Retirement

Retirement Is Coming Will You Be Ready?

Retirement Is Coming Will You Be Ready?

Whether you are 25, 45 or even older, retirement is one topic that should never be too far away from your thoughts.  Even though retirement may seem far away and there seems to be so many other important things to do, it will get here.  And if you aren’t prepared and you haven’t planned for it, you might find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation.

Here are some proven steps to help get the ball rolling and efficiently plan for your retirement.

Take a Look Around

The first thing you have to do is stop what you’re doing and take stock of your situation.  If you’re going to set up and implement a successful retirement plan, you must be in a position to make it happen.  That means a steady, reliable income and not too much debt hanging over you.

Write down all the details and then you’ll know what you have to work with, and what you may need to change.  This kind of financial review may seem troubling to some, but it’s also necessary if you’re really serious about creating a solid retirement plan.

Make Goals

Goals are wonderful little things to help keep you on track and remind you exactly what it is you’re trying to do.  With something like retirement that may be decades away, goals are even more important.  It’s wise to set long-term goals for your retirement, and short-term goals for various stages along the way.  That way, you can ‘keep your eyes on the prize’ so to speak, while at the same time maintaining your focus through each stage.

See an Expert

There’s no doubt that you can learn a lot from books or online courses, but to really get all the information you need, seeing a retirement expert is the way to go.  There’s really no substitute for having someone teach you how to go through the process, and showing you how to direct your finances in the most efficient way possible.

Look for someone who has a good deal of experience planning retirements and maybe even ask to speak to one or two of his or her clients.  When you seek out the help of a qualified expert, you can customize your plan to suit your exact situation.

You’ll also be able to go in for annual reviews of that situation to make changes, if necessary.  Over the course of many years, income, debt loads and all sorts of other variables may change.  When you have an expert watching over it all for you, the plan will always stay on track and your retirement will never be in doubt.

This post is brought to you by Sam Williams, a real estate agent in Ontario. When it comes to saving up for retirement, he recommends Adrian Spitters from Assante. Adrian provide financial planning services to help you retire early. http://www.assante.com/advisors/aspitters/Adrian%20Spitters.html.


The Life Insurance Settlement – Is It Right For You?

The Life Insurance Settlement – Is It Right For You?

Life settlements are a relatively new emergence in the life insurance market. Offering benefits to both the policyholder and the investor, it’s no surprise that the life settlement market has grown so explosively in the last few years.

What Is a Life Settlement?

A life settlement is basically an investment made into the life insurance policy of someone else. An investor purchases a policy by paying the original policy owner the purchase price. This gives the investor the right to all death benefits once the policyholder passes away, and also places the onus of premium payments on them.

Who Benefits Most From Selling Their Life Insurance Policy?

Most often, those who can benefit from selling their life insurance policy in the life settlement process are seniors and those having low life expectancy due to illness. Usually, it is those aged 65 and over who can sell their policy.

How Much Can A Senior Make From Selling Their Policy?

The amount that can be received from selling a policy will depend on a range of factors. But the return on a life settlement to a senior can range anywhere from few to over 40% of a policy’s face amount.

Why Are Life Settlements So Popular?

Life settlement popularity is due to the fact that both the investor and the policyholder benefit from the sale; the policyholder receives cash from a policy that may not otherwise pay out, while the investor receives a large payout once the policyholder passes away.

A life settlement also provides a way to avoid the large percentage of insurance policies which don’t pay death benefits upon their expiry, as well as get rid of unwanted coverage with some monetary return.

As with most things, the life settlement option may not work for everyone, even though it may look like a viable way to receive much-needed cash. There are many circumstances which can make a life settlement the wrong choice.

Coverage and Financial Implications of Life Settlements

For those in their retirement years, having life insurance represents an important asset. Engaging in the life settlement process is not a good idea if life insurance coverage is still needed, as selling a policy leaves you without coverage.

As well, insurance companies will limit the amount of coverage they will provide to one person. When life settlement occurs, this affects the total insurability of an individual, meaning that the additional coverage needed to justify a life settlement.

Financially speaking, keeping an existing policy is a good idea if it’s unlikely that the individual will be able to afford coverage following the settlement process.

Many seniors consider life settlement when they want to get better terms with a new policy. But this may not provide the full cash value from the old policy with which to finance the new one. A simple comparison of the tax due on a settlement with the numbers of the exchange will reveal the feasibility of a life settlement.

Any profits received from a life settlement, excluding paid premiums are subject to tax, which can mean that the potential profits are not worth selling the policy.

Identifying Quality Life Settlement Assistance

Care should be taken to select a broker when the decision to go forward with life settlement is made. Most important is finding a broker who will keep your, and not their best interests in mind. A broker who is anxious to close quickly is not a broker that is concerned about the benefits to you.

A broker who is capable of being transparent and who is not afraid to tell you everything you need to know about the advantages and risks of life settlement is the broker to consider. The same should be considered when choosing the company that will process a settlement, as a company whose settlement program is well-managed and who has high standards is much more likely to offer you the quality and knowledge that you need to proceed with this option.

Guest author Adam Foley writes on a variety of topics, but is particularly well-versed in the topic of life insurance.  He is a frequent contributor at http://www.lifeinsurancecompaniesbystate.com/.  You can also find .


Tips to Consider When Choosing A Professional Mortgage Broker

Tips to Consider When Choosing A Professional Mortgage Broker

The decision to use the services of a professional mortgage broker is a wise one. A broker can assist you in shopping around to find the best loan terms possible for your upcoming purchase and refinance loan request. This can help you to save money on your loan over the long run. Further, a broker can also walk you through the entire loan process to ensure that you enjoy a smooth, simplified transaction. As beneficial as a broker can be to your purchase or refinance loan request, ultimately, finding the best professional to work with can enhance these benefits. When selecting the right broker to assist you, keep a few key factors in mind.

The Broker’s Specialty

Applying for a mortgage loan may seem like a cut-and-dry process on the surface, but the fact is that there are a wide range of loan programs, property types and special considerations that make many loan requests unique. Consider, for example, that the loan request of a person who has excellent credit and who is refinancing their home may be far different than the loan request of a person with mediocre credit who is buying a duplex home to use as an investment property. Some brokers have specialized in certain types of loan requests, and you may find it beneficial to work with a mortgage broker whose specialty is suited for your loan request.

The Broker’s Experience and Background

While there typically are licensing requirements in place that must be met before a person can become a broker, the fact is that some brokers have considerably more experience and education in this area than others. For example, some may have a degree in business or finance. Others may have a real estate license, or they may have a decade or more of real-life work experience in the industry. Choosing a broker with experience can provide you with the best results possible from your loan request. You can typically research a broker’s experience, educational background, industry certifications and more online. They may have a social media account that has details about their background, or you can visit the company’s website for specific information.

Friendly and Helpful Rapport

Perhaps one of the most significant factors to consider is the broker’s desire to help you find the best loan possible. While it is unfortunate that some brokers will only make a minimal effort to find a loan that meets your needs, others will go above and beyond to ensure they find you the best loan possible for your needs. This involves taking time to listen to your needs and to learn more about your loan request. By looking for a broker that takes the initiative to service you during the initial stages of the loan process, you can more easily find comfort in knowing the broker will walk you through the entire process with the same attention to detail.

There are numerous mortgage brokers who you can choose to work with for your purchase or refinance loan request. While you could draw a name out of hat, you will enjoy better results throughout your loan process when you keep these tips in mind and make the best choice possible.


Supplemental Retirement Income

Supplemental Retirement Income

One thing people often learn when they get to retirement is that Social Security does not pay enough to make ends meet.  Most retirees will need some source of supplemental retirement income.  Here is a list of potential ways you can supplement your retirement income and ensure that your retirement is comfortable.

Continue working

This obviously is not the best solution, but many retirees go this route when they have no other options.  The longer you go without collecting Social Security after your eligibility date, the more the program will pay you on a monthly basis.  Your eligibility date is based on the year you were born (it goes up for younger people) and it affects the amount you can receive in retirement.  If you’re unsure of your eligibility date, you can find out at the Social Security Administration’s website at www.ssa.gov.  So if your eligibility age is 62, and you choose not to start collecting at that age, the Social Security Administration will spread out the payments you would have received across the rest of your life.  This will mean bigger monthly payments once you do start collecting.  So for many people, continuing to work is the best solution because the longer you wait to start collecting Social Security, the more it can benefit you.

Sell items you no longer need

Some of us are collectors, and we can be quite attached to the things we collect.  But at a certain point, you have to ask yourself if all the maintenance and storage space are worth it.  When you’re older, you may not have the time, money, or energy to maintaining many of the items you keep around the house, and you may even have trouble maintaining the same size home you’ve lived in previously.  If this is true, downsizing your life may be a good option for you.  Get rid of some of the clutter around your house, and maybe even find a smaller house to live in.  Although this does not technically earn you any supplemental retirement income, any savings are like money in your pocket.  Plus, if you go through some of your old items, you might find an antique.  Who knows, maybe one of the antiques you’ve owned all your life is worth thousands of dollars!  If you manage to find a real gem in your collection, you could end up financing a comfortable retirement all while getting rid of the clutter in your house.

Consider an Annuity

A lot of people have retirement plans through their employers these days.  If you’re looking for extra income, you might consider taking money out of your retirement plan and annuitizing it.  This means that you would create an income stream for yourself while your investment continues to earn interest.  The other benefit of annuities is that they don’t lose money during stock market crashes.  Most people don’t know that the investments in their employer-sponsored retirement plans are actually based in the risky securities industry (the stock market).  By putting your money into an annuity, which is based in the life insurance industry, you take your money off the risky stock market and put it into a vehicle that grows while protecting you from losses.

Phil Cannella, Master IRA Advisor, is the founder of First Senior Financial Group and the CEO of Retirement Media Inc.


The Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

The Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are way for retirees to release part of their home equity in the form of either a monthly payment, cash lump sum, line of revolving credit or a combination of all three. These mortgage products have grown in popularity since their creation and now there are over 600,000 loans outstanding at the moment. Although a reverse mortgage may seem like the ideal solution for anyone looking to release some capital from their house and fund their retirement, there are still some significant risks that you should fully understand before you buy. Before we delve into some of these unexplored risks, it is worth recapping on just how reverse mortgages work as well as their benefits and how they are helping hundreds of thousands of retirees finance a comfortable retirement.

The aim of many home owners is to have their mortgage paid off by the time that they retire so that they outgoings are significantly reduced and they have more cash to spend. Although this makes complete sense from a financial planning point of view, some retired home owners find that they are actually asset rich and cash poor which means they have little spare capacity for enjoying their retirement. This is why decades ago a financial product was launched that meant that those over 62 years of age who own a significant percentage of their home (over 30%) could release some of that equity to find their retirement.

There are currently about 70,000 reverse mortgages issued every year even though only 2-3% of eligible American home owners are estimated to be eligible. One of the main reasons for this is that there are significant feel associated with reverse mortgages that means that such a product is only suited for those who plan on living in their home for a long time. If you borrow a small amount over a short time horizon then your fees as a proportion of your loan total will be high upon closure. Having said that, if you borrow over a long period of time then these fees (although often high) can be rolled into the cost  of the reverse mortgage and so can be paid back upon closure.

One of the reasons that reverse mortgages are so popular is that they are non taxable and also don’t impact your Medicare or social security benefits. You also retain ownership of your home until the point of closure and also because there are no monthly fees to pay monthly on the actual loan principle then retirees are free to spend their cash on things other than debt servicing.

How much you can borrow for a reverse mortgage depends upon several eligibility factors. In general, the older that you are, the higher the amount of equity you own in your home and the smaller the amount that you actually still owe on the property, the greater the amount that you will be able to borrow.

One of the best ways to use a reverse mortgage is if your current property has appreciated in value. Instead of taking out a loan secured against the new value of your home you can use a reverse mortgage to release that equity in a controlled manner to help pay for things like home based care, home repairs/improvements or health costs depending on your needs and the financial product that you opt for. Single purpose home reverse mortgages are mortgages that have one purpose specified by the lender and as such they are usually the cheapest options as they pose less risk for the lender. They are not provided by many banks but are a good way of releasing the capital tied up in your house if you know that you need cash for a specific purpose only.

There are however some significant risks to reverse mortgages that you should be aware of. Most providers will require you to keep your home in good repair, pay your property taxes and purchase home insurance. If you fail to keep to the terms of their lending then this may force and early closure of your agreement and you may be forced to pay back the value of the loan, plus interest and fees much sooner than you anticipated. For most people this would require selling the property in question and trying to find a smaller house after the reverse mortgage has been paid off.

If you would like any more information on reverse mortgages then the FTC.gov internet portal has a wide range of resources aimed at clarifying the different types of reverse mortgages as well as the benefits and risk factors involved. If you would like more information regarding home insurance, then over 50’s specialist Castle Cover was able to help me find a home insurance that catered to my needs.

Thank you for reading


Tips for Mom to Help with Military Family Finance

Tips for Mom to Help with Military Family Finance

Military financing issues are unique to military families, and very few financial experts possess the know-how needed to manage military financing. However, with the help of a carefully planned budget and spending plan, it is possible for a military family to gain control over their finances.

The trickiest part of military financing may be devising a budget while your husband is deployed. Unfortunately, many financial institutions fail to understand the difficulties surrounding military financial issues during this transitional period. Not only is your husband stationed in another state or country, it can become problematic trying to communicate with your husband about the family’s finances.

To prepare for deployment, you and your husband should develop a “stateside” budget. Make sure to include bills, future expenses, savings, and an emergency fund. Many families also choose to put aside a small amount of money as a deployment fund. This money is meant to cover the issues and needs that arise during deployment.

The time leading up to when a family member deploys can be stressful, especially when it greatly impacts the family’s budget. It is not uncommon for a family to spend thousands of dollars on equipment, clothes, and other necessary items. It usually takes about a month for a family to receive deployment pay, making it necessary for the family to maintain a budget beforehand. For this reason, financial experts recommend saving for deployment a few months ahead of time.

After a military family member deploys, the budget needs of the family will change. Even though a wife will receive money while her husband is away, she may need additional funds to compensate for time lost due to having to take time off of work. This is especially true for women with children.

In addition, many military families incur extra expenses during deployment. Stateside spouses may need to hire a lawn service, babysitter or pay for postage to send packages overseas. Furthermore, it typically seems to be true that emergencies tend to creep up as soon as a family member deploys, forcing the family member that’s left in charge to pay out-of-pocket most of the time. For instance, plumbing problems now require the assistance of a costly handyman.

The best way to handle this is to add these extra expenses into the family budget. In addition to budgeting for extra services, it’s also a good idea to put aside even more money to cover the expenses of the deployed member. Some military finance experts say to put aside at least five percent of income to cover the expenses of the deployed member.

Be sure to include the extra pay from the deployed family member into the budget. You may also want to try to cut expenses. Many spouses find that they save money on utility costs and groceries simply by having less people in the house.

Taking care of the family’s expenses can seem like a daunting task, especially when you’re husband is hundreds of miles away. To ensure the welfare of your family, make smart choices when it comes to managing your money.

Robby is a retired financial advisor, who through the years has helped numerous of our Veteran’s discover loans and financial help. Now retired, he spends his days sportfishing, guest blogging and still offering advise on finance. Military fiancing advice will always be is true passion of Robby’s.


Five Steps to Falling for a Work at Home Scam

Five Steps to Falling for a Work at Home Scam

There was a time when only the most important of managers were given the privilege of working from home.  They got a company leased line, and enjoyed conference calls via the wonders of, at the time, sophisticated IP telephony.  Today, even the most average of broadband connections can support remote working, and almost everyone has a laptop, netbook, or desktop PC that they can use for IP telephony and document sharing.

The ubiquity of high speed connections and effective communication tools means that there are more and more work at home jobs out there.  Unfortunately, this means that there are a lot more scams out there too.  It’s easy to fall for a work at home scam.  All you have to do is spend a few minutes on a work at home board or a classifieds site, and you’ll have lots of work at home scam opportunities put in front of you:

Step 1: Look for Work From Home jobs – all you want to do is work from home, right?

Most scammers advertise their jobs as “work from home” jobs, and are vague about what the job actually entails.  You can be pretty confident of finding scammers if you look for opportunities to make money from home.  All the boring legitimate jobs (the ones that actually require work) advertise for people with certain skills, rather than just pushing the work from home side of things.

Step 2: Jump On an Ad Promising Big Bucks

After all those years slaving away in an office for just barely enough to pay your mortgage and keep your car on the road, I bet you feel like a fool now.  You could have been making thousands every day with just a couple of hours of work per week from the comfort of your own home.  If only you’d known sooner!

Step 3: Paying Money for Training

The guy that knows the secret to making a fortune isn’t just going to give it away!  He needs money from you to prove that you’re serious.  Yes, that makes sense!  It must be legitimate…

Step 4: Ignore The Haters

Your friends aren’t warning you about the scam you’re falling for because they’ve been there before and know it’s fake.  They’re warning you because they’re jealous.  They’re not motivated enough to quit their jobs and think outside the box.  You’ll be laughing at them when you’ve earned megabucks.

Step 5: Chasing The Cash

So, you tried one job and it didn’t work out.  It was the system that was bad. Definitely. You can keep trying, one day you’ll strike it rich.

All of the above, of course, is tongue in cheek.  If you want to work from home then you should prepare yourself for the realities of remote working.  There’s a good chance that you’ll end up doing the same job you’ve always done, only you’ll be using a leased line and relying on the wonders of IP telephony to support your job.  Don’t expect your income to be higher, and don’t expect the work to be easier.  There are perks to working from home, but it’s not a magic bullet for all of your work related problems.

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Saving Money In Retirement

Saving Money In Retirement

A lot of bad news has been coming for current and future pensioners, increasing Britons’ anxiety about how we will fund our retirement. Between falling annuity rates, “granny tax” grabs, and the news we will have to work longer and longer before we can get a state pension, many might have a gloomy feeling about retiring. However, while nothing beats regular life-long savings as a way to make sure you can retire comfortably, there are other things you can do to maximise your pension income from the state and make your state pension last a little longer.

The first thing to do is to make sure you are getting all that you are owed when it comes to retirement benefits. Each year there are millions of pounds left unclaimed that pensioners across the UK had the right to get, but didn’t claim. For example, you might be able to get help with heating bills, tax breaks, the additional state pension, or other additional income if your pension is small enough.

Make sure to check with your local council to be sure that you are getting all the help that’s available to you. Many of the benefits you might take qualify for are tied to the state pension or the pension credit portion of the state pension, so it is good if you have many qualifying years of National Insurance contributions.

Use the Internet

Many of our country’s older citizens don’t use the internet enough to their advantage. Besides being able to get news, talk to old friends, and all the other things the internet has to offer, it is an excellent way to save money and make sure you are getting the best deal.

On the internet it is very easy to compare prices and rates for everything you might want to know, which can help stretch your state pension income as far as possible. And at just £107.45 per week, anyone without savings will need to make the most of their full basic state pension.

For example, it’s easy to save money online when it comes to insurance. Whether it is for your house, your car, or anything else it is easy to compare different providers and options in your area, so you can see how much you are paying now and where you could possibly pay less. You can also easily compare prices of anything from vacations and motorcycles to where in the area it’s cheapest to get basic essentials.

Sell the Clutter

A way to get some extra income and increase your living space is to get rid of and sell old junk that’s cluttering up the home, garage, basement or storage spaces.

This can be done with a traditional yard sale, but many people choose to sell their items online, perhaps to reach a wider audience for less common items. Studies find that we all have too many things in our home we don’t use, and so selling off some old clutter is good both for the home and for the wallet.

Briant Grey from www.pensioncalculator.org writes about the state pension and other news that affects current and future pensioners.

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Further Damage To US Pension Funds

Further Damage To US Pension Funds

While relatively few countries’ pension funds have escaped unscathed from the current financial crisis the US seems to have taken the biggest hit over the last couple of years.

It’s not a huge surprise, given that pension plans in the US make up more than 60% of global pension assets. The ongoing financial crisis has left corporate pension funds hugely underfunded and many workers are seriously reconsidering their retirement plans, some more drastically than others. A number of people have already stopped paying in to their IRS pension plans, while a not insignificant minority have completely shelved their retirement plans and are exploring other options. Those who have opted out entirely have had to rethink not only their lifestyle after retirement but their retirement age as well.

Making matters worse is the job market, with high unemployment levels plunging thousands of people in to deeper financial difficulty and slowly eroding any security they might have built up over the years.

Many private companies have attempted to offset some of the financial strain by reducing their contributions to pension funds, with some of the most severely affected completely abolishing schemes. Sadly this looks like a trend which is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

California

California is a typical example of how states are being affected. The largest public pension fund in the country, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS), has reduced its forecast for investment returns for the first time in 10 years. They have also requested that local school districts and local government increase their contributions, a move that could have a significant impact on the standard of services offered to residents in a time where cost cutting is already a top priority.

This means that around 4% of the state’s annual budget is allocated to CalPERS, at a time when almost every department is looking to make budget cuts wherever they can. Public sector pensions have already come under fire due to the substantial benefits they offer over those provided to those in the private sector. Many taxpayers are starting to question the feasibility of the public pension fund given the current state of the economy.

The state budget deficit stands at around $9.2bn and reductions to public sector pension benefits have already been proposed by Governor Jerry Brown, alongside increased contributions from workers and an increase in the state retirement age. The proposals, which have yet to be implemented, also support a plan for new employees to participate in a hybrid plan in which a 401(k) style system would be used to make the pension schemes more comparable to those in the private sector.

It highlights the significant steps governments have to take to deal with this huge issue, which will have an impact on millions over the next couple of decades.

Stuart produces content on behalf of cbonline.co.uk and contributes to a number of financial blogs

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5 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

5 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

Buying your first house is a step that many of us look forward to for years. That moment when you have the keys in your hand to your own home is considered as one of the best moments in life.

It’s important however that when you are looking for your dream home, and when you’ve found it, you take into account certain factors to ensure your step onto the property ladder is a smooth and successful one.

Location

The first step to finding your new home is to consider the location that you would like to live in; take into account the needs of you and your family and look at the local facilities. One handy tip is to take a trip to the area and have a walk around as this way you will get a feel for the community and what it has to offer; meaning you will really be able to immerse yourself in the life there.

Price

Unless you’re going on a big shopping trip, most of us will decide upon a budget prior to buying anything, and this is vital when looking for a home. Have a look at your finances and work out what you will be able to comfortably afford as by doing this before looking at properties, you won’t get disappointed when you find that 6 bedroom mansion that you adore but just can’t stretch too.

Requirements

List writing might seem like a chore but it will help you immensely in this part of your search as you need to think about the requirements in a home that are most important to you. Don’t limit yourself to things like how many bedrooms you need, instead expand your needs to every possible requirement you can think of. What about the space outdoors? Do you need a garden for the children to play in? Would you prefer something that requires little maintenance?

Look Past the D’cor

When the time comes for you to begin to view possible properties, you should go with an open mind and try to see the potential that is there. This can be difficult if a house is messy and unloved but remember when it’s empty, you can make it your own. You wouldn’t want to say no to your dream home just because the walls in the lounge are striking pink; after all they’ll only need a lick of paint!

Home Insurance

Once you’ve found your dream property and you are on the way to getting the keys, you need to ensure you find comprehensive home insurance. It may seem like just another bill that will go out of your bank account at the end of the month but it could prove invaluable if you ever need to claim on it. To save you time and hassle of searching for the best policy, you could consider going online as there are companies that will do the hard work for you and simply deliver a choice of the best home insurance quotes that meet your needs; so you can just sit back and relax!

In the excitement of buying your first home, you need to try, as best you can, to keep grounded and consider these tips during your search. By taking into account these factors now, you will ensure that you’ll have a long and happy life in your new property.

This post was written by Sally Powell on behalf of Home Insurance Direct; a leading price comparison website providing a range of the most comprehensive home insurance quotes available.


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