August 2012


Here is August’s review of blog posts. We spent some time this month searching for some new blogs to follow and found quite a few. However, one in particular had some great content (We’re sure you can tell which one!). Most of the authors of these posts write for other blogs as well. We hope you find something you enjoy!

 

U.S. News Money5 Reasons to Delay Collecting Social Security – If you can manage, it’s best to delay taking your Social Security Benefits.

 

 U.S. News MoneyThe Case of On-Again, Off-Again Retirement – A good follow up to our post last week. Retirement doesn’t have to mean never working again.

 

 U.S. News MoneyThe Biggest Retirement Challenges for Women – Women may face more difficulties in retirement than men do. It’s important to consider these possibilities.

 

U.S. News MoneyEarly Retirement Will Impact Your Social Security Benefit – Social Security is an important part of retirement income people often undervalue. Be sure to consider what early retirement might do to your future benefit.

 

U.S. News MoneyQuestions to Ponder Once You Have Enough Money to Retire – When you reach the stage where you feel financial comfortable enough to retire, ask yourself these questions before taking that step.

 

Please let us know if you have a favorite financial blog that you think we should be reading.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.
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The younger you are, the more obscure retirement seems. As you age and this concept of “retirement” gets closer to becoming a reality, deciding what it means to you will become more important.

The definition of retirement from Merriam-Webster.com is “withdrawal from one’s position or occupation or from active working life.” Seems pretty clear; a definition most people would likely agree with. But what does it mean to you personally?

 

Retirement Must Be Planned For

 Our readers know that we are planners, so it’s not surprising that we would stress the need for planning for retirement. But to many people, planning for retirement means putting money away. While this is of course incredibly important, you have to look beyond this and decide what you want to DO in your retirement. How will you spend your time? Are you going to be happy retiring at 65 with 20-30 years of free time on your hands? What will you do if that won’t make you happy?

If you haven’t considered this possibility, please do. Many people think that after four plus decades of working, they will be more than ready to retire. But what happens after a few years of “retirement” and you’re bored? What next? Did you make plans for this possibility?

 

Changing Your Ideas About Retirement

There was a post over at Get Rich Slowly this week that we thought addressed these questions very well, “The Many Roads to Retirement.” In the post, author Robert Brokamp discusses how “the traditional work/retire chronology may not be the best model. Rather than saving all the retirement for the end of your life, perhaps it’s possible to rearrange the order by taking a break mid-career, gradually ratcheting down the work week, or working fewer weeks out of the year.”

20-30 years is a lot of time to fill if you aren’t working. It’s entirely possible this will make you happy, and if you reach retirement and find that you are perfectly content, that’s great. But if you don’t enjoy not working as much as you thought, planning for this possibility prior to reaching retirement can greatly ease the stress you may feel.

Here are our favorite ideas presented by Brokamp:

  • “Change Careers Instead of Retiring” – This idea is great because you don’t have to wait to reach retirement age to do it. Are you burnt out in your current career at the age of 50? Can’t stand the idea of working to 65 or beyond? Change your career to something you enjoy and can see yourself being happy doing for a long time.
  •  “Turn Your Hobby Into Your Income” – This concept is great for anyone, not just retirees. If you have a hobby that you already spend time on, turn it into income. It will help to occupy your time and create additional income that will become more important to you once you retire.
  •  Reduce Living Expenses by Living on Wheels” – As Brokamp says, retiring to an RV is cliché, but it’s a very real option. It provides a way to retire cheap and spend your retirement income on pursuits that many retirees who keep their expensive houses can’t do. And traveling around in an RV will take up plenty of that free time you have!

 

 Trying to Enjoy Retirement

 Retirement should be enjoyed. You’ve spent your life working and you want to take a break. There is nothing wrong with that. But don’t sell yourself short. Just because you don’t want your busy career back doesn’t mean you can’t be busy. Do some thinking and planning about what you may want to do in your retirement and you may be happier for it.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.

We are on our family summer vacation, so we will not being doing our regular weekly post today, and there will be no post next week. We hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding some time to relax!

 

Social Security in the United States tends to be undervalued by many workers. Often people who are pre-retirement age don’t pay much attention to their annual statements received from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which shows both their earnings record and estimated benefit.

This has been compounded by the fact that last year, the SSA stopped mailing statements. So now, rather than receiving the statements in the mail and tossing them aside without much attention, you actively have to go searching for the info, which many will not bother doing.

While you may not think that you need to know your Social Security Benefit estimates, especially if you are younger and retirement is decades away, it is important to review your statement annually. Why is that? To ensure their accuracy!

Why Accuracy is Important

 The SSA is just as likely to make a mistake in reporting your earnings as any other company, through technological or human error. And, since there are so many workers to report too, it is highly unlikely they will catch that error without prompting.

Since your Social Security Benefits are paid out based on your highest 35 years of earned income (doesn’t have to be consecutive years), if the SSA is underreporting your earnings, you may end up receiving less benefit than you’re entitled to.

How to View Your Statement

 Since the SSA is no longer mailing monthly statements, you will have to retrieve the information yourself following these steps:

  • Go to http://www.SocialSecurity.gov/mystatement
  • Click Sign In or Create and Account
  • If you have not created an account previously, you must do so before viewing your information. Once you create an account, you will be able to use that login information in the future.

Information Needed:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Date of Birth
  • Address
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address

Follow the steps to create an account

  • Once completed and logged in, click Print/Save Your Full Statement on the main page.

The process is easy and fast. Once you have your statement, take some time to review your listed earnings. If they don’t match what you have on record, you can contact the SSA to correct the error.

While you may not think that Social Security is very important, you are paying into it with every paycheck. Don’t you want to take a few minutes to ensure that you will be receiving the proper benefits you deserve?

If you’d like to read some more on getting your benefits statement online, we recommend “A New Way To Review Client Social Security Benefits – Online?” by Michael Kitces. While the article is geared more towards advisors like us, it has some good info and tips for online security.

 

 

  • Disclaimer: The information on this blog is not meant for specific financial advice. The ideas/opinions stated are not suited for everyone, and readers should use their own judgment in applying them in their financial lives.