems pretty silly that the man just doesn’t stop for a few minutes to make the work easier. It is common for caregivers to do the same thing. They focus on caring for their loved one and run themselves down instead of stopping to “sharpen their saw”.

Covey states that “sharpening the saw” is to take care of yourself by keeping your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual self - balanced. There is joy and respite in balancing all of these areas in our life. This is what makes us efficient and happy. Here are some ways for you as a caregiver to sharpen your own saw:

· Maintain a positive attitude. Take time to be grateful for everything that is good in your life. There is always something. Adjust your expectations for the holiday season. If you aren’t expecting that perfect holiday family picture, then you won’t be angry and frustrated that it isn’t something you have right now. It is always possible to change your attitude and perceptions, but it is not always possible to change your circumstances.

· Eat healthy food and be sure to get some exercise. Do this in small increments if it is too overwhelming to plan menus. Drink more water, cut down on sugary snacks, pick up some vegetables and fruit to grab. Walk or do marching in place. Run or walk up and down stairs if that is all the time you have right now.

· Forgive and let go of frustrations, anger, resentment and guilt. These are common feelings for caregivers. The best thing a caregiver can do for their own emotional health is to clear out these negative thoughts and feelings. Get counseling, talk to a friend or family member or simply write down the negative feelings to get them out of your system. Never take your anger and frustrations out on those you care for.

· Take time to do something you enjoy and give yourself a little bit of rejuvenation every day. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Find something funny to read or get on the internet and find a funny video to watch.

· During the holidays, be easy on yourself. If you enjoy holiday activities, then get out there and do them. Ask someone to help with your caregiving duties even if it is just for an hour or two to shop or to see a concert or movie. There are day care facilities or home care services available for short term care. See www.longtermcarelink.net for a service in your area.

Being a “perfect” caregiver during does not have to look like the perfect on-screen holiday family. How you handle your circumstance will be the key to creating your own peace, happiness and cheer during the holiday season. The holidays can be a time of reflection on good things. Your attitude and a little care for yourself can make a big difference in the care that you give in the coming year.


Recognizing the Need for outside Help in Caregiving

Caregivers often don’t recognize when they are in over their heads, and often get to a breaking point. After a prolonged period of time, caregiving can become too difficult to endure any longer. Short-term the caregiver can handle it. Long-term, help is needed. Outside help at this point is needed.

A typical pattern with an overloaded caregiver may unfold as follows:

· 1 to 18 months - the caregiver is confident, has everything under control and is coping well. Other friends and family are lending support.

· 20 to 36 months - the caregiver may be taking medication to sleep and control mood swings. Outside help dwindles away and except for trips to the store or doctor, the caregiver has severed most social contacts. The caregiver feels alone and helpless.

· 38 to 50 months - Besides needing tranquilizers or antidepressants, the caregiver's physical health is beginning to deteriorate. Lack of focus and sheer fatigue cloud judgment and the caregiver is often unable to make rational decisions or ask for help.

It is often at this stage that family or friends intercede and find other solutions for care. This may include respite care, hiring home health aides or putting the disabled loved one in a facility. Without intervention, the caregiver may become a candidate for long term care as well.

 


Care Giving

I’m a proud member of the National Care Planning Council. Care-giving is something we are never taught in school. For those caring for a senior or just beginning to get involved with caring for a senior the following serves as an introduction to the areas of planning that may require your attention. Please call or visit the National Care Planning Council at 800-989-8137 http://longtermcarelink.net/, a great resource for anyone involved in care-giving.

Family Caregiver Alliance - State by State guide of available resources
www.caregiver.org

Alzheimers.gov
Great For Caregivers of those with dementia
800-438-4380
www.Alzheimers.gov

Eldercare locator
Find services in your area
www.eldercare.gov
800-677-1116              

 

 

 

               GETTING ONE'S AFFAIRS IN ORDER

3 Important Steps

If we had a crystal ball and could see into the future, we would not need to prepare ahead for end of life decisions. Naturally a future retiree at a minimum will need to have a will and term life insurance. In the event one’s an aging athlete perhaps a disability insurance policy of $50 to $100,00 is a good investment. But only if you can swing it easily, policies usually costs about $15.00 a month. Future retirees also benefit from putting together a living will.

James was 62 years old when a stroke made it impossible for him to communicate with his family. Neither his wife nor children knew anything about his financial or medical information. James had always taken care of things himself and left no written directives in his behalf. Besides having to locate important documents, the family was left to make their own decisions about James long term care.

The National Institute on Aging gives three simple, but important steps to putting your affairs in order:

  • “Put your important papers and copies of legal documents in one place. You could set up a file, put everything in a desk or dresser drawer, or just list the information and location of papers in a notebook. If your papers are in a bank safe deposit box, keep copies in a file at home. Check each year to see if there’s anything new to add.
  • Tell a trusted family member or friend where you put all your important papers. You don’t need to tell this friend or family member about your personal affairs, but someone should know where you keep your papers in case of emergency. If you don’t have a relative or friend you trust, ask a lawyer to help.
  • Give consent in advance for your doctor or lawyer to talk with your caregiver as needed. There may be questions about your care, a bill, or a health insurance claim. Without your consent, your caregiver may not be able to get needed information. You can give your okay in advance to Medicare, a credit card company, your bank, or your doctor. You may need to sign and return a form.” National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov

Preparing Advance Directives or Living Will
Advance directives are legal documents that state the kind of medical care or end of life decisions you want made in your behalf. It is a way for you to communicate your wishes to family or health care professionals. Emergency response medical personnel cannot honor Advance directives or living wills. They are required to save and stabilize a person for transfer to a hospital or emergency facility. Once at the facility a physician will honor the directives.

The Living Will as part of your directives gives your consent or refusal for sustained medical treatment when you are not able to give it yourself. If this document is not in place then a family member or physician will decide such things as:

  • Resuscitation if breathing or heartbeat stops
  • Use of breathing machines
  • Use of feeding tubes
  • Medications or medical procedures

 Advance Directives and Living Wills are legal throughout the United States; however, some states may not honor other states’ directive documents. Be sure to check with the state you live in for their requirements.

Review your directives periodically. They do not expire, but your wishes may change.
A new or revised Advanced Directive invalidates the old one. Be sure your family member or health care proxy has a current copy.
Choosing a Power of Attorney
General Power of Attorney – authorizes someone to handle your financial, banking and possibly real estate and government affairs as long as you remain competent.
Special Power of Attorney – authorizes someone you designate to handle certain things you cannot do yourself for a period of time.
Durable” Power of Attorney -The general, special and health care powers of attorney can all be made “durable” by adding certain text to the document. This means that the document will remain in effect or take effect if you become mentally incompetent.
Many people do not know the difference between a general and a durable power of attorney. A general power of attorney is a document by which you appoint a person to act as your agent.
Agents are authorized to make decisions for you, sign legal documents, etc. Many people are unaware that a General Power of Attorney is revoked when the person granting that power becomes incompetent or incapacitated.
It is the “Durable” Power of Attorney that allows for an agent to continue making decisions on your behalf no matter what happens to you. A responsible adult child of an aging parent would be given a “durable power of attorney” to act on behalf of the parent. This provides broader authority than just adding the child’s name to bank accounts and documents.
You may choose to produce notarized power of attorney documents on your own. If your estate is large and real estate or business is included it is advised to secure a reliable attorney.
National Care Planning Council http://www.longtermcarelink.net/a2cfindattorney.htm
      



                                                                                 

                        Creative Work Sharpens Minds

    I’m reminded ours is a nation of work as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. The river roars past me making its way south to the Rio Grande. Great rivers form the earth’s circulatory system revealing Mother Earths health and well-being.

    Rivers also provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Turning on my side I ask my questions directly to the river. What can I do in retirement to ensure my mind stays sharp? What is my passion (s) ? What are the creative work connections to my passion (s) ? How and when can I best make the transition from traditional work to creative work? Deer graze nearby; trout hide in the shadows of mossy rocks. I assert performing creative work for compensation or not all throughout one’s retirement years is as good as it gets irrespective of one’s financial situation good or bad.

    Most retirees will be successful by saving money (lots of it) and working as long as they can, hanging on to health insurance, and then living comfortably on pensions, social security and or rental property income. Their accumulated savings are such that they will comfortably weather any potential erosion of their buying power over time; perhaps leaving less to their heirs than previously expected. Other retirees are concerned they will outlive their money.

    Crazy old coots busy picking at the mud dried on their boots. Their minds mysteriously racing down roads that don’t go anywhere. As a young boy I was privileged to live in various colonies of retired Americans all throughout Mexico. I learned early on the importance of performing creative work all throughout retirement for compensation or not. I’ll share more on what I learned in Mexico a bit down the road in future posts.

    Lifestyle Is Main Influence on a Sharp Mind

    The way in which a person’s mind ages, is largely down to lifestyle factors, not genetics, a study has shown. Researchers found genetic factors only account for 24% of changes in intelligence, suggesting environmental factors have the biggest influence on whether a person’s mind remains sharp in old age.

    The study, conducted by research teams in the UK and Australia, combined DNA analysis with data from around 2,000 participants who were asked to take intelligence tests at age 11, and again aged 65 to 79. The study, funded by the charity Age UK, is published in the journal, Nature.

    We are a nation of work. A creative retirement recognizes the importance of performing creative work for compensation or not. Discovering one’s passion (s) and making it one’s life’s work all throughout retirement is personally meaningful; sometimes profound? Everyone has something that speaks to them. Everyone has at least one passion they can pursue. Something they love that they can get lost in.

    Getting lost in what you love doing is the easiest way to find your rhythm in life. It’s similar to being in the zone when shooting a basketball. Being in the natural, playful flow of life helps one to better distinguish between fake and authentic happiness. Since retirement is not a rehearsal this distinction is critical. When we perform creative work we get to play. Play stimulates more creativity and we get lost yet again doing what we love to do, what we are best suited to do.

    Creative work also serves as an insurance policy for those who may find they want or need informal income in retirement. When feasible performing creative work as a second job grows a bigger nest egg and ensures healthier streams of informal income more quickly in retirement. Due to rapidly changing economic paradigms and or health related issues too many workers may be forced to leave the work force sooner than expected. Effective transition to creative work helps ensure individuals will outlive their money.

    Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Tomorrow I will awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of my 6,000 blank pages. What you are looking to do with your 6,000 blank pages?

 

                WHERE TO BEST LIVE IN RETIREMENT

The 12 Best Warm Retirement Spots Outside the U.S.

Inexpensive

Ecuador

Honduras

Uruguay

Moderately Inexpensive

Costa Rica

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Spain

Italy

Moderately Expensive

Hawaii

Australia

New Zealand

Expensive

Tahiti

Seychelles

 

               Best U.S.  - Retirement Spots

 
Inexpensive

San Antonio, TX.

St. Louis, MO.

Knoxville, Tenn.

Louisville, Ky.

Columbia, S.C.

Las Cruces, NM

Port Charlotte, Fla.

Ithaca, N.Y.

Moderately Expensive

Santa Fe, N.M.

Sarasota Fla.                                                                                                                                                             

Raleigh, N.C., Chapel Hill, N.C.

Nashua, N.H.

San Diego, CA

Seattle, WA.


Expensive

Kauai, HI.

Mercer Island, WA

Aspen, CO.

Key West, Fla.

Sausalito, CA

 

RETIREMENT

PLANNING RESOURCES

Retirement Planning Website – Visit Page 5 of this site for Additional Complimentary Resources and Links

http://www.creativeretirementplanning.net/

A Great Place for the 40+ Athlete

http://aging-athletes.com/

 
Informative, resource rich Website Covering Health Care, Medicare, Medicade, Long-term Care, and Life Resource Planning

http://www.longtermcarelink.net/

 

Roger O’Keefe’s Retirement Planning Blog

The New Creative Retirement

http://rogerokeefe.wordpress.com/

 
Great Resource for Answering Questions Regarding Health Insurance, Long – Term Care (LTC) and Financial/Investment Companies

www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov  303-894-2320 (Division of Securities)

Site for Future Retires to Estimate their Future SS Benefit

www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator

Consumer Financial Protection – www.consumerfinance.gov

Basics of Financial Education – www.mymoney.gov

 

 

Website Builder