Retirement and Travel

In the wake of the first 2016 Presidential debate, it seems fitting to focus on your retirement and travel. We have the two most disliked candidates and a bevy of possible downside scenarios. So locking down your best possible retirement and using travel to escape seem like reasonable areas of focus.

Retirement and Travel – first ensure you lock down the best possible retirement.
The easiest way to ensure your best retirement is by not making mistakes. Here is a list of easy ones – probably focus on the last two, being too conservative or too aggressive. 5 Simple Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Retirement
In a similar vein, albeit a more positive spin, Blackrock shares some tips to kill it. It’s Time to Ace Retirement
Then there’s always optimizing your approach. We often talk  dividend investing, lowering fees and leveraging tax incentives that exist.  This great article gives you a pointer that combines all three. Enjoy. Dividend Investing in a Roth IRA
Now this one does not tell you a lot. It does say most likely you should work longer than you think. Of course if you did all the right things, not so much. This is why you should delay your retirement
Then, of course, there’s this option: retiring overseas. I suspect many will think hard about this given the now 50% shot of …. On a Jet to the Best Foreign Retirement Possible

Retirement and Travel – now, escape the mayhem and turn off your devices.
In this toxic political environment, and the inevitable aftermath, your travel thoughts likely turn overseas. So, bookmark this one to avoid any unwanted ‘ugly American’ moments. These are the worst faux pas you can make in 17 different countries
Use every trick in the book to save money and enjoy a great trip. 4 Apps Airlines Don’t Want You to Know About 5 Travel Hacks You Didn’t Know About, Right from the Mouth of Flight Attendants and How to Get the Lowest Airfares
I feel pretty savvy when it comes to online bookings, but this was news to me. How online travel agencies are ‘dimming’ results on hotel searches
Then, of course, there’s the option to travel and not retire … try this on for size … it’s a fun read, anyway. 11 Insane Perks of Being an Emirates Flight Attendant

Your Retirement Health

Each week we consider ways to improve your retirement health. This week we look at the right things for each phase to maximize your savings and optimize your retirement.

Your Retirement Health – use the tools they give you during the accumulation phase.
We will harp on HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) until you have one…it will improve your retirement health, both ways. 4 Things You Should Know About Health Savings Accounts
Don’t miss an opportunity, either, especially those given to you. 3 Valuable Incentives to Save for Retirement
Plus, of course, maximize all those tools you are given. 3 Questions That Can Help You Get the Most from Your 401(k)

Your Retirement Health – the transition from wealth accumulation to distribution.
Not everyone has it made, especially when it comes to retirement savings. So, what can you do if you really are not prepared? A retirement plan for the working 99%
Even if you think you have enough, can you weather an extended period of low returns? Retiring Early in a World of Low Returns
One thing to be sure of is avoiding missteps anywhere in the process. Derailing the Plan: How Retirees Shoot Themselves in the Foot How Couples Screw Up Retirement Planning

Your Retirement Health – be creative when you do retire.
For the real adventurer … or simply someone who has not saved enough … explore your options beyond the borders. After this election, you may thank yourself as it improves your retirement health. 8 Countries Where $200K in Retirement Savings will Last 30 Years The World’s 10 Most Livable Cities A Breakdown of Costs for Those Who Want to Retire Overseas
If you are not that daring, there are always these great spots right here at home. 10 of the Prettiest U.S. Towns to Retire

Your Retirement Health – be aware of the investing/retirement environment.
These gems are exquisitely crafted, quick condensations of 50 years investment experience. These are data driven, data laden even, yet they are easy to grasp and worth remembering. Bob Farrell’s (Illustrated) 10 Investment Rules
Everyone knows how great the bull market has been since the bottom in 2009. You also know that central banks around the world have been stoking the fire constantly since 2008, or before. How do the two relate? Are they doing your retirement health any favors? Deutsche Bank Calculates How Much of the S&Ps Value is Due to Central Banks

Retirement Planning Strategy

How best to frame your retirement planning strategy, that is how we are focusing our efforts now. You may have noticed a shift in our approach to focusing on the accumulation phase and the distribution phase. These two broad categories give you insights into the two frames of mind you need to successfully navigate your own retirement planning strategy.

Retirement Planning Strategy – doing the right things during the accumulation phase.
I am a big fan of best practices, and this seems like a reasonable place to start with respect to retirement saving. Here’s How to Build Wealth Like a Multimillionaire
Every move you make in the run up to your retirement is important. The last moves are often the most important. Steps to Take in the Year Before You Retire
This robo-advisor, Wealthfront, is getting a lot of press. Indeed last week we shared a comparison of Wealthfront vs. Vanguard as an investment model. Here is some more background on Wealthfront, if you were intrigued. Wealthfront Review 2016: Fees and Investment Facts

Retirement Planning Strategy – delivering income in retirement.
Here is a review of global best practices. See how other countries smooth the transition to the ‘distribution phase.’ What the US gets wrong about lifetime income
I may be an outlier, preaching the value of annuities. I am particularly fond of lifetime income annuities. This quick read gives you a sense for some options. The deferred income annuity is just a QLAC (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract) for non-qualified money. 5 Best Annuities for Your Financial Plan
Read this cautionary tale about Spain’s retirement safety net and Social Security, and you will contact your representative about getting something done here. Spain’s Bankrupt Social Security System – Is This What Awaits the U.S. Too?
To be fair, the 4% rule was sound when proposed. Here are some ways to rescue it for today, if you prefer a simpler model. Here Are the 4% Retirement Rule’s Major Flaws

Retirement Planning Strategy – plan for your future expenses.
I realize no one wants to consider this, but …. Fact is healthcare and long term care costs are a big, glaring reality in retirement. Plan for them, you will thank me. How to Pay for Nursing Home Care

Retirement Planning Strategy – understand the investing/retirement environment.
Here is a quick checklist to consider. Longevity, of course, plays a large role. Nine different ways to think about money
This piece gives interesting background of the retirement plan options and the drivers of the retirement funding challenge. Why the Retirement Train Wrecked

Your Retirement Game Plan

Labor Day Weekend seems like the ideal time to think about Your Retirement Game Plan. What better thought for the holiday weekend than considering when you no longer have to work? So, this time we give you as much current thinking as possible on the most vital steps to take in planning for your future, long, healthy retirement: Your Retirement Game Plan.

Your Retirement Game Plan – doing the right things during the accumulation phase.
Active vs. passive, stocks or bonds, self-serve or advisory, there are many choices. Robo-advisors are the latest wave, and this article gives good insight into the implications. Wealthfront vs. Vanguard: Which is the Better Choice for Retirement Investors
You have read here before about the power of compounding. It never hurts to reiterate, the more you can save, the earlier … the better. The Power of Compound Interest
Of course, you should also invest wisely. Use all the tools at your disposal to get the best possible outcome. Why you might want more than one IRA

Your Retirement Game Plan – generate income during your retirement.
If you choose to be a more active investor, dividend stocks are a good way to generate income and maintain capital.  The nice thing about this one is it gives a way to set a portion of your savings here. Setting Up a Solid Dividend Portfolio with Only $10,000
Not only that, there is a constant stream of analysis out there to help. This one is a bit dated, but gives you a good idea of what you can find. Dividend Stock Yields 19%, Way Below Book Value, Major Growth, Reports This Week
I will continue to harp on the QLAC (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract) until you get one. The one thing none of us know is how long we will live. This is insurance against that. Learn more about it, please. How Retirement Savers Are Stretching Their IRAs: The QLAC Archipelago
Stay up to date on developments in the retirement industry, too. Try this on for size: “The first person who will live to be 150 years old already has been born.” – Michael Kazanjian, Lincoln Financial Group’s vice president for annuity and retirement plan services marketing. Retirement income innovations aim to ease longevity’s strain on assets

Your Retirement Game Plan – know your future expenses.
We discuss the “4% Rule” and other ways to consider managing your savings during retirement, i.e. the distribution phase. Lately the literature is turning to a more enlightened view, that expenses change over time in retirement. It makes sense, right?  It is worth a good, hard look as a preferred alternative to boilerplate ideas. How to Invest in Retirement
This is the tricky part, unusual expenses. Imagine, while 28% never see one, 19% get hit with four or more. 17 unexpected expenses in retirement

Your Retirement Game Plan – understand what you are up against.
Sometimes it is worth looking back. This entertaining article shows how we just don’t know what we don’t know. The One Factor to Explain Them All

Improve Your Outcome

In a small twist on our normal approach we seek to help you improve your outcome. Retirement planning is a multi-faceted issue, and our regular focus on cost and strategy will get you to a better place. Sometimes, though, it is worth taking a bigger picture view to understand the landscape. We believe you can improve your outcome by having a better handle on the investing environment.

Improve your outcome by doing the right things during the accumulation phase.
We talk a lot about the active vs. passive investment debate raging in the industry. No doubt the bull markets since the bottom in 2009 have helped passive investments. It has also made it hard to outperform as an active investor. The tide continues to flow from active approaches to passive. Investors Have Pulled $109 Billion from Active Equity Funds in 2016: Here’s Why At the same time, the debate rages on in ever more unpredictable ways. Are Index Funds Communist? and Why the hottest investment trend in the world could have worse economic outcomes than Marxism
We should not miss the other rising star in the investment community, robo-advisors. Here is an interesting introduction and comparison of the robo advisor approach to the passive. Robo-Advisors vs. Passively Managed Funds: Which is Better? (WFC, SCHW)

Improve your outcome by understanding your retirement options.
We like to give you as much information as possible about your expenses during retirement. That is one key – along with longevity – to understanding how much you need to save in your working years. Here is a good overview to help you understand your retirement expenses from Forbes. How to Budget for Retirement
Hopefully by now this does not bring a lot of new information to you, but it does summarize a number of salient points with respect to your likely retirement cornerstone. 14 Things You Really Should Know About Your 401(k) Retirement Plans

Improve your outcome by understanding the data.
We talk about longevity often and healthcare costs in retirement about as much. Here is a damning piece on just what our expensive healthcare system buys the US compared with the rest of the world.  Life expectancy vs. health expenditure over time (1970 – 2014)
As if that were not bad enough, the implications worsen with lower incomes … and geography. The Rich Live Longer Everywhere. For the Poor, Geography Matters

Improve your outcome by improving your world view.
We rarely venture to the trivial any longer. Since it is August, why not indulge in some mind expanding beyond the retirement arena? 20 Gifs That Teach You Science Concepts in Seconds
If you want to talk really big picture, try on the Fermi Paradox for size. The Fermi Paradox
Since we are talking big picture things beyond your retirement, how about solving the potable water problem? The solar-powered sculpture that could desalinate 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California

Longevity Quandary

With each installment, I find the best thinking on retirement, and this week is a treasure trove of commentary on the longevity quandary. Michael Phelps presumably just wrapping his competitive swimming career is a great model for longevity. Both Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt competed in four Olympic Games … and neither won a medal the first time. There may be an analog here because that is not what you remember about either of them. The lesson for the rest of us is to work harder, longer on your savings because you will be retired longer.

Leverage the longevity quandary by watching expenses in your retirement accounts.
Sad to say I would not think to ask a Department of Labor employee for advice on retirement. This former one, however, makes a series of worthwhile points about common mistakes. I encourage you to read it. 10 Retirement Mistakes Baby Boomers are Making
We always harp on costs. When you consider the longevity impact on costs, it is even worse. So you must strive to lower your total investment cost structure. It can be as easy as having a simple, effective strategy and sticking with it. A financial planner says most people don’t need to pay someone to manage their investments

Leverage the longevity quandary by ensuring you save enough for retirement.
Here is a really good, comprehensive piece on just what challenges longevity brings, and ways to address them. The Longevity Paradox
We have mentioned HSAs before, but this drives home the point about. Fact is you will spend a lot of your own money on healthcare in retirement. An HSA is a way to save pre-tax money now, not get taxed on growth, and not get taxed when you withdraw for medical expenses … there is simply no better answer. Why Advisors Need to Know about HSAs
Just in case you forgot, or simply don’t believe me, here’s the latest on medical expenses in retirement. Health Care Expenses for Retired Couples Hit Record $260,000 : Fidelity
On a related note, long-term care insurance is an important thing to consider … just weigh the cost/benefit wisely. These tricks can help tilt the balance in favor of buying. 4 Tax-Friendly Ways to Pay for Long-Term-Care Insurance
Here is an advisor’s eye view of these medical costs in retirement. More importantly, the implications of the DOL fiduciary rule on advice you will get on them. It lays out some hard dollar costs and is promising in anticipating incorporation into plans under the new rule. Add this to your DOL checklist: health, LTC costs in retirement

Leverage the longevity quandary by focusing on building an income stream for retirement.
Switching mindset from accumulating wealth to generating income is a key retirement transition. Longevity, though, may have some bearing on when you make that move. Longevity and Your Retirement
Changing your mindset should begin with understanding your needs. This piece helps you put your retirement income needs into perspective. How to Solve the Retirement Income Equation
Here is some interesting insight on IRAs, and 401(k)/403(b) for that matter. They may not be the best in retirement vehicle for you when you consider longevity risk. IRAs are for retirement planning, not for retirement
Here is a fascinating, refreshing look at the retirement income puzzle. Is retirement spending a level pattern? Should you use a simple rule like the 4% rule? This says no. What is the “Retirement Spending Smile”

Olympic Savings

With the Olympics well underway, it is a good time to think about winning the gold in Olympic Savings. I feel old when I say the Olympics do not seem as compelling as they once were. Sure, the Michael Phelps story continues to amaze, Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, Lilly King and Kristin Armstrong have all added tremendously to the spectacle. I don’t know, the coverage seems weak, annoying even, they barely show beyond the US team, you’re lucky to find ‘minor’ sports, and the delay is really annoying. Rant over for now, but I am sure there are many more good stories at the games that we just will not see. So, as they say, let’s control what we can, as always that means your retirement security. How can you win the gold in Olympic Savings?

 

Win the Olympic Savings gold by ensuring you save enough for retirement.

We talk about longevity with some regularity here, but Millennials need to pay particular attention. Merrill Lynch’s Dwyer Says It’s Important for Millennial Investors to be Disciplined

Rules of thumb are great starting points (of course we consistently pick apart the 4% rule here). There is a lot of value in granularity, too. So, keep an eye on the things people miss when planning. 6 Big Expenses Retirees Didn’t Save For – But Should Have

As you can see from the comments on this one, it stirred some controversy. Still, it is a valid point and worth your consideration. Estimate Your Retirement Income Needs Based on Your Spending, not Your Income

 

Win the Olympic Savings gold by investing wisely for retirement.

It is best to have an investment strategy that encompasses all your savings – 401(k), IRA, pension, investment accounts, etc. That means you will have the chance to do some things yourself. So learn about hot strategies and try some you like. Testing Smart Beta with Two Relatively Long Real-Time Records

Of course, everyone has heard about the outperformance by low cost indexed products vs. higher cost actively managed funds. Is that really the long-term answer? Let’s face it, when markets go down, indices go down … actively managed funds may not. Is Active Management Dead? Not Even Close

Do not become an active investor by any means, but do stay abreast of opportunities. Market timing almost never works, even for the best and day trading is another race to the bottom, largely. Still, opportunistically finding gems … ideally finding them, yourself … can make this more fun and boost your nest egg. Inside EQAL: A Strategy That Has Doubled Return of S&P 500

 

Win the Olympic Savings gold by focusing on building an income stream during retirement.

Dividend stocks are one good way to drive income without harvesting principal in retirement. That is why we keep giving you leads on good ones. AT&T: Dividend Investors’ Dream

I clicked through on the author of that article to see what else he had written. You should do the same when you stumble upon something that makes sense. Turns out he likes NextEra Energy, too. Funny thing is an old GE colleague has been in charge there during this period as “one of America’s fastest-growing and best-performing utility stocks.” NextEra Energy – One of America’s Best Utilities Keeps Getting Better

Returning to this notion of having a plan, we often share data debunking the age-old 4% withdrawal rate rule. To be completely fair, I give you new data from T. Rowe Price that supports it. I only ask does a decades old adage make sense, knowing what you do about dramatically increasing longevity? How to reduce the risk of outliving your money

 

Win the Olympic Savings gold by staying aware of your environment.

Not much you can do about this aside from understand and avoid related pitfalls. You may be fascinated to realize it, though. S&P 500: This is Critical Information for Each and Every One of Us

Secure Retirement

The election continues to provide plenty of action, strange, but action, but you still need a secure retirement. The best way to get a secure retirement is by maintaining focus on the important things: saving enough, achieving the lowest possible cost, leveraging tax incentives, and building a reliable income stream in retirement.

Enjoy a secure retirement by ensuring you are saving enough for retirement.
Should you have an IRA? Look at this amazing chart anyway because it gets to the impact of time on your savings. The Most Important IRA Chart You’ll Ever See
If you really want to be diligent in preparing for your retirement, doing some or all of these things will likely pay off in the long run. Is your 401(k) helping or hurting your retirement savings?
As you can see from the comments on this one, it stirred some controversy. Still, it is a valid point and worth your consideration. Estimate Your Retirement Income Needs Based on Your Spending, not Your Income

Maintain a secure retirement by focusing on building an income stream during retirement.
This one helps you fine-tune your Social Security strategy and gives you some savings tips, too: fits in both categories! How the Average Retiree Can Gain $5,000 Per Year in Retirement
One thing is certain in retirement, you want as much control as possible. That especially applies to RMDs. Here are some good ideas for managing them. 6 Tax-Smart Ways to Lower Your RMDs in Retirement
More good, short information on the brave new world of retirement income. Most notably, more commentary on the 4% rule. Navigating the New World of Retirement Income

Be sure of a secure retirement by keeping an eye on the economy, too.
With continuing anemic growth in the US, just how good is the economy? Have we ever recovered from the 2008 downturn, except for financial markets? “Policymakers Have Been Calling a ‘Depression’ a ‘Recovery’ for Nearly a Decade”
Not to overdose on Zero Hedge, as they tend to have a negative bent, but here citing Goldman’s analysis of the markets it may be worth a look. Goldman: The Last Two times P/E Multiples Expanded This Much, The Result Was A Historic Crash
We have touched on this before, but a focused reminder of the very real implications of Washington’s never ending drunken binge: the national debt will mean you must save more for retirement. Doesn’t seem fair, does it? How Government Debt Affects Your Retirement

Beating the Heat

With a continuing heat wave nationwide, beating the heat is top of mind for everyone. Do all the normal things, but one sure way to stay cool is by resting assured of your retirement. So, take your weekly half hour to buzz through these good tips from across the web.

Beating the heat, focus on fees in your retirement accounts, don’t get soaked.
In a continuing theme here, its employees now have sued NY Life over excess fees inside their 401(k) plans. Whether or not true, the lesson here is to be sensitive to in house fund options (at least for now) because of these risks. New York Life sued by employees claiming excess 401(k) fees Money managers with in-house 401(k) plan options at risk of employee lawsuits: lawyers
While this is not spot on with fees, it is worth considering. 3 Retirement-Savings Mistakes the Average American Makes
Here’s the flip side of that issue, and a good perspective on it, too. Employers and the boards overseeing retirement plans need to keep a sharp eye on fees. This also provides a good reminder for you of FeeX as a resource for understanding your own cost structure. As 401(k) suits mount, check your own plan

Beating the heat, be sure you are saving more for retirement.
So, how much is enough? This article reviews the various rules of thumb and helps you judge for yourself. How Much You Really Need to Save for Retirement? You be the Judge.
Here’s an interesting twist on retirement income, back to the old ‘how much do I need to save’ question. There are a few tips and tricks worth reading in here. Is $1 Million Enough to Retire On?
It does not seem to be a big topic in the Presidential race, but it should. Here you will see how “experts” are saying Social Security will run dry by 2034 without intervention by Congress. Lest we forget it is 2016 now, and nothing will be done before 2017, that’s for sure. Social Security projected to run out
Some really good news, younger people are saving more systematically. 401(k) Bonanza: Why More Americans are Feeding Their Retirement Accounts

Beating the heat, lastly focus on building an income stream in retirement.
If you read one thing today, read this. It highlights and links to a paper by the CFA Institute that suggests you create a virtual annuity with your retirement nest egg. It is a fascinating concept well worth consideration and discussion. Theory to Practice: Siegel and Waring on Retirement Spending Rules
Good news from plan sponsors: they are embracing lifetime income solutions.  These are likely to be a cornerstone for any good retirement plan. Sponsors Warming Up to Lifetime Income Solutions
If nothing else, this article provides interesting background on the structure of REITs. This one, the largest, happens to have a pricing glitch that may yield you 7.5%. The Better 7.5% Yield

Weathering the Election

Now everyone understands this will be a very different election cycle. Smart money will prepare for weathering the election with careful management of your retirement accounts. It is never too early or too late to focus your energy on what will provide you happy times for 30 or more years in retirement. So start now or keep on top of it, either way, be prepared for whatever comes your way. 

Improving your retirement, first focus on fees.
It is worth noting that others are taking notice of fees, especially in 401(k) plans, and this may be coming to your business, too. So, take a close look at your fee structure and raise the issue if it is egregious. Transamerica settles excessive-fee lawsuit with its employees for $3.8 million Cetera, plan sponsor sued for excessive fees in $25 million 401(k)
While this is not spot on with fees, it is worth considering. 3 Retirement-Savings Mistakes the Average American Makes
Don’t be fooled by the title, this article is a worthwhile read for everyone concerned with how to weather the election. A Millennial’s Guide to Money and Long Term Investing

Improving your retirement, next focus on saving more.
We have mentioned HSAs before, but this article lays out a great case for using these as a great retirement saving vehicle after you max out others. It happens to be a great way for weathering the election, keeping your savings tax-deferred. 7 benefits of HSAs
Here is a nice, short article on reasons why we do not save enough. It is worth the five minutes, trust me. How Americans blow $1.7 trillion in retirement savings
This may come as no surprise, I hope it does not, but only 27% of Americans are adequately saving for their retirement. 9 Reasons Why You’re Never Going to Retire
For the younger reader, or your kids, this is sage advice on entering the workforce. What Every New College Grad Should Know About Retirement Savings

Improving your retirement, lastly focus on building an income stream.
While this is a bit aged, the facts remain true, and these type ideas can help drive an income stream for your retirement. How to Place Your Money for Three Years and Get 7.74% Cash Returns It is still running at a discount, albeit smaller now, another good approach for weathering the election. RFTA Stock Quote
Here is another quick guide to finding the best dividend stocks. This one makes the point about keeping your fees in check, too! Retirement Strategy: Five Dividend Aristocrats to Buy Here
Here is Fidelity’s take on the QLAC (Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract) as a means to get you guaranteed income later in retirement. I remain a big advocate in the right situation. It is certainly worth your time. A way to secure retirement income later in life

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