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APRIL IS FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

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Do you consider yourself financially literate? According to a study by S&P Global, 57% of American adults are financially literate, ranking the U.S. 14th in the world. As a way to increase financial understanding, April is considered Financially Literacy month!

Whether you’re a financial guru or consider yourself a newbie, here’s 3 ways to make a difference in your finances this April!

  1. Pick & Learn: Always wanted to understand how taxes work? Now’s the time to do so! Pick a financial topic and learn as much as you can about it for the month of April! If taxes aren’t your thing, pick another topic such as mortgage, investing, annuities, and the list goes on. While you most likely won’t be an expert, you can feel more confident on your next financial decision!
  2. See Where You Stand: A lot can change in a year, from a new car payment to moving across the country, April is a great time to see how your unique circumstances have changed. Determine where you stand and see if you need to pivot your finances to better support your journey.
  3. Create Long-Term Financial Plan: While planning year-to-year when looking at finances is good, creating a long-term financial goal is great. Determine major financial goals such as purchasing a home, assign a cost, and develop a time horizon. Beyond financial goals, look at investments and portfolio volatilities to make sure they coincide with your current and future financial goals.

Financial Literacy Month is a great excuse to take extra time on finances and make sure you are on the right track toward your retirement and lifestyle goals. While these tips are a great start to any planning, speaking with a financial professional will help you get a better understanding of your unique circumstances and what is best for your goals.

Content derived from www.investors.comwww.autopayplus.com , and www.money.usnews.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post April is Financial Literacy Month appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

 

Provided By: Adult Financial Education

Back To School Financial Guide For 2019

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In a recent study conducted by the ‘National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics’, it was found that the average American family will spend just south of $700 for back-to-school costs in 2019. Is your child soon to be a college student? The same survey reported you should be ready to spend a little less than $1,000 alone for start-up school supplies. While this cost seems large, it’s just a part of your financial portfolio. Back-to-school time is not only a great time to plan a scholastic budget, but also reviewing and reassessing your financial plan. Below is your Official 2019 Back-To-School Financial Guide to make sure your student, and your financial goals, stay on track:

Create A Baseline Report

How has your year progressed in terms of finances? Have you met or succeeded in your goals? Developing a spreadsheet and comparing where you were at the beginning of the year to where you are now can help you asses how aligned you are with your financial goals. Building this report toward the latter of the year will also give you time to adjust your plan (if needed), throughout the remainder of 2019.

Rethink Insurance Needs

Life happens, which is why insurance was invented. Whether you want to provide for your family in case of an emergency or someone forgets to turn off the stove…again; insurance of all sorts can help cushion the blows to your wallet and financial well-being. However, just as life is always changing, so too are your insurance needs and costs. Once a year, you should reevaluate your insurance needs and coverage for any change. While you may not be able to change health insurance in the middle of the year, items like car and home can be changed with a little research and not much effort.

Develop Or Update Your Budget

Regardless if you are married, single, with or without dependents, it is crucial to create and maintain a workable budget. Life changes on a regular basis and your budget must coincide with your current income, needs wants, and goals. Back-to-school time is an ideal time to revisit your budget. It’s a relatively slow time on the tail end of summer travels and on the steps leading up to the holiday season. Budgets should be regularly checked throughout the year and especially after any life changes like marriage, death, education, etc.

Plan Out Taxes For 2019

Now is the best time to make sure you are receiving the most tax breaks you can on income for 2019. Items like 401(k), charitable contributions, and retirement contributions are all fantastic ways to reduce your tax liability. Consider boosting certain contributions to reduce what you’ll pay in taxes. While ‘tax season’ is still months away, it’s important to start looking at your 2019 year from a financial perspective and start looking out other ways to save on taxes before years end.

Back-to-school season signifies the approach of cooler weather, the quick onset of school costs, and the ultimate approach of years end. Make sure you have a great start to 2020 and finish off 2019 by utilizing this guide when looking at the remainder of your financial year. Although these are good recommendations to start with, you should connect with a financial professional to see where you are on your financial journey and how these tips could benefit you.

For those who are looking for financial advice, we realize the available options are many and deciding who to work with is a challenging problem. At Southport Capital, we know that it is your retirement, and you should have control over it. We offer our experience and knowledge to help you design a custom strategy for financial independence. Contact us today to schedule an introductory meeting!

Content derived from www.money.usnews.com and www.usatoday.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Back To School Financial Guide For 2019 appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

Provided By: Adult Financial Education

SIZZLIN’ SUMMER SERIES: PART 3

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What does Summer remind you of? Maybe it’s the feeling of jumping into a cool pool after a day in the summer heat; or maybe it’s the sound of the ice cream truck as you are bolting out the door with whatever change you could get your hands on. From lazy days in air conditioning to random road trips and more; summer is full of memories, and more importantly, choices.

In Part 3 and the final installation of ‘SIZZLIN SUMMER SERIES’, we will go into the top 3 financial choices you should research before making a decision:

  1. 401(K) and 401(k) Roth:

Up until recent, most companies would only offer a traditional 401(k) to employees; however, a Roth 401(k) has become a regular option as well. The difference comes down to one simple, yet complex word: taxes. In short, a traditional 401(k) is taxed when you pull the money out when you retire. Opposite of traditional; a Roth 401(k) is taxed now, so you don’t have to pay Uncle Sam when you retire. So which one is best? It all depends on your tax bracket and current tax rate. For instance, tax rates are the lowest they have ever been in the last 100 years, so it would make sense to rollover to a Roth 401(k).

Key Point: A 401(k) is a vital part to any retirement portfolio. When looking at the 2 types, consider your current tax bracket, how your income will change in the coming years, and tax rate predictions.

  1. Variable Annuity and Fixed Index Annuity:

In short, an annuity is a fixed sum of money paid to someone, typically for the rest of their life on a annual basis. While guaranteed income is a great addition to any retirement plan, its crucial to know the two types of annuities and how they differ. A Fixed Index Annuity (FIA) typically provides a set amount of money annually in exchange for a lump purchase payment. An FIA is the safest annuity type as it is offers no market downturn and a guaranteed rate of interest. On the contrary, a Variable Annuity provides irregular payments based on investment funds designed by the insurance company. In addition, directly correlates with the market, so any downside in the market will reflect in a loss in return.

Key Point: An FIA is the most commonly used Annuity type and offers guaranteed upside potential with no downside risk. A Variable Annuity has the opportunity to earn much more return in less time than an FIA, but usually carries an aggressive risk.

  1. Risk and Reward

Learning to ride a bike and creating an investment strategy have one key trait in common, balance. Where as a bike requires hand eye coordination and practice, a proper investment portfolio requires constant attention and updates. This is because life is always changing, from career change, to starting a family, to new bills and more, finances need to say in tune with your current needs, wants, and goals. While someone who is younger with a time horizon of 5+ years may choose a riskier portfolio, another, older couple may choose a safer portfolio with little to no downside risk.

Key Point: A successful investment strategy does not require a balance beam or seesaw to work properly. What it does require is consistent checks and adjustments to make sure your portfolio is in the best spot for your current goals and financial situation.

A financial plan has a lot of moving parts and just like a car, requires upkeep and maintenance to keep things rolling smoothly. Regardless of where you are on your financial journey, chat with a financial professional today to see how you can achieve your retirement goals.

 

Content derived from www.schwab.com www.investopedia.com, and www.businessinsider.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

 

The post Sizzlin’ Summer Series: PART 3 appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

 

Provided By: Adult Financial Education

Sizzlin’ Summer Series: PART 2

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The official start of Summer – June 21st – is right around the corner. As we cruise into part two or our Sizzlin’ Summer Series, we will make a splash with the best cities to retire in 2019.

Get your Hawaiian shirts on, coolers filled, and beach towels ready, because here come the Top 4 Places To retire!

  1. Independence, Kentucky

Ranked the 31st safest city in the U.S., Independence, Kentucky offers everything you can expect from a larger city, with a quaint feeling of an upscale suburban atmosphere. Beyond its centralized location between two large metropolitan areas, Independence offers a mild climate with extremes of 20’s and 80’s and a vast landscape of trees and greenery. Top it off with Kentucky’s retirement-friendly tax structure that does not tax Social Security benefits and has little to no tax impact on other retirement income sources, you can see why this was one of the top places to retire in 2019.

  1. Little Elm, Texas,

The first thing to note about Little Elm, Texas is there is nothing little about this city bustling with activities and sites to see.  This 22nd safest city in the nation – according to RetirementLiving.com, a retirement news source – surrounds 29,000 acres of the well-known Lewisville Lake and offers a lush landscape. For those who enjoy weather that never goes below freezing and sees the highest temperatures in the 90’s, Little Elm is a fantastic retirement option. Throw in no tax on social security, retirement income or state income tax, and things are looking even better. Did we mention the nationally ranked UT Southwestern Medical Center is minutes away in Dallas?

  1. Iowa City, Iowa

Coming in at the #1 on Milken Institutes list of best cities for successful aging, Iowa City, Iowa has a lot of offer exploring retirement options. Out of the total population of 158,370, roughly 11% make of the 65 and older demographic. This along with a low unemployment rate and strong small business growth make Iowa City a top choice when retiring in the U.S. Milken Institute also ranks Iowa City #1 in healthcare for small cities. Whether you want to be within walking distance to downtown or enjoy small town living, Iowa City is a great place to discover.

  1. Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Coming in last but certainly not least, Bethel Park, Pennsylvania is positioned on the Blue and Red Lines of the Pittsburgh Port Authority; allowing easy access to South Park and Pittsburgh without the need to drive. In addition to having UPMC Hospital- ranked #11 in geriatric care in the U.S. – within easy access to the transit system, Bethel Park also offers retirees no Social Security Benefits tax and a few options for property tax rebates. And for those who like being minutes away from outdoor activities, Bethel Park contains a 2,013 acre section of South Park, bustling with community events, Golf, ice-rink, hiking trails, historic buildings and more.

Whether you are nearing retirement or still in the planning stages, there is a plethora of places in the United States that offer great opportunities when considering retirement. Next time we will take a dip into the final installment of our Summer Series! Tune in Next Month to see how we’re keeping your summer sizzlin’ and cool!

 

Content derived from www.retirementliving.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Sizzlin’ Summer Series: PART 2 appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

 

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SIZZLIN’ SUMMER SERIES: PART 1

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This last Winter was one for the books. With record snowfall, rain, and cold temperatures, it’s safe to say that most of us are ready for warmer weather. What better way to celebrate the onset of sunshine and warm temps than with a three-part newsletter series to help you enjoy Summer!

In this month’s newsletter, we will dive into the top 3 places to travel, based on the Summer months:

May Travel:

  1. Asheville, North Carolina: While the rest of the South will be climbing into high heat and humidity, Asheville will offer nothing but crisp fresh air and endless outdoor activities. Burrowed in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville is a must-visit destination for music, beer and nature lovers.
  2. Cusco, Peru: For those seeking something different, the former capital of the Incan Empire, Cusco, has your name written all over it. Considered the best time to Visit, May is a fantastic month to explore breathtaking views and discover ancient remains, thousands of miles away from home.
  3. Bali, Indonesia: Another great international destination, Bali is known for its scenic views and tranquil country side. Traveling here in May will not only give you an experience you won’t find anywhere else, but 12 hours of gorgeous sunlight.

June Travel:

  1. Anchorage, Alaska: Some people love the cold, which is why Anchorage is on our list of places to visit this Summer. Specifically, in June, the Summer Solstice occurs which is one of the largest celebrations during the year, full of music, food, and unique entertainment. Expect temperatures in the 50-60’s and what seems like endless sunlight to enjoy.
  2. Dubrovnik, Croatia: With crystal clear water and endless enchanting limestone sidewalks. Dubrovnik is the relaxing getaway you’ve been looking for. Whether I’ts exploring or lounging that catches your interest, you will find nothing but enjoyment here.
  3. Reykjavik, Iceland: Love the sun? Do you dread when evening comes? Then this is the vacation spot for you. Travel during June and expect close to 24 hours of gorgeous sunlight, and more importantly, weather. Regardless of time or activity, you will find it here.

July Travel:

  1. Bristol, Rhode Island: Got any plans for the 4th of July? If not, check out Bristol for the historic and longest-running Independence Day Celebration. Since 1785, this celebration has gotten so big, a month can’t contain the festivities, which now begin mid-June. For all you history buffs, this is the place for you.
  2. Boquete, Panama: Calling all Adventurers! Boquete is a paradise ready to be experienced by you. Hidden in Panama’s green highlands, this haven is popular for hiking, mountain climbing, zip lining, and more adrenaline pumping activities.
  3. Athens, Greece: We couldn’t end this list without mentioning one of the most Iconic and well know travel destinations, Athens. Filled with a plethora of things to do and must-see wonders of the world, this is our #1 recommended place to explore this summer.

Make the most of your Summer months by discovering one the amazing destinations listed above; or blaze your own trail and let us know where you went! Tune in next Month for PART 2 of ‘Sizzlin’ Summer Series’, where we will dive in the best places to retire in 2019!

 

Content derived from www.businessinsider.com

Disclosure: This information is provided as general information and is not intended to be specific financial guidance. Before you make any decisions regarding your personal financial situation, you should consult a financial or tax professional to discuss your individual circumstances and objectives.

The post Sizzlin’ Summer Series: PART 1 appeared first on Adult Financial Education Services.

 

Provided By: Adult Financial Education

Life Insurance 101 For Retirees

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According to a recent 2016 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, having enough money for a comfortable retirement continues to be the top financial concern among most American consumers (66 percent). Next on the list are two related, and just as troubling, retirement concerns—paying for long-term care (58 percent) and medical expenses (58 percent).

It’s important to recognize that when you retire your accumulated wealth is probably at its peak. Retirement these days can last decades, and age can bring on many potential threats to your financial health. In addition to staying active, eating well and seeing your doctor regularly, you can take some proactive financial steps to help make sure a health concern doesn’t ruin your retirement.

Life Insurance

It may seem counterintuitive that empty nesters or retirees need life insurance, but some still have dependents, such as disabled adult children. Many also still have financial obligations, such as the mortgage on a home or second home, that could become a burden if a spouse died or becomes disabled. More importantly, if you died today, your spouse could outlive you by decades. Would they have to make drastic lifestyle changes to make ends meet? Your death could reduce the Social Security benefits they’d been counting on. It could also bring unplanned medical and funeral expenses.

Life insurance coverage can preserve the retirement plan you worked so hard to put in place and ensure your estate will be passed on, intact, to your survivors. A policy’s death benefit can help foot the estate tax bill from Uncle Sam and provide a legacy for your children and grandchildren, even if you use up most of your assets during your lifetime. For all these reasons, if you’ve been thinking about dropping your life insurance coverage, you may want to reconsider.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance usually takes effect when you cannot perform at least two activities of daily living such as bathing, eating or dressing. The cost of this insurance rises as you grow older, but if you don’t have it and can afford it, you should consider it. The cost of home health care aide, an assisted living facility or a nursing home can quickly deplete your life’s savings. Medicaid, a government program, only kicks in once your assets are significantly depleted, and you may not get exactly the care you’re hoping for.

Annuities with Long-Term Care Benefits

Insurance companies have recently come up with “hybrid,” or linked, policies. These vehicles allow you to obtain a fixed annuity and to then attach a long-term care rider. Should you have a qualifying need for long-term care services, you could access a monthly benefit for a set number of months or, in some cases, for the remainder of your life.

 

The purchase of a fixed annuity with LTC benefits can be less expensive than buying a stand-alone LTC insurance policy. And when you deposit funds into the annuity, that money is yours to spend regardless of whether you need long-term care or not.

Whether you’re an empty nester or already in retirement, it’s always a good idea to reevaluate your insurance coverage and needs. To find out more about life and LTC insurance and if you need additional coverage, be sure to contact your financial professional.

Information for this article was provided by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ financial futures: www.lifehappens.org.

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The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or products may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial professional.

The post Life Insurance 101 for Retirees appeared first on Smart Money Advisors.

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Getting Your Affairs In Order

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10 Steps for Creating a Smart End-of-Life Plan

End-of-life planning sounds like something you do towards the end of your life. But the reality is, no one knows what tomorrow will bring. If the worst were to happen, you wouldn’t want your family to be burdened with financial, legal and logistical problems. These 10 steps will help you get your affairs in order.

  1. Have a will and update it periodically. The will designates executors, guardians and trustees. Your executor’s first task is to locate your will. To facilitate that, put the original in an envelope with your name and “Will” written on it. Then place the envelope in a fireproof metal box, file cabinet or home safe.
  2. Have a health care directive (living will). A living will is a medical directive written in advance that sets forth your preference for treatment in the event of your inability to direct care. The document may be drafted to include when the directive should be initiated and who has the decision-making responsibility to withdraw or withhold treatment.
  3. Have powers of attorney. The person you select as your financial and/or healthcare power of attorney should be your spouse or close friend or relative. Whoever you designate will be authorized to manage your affairs, typically financial ones, if you’re not able to handle them yourself.
  4. Have life insurance. Having the right amount of life insurance coverage will help ensure that the dreams you have for your family will be realized even if you’re not there. Determining how much to buy can be complicated, so it’s important to seek assistance from an insurance professional.
  5. Review beneficiary designations for your various financial accounts, including group and individual benefits like life insurance and 401(k)s. Check annually to ensure those named in your insurance policies and retirement plans are still relevant to your needs and wishes. Many people think that if they have a will, they are covered. However, beneficiaries designated in documents generally fall outside the scope of a will, so it is critical that you keep your policies and records updated.
  6. Specify where important financial account information is located. It may sound like an obvious thing to do, but few people keep a list of where important records pertaining to their savings, retirement plans, college-funding plans, mortgage, and insurance reside. Keep a master list and review it annually.
  7. Specify where important non-financial information and valuables are located such as marriage certificates, birth certificates, titles/deeds for the house/cars, passports, jewelry, safe deposit box key, items in storage facilities, etc.
  8. Specify your final arrangements such as burial or cremation, where you want to be buried, whether you want to be an organ donor, etc.
  9. Have a list of professionals who assist you with your family’s legal and financial affairs (insurance professional, attorney, accountant, etc.).
  10. Explain to heirs how your trust works. Trusts are often a useful legal and estate-planning device for protecting assets from estate taxes and providing a vehicle to be sure survivors get proper administrative and investment advice and counsel. An attorney is the best source of information about the proper use of trusts and whether one would be appropriate for you.

To get a sense of your “end-of-life” needs, talk to your financial advisor. He/she can make sure you have the plans in place that you need to get your affairs in order.

Information for this article was provided by Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ financial futures: www.lifehappens.org.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or products may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

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Chances are you’ll live well into your 80s, your 90s, and possibly even longer. When you live a long life, the likelihood you’ll need long-term health care is greatly increased.

That’s why over 10 million Americans have purchased long-term care insurance.1 Here are just a few things you should know:

  1. You can decide where care is received. Long-term care insurance doesn’t just provide nursing home care. It can also provide home care for those who prefer to “age in place,” as well as adult day care, assisted living facilities and hospice centers.
  2. The benefits can be flexible. Most long-term care insurance policies offer greater flexibility in the types of services available, such as covering the costs for installing grab bars or a wheelchair ramp, or purchasing a lift chair or hospital bed.
  3. Family caregivers can be covered. Most policies provide caregiver training for family members. Other policies recognize family caregivers as informal caregivers, making their time and services reimbursable under the policy.
  4. Couples can share coverage. Many long-term care insurance policies offer an optional benefit commonly known as “shared care,” which allows couples to share their coverage and maximize their benefits. It typically also includes a built-in protection to ensure a surviving spouse can still receive long-term care insurance benefits.
  5. It’s not “just for older people.” While it’s a critical part of retirement planning and important protection for your later years, younger people also need long-term care as a result of accidents or illnesses. Plus, the younger you are when you apply for long-term care insurance, the better—making it more affordable.

Given that the cost of long-term care can quickly deplete your life’s savings, you should seriously consider adding long-term care insurance to your financial plan. Plus, there’s about a 70% chance you’ll need some type of long-term care after age 65.2

Be sure to learn more about long-term care insurance and why it’s a critical piece of retirement planning. Ask your financial advisor about these and other features and how it has helped their clients like it helped 250,000 families last year.3

 

1Estimate from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI)

2Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey

3Estimate from the American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI)

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or products may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.

 

The post 5 Things You Need to Know About Long-Term Care Insurance appeared first on Smart Money Advisors.

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Retirement Planning For Procrastinators

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You’ve probably heard that you’re never too young to start saving for retirement. However, many of us have procrastinated or have had other priorities and debt come up that prevented us from putting more money aside for our future. Or maybe you tried to save but got hit with unexpected setbacks like a job loss or medical emergency.

You’re not alone. In a recent survey by GOBankingRates,1 1 in 3 Americans has saved $0 for retirement. And 23% have less than $10,000 saved.

Unfortunately, you can’t make up for lost time. But don’t give up — you do have options.

Any money you can set aside can help you make retirement more comfortable. Here are some suggestions for what you need to do to get back on track:

1. Stick to a Routine

The first step is to start saving regularly. Consistent savings, even in just small amounts, is the best way to ensure a retirement fund is growing. If money is put into high-yield accounts or invested wisely, compound interest on small savings can help produce a sizable nest egg.

2. Prioritize Changes That Have Long-Term Benefits

Upping retirement savings contributions is also necessary to catch up. If permitted by their 401(k) plan, people age 50 and over can make catch-up contributions of $6,000 to a traditional 401(k), for example, in addition to the regular $18,000 annual 401(k) contribution limit, according to the IRS.2 Other retirement vehicles such as fixed indexed annuities can be good long-term investments with the potential for growth and protection of principal. Income annuities are specifically designed to create ongoing income for you in retirement.

Those nearing retirement can also help prepare for retirement by reducing spending and paying down debt, which will trim monthly expenses and enable them to stretch their savings further once they retire.

3. Save Like You’ll Retire Tomorrow

People who view retirement as something that is just around the corner can help themselves stay on top of their retirement contributions so that they don’t fall behind. By keeping retirement at the top of your financial priority list, it can become less of a far-off dream and more of a soon-to-be reality.

If you’re already near retirement, you may also need to adjust your expectations—having to work harder to set aside more savings and maybe even working longer.

Even though retirement may seem far away and you think that there is still plenty of time to begin saving, be sure to make retirement planning a priority. Take the first step to a comfortable retirement by contacting your financial advisor and setting up a meeting to discuss your options and the best financial tools for your portfolio.

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1GOBankingRates Survey, March 2016

2IRS: Retirement Topics – 401(k) and Profit-Sharing Plan Contribution Limits

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investments or products may be appropriate for you, consult with your financial advisor.

 

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