Month: December 2016

Barbell Approach to Bonds Strengthens Retirees’ Portfolios

Staggering bonds’ maturities over time protects against interest rate risks. Bonds can be a source of steady and sustainable income. They’re often used to complement Social Security, pensions and fixed income annuities in the income to expense match-up. Purchasing only quality-rated bonds is a defense against default. Typically issued by companies or municipalities for capital-raising or expansion, bonds are yet another potential source of sustainable retiree income. As loans to issuers, buyers and holders of bonds are paid interest at known intervals and rates, and are repaid their principal at maturity. Bonds sold prior to maturity are subject to...

Read More

Retirement Planning is all About the Match-Ups

A good retirement strategy checks all the boxes Planning and executing a retirement game plan requires both proactive and reactive skills. Understanding the forces that can work for and against you is key to success. Whether you’re a man who likes sports, or a woman who fancies sportswear, it’s always about the match-up. Size and strength; speed and skill; bags and shoes; scarves and belts. No different is retirement planning, where one attribute can be a complement or trade-off to another. As a backdrop to a discussion of match-ups, it helps to accept or recognize several retirement planning tenets:...

Read More

Applying a layoff’s Lessons to Retirement Planning

A future without work is a new transition that demands attention. Whether planned or unforeseen, a phase of life without new income or benefits requires adjustments. A conservative and knowledgeable approach can be key to surviving – or even thriving – through uncertain times. A lesson from the Great Recession is to prepare for the unexpected. Markets tanked. Jobs permanently disappeared. Lifetime workers who were unprepared and suddenly unemployed learned the importance of adaptability. Ironically, retirement can be like unemployment when viewed as an uncertain and potentially long period without work or new income. And like managing the effects...

Read More

Retirement Planning for Couples Requires Dual Participation

Leaving the responsibility to one can ultimately hurt the other Though spouses typically divide and conquer household responsibilities, retirement planning is best shared. Putting all the planning of retirement on one spouse can burden the other at an inevitable but stressful time, particularly if the planner predeceases their spouse. Both spouses’ participation can keep the process in check and protect surviving dependents. A 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that deaths in the United States exceeded 2.6 million in 2014, with 70% age 65 or older. And for all the talk these days about “being present,”...

Read More

Confusion Clouds Federal Employees’ Benefits

The true cost of workers’ benefits is as varied as agencies’ acronyms. Though often lumped together, wide differences exist among federal employees’ benefits. Frequently assumed to be generous, benefits to include spouses and children can be surprisingly costly and even punitive. FEGLI, CSRS, FERS, VA, FBI, DEA. Each applies to the federal government, but without a scorecard, it’s difficult to tell which is an organization and which is a benefit of working for an organization. Though efforts have been made over the years to align federal workers’ benefits with their private sector counterparts, key differences remain, and the feds’...

Read More