A recent Federal Reserve report contains some disturbing news about personal debt trends in the U.S. First, total consumer debt is at its highest level since 2011. ($11.5 trillion if you like to read large numbers!) Even worse, the level of consumer debt (mortgages, car loans, student loans and credit card debt) increased by 2.1% during the last quarter of 2013. That’s the fastest rate of increase since the third quarter of 2007. Do you remember what happened shortly after that? I sure do, which is why I am so reluctant to trust the equity markets with my retirement money.
I like free advice under two conditions: (1) If I ask for the advice; and (2) the advice comes from someone with experience and knowledge. If you are looking for some retirement or financial planning advice – free and from a financial planning professional, read on.
The Gallup organization has been polling baby boomers on a number of different topics and periodically releasing the results and drawing conclusions. A recent conclusion is this: When it comes to our retirement age, baby boomers are acting in accordance with our “live to work” reputation. I think that is kind of sad, don’t you?
Millions of baby boomers are like me – still in the accumulation phase of retirement planning. Being in the accumulation phase doesn’t necessarily mean you are actually “accumulating.” That requires being a “saver.” A saver has opportunities to save and sufficient discipline to exploit those opportunities. So what separates the successful savers from the not-so-successful retirement savers?
It doesn’t seem right that anyone should have to pay income tax on Social Security retirement benefits, at least until the benefits paid exceed the amount of money that the recipient paid into the system over the years. But, this ship has sailed and many of us will be taxed on Social Security income. The question for today is whether you might get hit with a double tax whammy – taxed at both the federal and state levels.
I don’t like using detailed budgets because of the time involved in monitoring and entering expenses in multiple categories. Using a detailed budget also conflicts with my continuing goal to simplify my life. On the other hand, I like to know and confirm that my pre-retirement outgo is less than my income. That brings a peace of mind that is important to my “big picture” goal of increasing my net worth while I am still in the accumulation phase of retirement planning.
American baby boomers in general are not prepared for retirement. Many experts call this a crisis in the making. The crisis is that many of us will have to work into our 70′s to make ends meet, if we are healthy enough to do so. Others may not be that fortunate. Retirement will be forced upon them by health or other circumstances. They will live in relative poverty. It turns out that we are not alone. The crisis is world-wide.
The 2013 Retirement Confidence Survey has been released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. The findings expose severe problems among retirement savers.
The retirement planning experts are relentless in their gloom and doom predictions for baby boomer retirements. Sadly, the data appear to back up these pessimistic predictions. Can anything be done?
The “Can I retire?” assessment (sometimes characterized as the “Will I be able to retire?” quiz) typically distills down to three basic parts. The first part is a principle: We want the freedom to spend “x amount” every year while I am retired. (We also want our spending to keep pace with inflation, of course.) The second part requires a careful look at (and accurate quantification) of your current retirement nest egg. Third, we have the payoff question: Can I safely generate at least an “x amount” of income from my retirement nest egg until I die?