Best-Laid Plans

A recent survey revealed that six out of 10 Americans believe they are inadequately prepared for a financial emergency, and only 50 percent feel that they are overall financially secure. For most, planning for retirement is one of their biggest worries. This stress is further exacerbated by the fact that most Americans reported having experienced a financial setback last year — something along the lines of reduced income, hospital bills, the loss of a spouse, or a major repair bill for their home and/or car.

[CLICK HERE to read the report, “How Much Should Workers Save for Emergencies?” from Hello Wallet, accessed April 3, 2015.]

Perhaps even more illuminating, 21 percent of Americans say they are not planning to retire. At all. Unfortunately, even the best-laid plans can go awry — and that includes a plan to continue working. Many manual labor jobs are simply impractical to continue after a certain age or long-term, wear-and-tear on the body. In the white collar-world, a larger number of better-educated employees are delaying retirement or electing to work to some degree during retirement. In fact, more than half of the highest-income quartile of those 65 and older worked in 2013.

When you think about it, this could create kind of an interesting phenomenon: Higher income earners may continue working to a very old age while lower-income earners retire to a life of (albeit low-income) leisure.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Americans’ Financial Security,” from The Pew Charitable Trusts, March 5, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The five ages of financial planning — simple tips to make your money work,” from The Guardian, March 26, 2015.]

Recently, even the value of a college education has come into question. Recent graduates have emerged with thousands of dollars in student loan debt with fewer job prospects available. This phenomenon definitely has students questioning the validity of their long-range plans. But the news now is better.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, among students who graduated at the height of the financial crises in 2008, 85 percent are now fully employed and enjoying an average annualized salary of $52,000. Better yet, their unemployment rate is down to 3.4 percent, which compares favorably to the 10 percent rate for those with a high school degree or less.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “The Value of a Four-Year Degree Is Increasing,” from The Huffington Post, April 1, 2015.]

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Why College Is Worth the Money for Almost Everybody,” from Financial Advisor Magazine, April 3, 2015.]

But suppose you didn’t study what you really wanted to in college, or get the job or career you’ve always wanted. It’s not too late. Whether planning to pursue your passion in retirement or start a new career because you can’t yet afford to retire, college is increasingly becoming a new option for retirees. Well-respected universities such as Tulane and George Washington are designing new curriculums to entice bored and affluent retirees back to school.

For those not seeking to pay a high tuition for another college degree, there are viable alternatives to simply auditing classes now. For example, in California, all of its 23 state universities offer tuition-free classes in their Over 60 Program. In Texas, public colleges and universities offer a tuition-reduction programs for students 55 or older. For many older Americans, college classes aren’t just a way to get out of the house. Some are launching second professional careers in a whole new area of expertise.

[CLICK HERE to read the article, “Over 50 and Back in College, Preparing for a New Career,” from The New York Times, April 3, 2015.]

Retirement these days is a multi-dimensional process. Many people may even duck in and out of the workforce as needed to pay for specific expenses, such as a six-month travel vacation or to help grandkids pay for college. Just remember, even the best-laid plans sometimes need back-up plans. Please consider us as a resource to help you cover all the angles.

We are an independent financial service firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance products to custom suit their needs and objectives.

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