My daily personal finance routine continues to include net worth tracking. Call me obsessive but is there a better overall indicator of financial progress toward retirement? Not that I am aware of but I am certainly open to being educated by a reader on this. The results during the first quarter are positive but no doubt less than mediocre compared to many of you. The results are about what I anticipated.
According to the title from a well-known Thomas Wolfe novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. This sentiment is often brought up when we reminisce about the places where we grew up, our “family of origin” home. Sometimes we think that life would be better there, that we would feel more secure or more loved. I thought of this today while watching a local theater production of “The Trip to Bountiful.”
Lots of alleged experts publish suggestions to help baby boomers crawl out of a retirement planning mess. By “mess” I am referring to a boomer taking a hard look at his or her “number” and realizing that there are probably going to be more years in retirement than there are dollars to pay for it.
Oversized recurring expenses are the enemy of a responsible retirement plan. (That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!) The culprits at the top of the recurring payment lists are mortgage payments and car payments. When I retire, I won’t have either, unless someone wants to offer me a loan at 0% interest.
As a baby boomer, how often have you wondered what the very best exercise is for you to do on a regular basis? The question is important because most of us don’t want to exercise – just for the sake of exercise – any more than reasonably necessary. This means selecting exercises that are effective and time efficient. So what is the best baby boomer exercise?
Most of the “retirement” stories we read these days in the mainstream media seem to fall into two categories: (1) how poorly prepared baby boomers are for retirement; or (2) success stories of those who retired with plenty. I have to acknowledge my part in this, as I pass on gloom and doom stories here regularly.
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.
If you are a baby boomer like me, you are realistically in the last third of your life. The good news is that you are still young enough to make changes. Why make changes? To increase the probability that your final years will be good ones. I’m talking about some of the basics of a happy life: staying mobile and avoiding dementia. Lots of folks worry about running out of money when they hit that last decade. I’m more concerned about staying functional. What good is money if all of it is being spent on nursing home care?
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?