Saving for Retirement: Are you Ready?

Presented by: Matt Clayson

It’s Never Too Late to Get Started

Will I have enough money to retire? It’s a common question and one that has increased in magnitude lately — especially for people in their 40s and 50s.

Indeed a MassMutual study in 2018 found that the greatest worry for those on the edge of retirement was not having enough money to enjoy themselves.

This can generate a feeling of frustration. You’ve been working hard for over 20 years. You’ve been saving as much as you can. Then, the market crashes, and your savings disappear. It’s not too late to bounce back. Even if you’re 55 years old and decide that today is the day to begin saving in earnest, you still have time to build up income for retirement.

On your mark, set your priorities, go

Determine what you want out of your retirement…what are your priorities? Sit down with a pen and paper and start a list. Empower yourself to make the important decisions today that will set tomorrow in motion:

  • When do you want to retire?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to lead?
  • Consider your current lifestyle. Can you cut back to save more for retirement?

These are just some of the questions you should be asking — and answering — yourself. So take the first step and start making some decisions.

Save more, spend less

The most obvious advice still applies: save more, spend less. But there’s more to it than that.

Create a budget to help you stay on track — and actually stick to it. Decide where you can trim your expenses. What can you live without now so you can have more later?

If your budget isn’t working, you may want to consider downsizing to a smaller home or a less expensive location to help maintain your standard of living. This may be a difficult exercise, but remember you’re trying to catch up.

Speaking of catching up, if you will be age 50 or older at the end of the calendar year, you can take advantage of catch-up contribution options to accelerate the growth of your retirement accounts. The bottom line: make the maximum contributions possible to your employer’s retirement plan, including any available catch-up options.

Think outside the box

There are certain financial products and savings instruments that you may not be familiar with, but that may help you get more out of your money. Many people opt to consult a financial professional to help become aware of options and lay out a plan.

Delay retirement (The beach will wait for you)

People are working longer than ever before. Delaying your retirement by three years from age 62 to 65 can boost your assets significantly — thanks to the combination of making extra contributions to your employer-sponsored retirement plan, not taking withdrawals and allowing your funds more time to grow.

In addition, if you anticipate receiving Social Security retirement benefits, it’s important to understand that monthly benefits differ substantially based on when you start receiving them and the filing option you choose. For every year you postpone collecting benefits beyond your full retirement age (typically 66 or 67), you can earn an annual delayed retirement credit of up to 8 percent.

On the flip side, filing for benefits before your full retirement age can permanently reduce your monthly income. Benefits will decrease based on how early you retire..

The bottom line is that there are real steps and strategies you can take today to help secure your future. It’s never too early or too late to evaluate your current retirement savings plan — or create a new one.

This Old House, Needs Some Updates

 

Staring at the same four walls for the past year may have triggered you to start thinking about making some changes. Many of us have taken the opportunity to tackle home projects this past year. In 2020, Farmers Insurance surveyed homeowners and found that 62% of those polled are planning renovation or maintenance on their homes. Of those planning renovations, only 28% said they understand their homeowner’s policy. If you have already completed or are thinking about making changes, here are a few insurance considerations.

  1. Additions
    • Your home insurance provides coverage for the home as it stands today. Increasing square footage, adding a garage or pool increase the value of your home beyond your coverage limits.
  2. Improvements
    • The most common, and costly, improvements are made when updating bathrooms or kitchens. Upgraded finishes such as countertops, cabinets and fixtures may leave a gap in coverage. This is especially important for condo unit-owners. As a unit-owner you may be responsible for any improvements made after the purchase.
  3. Faulty Work
    • Your policy most likely wont supply coverage for faulty work. For instance, if you update your electrical system and down the road it leads to a fire, there may be coverage for damage caused by the fire, but the cost to correct and replace the electrical components would be out of pocket.
    • When choosing a contractor, always request to see their certificate of insurance. Contractors should have coverage for liability, property, and workers compensation. In the event they do not have adequate insurance, you may want to consider a different contractor. If a contractor causes damage to your home, their insurance should be the primary option for recovery.

In summary, its important to ensure you have adequate coverage in place and are clear on the risks that come with home improvement. If you are planning or recently completed a renovation, please contact us to ensure your new investment is adequately protected!

Allergies: Seasonal Relief

Days are growing longer, warmer weather is creeping in and as the seasons change, so will your allergy symptoms. You can combat your allergic reactions with these seasonal tips.

Spring

Mold growth blooms indoors and outdoors with spring rains. As flowers, trees, weeds and grasses begin to blossom, allergies will follow. Spring-cleaning activities can stir up dust mites, so be sure to:

  • Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.
  • Wash your hair before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in your hair.
  • Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit dust and chemical inhalation and skin exposure
  • Vacuum twice a week.
  • Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.
  • Make sure the rugs you do have are washable.
  • Change air conditioning and heating air filters often.

Summer

Warm temperatures and high humidity can put a strain on seasonal allergy and asthma sufferers. Summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog and even mold:

  • Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest.
  • Be careful when going from extreme outdoor heat to air conditioning. The temperature change can trigger an asthma attack.
  • Wear a mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly cut grass. Afterward, take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes.
  • Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline. Check your yard for allergens, as well as other irritants such as oak, birch, cedar and cottonwood trees; weeds such as nettle or ragweed can also trigger allergies.
  • Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves if allergic to bee stings.
  • Do not wear scented deodorants, hair products or perfumes when outdoors.

If you are unsure your symptoms are allergy related or your symptoms are getting worse please consult a doctor.