In this issue:
Women who raise families experience dramatic changes in their 50s. You may find that the house is suddenly much quieter. As children begin to pursue independent lives, there’s less household chatter and an ebb to the constant flow of their teenage friends stopping by. As multifaceted schedules and priorities begin to wane, you may find you have more time than ever before. It can be disconcerting. But nice, too.
Added to this unsettling atmosphere may be changes at work or in your relationship with your spouse or significant other. Suddenly the focus is back on the two of you. You may feel there’s not enough going on to take the place of the constant parade of friends, family, causes and daily work that consumed your energy for the past couple of decades.
Even if you have worked for years, you also may become more keenly aware of the need to provide for your own retirement. Retirement begins to seem much closer now, and yet – perhaps financially speaking – still a lifetime away.
It’s a lot to face by yourself. So don’t. The simple act of discussing financial matters with your spouse and professional advisors can help you come up with a plan to help you reach the concrete goals you establish. Goals such as securing your own retirement; remaining vibrant and healthy; determining a plan for long-term care; building cash reserves so that if aging parents’ health falters or your adult children need you, you can continue to provide that safety net they’ve always relied upon.
To help you accomplish goals for your own financial independence, remember that this is not a time to buy expensive toys and possessions to keep up with your friends or fill any emotional voids. Nothing you buy will contribute to your happiness more than close relationships and financial stability. So make that a priority. If paying for your children’s college education, for example, is going to put too big of a dent in your retirement savings, seek out alternative funding such as scholarships and student loans.
And most of all, don’t make rash changes to your portfolio in an effort to make up for lost ground. Your investment decisions and allocations should always reflect your timeline and tolerance for risk.
Save aggressively while earnings are high.
Take stock of where you are now, and work with your advisor to make sure your retirement lifestyle is covered
Consult with your financial advisor to determine the appropriate asset allocation for your current goals and changing risk tolerance.
Consider what you want in retirement – from buying a boat to starting a new business – and figure out how to make that a reality.
Estimate your Social Security benefits and assess the best time to begin drawing them.
Decide if you want to work in retirement, or if you need to, or perhaps push back retirement a few years.
Think about long-term care insuranceand any care you may need later in life.
Research Medicare options so you’ll be ready to enroll by age 65.
Work with professionals to determine a tax-efficient withdrawal plan for your portfolio.
Incorporate any inheritances you receive as part of your long-term retirement plan.
Discuss your estate planning wishes with your children and update your will, living will and power of attorney, if necessary.
I am available to help you each step of the way, so that you can begin to re-imagine a life beyond children, beyond work and perhaps truly embrace a more peaceful yet purposeful life.
You know the feeling. You hear a buzz or a ding and you automatically reach for your phone or tablet. It’s almost Pavlovian, this urge to check the alert as soon as you become aware of it. But those digital distractions may have you missing out on something more important: work-life balance.
Our hyper-connected society is leading to a newly coined “disorder” known as FoMO or the fear of missing out. It could be the fear of missing out on social media updates, news, work, personal communications, whatever. A study in Computers in Human Behavior noted that “FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing” and then comparing your life with theirs. This fear can drive you to become a workaholic – so you don’t miss out on promotions or face time with the powers that be – and sabotage your work-life balance.
There’s another way this fear manifests itself, in a more social realm. Say you’ve been invited to join your friends for a weekend cruise. You know you can’t afford it, but the idea that your besties will enjoy an experience without you makes you push back your financial worries and agree. You just don’t want to miss out on the fun.
The thing is overextending yourself to stay connected takes a real toll, mentally, physically and financially. Fear of missing out can also trigger anxiety and depression, as you constantly compare yourself to others in your digital circle. It’s the latter that can prompt you to overspend in an attempt to keep up with the hundreds of “Joneses” on social media. Hyper-connectivity can also wreak havoc on your real-life relationships, since constantly checking your phone in a meeting, while with friends and family or while driving (you’re not doing this are you?!) can annoy others or worse, endanger lives.
The potential cure? Disconnecting from all (or most) electronic communications. On purpose.
Rate your level of FoMO at ratemyfomo.com
One writer did just that. Self-proclaimed “most connected man in the world” Baratunde Thurston – whose life is so mobile he gave up his lease – cut off most of his digital ties for almost four weeks because he was simply burnt out. That meant no Facebook posts, tweets, check-ins, Vine videos or Gmail chats. More important, he banned anything business related (he prepared his work partners ahead of time) during his digital detox. He was on to something. This kind of multitasking taxes our brains and can result in anxiety, less sleep and lack of focus. Disconnecting, thoughtfully, gives you back more quality time for yourself and your family and allows you to mentally and spiritually recharge.
Even if you can’t completely unplug, you can give yourself a break each day. Psychologists recommend a 10-minute break to help reset your brain and return to a calmer state. It helps, too, if you use the time for a walk, meditation or some other solo activity that discourages distractions.
More than 10 million adults are now caring for aging parents, according to a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute report. And many are doing so with the financial resources they had planned to use to raise their children and plan for their own retirement. It’s not easy to juggle a career and personal life with the emotional, financial and physical needs of caring for multiple generations. However, the increased financial burdens can be mitigated by thoughtful planning as soon as you realize life is about to change.
Establish – and stick to – a family budget.
Put as much as you can into a retirement plan for you and your spouse. Let that money grow uninterrupted, without raiding it to pay for your parent’s care or your child’s needs.
Explore your options before sacrificing your job. Although new demands on your time and money may cut into time at work, seek alternatives to help you adjust before quitting. Leaving your job could reduce your earnings and also your Social Security benefits. If necessary, ask about telecommuting, flex hours, a temporary reduction in hours or unpaid leave. In some cases, you might be covered under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Keep debt under control. Endeavor to limit consumer debt to less than 20% of your take-home pay.
Talk to your children about financial aid if they’re college aged and other ways they can help cover costs.
Ask your parents if they have money set aside for their care or long-term care insurance to help mitigate some of the costs. Your advisor and theirs may work together to establish a withdrawal rate that best suits your collective needs.
Plan ahead. The odds of entering the sandwich generation are increasing. When you’re retirement planning, consider how much income you’ll need in the best and worst case scenarios, and plan accordingly.
If you’re a single parent, you probably have a lot on your plate, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid long-term financial planning. There are several simple things, taken one at a time, that could help you get started.
Ensure you have insurance. You need appropriate coverage for your family’s property, life and health, but also to protect against the unexpected, such as a disability that prohibits you from working.
Talk taxes. You may be entitled to tax credits for your kids’ tuition and as head of household, plus your employer may offer tax-friendly dependent care accounts to help you save more.
Be pennywise. Establish a reasonable budget for everything from household and transportation expenses to clothing to activities to tuition. Track income and spending carefully and diligently.
Save first. Build your emergency fund first, then maybe allocate assets toward your own retirement. After that, think about funding other goals like higher education or vacations.
Put it in writing. You’ll need a will, health directive, custody agreement, power of attorney and a clear plan for who will take care of minor children if you no longer can. Also think about how accounts and property should be transferred if you pass away.
Be more than an example. Teach your kids the value of money and how to manage it wisely.
Your financial, tax, legal and insurance advisors can help you address each of these and make it easier for you to plan for the future.
Offices located in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky
First Financial Wealth Management is a division of First Financial Bank, N.A. and are both independent of Raymond James Financial Services.
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, and are not insured by any financial institution insurance, the FDIC/NCUA or any other government agency, are not deposits or obligations of the financial institution, are not guaranteed by the financial institution, and are subject to risks, including the possible loss of principal. Raymond James is not affiliated with the financial institution or the investment center.
Raymond James financial advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions for which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state. Investors outside of the United States are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this site. Contact our office for information and availability. © Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC