Three Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Finances

April 4, 2012

Spring is traditionally the time to clean up the old and get ready for the new. Why should your finances be any different? Now is the perfect time to spring clean your retirement plans.
Check the beneficiaries on your existing IRAs, 401k and 403B accounts
Assets held in these types of accounts (Roth IRAs too!) will pass outside of your will. This means that  your retirement assets will pass to the beneficiaries that you named when you opened your account. So, make sure that the beneficiaries that you named are still those that you want to pass your retirement assets to.  –You would be amazed at how many ex-spouses are the beneficiaries of their former spouses 401ks! This oversight leaves the current spouse with no claim to these 401k assets.

Reclaim the 401k or 403b held at a former employer
Many folks have the set it and forget it mentality especially when it comes to their retirement assets held in an account at a former employer. Well, this is probably not the best idea.
Consciously decide what to do with your 401k, 403b, IRA held at a former employer. Do you really need to leave your monies there? Should you move them to your current employer’s 401k? Or should you roll the monies over into an IRA? These questions need to be answered and action taken. If you are not sure what to do, consult with a trusted financial advisor. Research your options and take action. Make time to reclaim your abandoned retirement money!

sweep broom

Review and adjust your portfolio asset allocations

While most of us are content to let ‘things rock along’ and leave our investments untouched for years, your retirement portfolio should be analyzed and rebalanced annually. Make sure that you have an asset allocation plan and stick to it.  
In keeping with your plan for asset allocation, sell both assets that have gone up and holdings that no longer serve you. Then, buy more of the assets that have gone down in value. It’s the perfect way to execute your ‘buy low, sell high’ strategy.

Springtime is the perfect season to ‘till the asset allocation soil’ and prepare your portfolio for future growth, check your beneficiary designations and reclaim those 401ks that you have left as orphan investments .

If you need help with your asset allocation or reclaiming your abandoned retirement accounts, just give me a call at 770-333-0113 option 1 x110.

Jane Nowak  is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst ™ at Kring Financial Management in Atlanta, GA.  Jane is a Retirement Specialist and Divorce Financial Analyst who provides financial planning for clients in their prime.

 She has recently had articles published or has been quoted in articles that have appeared online at theNASDAQ, Yahoo Finance, Womenetics.com, Smart Money Chicks, Fox Business News, CreditCards.com, U.S. News &World Report, Financial Planning Association (FPA) and Equifax Personal Finance blog web sites.   
 

Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member, FINRA/SIPC
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Retirement Redux or Rewrite the Plan?

January 23, 2012

Never place a period where God has placed a comma.                ~Gracie Allen

This quote really resonates with me  when I begin thinking about the myriad of challenges that my clients (especially women)  face when they seriously begin planning for their retirements. 

Punctuating with a period?  Constantly bombarded with the images of that ‘ideal’ retirement, we’ve all seen pictures of retirees walking in the sun on a beautiful beach, playing golf, boating or traveling to exotic destinations. Of course,  these pictures never show a cloudy sky or a hint of rain.

We all dream of being able to have a sunny  retirement. – And, for sure, keep your ideal retirement dream alive!  But, if you’ve got rain in your retirement financial picture, you don’t need to get stuck by placing a ‘full stop’ on your retirement plans when your financial reality doesn’t match up… 

Time to punctuate with  a comma? I have occasion to welcome clients into my office who are very close to or beyond retirement age who despite their best efforts are falling short of attaining their retirement dreams. Many are really ‘down on themselves’ or ‘beating themselves up’ for  their current gap in retirement assets needed versus what they have actually saved. Oddly enough, I say that this is the perfect time to re-evaluate your situation and move forward to ‘reinvent’ your retirement.

As the new year begins, this certainly is the perfect time to rewrite your very own plan for retirement.  Remember it’s not supposed to be the retirement picture or plan that an advertiser has shown you. -Truthfully, who do you know that  really has that idyllic life?  So,  I’m talking about you, drawing-up a retirement picture or plan that matches your financial reality.

 In the last several years, I’ve read and tweeted  many ideas that may be helpful to those of you who are working on retirement redux or reinventing your retirement plans:

  • Working longer full or part-time doing something you actually enjoy
  • Develop a new computer-based career you can work from the comfort of your home
  • Living  together with other ‘Golden Girls’ or Golden Guys’
  • Retiring in here or in another country that has a retiree-friendly costs and standard of living
  • Move in with a family member

Your picture of your retirement will be as unique as you. Remember it’s not your Mom, Dad’s or an advertiser’s retirement –it’s yours. Take the plunge and reinvent your retirement.

Need more ideas? Give me a call.


Jane Nowak   is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™  and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™  who specializes in Women’s Retirement and Divorce Financial Planning for Women. Located in the Smyrna, Marietta, Vinings area of Atlanta, GA,  Jane’s goal is to educate and empower her clients to take control of their daily finances so they can fully fund their retirement dreams and needs. Jane has recently had articles published or has been quoted in articles that have appeared on-line at the NASDAQ, Yahoo Finance, Womenetics.com, Smart Money Chicks, Fox Business News, CreditCards.com, U.S. News and World Report and Financial Planning Association (FPA) websites.

Securities offered through Triad Advisors, Inc. Member, FINRA/SIPC

Paying for your kids’ college vs. your

September 12, 2011

Paying for your kids’ college vs. your own retirement @USAToday
http://ow.ly/6khq1 NEVER use #401K or #IRA to pay for college for your kids


Ways to Get Women on the Right Financial Track

December 10, 2010

from: 6 Financial Dangers Women Face and Ways How to Get on Track

Thanks to richwebnews for the quick summary of six financial dangers that women face. This article also gives we women some ideas on to do or consider doing to give ourselves a better financial future.

This is a good article that is short and to the point. Richwebnews  stresses the need for women to get financial education and to have a financial plan.

However, when considering when to take Social Security benefits or whether to purchase an annuity, always, always, always get advice from a  financial professional who is a fiduciary.

Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management located in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association and Womenetics.com, SmartMoneyChicks.com.  Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020


Baby Boomers:Is Our Health Care Still in “Critical” Condition?

August 20, 2010

 

As I become increasingly familiar with the Baby Boomer demographics, I have become proportionately concerned about the status of Medicare here in the USA. While the spotlight is firmly focused on Social Security, I think that we just may be fiddling while Rome burns.

Yes, Social Security definitely has its issues. But, what about the cost of health care? Historically health care costs go up at a rate greater than the rate of inflation. Digest these facts about the financial condition of health care in the USA:

  • Current health care spending is 6.8% of a family’s household expenditures
  • Current health care spending for those over age 65 is 12.6% of household expenditures 
  • Employer health benefit costs are expected to rise 9% in 2010
  • Employer health benefit costs are expected to rise  8.9% on 2011
  • The typical employees’ wages will not be keeping up with the cost of health care
  • Employers are increasingly passing a greater share of health care costs to employees
  • Companies that are going through bankruptcy are terminating health benefit plans for existing employees

Something’s got to give. As the Baby Boomers age and health care costs continue to rise at a rate greater than inflation, we circle back to the same old question.  How are we going to pay for Baby Boomer health care?

I guess that is some of what Health Care Reform is supposed to do.  No wonder there was so much talk about what type of health care costs to fund! And that discussion about end of life health care, -the truth is that ‘the system’ may not be able to afford our ever-increasing longevity.

 No matter what is acknowledged publicly, those who crafted our Health Care Reform bill had to discuss when to ‘pull the plug’ on seniors and their end of life health care funding.

Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management located in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association and Womenetics.com. Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020


Women Must Invest their Retirement Savings

July 9, 2010

 

Don’t gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don’t go up, don’t buy it.
~Will Rogers

All kidding aside, I know that investing can be risky. But, Will Roger’s solution will not work for us. I just some alarming statistics about women and investing.  Only 25% of the women surveyed buy and sell stocks or mutual funds. And, only 48% of women will be relying on their investments for retirement!

So, ladies in the 75% and 52%, are you planning to rely solely on social security to fund your retirement?

Let me disabuse you of that notion. The average social security retirement benefit for those who retired in 2009 is $1153 per month. Just ask yourself what your current monthly budget is. Then answer the question, can or do you want to live on the monthly amount that Social Security alone will provide you for the rest of your life? For most of us the answer will be  a resounding, no! 

If you have worked for several years already, you will be able to calculate your current retirement benefit.  You can check your retirement benefit at: http://www.ssa.gov/estimator/

 In fact, if you are older than 25, the SSA is already sending you a retirement benefit summary every year. The summary is sent 3 months before your birthday. Review your benefit information. Save this information with your financial paperwork .

The 1/3rd

The reality is that Social Security realistically may only give you up to 1/3 rd of your retirement income. -Of course, this may change (for the worse) as the baby boomers (r)age through the Social Security system.

 The other 2/3rds

  1.  401(k)s, IRAs, SEPs, 404(b) s, etc. are supposed to give us another 1/3rd.
  2. And, our personal savings are supposed to give us the final 1/3rd.

Ladies it is past time for you to trade in your piggy banks for stocks, bonds, mutual funds or ETFs. The only way to keep up with inflation is to invest your money. 

Your goal is to maintain or better your spending power by beating inflation. Even if you don’t have much saved, consider the riskiness of not investing. We are responsible for providing 2/3rds of our own retirement income. Long term investing is the way to grow your money.

Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management located in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association and Womenetics.com. Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020


‘Retirementology’ book review: Why Americans fail at saving – USATODAY.com

June 29, 2010

‘Retirementology’ book review: Why Americans fail at saving – USATODAY.com

via ‘Retirementology’ book review: Why Americans fail at saving – USATODAY.com.

Excerpt from the article:

Many of us are making classic mistakes in the way we invest, spend, save, borrow and earn money.

Five of the greatest gaffes:

•We buy into the “red zone” hype. Salsbury dings the financial-services business for pushing the “retirement red zone” concept — a period starting just five years before retirement and ending five years into retirement.

“Millions of Boomers may be seeing red, but there is no zone in sight,” Salsbury says.

•We fall numb by “the number.” Another financial-services bogeyman is “the number” — the amount you supposedly need to comfortably retire. Salsbury maintains that nobody really knows what that number is.

•We’re not logical when it comes to saving for retirement. Americans worry about not having enough money to retire, yet fail to take advantage of savings programs available to them, Salsbury says.

A striking 70% of Gen Y workers don’t participate in employer-sponsored accounts, and more than 20% of workers 45 and older have stopped contributing to their 401(k)s.

•We’re nearsighted about investing. Behavioral economists call this “the recency effect.” You notice your mutual fund has soared in value over the past quarter or two, so you overload your portfolio with stocks. Or, after watching your stock holdings plummet, as in 2008, you go ultra-conservative and bulk up on money-market accounts.

•We pull money out of retirement savings before retiring. Salsbury says 46% of people cash out of their 401(k)s when changing jobs, rather than rolling the money over into another tax-deferred retirement plan.

‘Planning for retirement is more like a 50-year project than a 10-year project’

Shared by: Jane Nowak is a Financial Planner with Kring Financial Management located in Atlanta, Ga. Jane’s practice focuses on Women’s Retirement Planning and Financial Planning for Women. Her articles have been published on line at NASDAQ, Financial Planning Association and Womenetics.com. Follow Jane on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/moneygal2020


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