Creative Retirement Planning

Well Within Your Reach!
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ARTICLES AND RESOURCES


   Creative Retirement Planning - Retirement Well Planned!
 
                                                                                                            
                                                    Contact us at rokeefe@creativeretirementplanning.net                                                         


 CREATIVE RETIREMENT CONSULTING

Roger O'Keefe, M.A.

Mr.O'Keefe is a retirement educator and consultant. His background is in education and finance. Earning a Master's in education, he's a licensed educator, published author and photographer, former radio talk show host, consultant to the CA State Department of Education, and retirement planning expert that does not sell products. Roger has appeared as a guest on more than 50 national and local television and radio shows. Roger is a member of the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Care Planning Council, NCPC. Mr. O'Keefe is currently teaching retirement planning at a local University, writing two columns for Boomers and Seniors News, writing his second book, and resides in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Roger's mission is to reshape retirement planning one person at a time. Roger is empowering, his message is practical and uplifting.


Creative Retirement Planning Consulting Services is a proud supporter of the American Rivers and Colorado Trout Unlimited Organizations.


                                                    Creative Retirement Planning Consulting Services is a proud member of

                                                                       
                                              
                                                                         
                                                               WHAT PEOPLE SAY!
   
Finding Your Sweet Spot - Hello there! This couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!archie.crosby@inbox.com

 

thehealthyglobetrotter

Spain - Your photos are excellent! I wish I’d had a car when I was in Mallorca but I enjoyed it all the same! Thanks for sharing!

Driving the West Coast, Mallorca Spain - Hola! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from New Caney Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the good job!
carinadove@googlemail.com

Brazil - Thanks for the good write - up. Archie, opium mar

From Jung on Driving the West Coast, Mallorca Spain  Appreciation to my father who informed me regarding this website, this website is in fact amazing.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The hardest part of my job is selling the prevention side even though we have these figures. Unfortunately, sick care wins in our society. We need to act preventatively on both our healthcare and our future finances. Well done.
drjuliegeorge@yahoo.com

My family members all the time say that I am killing my time here at
net, but I know I am getting know-how every day by reading these fastidious articles or reviews.
deboraely@t-online.de

Thank you for “FAMILY MATTERS | The New
Creative Retirement”. I might undoubtedly wind up being
back for a lot more reading and commenting soon. Many thanks, Jayme

It takes the whole family to be involved in caring for aging parents not just the closest daughter. Thanks!
home@dslowey.com

Mesa Verde is an awesome park. I am amazed each time I visit at the cliff dwellings and how the Indians survived. Durango is a cool city in itself. I haven’t rode the railroad in years, but it is on the list to take the kids. I would say that out of all of the states, Colorado is my favorite! Maybe with your great retirement advice, I will be able to retire in the distant future to CO…drjuliegeorge@yahoo.com

Great tips!
tatianedulz@yahoo.com.br

I really like what you have done here and look forward to following you. Your stuff is real with great images, which is not what I would have expected from a Retirement Planning guy.
btontheair@mac.com

I really like your website.. very nice colors & theme
sammy.hough@wildmail.com

Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply spectacular and I could assume you’re an expert on this subject!
celesteburney@gmail.com

Great idea…BEER!!!
hatryk@mac.com

I'm impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a website that's both equally educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now I'm very happy that I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

torrimckenzie@aol.com

Wow, the overall look of your website is wonderful, let alone the content!

chloecriswell@gmail.com

We could all do with this, your a true writer and you have helped me about on this topic.

sfudgrewsaf@gmail.com

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tristadobson@gmail.com

Hello – I just recently started my own blog and came across your page. I think your posts are very inspiring! Although I am still in my early 20’s, I have recently retired from my sport about 2 years ago and have been searching for something to replace it. Unfortunately I have yet to find something to fuel my competitive personality, but in the meantime, I have been able to continue dancing and of course remain a gym rat! I love your BEER framework, and I completely agree. I hope that as I get older, I will have the drive you seem to have about staying active! You are an athlete, keep it up! ☺

nkwong@uwo.ca

                                   

                                                            READING ROOM

                TAKE THE CREATIVE RETIREMENT CHALLENGE AND RETIRE
                                                         CONFIDENTLY!

                 (page 4 of this website)


                                RETIREMENT 101 LINKS

 

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




WE INVITE YOU TO LISTEN TO MR. O'KEEFE

INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WORK

Listening Station





Introduction to Creative Work 17 minutes in Length
By Roger O'Keefe


FEELING CHALLENGED, NEED A LITTLE LIGHT - HEARTED HUMOR!

Check out this video

It Just Dosen’t Matter, Bill Murray, Meatballs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3S_k1dRbXY





Free Resources

Attend an online seminar with Mr. O'Keefe and recieve loaner sets of Mr. O'Keefe's CD's

Email us at rokeefe@creativeretirementplanning.net with your request for one or more of the following documents:


Creative Lifestyles
– where to best live in the U.S. in your retirement years

* Profiles of Creative Boomers and their lifestyles

* Links to websites with in depth analysis of recommend places to retire

* Recommended Articles & Books on where to retire

Creative Work
What type of work will you do in your retirement years with or with out compensation?

* Profiles of Creative Boomers and their creative jobs and businesses

* Links to websites with recommend jobs for Boomers

* Synopsis of the nature of creative work and its benefits in retirement

 
Creative FinancesHow to turn the “Frugal Faucet” on and off during your retirement years if needed

* Profiles of successful Creative Boomers and their “Frugal Faucets”

* Links to websites with recommend ways to reduce living costs

* The Financial Well Being “Life-time checklist”

Personal Finances
-
How to Best Build and Protect One's Nest Egg

Flexible Frugality
-
Cheap Fun Ideas For Couples, Cheap Family Fun Ideas, Practical Ways To Keep Costs In Check

Recommended Links and Free Resources

The New Creative Retirement: The Resource Guide
Section Resource Address What You Can Expect
1 Income Opportunity Guides www.sayplanning.com/income/ Tips for increasing your income and cutting your costs.
1 Federal Student Aid www.fafsa.ed.gov/ Fill out these forms with your child to get federal aid for college.
1 My Rich Uncle www.myrichuncle.com Apply for a private student loan here.
1 College Loan Corporation 1-800-2-COLLEGE Help with getting additional student funding.
2 Mvelopes Debt Calculator www.mvelopes.com/budget-center/debt-calculator/index.php A simple tool for calculating your debt and how long it will take to pay it off.
3 Frugal Families www.frugal-families.com/ Great budget reduction tips.
3 Debt Free Living www.simpledebtfreeliving.com/ Great budget reduction tips.
4 Loan.com www.loan.com/mortgage-calculator/mortgage-afford-calculator What home can I afford? and other calculators.
4 Consumer Reports www.consumerreports.com info on buying used automobiles and all other major product purchases
4 You Walk Away www.youwalkaway.com A Carlsbad firm that helps people through foreclosure process
5 Mvelopes www.mvelopes.com/index.php Free Trial of a budgeting system.
6 Wikihow – Saving Money www.wikihow.com/Save-Money Tips for saving money and cutting costs.
6 Get Rich Slowly www.getrichslowly.org/blog/ A blog containing secrets of the rich - revealed!
7 Credit.com www.credit.com/ Everything you need to know about credit and how to maximize your credit score.
7 Opt Out Phone: 1-888-5-OPTOUT Reduces the number of mailers you receive.
8 Equifax http://learn.equifax.com/credit/net-worth-calculator A Simple Net Worth calculator.
8 AARP www.aarp.org info on reverse mortgages and a variety of programs and information for seniors
9 Go Ask Alice www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/Cat8.html Relationship Q&A - keep your relationships healthy.
9 DBT Self Help www.dbtselfhelp.com A great resource for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - a do-it-yourself approach to self care, changing your cognitive processes, and tracking your progress.
9 MD.com www.md.com Schedule preventative care services.
9 Capital BlueCross www.capbluecross.com Schedule preventative care services.
10 Life Tango www.lifetango.com/ Create, categorize, and manage your goals with this free online tool.
Debtor’s Anonymous(781) 453-2743 www.debtorsanonymous.org/ Recovery from problems with debt.
Gambler’s Anonymous(213) 386-8789 www.gamblersanonymous.org/ Recovery from problems with gabling.
Alcoholics Anonymous(212) 870-3400 www.alcoholics-anonymous.org Recovery from problems with alcohol.



                                                                  


  
                                              CREATIVERETIREMENTPLANNING


Embracing this new phase of life allows one to consciously more fully develop, explore, and express themselves. I encourage individuals to reshape their retirement years just as they have other stages of their life.

The notion that a "simpler life" is more authentic is debatable but my personal experience confirms it can much less stressful. I simply promote the Boy Scout Motto “Be Prepared". Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I encourage folks to perform creative work all throughout their retirement years. I also help future retirees be more proactive regarding their personal finances while keeping their life - long living costs in check.

THE GAME CHANGER

Too many individuals in their forties and fifties planning for their retirement have come to realize their equity in their homes is no longer their nest egg for their older age. They won’t be selling their homes and then downsizing with a mountain of cash after all. Many will work to the age of 67-70.

The Great Recession of 2008 has resulted in a loss of seven years of living costs for future retirees.
Additionally increasingly inflated living costs; food and energy have forced future retirees to consider how they will keep their living costs in check. It is clear the recession was much deeper than previously thought. Under funded pensions, Social Security, Medicare may look a little different than today. Too many have lost 8-10 years of growth on their investments. Still others on fixed incomes are wondering what they will do when their older CD's come due and they loose significant income due to the difference of a 5% or 6% return vs. 1% today. I encourage folks to make realistic personal economic assessments and plan accordingly.

The Solution

Some future retirees will re-think and reshape their retirement plans. Forward thinking folks are simply taking the bull by the horns and creating the life they want for themselves in older age. They have put their financial house in order. They know how to keep their life - long living costs in check. They know how they can outlive their money. They are neither bored nor unprepared nor “needy” the root of unhappiness.
They understand that a leisure retirement (Endless Summer) is not as ideal as it sounds. They’ve found their passion and have made it their life’s work. This type of work keeps their minds sharp all throughout retirement. Performing Creative Work results in play which stimulates more creativity and allows retirees to get lost in what they love doing. They more easily find their natural rhythm in the flow of life. This makes them truly happy inside; and eventually they discover they are content. Through the process of “Creative Retirement Planning” they’ve taken the uncertainty out their older age and achieved their "Peace of Mind".

  



                                                    
                                                Sixty Five and 6,000 days
                                                                What Are You Looking To Do?

Retirement reflections dance behind my eyelid. 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. What are you looking to do in retirement?

Dissatisfied Americans have been coming West to California for years. Gold, Surfboards, Palm Trees, and Hollywood. Now I’ve partially retraced my ancestor’s steps settling back into the Rocky Mountains where I can ride the white frozen H20 deep into delirium. I’ve happily traded my surfboard for my fly fishing rod. SUR (F) ISHING, the similarities are uncanny.

Dawn patrol, check out the water, wind, crowd conditions. Select the best equipment for the situation at hand. Enter the water with a holler forever searching for the perfect wave/fish, catching, riding, releasing, while kicking/stepping out, just one more we say while humming row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream. Hypnotized by the beauty in nature that surrounds us we paddle/hike further to get a stretch of water to call our own. Returning home wet we smile telling stories of great catches and rides, wipe outs, the ones that got away. Rinsing off our gear we dream of our next session and urgently seek the food our bodies hold dear.

Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. What is the meaning of retirement today? Eagles, hawks soar overhead. Many would argue it is meaningless since most of us will work until the age of 67-70 anyway. I disagree wholeheartedly. 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.

The American Psychological Association recently published an analysis of multiple studies. Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand analyzed questionnaires from 420,000 people in 63 countries. "Having the freedom to change careers or pursue our passions makes us happier than does a hefty bank account." "So while wealth can provide you with more choices; it is really having the ability to realize your dreams that leads to greater happiness," says study coauthor Ronald Fischer, Ph.D. We all have something that speaks to us. I’m retired and as busy as I want to be. I’m genuinely excited to see what kind of writer/speaker, High School basketball official/coach, and photographer I will become in older age. I am neither bored, nor unprepared nor needy the root of unhappiness.

Staring intently into crystal clear, braided pocket water, I smile, recalling how yesterday I was getting lost in what I love doing. Fisherman like surfers and writers are both patient and restless. We awaken excitedly to the prospect of creatively filling one of our 6,000 blank pages. Out on the water we search endlessly for something beyond ourselves, something; perfect. Perfect waves, perfect fishing holes. We are dreamers fueled by the faith it is all worthwhile no matter what. 


 

                        Perception Shapes Well Being

Stretching across my hammock I’m reminded of the importance of perception. That the U.S. until recently enjoyed unquestioned global dominance. Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Do we need to re-think retirement?

Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. What’s changed that I now need to prepare emotionally for retirement? A loud flock of Canadian honkers pass overhead. Hummingbirds fly close to the water, heading upriver. A warm breeze floods the river valley. Many would argue retirement has not really changed, it is not necessary to prepare emotionally just financially.

I disagree. Emotional fronts facing future and current retirees in retirement can at times appear bewildering. Challenging long-held perceptions, economic uncertainty, aging issues, boredom, and caregiving responsibilities are but a few of the many emotional challenges facing retirees at different times in their retirement years.

Many Boomers understand rapidly changing economic paradigms are impacting families all around them. Boomers can’t quite put a finger on it but change has changed. It feels like a different kind of change. Strong emotions race into every phase of life. The baffling rate of change is accelerating. Some Boomers are scared to death of what’s next. Often times they wish they had been born in a different time.

I love being a Baby Boomer. From my perspective there is no better time to have been born. Compared to the depression of 1930’s to World War II in the 1940’s we Boomers have it made in the shade. Being born in the greatest nation in the history of the earth is a stroke of luck.

Of course we don’t know better. Raised in a period of U.S. economic global dominance we see the world a certain way. We expect things to be this one way as our birth right. Boomers benefited greatly from sacrifices made by our parents in World War II. My father was in the Army but rarely told war stories. War was not cool was his message. However because of war America developed an awesome industrial base responsible for incredible prosperity for a very large number of people.

Battles are won with courage, sacrifice and love of country. Wars are won with planning and supplies. Thanks to 24 hour manufacturing shifts here at home and American women entering the workforce the tide turned in our favor.

Our global competitors were digging out of ruble and desperately needed U.S. products to rebuild their war-torn countries. We had natural resources and inexpensive energy. Our war efforts produced advanced technology; we had an excellent transportation infrastructure and educational system.

Anybody could get a job. Hollywood produced a series of films aimed at our collective psyche. The American Dream was a box office hit per the White House. Huge waves of immigrants hit our shores boosting American worker productivity even higher. Increasing the cost of our goods was easy when we were the only game in town. This raised the standard of living in the U.S. dramatically. We were really exceptionally good at making stuff.

Not until the 1970’s did a subtle but significant economic shift occur. Role reversal began. We began buying inexpensive high quality products from our competitors Japan, Germany, and China. Our competitors had rebuilt their economies and begun to turn the tables on us. They worked long and hard to produce high quality products. With access to inexpensive oil and a motivated workforce they became really good at making stuff, lots of it!

We have really only pictured it one way. It’s tough to challenge one’s long held beliefs. The assumptions we grow up with shape our perception. Perception is everything when it comes to emotional well-being. This is the perfect time to re-think and reshape our perception of retirement. It is the perfect time to get some new goals.

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. I understand its human nature to avoid confrontation or change in favor of something more immediately gratifying. Please remember; just as the song says, time keeps on slipping, slipping into the future. If not now,when?


                                   




                    Reshape Your Retirement Plan

Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. Do millions of us need to re-think and re-shape our retirement plans?

I’m reminded our nation’s constitution is a living document as I slide back into my hammock hung between two ancient pines. Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Do I really need to reshape my retirement plan? A large red ant with a green leaf on its back works its way back up the rope to the tree. Birds chirping everywhere present an awesome mountain soundtrack. Many would argue it is not really necessary; the economy will come back and everything will be cool just like before. I disagree; recent economic events have produced an ongoing economic uncertainty. This has increased awareness of the importance of a comprehensive, balanced approach to retirement planning for millions of hard-working Americans.

A Change in Mind-set

Retirees planning how they will live in older age are confronted with economic challenges on multiple fronts. Rapidly changing economic paradigms have resulted in continued economic uncertainty now and in the foreseeable future. Emotional fronts facing future and current retirees in retirement can also appear bewildering. Fortunately one docent need to know exactly what is going to happen economically in the future to enjoy a successful retirement.

With the number of retirees soaring it is no wonder future and current retirees have difficulty imagining what it will look like when seniors try to collect on those spending promises made to them.

As the unwinding of the American experience continues retirees will face financial challenges the likes of which never seen previously. Retirees would do well to support national, state, and local efforts to galvanize a common competitive economic vision, a unified economic solution that deals responsibly with our countries debt while keeping its promises to its senior population.

The financial and emotional challenges facing retirees can be managed. It really does come down to how we choose to respond to becoming older. While living in older age it matters less what happens to us and more how we respond to our circumstances. Having created plans with creative options for ourselves down the road is key. We really can create the life we want for ourselves in older age. All that is required is focus and planning.

You know what sucks about getting older? Answer: Getting older. I’m not sugar-coating the fact of getting older. Sure I now recognize that when the gal at the store says “Sir” she’s talking to me. Yes, the backs of my hands look like my fathers. I buy dime store glasses to read. I put orthotics in my shoes; intentionally mis calibrate the settings on my digital scale. I survived cancer and divorce. More Absent –minded, forgetful, not that I can recall. Disciplined in my respect for the power of the nap, you betch ya. And I finally understand what former president Bill Clinton meant when he stated that the close proximity of the Presidential bathroom to his office was key to his affair with Monica Lewinsky. BOO HOOO, SO WHAT NOW WHAT?

Becoming the best writer/speaker, photographer and basketball official/coach I can be. Fully developing myself and integrating my life that’s what. I get to!

This new phase of your life is no different from previous phases of your life. You bring to the table strengths and weaknesses; you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you to be forward thinking and realistic about what retirement means for you. For millions of us the new retirement means re-thinking and re-shaping our retirement plans. For others it means taking retirement planning more seriously and developing a comprehensive, balanced, written plan.

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. I understand its human nature to ignore retirement plan development in favor of something more immediately gratifying. Alas “Creative Retirement Planning” is a lifelong adventure. There is real power in planning (the unconscious minds’ magic) sooner rather than later. Today I encourage you to ask yourself what are you really planning to do with your 6,000 blank pages?

 


                                   


                                       Is Retirement Bad Word?

Back in my hammock next to the river, I’m reminded of the importance of showing up in all phases of one’s life. Rivers can provide us answers to our questions. All too often rivers prompt us to ask better questions. What are you leaving on the court of your life?

Turning on my side I ask my question directly to the river. Is retirement a bad thing? That’s what my eleven year old niece thinks, information she shared on the way to a friends retirement party. Snow slowly melts off tall pines filling up deer tracks below. Hooves make miniature mud puddles which form trails criss-crossing the property. Many would argue retirement is a bad thing; it is after all the final phase of life here on earth.

I disagree; this sounds like the old retirement which meant working for the same employer followed by a company pension, severe health issues and short retirement. Retirement today means working for multiple employers followed by 401k’s, manageable health issues and long retirement. Today the object is to stay mentally and reasonably physically active all throughout one’s retirement years.

This new phase of your life is no different from previous phases of your life. You bring to the table your strengths and weaknesses, you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you to be forward thinking and as busy as you want to be creatively!

I love the game the basketball so please indulge me here. I use the following analogy as opposed to say the ever popular fine wine or a late-blooming flower analogy.

The game of life here on earth (your earth life) consists of four quarters.

Ages 0-20 1st quarter Learn stuff- everything needed to fit into society

Ages 20-40 2nd quarter Produce economically – manage family & work

Half – Time

Ages 40-60 3rd quarter Produce economically & plan creative work

Ages 60-80 + 4th quarter Perform creative work – fully develop & integrate

Over-Time

Naturally you slow down in the fourth quarter; perhaps you forget a few of the plays, miss a few passes but your wisdom makes up for a lot that you can’t do like you used to.

It just feels really great to be on the court in the fourth quarter. Let the magic of muscle memory transport you in time. Freeze the frames and watch the rim open up and swallow the ball. You really can feel the supple leather in your palm when you dribble. You take a shot and you hear the swish…… your sneakers squeak on queue. How sweet it is!

Tired you bet; you gave it you’re all. You left everything on the court. Inside you regret nothing. Your passion and personal energy is on full display. You’ve fully developed yourself and integrated your life. You are comfortable in your own skin wrinkles and all. You and your teammates smile in a way few can understand.

When the people you’ve loved throughout your life vote you into the Hall of Fame your jersey is framed and hung for future generations to see, and learn from. 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?




                                            

                    Sixty Five and 6,000 days
                                            The State of The American Dream

Is the American Dream really dead? How does the unwinding of the American experience proceed from here? Please understand the American people are resilient. America is a nation of work. America’s size, position and workers productivity ensure long term economic recovery. U.S. solvency really isn’t an issue. However continued economic uncertainty has changed the landscape of retirement planning today.

Much of the American public has transitioned from the old retirement to the new. Working for the same company for 30 years, a company pension accompanied by significant health issues and short retirement have been replaced with multiple employers, 401k’s, manageable health issues and a long retirement.

The “Great Recession of 2008” heightened awareness as to the importance of a professionally written retirement plan the great equalizer. A creative retirement plan addresses emotional as well as financial preparedness. This is in direct response to losses of 6.5 Trillion of home equity, underfunded pensions, and a loss of 8-10 years of growth on investments and wages. Consequently a future retiree’s margin of error has decreased significantly.

The federal debt of $61.6 trillion equates to $534,000 per individual household and only tells us what the government owes to the public. “It doesn’t take into account what’s owed to seniors, veterans, and retired employees,” says account Sheila Weinberg, founder for the Institute for the Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based group that advocates better financial reporting.

What is the actual size of a U.S. citizen’s bill to be paid collectively on the day (s) of reckoning on eight trillion dollars, likely half of this decades U.S.debt? This represents roughly 89k per household broken up over the decade. It’s likely the next round of cuts after the initial four trillion currently in play will alter a bit the way America looks to a retiree. However these changes will prove manageable for those properly prepared. Greater personal economic self-reliance is the new mantra.

Pain on Main Street


Results from the NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health survey indicate common concerns for many current and future retirees today are:

*Paying for gas and food

*Getting a good - paying job or raise in pay

*Paying for health care and health insurance

*Buying or selling a home, or home losing value

*Paying for college or other education costs

*Losing a job

*Credit card debt or other personal debt

*Paying rent or mortgage

*Losing money in the stock market

*Getting or paying for care for an elderly or disabled relation who needs long – term help

Unfortunately, too many future retirees lost critical savings in the 2008 collapse, face layoffs, illness or disability, care for ailing spouses, parents and or grandchildren. Too many future retirees are looking at tightening their belts, maxing out their credit cards, tapping into 401k’s, bankruptcy, foreclosures, short sales, and in some cases state assistance.

Lofty expectations just a few years ago for the inheritances that boomers were coming into have been deflated, from economists' predictions of as much as $136 trillion nationwide to a more humble $8.4 trillion today. Longer lifespans for aged parents, ballooning medical costs and two recessions are among the factors. Still, the average inheritance of $64,000, while not life-changing, can provide a welcome boost, particularly in employment-challenged times. The Detroit News (7/18/11)

Today many future retirees are wondering how they will live in older age in an economic world difficult to predict. According to a recent AARP poll, 68 percent of Baby Boomers 50+ has trouble limiting their spending today.

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

So What, Now What?

Heightened awareness of the importance of proactive planning for retirement. This now includes emotional as well as financial preparation. The happiness quotient has once again reared its smiling head. The American Psychological Association recently published an analysis of multiple studies. Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand analyzed questionnaires from 420,000 people in 63 countries. "Having the freedom to change careers or pursue our passions makes us happier than does a hefty bank account." "So while wealth can provide you with more choices; it is really having the ability to realize your dreams that leads to greater happiness," says study coauthor Ronald Fischer, Ph.D.

The numbers are pretty straightforward regardless of the formula used to determine the proper size of one’s nest egg. Whether it is 9x’s one’s highest salary which will last 25 years or 75% - 85% of one’s salary five years out from retirement x's 25 years. The number is likely in the $375,000 to 600,000 plus range depending on an individuals personal income levels. This assumes conservative growth on investments and a 4% annual withdrawal rate for 30 years. It is recommended to have one’s mortgage paid off before retiring.

The appropriate size nest egg and a pension, social security, and or income from rental property provide income for 6,000 days or twenty years (average person's lifespan) of living expenses in retirement. Health Care costs remain the Elephant in the room.

Plan B - B is for Best

"Having the freedom to change careers or pursue our passions makes us happier than does a hefty bank account." "So while wealth can provide you with more choices; it is really having the ability to realize your dreams that leads to greater happiness," says study coauthor Ronald Fischer, Ph.D.

Irrespective of one’s financial situation it makes sense to put ones financial house in order sooner rather than later. Many future retirees may be concerned about the actual size of their nest egg, lack 100% confidence in the lifelong size of their pension check or are uncertain of how to keep their living costs in check over the next 30 years.

There is an answer. Creative Retirement Planning! Get ready to unleash the power of planning. It may be more difficult to get from here to there than we think. Many future retirees will be successful others may be losing sleep over how they will live all throughout their retirement years.
We are a nation of work. Creative retirement planning recognizes the importance of performing creative work for compensation or not. Discovering one’s passion 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.

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 quicker 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.

Many retirees performing creative work will opt to delay their enrollment in their pensions to maximize the size of their monthly check. For example Social Security taken later rather than sooner results in a significantly larger monthly check.

Other retirees who continue to work in their careers while in their 60’s may opt to stop their 401k nest egg contributions. 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 and potential creative work start-up costs. 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.

Retirees performing creative work recognize their lives are changing and they are committed to growing once again. They’ve found or reconnected with their muse or passion. Likely they were forced to ignore their passion (s) when they were younger in favor of something more practical. Perhaps their muse is simply something fun they enjoy doing; involves meeting new people, traveling, helping others, performing, or they utilize their unique creative abilities while earning extra money. They all capitalize on their creativity!

“When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity.” Linda Naiman

Creative retirees understand growing old is not always an easy road. This is precisely why they are keeping mentally active, vibrant, and genuinely excited to see who they will become! Retirees have proven successful
with creative lifestyles, creative jobs, creative businesses, creative artistic expression, creative hobbies, creative personal expression, arts and crafts, and more. This is due in part to the fact they finally have or can create the time needed to devote to their passion. They also possess a lifetime of experience, growth, and wisdom. As more future retirees anticipate and actually wrap up their years of service in their careers, moving into retirement, they get to find their passion again. Most have plenty of energy left for something that is meaningful and satisfying.

Some would argue retirement is meaningless if they are just going to keep working anyway. I assert that retirement has exceptional meaning if you plan purposefully for it. I believe performing “Creative Work” for compensation or not is key to happiness and contentment in older age.

The following work transition strategy is recommended:

* Make yourself indispensable at your current job/career – get involved in new company

   Initiatives, volunteer for the things others won’t

* Get to really know your competition, get contacts info and their roles & responsibilities

* Network within your industry and identify future remote work prospects

* Find Your Passion and make it your life’s work all throughout retirement

The speed of which these stages of work unfold is best determined by your aversion to risk. In the event you are risk adverse then you benefit staying in your job/career as long as humanly possible, then going to work for the competition for a year or two maybe longer, then performing remote work for a year or two maybe longer, and then begin performing creative work for compensation or not. Please be realistic regarding your shelf life in each stage of your work.

In the event you are more prone to taking risks then you might well speed up this transition to eventually performing creative work. Either way I assert that there is no real significant difference in compensation with traditional work vs. creative work. The day you stop working remotely you will experience a pay cut. After that the income you receive will be similar from traditional or creative work. One significant difference is that creative work will not be demeaning or boring. Creative work will enable you to fully develop yourself. Creative work is the secret to maintaining mental flexibility. Mental stagnation or rigidness (old dogs can’t learn new tricks) is the Kryptonite of older age. Creative work also helps you to stay healthy, maintain a routine, make new friends, and develop new interests.

Some folk’s motivation to perform creative work is primarily economic. Unfortunately, too many have lost too much of their savings in recent years. Starting over is not a realistic option and yet neither is retiring comfortably without working part-time. These folks performing creative work are not bored with their work and find peace of mind in knowing they will not outlive their money.

Developing one’s Creative Retirement Plan today helps take the uncertainty out of living in older age. Irrespective of one’s financial situation future retirees benefit from getting their financial house in order sooner rather than later. Future retirees also benefit from knowing how to keep their life - long, living costs in check. Retirement planning today must also address unfunded multi-generational liabilities realistically.

Last but not least emotional preparedness for retirement can be critical to one’s
life – long happiness. Sixty Five and 6,000 days. What are you looking to do?




                                                                  

                     Creative Work
                                    Find Your Passion

At the age of eight I sit in my favorite spot in Aunt Ethel’s kitchen. I listen intently to her stories of her and Eddie’s (Uncle Ed’s) life during the depression of the 1930’s. This was one of the happiest times of her life of 94 years. Her happiness was a direct result of overcoming severe economic hardships with her Eddie. She reminisced of the good old days when she an Eddie would use an old two person saw to cut down their tress and sell for firewood. Of not being able to swing the $5.00 monthly mortgage payment on the 20 acre parcel adjacent to their property which they coveted.

Aunt Ethel’s pantry was the most enticing, captivating and sweetest smelling place on the planet. I used to sit in the chair close to its door directly under her parakeet. It was understood I was to immediately relinquish this chair to Uncle Ed when he returned home from work each day. Otherwise I was free to watch Aunt Ethel can jams, bake bread, cinnamon rolls, cookies, and pies. I helped out from time to time while listening to her talk about the good old days. I followed her up to the orchard, and then down into the basement, our own Fort Knox of home canned goods. Aunt Ethel and Uncle Ed taught me the secrets of self-reliance born out of necessity in those times.

Tragically I lost my mother at the tender age of ten. My father a technical writer for Boeing and NASA decided to sell our house which he built himself on a pine covered hill over looking Lake Washington in Seattle. We moved to Mexico in the mid 60’s. My father was ready to write his novel.

It was in Mexico that I got my introduction and early education regarding living happily in retirement. Living in various colonies of retired Americans in Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo, and Acapulco provided me great insight into how happy or unhappy one can be in their retirement years.

Every sunset the creative folks gathered spontaneously at one of the artist’s apartments jutting out from the tropical hillside overlooking the ocean. Drinks were poured and the ritual began. Novelists, cartoonists, poets, painters, philosophers, sculptors all throwing in their two cents as to the meaning of life. At my fathers insistence I joined them at every sunset as part of my ongoing education.

Each individual in attendance performed creative work sometimes for compensation sometimes not. By and large they were a happy group excited to see who they would become in older age. Helping to inspire each other was their contribution to the group’s success. Many times they shared their finished pieces with the group and were content with that. Other times they spoke of editor’s deadlines, art show dates and the like as the devil. Yet it was clear to me whether it was the inside group’s support or the outside world’s pressure both were helpful. These creative folks learned how to make the most of their time, energy and talents. They had retired just not from life.

Meanwhile I routinely watched retired doctors and lawyers abandon their new yachts and villas. Wealthy retired businessmen were murdered over local woman, became victims of real estate scams, while others fell into depression, the bottle or both. All too often it was comical watching very wealthy retirees living the “Endless Summer” retirement dream. Sadly they discovered their unhappiness in retirement one day at a time. At times it appeared they had spent their entire lives up until that very moment working practically non-stop 7/24 or close to it. Their retirement plans were 99.9% financial. Suddenly like in the movie “Groundhogs Day” with Bill Murray these retirees awoke to the same empty day over and over again. They really didn’t know what to do with themselves.

This stark comparison was common place in the various retirement and artist colonies I lived in during my years in Mexico. The folks living a leisure retirement the “Endless Summer Retirement” were mostly miserable too much of the time. The folks performing creative work for compensation or not continued to grow, and fully develop themselves. They were happy, creative and productive. Each had found their passion.

They're passionate people. They're busy doing that which they were best suited to do. They're genuinely excited to see who they would become in this new phase of their lives. Huddled around the table at sunset they pushed each other to think a little differently then they had the day before. They discovered the secret to maintaining their mental flexibility . Mental rigidness (can't teach an old dog a new trick) is the Kryptonite of older age.

It wasn’t until my last semester of college when I first put the pieces together for myself. I decided I would semi-retire creatively at the age of 55, which I did at 56. My really cool American Lit professor assigned the class to read Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” describing his experiences; the years he spent in a Nazi prison camp. I was up all night finishing it in one read. The following day I shared with the class how fascinated I was by the way Victor stayed mentally active (strong) in prison. He played 18 holes of golf everyday on various courses sometimes inviting his fellow prisoners into his visualization. I couldn’t get over how he endured the suffering he did while others simply gave up and died soon thereafter.

After class I asked my professor why Victor refused to leave the prison camp when finally offered the opportunity only to allow others his spot and freedom. I was dumbfounded by this obvious contradiction and fascinated by the psychological implications. My professor explained that Victor was already free even in prison because that’s how he chooses to respond to his circumstances.

Therefore it was only right that he let the other prisoners take his spot on the outside so they could be free too!

When the war eventually ended he was released and wrote his book which impacted me greatly.
It really does come down to how you choose to respond to becoming older. While living in older age it matters less what happens to you and more how you respond to your circumstances. You really can create the life you want for yourself in older age. All that is required is creativity, focus and planning.

This new phase of your life is no different than previous phases of your life. You bring to the table your strengths and weaknesses, you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you be forward thinking and creative!

My wish is for you is to find or reconnect with your muse or passion. Likely you were forced to ignore this passion (s) when you were younger in favor of something more practical. Discovering your passion (s) and making it your new life’s work is personally meaningful; sometimes profound? Perhaps your muse is simply something fun you enjoy
doing; involves meeting new people, traveling, helping others, performing, or you utilize your unique abilities while earning extra money.

I happen to love the game the basketball so please indulge me here. I use the following as an analogy as opposed to say the ever popular fine wine or a late blooming flower analogy. 

                                  

              The game of life here on earth consists
                                 of four quarters

Ages 0-20    
          1st quarter
Learn stuff- everything needed to fit into society

Ages 20-40         
2nd quarter Produce economically – manage family & work

HALFTIME !

Ages 40-60          3rd quarter Produce economically, Plan Creative Work


Ages 60-80 + 
      4th quarter Perform Creative Work – fully develop & integrate

OVER-TIME!

Naturally you slow down in the fourth quarter; perhaps you forget a few of the plays, miss a few passes but your wisdom makes up for a lot that you can’t do like you used to.

It just feels really great to be on the court in the fourth quarter. The magic of muscle memory transports you in time. Freeze the frames and watch the rim open up and swallow the ball. You really can feel the supple leather in your palm when you dribble. You take a shot and you hear the swish…… your sneakers squeak on queue. How sweet it is!

Physically tired you bet; you gave it you’re all. You left everything on the court. Inside you regret nothing. Your passion and personal energy is on full display. You’ve fully developed yourself and integrated your life. You are comfortable in your own skin wrinkles and all. You and your teammates smile in a way few can understand.
When the people you’ve loved throughout your life vote you into the Hall of Fame your jersey is framed and hung for future generations to see, and learn from.

I believe Baby Boomers today have a responsibility and opportunity to lead the way for future generations of retirees. You may feel uneasy about this prospect due in part to the fact these are unchartered waters. It wasn’t that long ago we lived to the ripe old age of 46 vs. approximately 80 today. Women typically live longer than men.

The key step in my view is a change in mind-set. To accept this new phase of your life, the end of the 3rd quarter and the entire 4th quarter with open arms and genuine excitement as to whom you will become. This is exactly what I’ve done. Personally I’m very excited to see what kind of basketball official/coach, writer/speaker, and photographer I will become in my older age.

I also encourage you to practice saying “In my older age” in the mirror. Fear or the anxiety of aging is natural but a bit over the top especially here in America. In my opinion culturally our perception is a bit distorted, young is good, old is bad. Be that as it may, we “Creative Boomers” can become game changers for future generations.

Baby Boomers are curious, love to learn and travel. They are athletic, artistic, outgoing, social and creative. They posses a unique set of skills, experiences, tools and technology all at their finger tips. Who better to chart the course and become role models for future generations wrapping up their years of service to work and family.

Performing creative work for compensation or not requires planning in your 3rd quarter. I hope you are ready to open the floodgates of the power of “creative retirement planning”. I encourage you to find your passion and make it your life’s work. I trust you will find ways to increase and maintain your mental flexibility, experiencing contentment in older age. Whatever your age I wish you continued growth and happiness.



                                         


                                        Retirement Planning Today

The American Dream means different things to different people. Certainly providing a better life for our children than we had is high on the list. The ability of an individual to live up to their potential, to work hard, and succeed is central to the American Dream.

However, the range of economic challenges facing future retirees is nothing short of staggering. There is no single economic answer or solution, but rather a series of long-term solutions on multiple fronts. Solvency isn’t really the issue but liquidity is. America is capable of reducing the deficit 3-4 trillion dollars over the next ten years. Politically speaking, it’s our inability to get on the same page which threatens the American economy.

The unwinding of the "American Experience" persists as our fiscal condition continues on an unsustainable path. 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 political stalemate will result in a negative perception of America's economic standing in the world.

Retirees planning how they will live in older age are confronted with economic challenges on multiple fronts. Rapidly changing economic paradigms have resulted in continued economic uncertainty now and in the foreseeable future.

To ensure a retiree outlives their money they often times elect to perform “creative work” for compensation or not and develop numerous frugal food and energy faucets they can turn on and off.

My wish is for future retirees to find or reconnect with their muse or passion. Likely they were forced to ignore this passion (muse) when they were younger in favor of something more practical. Discovering their muse and making it there life’s work is personally meaningful; sometimes profound? Perhaps their muse is simply something fun they enjoy doing; something creative that they capitalize on; sometimes earning extra money.

Whether for compensation or not “creative work” results in passionate people. Retirees busy doing that which they were best suited to do are happy. They’re genuinely excited to see who they will become in this new phase of their lives. They discover the secret to maintaining their mental flexibility. Mental rigidness (can't teach an old dog new tricks) is the Kryptonite of older age.

I believe Baby Boomers today have a responsibility and opportunity to lead the way for future generations of retirees. Many may feel uneasy about this prospect due in part to the fact these are unchartered waters. It wasn’t that long ago we lived to the ripe old age of 46 vs. approximately 80 today. Women typically live longer than men. Consequently we have two chapters to write (live) from age 60 – 80+.

With the number of retirees soaring it is no wonder future and current retirees have difficulty imagining what it will look like when seniors try to collect on those spending promises made to them.

Some retirees will be successful by saving money (lots of it), working as long as they can, hanging on to health insurance, and then living comfortably on pensions or social security. Their accumulated savings are such that they are successful even with significant erosion of their buying power over time. Perhaps they will simply leave substantially less to their heirs than previously expected.

Economic Issues & Challenges

Please understand my blunt assessment of the economy in no way promotes doom and gloom. The best defense is a good offense. Future retirees simply benefit from developing a retirement plan that is proactive. A one two punch producing multiple smaller streams of income and food and life long energy cost-containment options.

Future retirees will likely feel the effects of the recent spectacle regarding raising of the debt ceiling for quite some time. The downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard and Poors has led the Fed to commit to keep interest rates low for the next two years. This sounds good to most Americans. Many believe or hope it will help improve the economy and revive the depressed housing market and inspire consumer spending.

Unfortunately these low rates are also a threat to retirees. First low rates put continued pressure on pensions widening the gap and increasing short falls in terms of what is needed to meet their obligations. For those retirees overly dependent on interest income (maturing CD’s earning 5-6% vs. 1% today) low interest rates pose a real challenge over the next few years.

The negative trend on the value of the dollar continues. The long –term (15-25 years) potential replacement of the U.S. dollar as the world’s currency continues stubbornly along this path as we print more and more money. The U.S. dollar replaced the Sterling.

The volatile stock market suggests economic uncertainty is here to stay for quite some time. Worse yet retirees have come to realize stock market gains don’t really result in main street gains. It appears the not so rosy picture on Wall Street was and is still propped up by the need to print more and more money which further weakens the dollar.

In two to three years the Fed will likely (possibly be forced to) look to create the right mix of inflation and higher interest rates to help pay down the debt. There really isn’t a U.S. solvency issue. However failure to address the U.S debt long-term creates fear with our foreign investors. We’ve witnessed recently how the global economy impacts the U.S. economy.

The U.S. Government ‘s ability to borrow large amounts of money at extremely low interest rates will run it’s course one day. The end of the low interest rate paradigm and the increased cost of oil could potentially have enormous impact on the cost of food and energy for consumers down the road.

As the cost of imported goods rise, future retirees benefit from thinking local. Buying, local establishes their own alternative network of food and energy providers and helps the local economy grow. As the unwinding of the American experience continues retirees will face financial challenges the likes of which never seen previously. Retirees would do well to support national, state, and local efforts to galvanize a common competitive economic vision, a unified economic solution that deals responsibly with our countries debt while keeping its promises to its senior population.

The federal debt of $61.6 trillion equates to $534,000 per individual household and only tells us what the government owes to the public. “It doesn’t take into account what’s owed to seniors, veterans, and retired employees,” says account Sheila Weinberg, founder for the Institute for the Truth in Accounting, a Chicago-based group that advocates better financial reporting. 

Is your financial house in order?

Congratulations you’ve worked hard, invested safely and saved aggressively over the years. You’ve included and covered all potential multi-generational liabilities in your retirement plan. You’ve balanced your lifetime checkbook. You know exactly when you will kiss your debt goodbye. You have a fully developed retirement plan adjusted to current and future economic trends and feel very comfortable entering this new phase of your life. You know where you will live, what work you will perform for compensation or not. You are excited about and look forward to living in your retirement years.

One aspect perhaps not fully factored into your retirement plan is the true impact of inflation and decreased buying power over the next 20 – 30 years.
A solid retirement plan typically includes (built in) inflation adjustments to counter its impact on your actual savings (your nest egg). The new financial wrinkle is the actual life long impact of inflated food and energy costs on your monthly budget. This calculation is typically too low in most retirement plans in light of current/future economic conditions. Now more than ever this calculation must be realistic. It is critical for retirees living on a fixed income in an economic world that can’t be predicted.

The Case for Cost of living Increases, and Frugality

“The cost of living in the U.S. increased 27 percent during the last 10 years, compared with 30 percent in the previous decade and 49 percent in the 10 years before that, according to the Labor Department’s consumer-price index.”One problem future retiree’s face in planning for retirement in an uncertain economic world is determining what and whom they can really count on. More and more personal finance experts are pointing to the fact that retirees benefit from greater self-reliance. This is in direct response to ailing pensions and budgetary concerns regarding Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. Continued low interest rates for the next two years as recently announced by the Federal Reserve and a volatile stock market both negatively impact pensions. Federal and State budgets continue to be strained.

The pattern of recovery has been two steps forward and one back. Few monetary tools are left in the tool box. Unemployment is too complex an issue for a simple remedy. True economic recovery will likely begin to occur in earnest when (if) the housing market rebounds to pre 2007 levels and continues improving with appreciation in the 5% range. Unfortunately it is stressful for future retirees to determine exactly what they can truly count on over the next 20-30 years.

Worst case scenario it might just be the delaying of a pension or social security check for a few years, perhaps it’s a somewhat smaller check than previously anticipated, longer lines at the pump, higher prices at the grocery store, and fresh fruit shortages in the winter. These are inconveniences to be sure but certainly manageable. Future retirees would do well to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Defensive retirement planning today is risky. Attempting to adjust and monitor to each economic shift in the economy is exhausting. Future retirees planning against everything that could go wrong economically in the next 20-30 years are likely barking up the wrong tree. This approach is very stressful and haphazard given ongoing economic events.

The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The notion that future retirees can live comfortably on fixed incomes can be reshaped to include creative work for compensation. This proactive approach provides the option for creating small streams of income whenever warranted. This results in retirees living on a fixed income with some limited income flexibility.

The notion that a retiree’s monthly budget; based on a fixed income or not, will not be negatively impacted by the increased cost of food and energy over the next 20-30 years is a bit fanciful.

Effective retirement planning for the next 20-30 years includes having one’s financial house in order, the ability to perform creative work for compensation or not, and options for life long food and energy cost-containment. In the event a retiree never performs creative work and never needs to reduce their food and energy costs then they have lost nothing. Planning doesn’t cost a penny! Being proactive and prepared for most anything is priceless.

Historical data, current economic trends, and common sense suggest it will be much more expensive to live in the future than today. The million dollar question is how much more expensive? Typically retirement plans grossly underestimate this number. Having options is the key to success. Food will undoubtedly become more expensive. Oil (gasoline) will undoubtedly be more expensive. Electricity will undoubtedly become more expensive as electric utilities are forced to retire older power plants (most of current inventory) and build new ones to meet energy needs.

Future retirees face the prospect of having their pockets picked on multiple fronts, at varying rates over a very long period of time. Historically these concerns were off set to a certain degree by increasing wages and appreciating home values.

Real estate, unemployment, U.S. debt, and U.S. dollar concerns continue to create economic uncertainty. Pensions and social security benefits have conservative mandatory increases based on rising rates of inflation. However, food and energy costs are not included in the official U.S. Inflation Calculation/rate (CPI) Core Pricing Index. Consequently a retiree’s check and purchase power will likely continue to weaken over time.

The U.S. Dollar

“As a result, Buffett warns: "If you ask me if the U.S. Dollar is going to hold its purchasing power fully at the level of 2011, 5 years, 10 years or 20 years from now, I would tell you it will not."A declining dollar weighs on personal incomes, leaving households to pay more for imported items that would go up in cost because of decreased buying power, Feldstein said, of the National Bureau of Economic Research.”“The cost of living in the U.S. increased 27 percent during the last 10 years, compared with 30 percent in the previous decade and 49 percent in the 10 years before that, according to the Labor Department’s consumer-price index.”

Consequently food and energy will likely cost more while the U.S. dollars future retirees use to buy food and energy will be worth less. Many economists predict multiple waves, periods of high inflation lasting many months and in some cases even years at a time over the next 20-30 years.

Common concerns sited are:

  1. U.S. printing too much money (Quantitative Easing) size of U.S. debt
  2. Inflation used as a monetary tool, to potentially erode U.S. debt
  3. Future drought impact on U.S. farmers
  4. Future U.S water supply, impact on farmers
  5. Increased cost of oil, impact on large scale agriculture
  6. Increased cost of oil, impact on trucking industry
  7. Arab spring and beyond, impact on oil production
  8. Climate change results in famine in global hotspots, impacts food supply
  9. Economic cycles, interest rates, inflation have been too low too long
  10. Global economy instability, Europe’s financial crisis

One example of an economic cycle we’ve seen is how food prices cause turmoil in the Middle East which negatively impacts the cost of oil. Here at home this results in higher prices at the pump and grocery store due the trucking industry increased costs being passed on to the consumer.

As food prices rise again and again the cycle repeats itself. “Large Scale Agriculture” depends on inexpensive oil, water and favorable weather to produce food at a cost the public will accept.

Retirees may wonder what is the actual link between climate change and the economy? How exactly does climate change impact their pocketbook? Retirees would do well to ignore doomsday conspiracy theorists and the like.

The Following Assertion is Based on Science

Basically, the combination of explosive population growth and climate change make the cost of food and energy world wide continuously rise.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reports that long droughts of five years or more will occur 40 percent of the time during the next 50 years. Retirees are the most susceptible to harm from heat waves. Heat-related deaths (mostly seniors) make up the greatest number of U.S. annual fatalities, out pacing all other natural disasters.

This news does not bode well for fighting forest fires. Many states incur significant costs associated with fighting fires, especially tough now with already strained state budgets. The federal agency report projects a 9 percent decrease in the Colorado River’s volume annually for the next half decade. This will likely accelerate the increased costs for water across the state of Colorado, as well as increase the cost of food production in Colorado and the other seven western states that depend on the Colorado River for their water supply.

Prud’homme’s The Ripple Effect is an outstanding book examining fresh water in the 21st century. What he found was shocking: as the climate warms and world population grows, demand for water has surged, but supplies of freshwater are static or dropping, and new threats to water quality appear every day.

The author’s research reveals the ocean is under attack as well. Dead zones from farm runoff, increased acidity from increased levels of carbon dioxide, habitat destruction, melting sea ice, and overfishing are occurring more rapidly than even worst-case scenarios predicted just a few years ago.

At this point many readers will likely wish to throw cold water on this economic firestorm. Fresh, clean cold water may be in short supply. Unfortunately, fresh water could turn out to be one of the key factors in the cost of food down the road.Fear is not an option. Economic analysis leads to paralysis!

Retirees need a game changer.
It is human nature to be last minute. Living in a world retirees can’t predict demands offensive planning that covers all the bases. A retiree’s traditional retirement plan should remain status quo. However knowing exactly how to turn one’s frugal faucet on and off is beneficial irrespective of retiree’s circumstances. Frugality requires a degree of self-reliance. Life long cost - containment options of food and energy costs are prudent given ongoing economic events. Future retirees benefit from knowing how to turn their frugal faucet on and off when warranted.

It never hurts retirees or future retirees to be prepared for most anything. The fact of being prepared for most anything is empowering. Retirees figuring this piece out for themselves and their loved ones find it fun; like completing a puzzle. It also provides peace of mind. And naturally it’s different for everyone.

Creative Retirement Planning is focused primarily on planning as opposed to execution. Planning is the most critical step and doesn’t cost a penny, nor requires taking any steps/actions. In the event a retiree or future retiree never needs to execute their “Creative Retirement Plan” then they’ve lost nothing. In the event they need to implement part or most of their plan they have a significant head start and increased chances of success.

Forward-thinking folks are simply taking the bull by the horns and creating the life they want for themselves in older age. They know how to keep their living costs in check. They know how they can outlive their money. They perform “creative work” that is meaningful for compensation or not. They are neither unprepared nor “needy” the root of unhappiness.

Through the process of “Creative Retirement Planning” they’ve taken the uncertainty out their older age and achieved their peace of mind.

A Change in Mind-set

It wasn’t until my first semester of college when I first put the pieces together for myself. I decided I would semi-retire creatively at the age of 55, which I did at 56. My really cool American Lit. professor assigned the class to read Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” describing his experiences; years he spent in a Nazi prison camp. I was up all night finishing it in one read.

The following day I shared with the class how fascinated I was by the way Victor stayed mentally active (strong) in prison. One example, he played 18 holes of golf everyday on various courses sometimes inviting his fellow prisoners into his visualization. I couldn’t get over how he endured the suffering he did while most of the other prisoners simply gave up and died soon thereafter.

After class I asked my professor why Victor refused to leave the prison camp when finally offered the opportunity only to allow others his spot and freedom. I was dumbfounded by this obvious contradiction and fascinated by the psychological implications. My professor explained that Victor was already free even in prison because that’s how he chooses to respond to his circumstances. Therefore it was only right that he let the other prisoners take his spot on the outside so they could be free too! When the war eventually ended he was released and wrote his book which impacted me greatly.

It really does come down to how we choose to respond to becoming older
. While living in older age it matters less what happens to us and more how we respond to our circumstances. Having created options for ourselves down the road is key. We really can create the life we want for ourselves in older age. All that is required is focus and planning.

This new phase of your life is no different than previous phases of your life. You bring to the table strengths and weaknesses; you face challenges and have opportunities. Now as you have before, plan accordingly. I encourage you to be forward thinking and creative!

Food For Thought - Our Roots of Self-Reliance

As a nation we used to have our own wells and didn't rely on municipal water. We used have fireplaces and wood burning stoves and didn't rely on electricity. Food was grown/raised locally and we didn't rely so heavily on supply chains reliant on fossil fuels (increasing costs) to supply us with food. We once had horses and buggies instead of automobiles. Today we have a can of tuna but find we are unable to open it without electricity (power outages).

I'm afraid all too often we assume financial institutions and our government have everything under control and they will take care of us no matter what happens. This is after all one of the many benefits of living in America. In my opinion we may have become a bit too complacent for own good.

Greater economic self reliance and less economic dependence on others is the new mantra. Utilizing creative planning and the best of technology can help provide future retirees with a greater degree of economic self reliance.

One day we may discover that the only ones we can really count on 100% of the time is ourselves. Consequently realistic planning today is more critical than ever before. Unfunded liabilities in one's retirement plan based on unrealistic projected life long living costs should be avoided. After all retirement is a golden opportunity not a rehearsal.

 

                                                     

                    
              THE NEW CREATIVE RETIREMENT
         How To Prepare Financially & Emotionally



                                

                   TRENDS IN THE NEWS

Please understand I do not endorse a gloom and doom economic outlook over the next 20-30 years. However given current economic trends it is important to recognize that things have changed economically speaking. These trends (red troubling signs, green good news) are intended to bolster the argument that things are different economically speaking today. I do not wish to create fear or anxiety. It is my hope that recognizing these trends for what they are will help motivate you to invest more time in planning for your retirement. Fortunately one does not need to know exactly what the future holds economically to enjoy a successful retirement. Proper planning will result in a successful retirement.

The following excerpts were published in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday April 19
th 2011 – It is only one day and things can change tomorrow but and I quote…

¨
“US warned on Debt Load, Budget Deficit 10.6%as Percentage of GDP”

¨“The S&P Lowered it’s Outlook on the US Government’s Debt to “Negative” from “Stable”

¨“Debt issued by Selected AAA – rated countries, in trillions – US $9,092 – France $1,801 – UK 1,681 – Germany $1,598 – Canada $0.593”

“Since the global financial crisis, however, China’s leaders have become increasingly determined to reduce the use of the US dollar. In recent months they have aggressively pushed the expansion of the yuan trading in major financial centers such as New York and London. They have also entered into deals with Russia and Brazil to give companies the option of settling trade deals in local currency rather than in dollars.”

¨Big US. Firms Shifting Hiring Abroad- The companies cut their work forces in the US. by 2.9 million during the 2000’s while increasing employment overseas by 2.4 million, new data from the US. commerce show. That’s a big switch from the 90’s when they added jobs everywhere: 4.4 million in the US. and 2.7 million abroad.

¨“The dollar has declined against several foreign currencies this year including, a 7% drop vs. the euro. “ 


7.30.2011 - Updates
AP Economics Writers
Paul Wiseman, Christopher S. Rugaber

"The new picture of the economy far weaker than most analysts had expected suddenly made a second recession a more serious threat."

"Combined, the first half of the year amounts to the worst six month performance since the great Recession officially ended in June 2009." 

"During the last year, the gross domestic product recorded actual growth of 1.6 percent. Normal economic growth is closer to 3 percent."


8.8.11 - Updates
USA Today

WASHINGTON (AP) — "The real danger from the downgrade of U.S. government debt by Standard & Poor's isn't higher interest rates. It's the hit to the nation's fragile economic psyche and rattled financial markets."

"S&P's decision to strip the U.S. of its sterling AAA credit rating for the first time and move it down one notch, to AA+, deals a blow to the confidence of consumers and businesses at a dangerous time, economists say."

2.22.12 - Updates
New York Times

WASHINGTON — With each party claiming that it had pocketed an election-year victory, Congress on Friday voted to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits and sent the legislation to President Obama, ending a contentious policy fight that left lawmakers with the political bruises to show for it.

Upturn in Job Market Sets Off a Rally

The stock market jumped ahead on the strength of the American job market Thursday and barreled toward its highest levels of the year. The Dow Jones industrial average pushed to within 100 points of 13,000.

The Dow closed up 123.13 points to 12,904.08, a gain of 1 percent. The index has not closed above 13,000 since May 19, 2008.

Economic Reports Show A Brightening Outlook

The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market was steadily improving.

The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times

In other economic news, a rise in building permits suggested that the construction industry was growing confident that more buyers were ready to come off the sidelines, and the latest data on wholesale prices signaled that inflation remained largely in check. And a survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia found continued expansion in factories in mid-Atlantic states.

The Labor Department said on Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment benefits dropped 13,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000. It was the fourth drop in five weeks and the fewest number of claims since March 2008.

The four-week average, which smooths out fluctuations in the weekly data, fell for the fifth-consecutive week to 365,250. The average has fallen nearly 13 percent in the last year.

The consistent decline indicates that companies are laying off fewer workers and that hiring is picking up. When applications drop consistently below 375,000, it usually signals that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

In January, the economy added a net 243,000 jobs, the most in nine months. And the unemployment rate dropped for the fifth-consecutive month, to 8.3 percent. The economy has added an average of 201,000 jobs a month for the last three months.

Faster economic growth is spurring the additional hiring. The economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of last year, a full percentage point higher than in the previous quarter.

Still, the job market has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the damage of the Great Recession. Nearly 13 million people remain unemployed, and 8.3 percent unemployment is still high.

On the housing front, the Commerce Department reported on Thursday that construction of single-family homes cooled slightly in January after surging in the final month of 2011.

Building permits, however, increased. Builders broke ground on a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 699,000 homes in January, which is up 1.5 percent from December and nearly matches November’s three-year high.

3.20.13

Housing market makes slow steady comeback, dow breaks 1400, corporate balance sheets much improved, flush with cash.

Wall Street Journal Reports " Workers Saving Too Little" bracing for a retirement crisis, 57% of U.S. workers reported less than 25,000 in household savings, 28% have no confidence they will have enough money to retire comfortably, 21% not too confident, 13% confident, 38% somewhat confident, 50% sure they could not come up with $2,000 next month in the event of an emergency. Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute.



11.04.13 

Summary of National Economic Data  - Last updated October 3, 2013
Labor Markets
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/6
Employment Situation Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Payroll Employment Change 184 409 545 645 579 176 172 104 169
          (584)   (188) (162)  
Civilian Unemployment Rate 7.7 8.0 7.8 7.7 7.6 7.6 7.6 7.4 7.3
                   
Aggregate Hours Index 1.9 1.2 2.3 2.8 1.4 0.2 0.2 -0.2 0.1
                (-0.1)  
Civilian Labor Force 0.5 0.1 1.5 -0.2 0.5 0.3 0.1 0.0 -0.2
                   
Labor Force Participation Rate 63.5 63.6 63.7 63.5 63.4 63.4 63.5 63.4 63.2
                   
Civ. Employment/Population Ratio 58.6 58.5 58.7 58.6 58.6 58.6 58.7 58.7 58.6
                       
Payroll notes: Units are thousands, annual figure is 12 month average, quarterly figures are quarterly change in level           Next Release - 10/4
Unemp. Rate, LF Part. Rate, Emp./Pop. Ratio notes: annual figures are 12 month averages, quarterly figures are monthly averages
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/3
Unemployment Insurance Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
Initial Claims 357 371 377 355 346 346 341 329 308
                (307)
 4-week Moving Average               305
                      (309)
      8 wk ago 7 wk ago 6 wk ago 5 wk ago 4 wk ago 3 wk ago 2 wk ago Last wk
   Recent Weekly Data   322 337 333 323 294 311 307 308
                       
Note: Most recent data is for the latest week ending Saturday, previous week in parentheses         Next Release - 10/10
Source: Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration / Haver Analytics
Wages and Prices
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/17
Consumer Price Index Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Consumer Price Index 1.5 2.1 2.2 1.4 0.0 0.1 0.5 0.2 0.1
                 
CPI, excluding Food & Energy 1.8 1.6 1.7 2.1 1.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1
                 
CPI Food 1.4 1.4 2.0 1.2 1.0 -0.1 0.2 0.1 0.1
                   
CPI Energy   -0.1 7.1 6.4 -3.1 -11.6 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2
                   
Chained CPI, Total   1.4 0.8 0.3 2.2 2.1 0.2 0.2 0.0 0.1
                   
Chained CPI, excl. Food & Energy 1.6 0.9 1.4 1.9 1.7 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.2
                       
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/16
Note: 12-month change data and all chained data are not seasonally adjusted
Personal Consumption Expenditures: Price Indices Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/27
Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
12 Months                
PCE: Chain Price Index 1.2 1.7 1.6 1.1 -0.1 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.1
        (0.0)      
PCE Index, excluding Food & Energy 1.2 1.4 1.3 1.4 0.6 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2
              (0.8)        
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/31
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/13
Producer Price Index Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Producer Price Index 1.4 5.0 2.1 0.7 -1.2 0.5 0.8 0.0 0.3
          (-1.1)        
PPI, excluding Food & Energy 1.1 2.7 0.7 2.0 1.3 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.0
              (1.4)        
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/11
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/2
Oil and Commodity Prices Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13 Oct-13
      12 Months                
Domestic Spot Oil Price 95.6 88.2 94.4 94.2 105.8 104.6 106.6 106.3 102.1
                  (103.2)
Industrial Materials, CRB 525.7 515.7 537.5 527.0 522.5 520.9 525.3 521.2 517.6
                      (519.0)
Note: Most recent data is for the latest Tuesday, value of the previous Tuesday in parentheses           Next Release - 10/9
Sources: West Texas Intermediate (Oil), Commodity Research Bureau (Ind. Mater.) / Haver Analytics
          Growth Latest Data Released - 7/31
Employment Cost Index Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13
          4 Quarters        
Compensation Costs, Civilian     1.9   0.4 0.4 0.5 0.5
             
    Wages and Salaries     1.7   0.3 0.3 0.5 0.4
             
Compensation Costs, Private     1.9   0.4 0.4 0.4 0.6
             
    Wages and Salaries     1.9   0.4 0.3 0.5 0.6
                       
Note: Quarterly data are annualized growth rates         Next Release - 10/31
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics
            Growth   Latest Data Released - 9/5
Productivity and Costs Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13
            4 Quarters          
Output Per Hour   0.3 2.5 -1.7 -1.7 2.3
          (0.9)
Compensation Per Hour   1.8 0.7 9.9 -5.2 2.3
        (-5.9)  
Unit Labor Costs   1.5 -1.8 11.8 -3.5 0.0
                    (-4.2) (1.4)
Note: Quarterly data are annualized growth rates           Next Release - 11/6
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/6
Hourly Earnings Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Average Hourly Earnings 2.2 1.1 2.0 2.8 1.7 0.0 0.3 0.0 0.2
              (1.6)        
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics / Haver Analytics           Next Release - 10/4
Consumers
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/27
Personal Income Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Personal Income 3.7 1.5 11.3 -4.1 4.1 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.4
          (3.9)     (0.1)  
Wages & Salaries 3.5 1.8 11.0 -2.6 3.1 0.2 0.4 -0.3 0.4
          (3.2)        
Real Disposable Income 1.6 -0.6 9.0 -8.0 3.5 0.2 -0.1 0.2 0.3
          (3.2)   (-0.2) (0.1)  
Real Personal Consumption Exp. 2.0 1.7 1.7 2.3 1.8 0.1 0.2 0.1 0.2
                (0.0)  
Real PCE, Durable Goods 8.0 8.3 10.5 5.8 6.2 0.4 1.0 0.4 0.8
          (6.1) (0.5) (0.9) (0.1)  
Savings Rate 4.9 4.9 6.5 4.0 4.5 4.7 4.4 4.5 4.6
                (4.6)   (4.4)  
Note: For savings rate data, the annual figure is the 12-month average and the quarterly figures are monthly averages         Next Release - 10/31
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis / Haver Analytics
 
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/13
Retail Sales Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Retail and Food Service Sales 4.7 5.0 6.0 4.2 3.6 0.5 0.7 0.4 0.2
    (5.1) (5.9)   (3.5) (0.6) (0.2)  
   Excluding Autos 3.3 4.4 5.3 3.3 1.3 0.2 0.2 0.6 0.1
    (4.5)     (1.2) (0.1) (0.5)  
   Ex. Food, Autos, Bldg. Supp., Gas 3.5 4.3 3.7 3.6 2.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.1
          (3.6)   (2.0)   (0.3)    
Source: U.S. Census Bureau / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/11
      Growth Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/1
Redbook Research Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
Retail Sales 3.8 -0.1 0.9 -1.0 0.4 -0.3 1.0 0.6 -0.4
                      (-0.4)
Note: Most recent data is for the latest week ending Saturday           Next Release - 10/8
Source: Redbook Research / Haver Analytics
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/1
Auto and Truck Sales Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
Auto & Truck Sales, Total 15.3 14.9 15.3 15.5 15.7 15.8 15.7 16.0 15.2
                 
Auto & Truck Sales, Domestic 12.0 11.7 12.0 12.1 12.1 12.4 12.2 12.4 11.7
                 
Auto Sales, Domestic 5.4 5.3 5.4 5.4 5.4 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.2
                 
Auto & Truck Production 10.4 10.2 10.5 10.8   10.9 9.8 10.9  
            (11.0)      
Auto & Truck Inventories 2.5 2.5 2.5 2.6   2.6 2.6 2.6  
                 
Days' Supply 64.1 64.8 62.8 64.6   63.5 64.6 63.5  
                       
Note: Units are in millions           Next Release - 11/4
Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis / Haver Analytics
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 9/18
New Residential Construction Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Total Housing Starts 900 781 896 957 869 919 835 883 891
          (872) (846) (896)  
    Housing Starts - Single-Unit 607 547 597 630 598 597 605 587 628
            (604) (591)  
    Housing Starts - Multi-Unit 293 235 299 328 270 322 230 296 263
          (274) (242) (305)  
Total Building Permits 938 862 928 919 969 985 918 954 926
                 
    Building Permits - Single-Unit 597 533 576 596 620 620 625 609 627
                 
    Building Permits - Multi-Unit 340 329 352 323 350 365 293 345 299
                       
Note: Units are in thousands
Source: U.S. Census Bureau / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/17
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 9/25
Home Sales Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
New Home Sales 419 376 386 449 443 429 454 390 421
          (447) (439) (455) (394)  
Existing Home Sales 5,028 4,740 4,897 4,943 5,057 5,140 5,060 5,390 5,480
                       
Note: Units are in thousands
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau (New), National Association of Realtors (Existing) / Haver Analytics
Last released - New Homes 9/25, Existing Homes 9/19              Next Release - New Homes 10/24, Existing Homes 10/21
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/3
Construction Put in Place Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13
      12 Months                
Construction - Total 5.2 8.1 7.3 -4.1 10.9 1.1 2.0 0.0 0.6
          (7.8) (1.3) (-0.6)  
   Residential 16.8 21.9 0.8 39.7 16.5 1.3 2.5 0.4 0.5
          (16.6) (2.8) (-0.1)  
   Nonresidential -0.8 1.7 10.7 -22.0 7.6 0.9 1.7 -0.3 0.6
              (2.9)   (0.4) (-1.0)  
Source: U.S. Census Bureau / Haver Analytics           Next Release - 10/1
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/24
FHFA House Price Index Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13
      Year                
U.S. Total     4.0 5.2 3.2 1.9 5.8      
                 
   Purchase Only - Monthly 8.8 4.2 6.1 9.2 10.8 0.5 0.9 0.7 1.0
        (4.5) (5.8)   (10.7)   (0.8) (0.6)  
Notes: U.S. Total series is available only on a quarterly basis and is not seas. adjusted, annual data is prev. 4 quarters for Total, prev. 12 months for Purchase Only
The FHFA only measures house prices backed by Fannie or Freddie conforming, conventional mortages, excluding refinances. It also excludes new home sales.
Source: Federal Housing Finance Agency / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/23
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/24
S&P/Case-Shiller HPI Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13
      Year                
U.S. National   10.0 4.8 9.9 16.2 9.4      
                 
   Composite 20 - Monthly 12.3 7.4 8.5 14.0 18.7 1.7 0.9 0.9 0.6
          (8.4) (14.1) (18.8)   (1.0)    
Notes: The U.S. National series is available only on a quarterly basis, annual data is prev. 4 quarters for National, prev. 12 months for Composite 20
The S&P indices are value-weighted, meaning that price trends for more expensive homes have a greater impact on price change measures than other homes.
Source: Standard & Poors, Fiserv and MacroMarkets, LLC / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/29
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 9/27
University of Michigan Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
Consumer Sentiment 79.8 79.4 76.7 81.7 81.6 84.1 85.1 82.1 77.5
                 
Consumer Expectations 72.3 73.5 69.2 73.8 72.7 77.8 76.5 73.7 67.8
                 
Current Conditions 91.5 88.6 88.2 93.9 95.5 93.8 98.6 95.2 92.6
                       
Note: Used with permission of copyright holder; any other use prohibited         Next Release - 10/25
Source: University of Michigan / Haver Analytics
Businesses
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/16
Industrial Production Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Industrial Production 2.7 0.4 2.4 4.2 0.7 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.4
        (4.0) (0.4) (0.0) (0.2)    
Manufacturing Production 2.7 -0.4 2.4 4.9 -0.3 0.3 0.3 -0.4 0.7
          (-0.7) (0.2) (0.2) (-0.1)  
Capacity Utilization, Manufacturing 75.9 75.6 75.7 76.3 76.0 75.9 76.1 75.7 76.1
              (75.9)   (75.9) (75.8)  
Note: For C.U. manufacturing data, the annual figure is the 12-month average and the quarterly figures are monthly averages         Next Release - 10/17
Source: Federal Reserve System, Board of Governors / Haver Analytics
Manufacturers' Shipments and Durable Goods Orders Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/25
Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
12 Months                
New Orders 1.1 1.1 8.8 -1.0 7.6 3.0 1.6 -2.7  
              (-2.4)  
  Durable Goods 13.7 -6.1 15.4 -3.9 29.0 5.5 3.9 -8.1 0.1
              (-7.4)  
    Excluding Transportation 7.6 -11.6 11.0 9.7 6.2 1.3 0.1 -0.5 -0.1
              (-0.8)  
    Capital Goods Nondefense 25.9 -7.3 15.8 11.2 52.9 12.8 6.9 -17.4 -0.2
              (-16.0)  
      Excluding Aircraft 9.7 -19.6 13.8 21.4 8.5 2.1 1.1 -3.3 1.5
              (-4.0)  
Shipments 2.7 3.7 3.9 2.3 -2.6 1.0 -0.3 1.2  
              (1.1)  
  Capital Goods Nondefense ex. Air. 2.8 -5.9 6.1 5.8 -0.9 2.0 -1.0 -1.4 1.3
              (-1.7)  
Unfilled Orders, Durable Goods 5.8 -0.7 5.8 0.6 15.5 1.2 2.1 0.2 0.0
              (0.4)  
  Excluding Transportation 4.0 -8.9 -2.4 4.3 11.2 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.6
              (0.8)  
  Capital Goods Nondefense 9.6 -0.1 3.1 7.4 24.9 1.8 3.0 0.4 0.3
              (0.7)  
    Excluding Aircraft 5.9 -10.4 -5.0 7.8 17.0 1.1 1.7 1.1 1.1
                    (1.0)  
Notes: Shipments and orders are updated twice per month, with an advanced report and a full release the following week; all mfg. unfilled orders are durable goods
Source: U.S. Census Bureau / Haver Analytics          Next Release - 10/3
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/13
Manufacturing & Trade Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13
      12 Months                
Sales 4.6 2.6 5.7 2.7 1.8 0.0 1.1 0.2 0.6
                 
Inventories 3.2 7.5 2.2 3.8 0.7 0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.4
                       
Source: U.S. Census Bureau / Haver Analytics         Next Release - 10/11
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/1
ISM Manufacturing Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
PMI Index 52.4 50.6 52.9 50.2 55.8 50.9 55.4 55.7 56.2
                 
   Employment 52.3 51.4 53.6 49.7 54.4 48.7 54.4 53.3 55.4
                 
Price Index 53.9 54.3 57.5 50.7 53.2 52.5 49.0 54.0 56.5
                       
Source: Institute for Supply Management / Haver Analytics           Next Release - 11/1
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/3
ISM Non-Manufacturing Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13
      12 Months                
NMI Index 55.0 55.1 55.2 53.2 56.3 52.8 56.0 58.6 54.4
                 
   Employment 54.1 53.8 56.0 52.4 54.3 55.1 53.2 57.0 52.7
                 
Price Index 56.6 57.9 58.5 53.0 56.9 56.8 60.1 53.4 57.2
                       
Source: Institute for Supply Management / Haver Analytics           Next Release - 11/5
      Growth Quarterly Growth, Annualized Latest Data Released - 9/19
The Conference Board Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13 Aug-13
      12 Months                
Leading Economic Index* 4.2 0.1 2.2 3.6 4.2 0.3 0.0 0.5 0.7
              (0.6)  
Coincident Economic Index* 2.1 1.0 3.6 0.0 2.9 0.3 0.0 0.1 0.2
              (3.1)   (0.1) (0.2)  
Note: The Conference Board’s Indexes are registered marks: The Conference Board Leading Economic Index® and         Next Release - 10/18
The Conference Board Coincident Economic Index®. Used with permission of copyright holder; any other use prohibited.
Source: The Conference Board / Haver Analytics
International, and Other
      Average Quarterly Totals Latest Data Released - 9/4
U.S. International Trade Previous Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Apr-13 May-13 Jun-13 Jul-13
      12 Months                
Trade Balance -41.0 -129.0 -127.4 -122.6 -117.8 -39.5 -43.7 -34.5 -39.1
        (-123.7) (-118.5) (-40.1) (-44.1) (-34.2)  
Exports 186.4 552.3 556.6 557.9 564.0 186.9 186.5 190.5 189.4
        (559.0) (565.8) (187.6) (187.1) (191.2)  
Imports 227.4 681.3 683.9 680.5 681.7 226.5 230.2 225.1 228.6
            (682.7) (684.3) (227.7) (231.2) (225.4)  
Source: U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis / Haver Analytics           Next Release - 10/8
      Average Average of Monthly Data Latest Data Released - 10/1
Exchange & Interest Rates Previous Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13 Q3-13 Jul-13 Aug-13 Sep-13 Oct-13
      12 Months                
FRB Trade-weighted Dollar 75.2 73.1 74.8 76.4 76.5 77.2 76.3 76.0 75.4
                (75.7)
Foreign 3-month Interest Rate 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3 0.3
                (0.3)
U.S. 3-month CD #N/A 0.2 0.2 0.2 #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A
                      #N/A
Note: Most recent data is for the latest week ending Friday           Next Release - 10/8
Source: Federal Reserve System, Board of Governors / Haver Analytics
Gross Domestic Product
            Growth   Latest Data Released - 9/26
Gross Domestic Product   Previous   Q3-12 Q4-12 Q1-13 Q2-13
            4 Quarters          
Gross Domestic Product, Real   1.6   2.8 0.1 1.1 2.5
           
  Final Sales   1.7   2.2 2.2 0.2 2.1
          (1.9)
    Consumption   1.9   1.7 1.7 2.3 1.8
           
    Business Fixed Investment   2.4   0.3 9.8 -4.6 4.7
          (4.4)
      Equipment & Software   2.4   -3.9 8.9 1.6 3.3
          (2.9)
        Information Processing (E & S)   5.1   -4.5 20.0 -2.7 9.3
          (9.2)
    Residential Fixed Investment   15.2   14.1 19.8 12.5 14.2
          (12.9)
    Government   -2.0   3.5 -6.5 -4.2 -0.4
          (-0.9)
    Exports   2.0   0.4 1.1 -1.3 8.0
          (8.6)
    Imports   1.2   0.5 -3.1 0.6 6.9
          (7.0)
  Price Index - GDP   1.3   2.3 1.1 1.3 0.6
          (0.8)
  Change in Nonfarm Business Inventories   43.1   97.3 20.3 22.2 32.7
          (38.1)
Net Exports (Nominal)   -518.1   -524.4 -515.8 -523.1 -509.0
                      (-506.1)
Notes: Quarterly data are annualized growth rates; for Net Ex. & Change in Inv. the annual figure is a 4-qtr. ave. and the quarterly figures are levels
Source: Bureau of Economic Anaysis / Haver Analytics
 

                                                            
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