Entries by Zabrina Hobor

Why Retirees Need
Good Credit Scores

Careers & businesses end, but the need to borrow remains.

We spend much of our adult lives working, borrowing, and buying. A good credit score is our ally along the way. It retains its importance when we retire.

Retirees should do everything they can to maintain their credit rating. A FICO score of 700 or higher is useful whether an individual works or not.

For example, some retirees will decide to refinance their home loans. A recently published study from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

How Will You Spend
Your Retirement Savings?

Keep an eye on where it goes, as some destinations may be better than others.

You can probably envision how most of your retirement money will be spent. Much of it will be used on living expenses, health care expenses, and, perhaps, debt reduction. Beyond the basics, you will unquestionably reserve some of those dollars for grand adventures and great experiences. If your financial situation permits, you may also contribute to charity.

You just have to remember that your retirement fund is not a bottomless well. If outflows begin to exceed inflows (that is, you repeatedly withdraw more than you make back), you will face a serious financial problem.

With that hazard in mind, be wary of these four spending sieves. Some retirees fall prey to them, and all four can potentially reduce a

Ways the Middle Class Can
Make a Difference for Charity

You don’t need to be wealthy to make an impact & get a win-win. Do you have to make a multimillion-dollar gift to a charity to receive immediate or future financial benefits? No. Consider the following options, which may bring you immediate or future tax deduction
Partnership gifts. These gifts are made via long-term arrangements between donors and recipient charities or non-profits, usually with income resulting for the donor and an eventual transfer of the principal to the charity at the donor’s death.
For example, a charitable remainder trust allows you to pay yourself a dependable income (perhaps for life) derived from assets placed within the trust. When you die or the trust term ends, the remaining trust principal can go to charity. A charitable lead trust works the opposite way. It makes annual, charitable gifts, giving you the potential to reduce gift and estate taxes; your beneficiaries get the leftover…

Should the Self-Employed
Plan to Work Past 65

Some solopreneurs think they will “work forever,” but that perception may be flawed.
About 20% of Americans aged 65-74 are still working. A 2016 Pew Research Center study put the precise figure at 18.8%, and Pew estimates that it will reach 31.9% in 2022. That estimate seems reasonable: people are living longer, and the labor force participation rate for Americans aged 65-74 has been rising since the early 1990s.1,2

It may be unreasonable, though, for a pre-retiree to blindly assume he or she will be working at that age. Census Bureau data indicates that the average retirement age in this country is 63.3

May is Disability Insurance
Awareness Month

Do you really want to live without this coverage? If you forgo it, you may pay a high price.

Disability insurance is an important insurance coverage that most people lack. Many people think of it as optional – when they think of it at all.

Have you thought about it? If you are a parent or a head of household, you should. The odds of a disability are not that long. The Council for Disability Awareness, a non-profit research and education group, estimates that roughly a quarter of today’s 20-year-olds may become disabled at some point in their working lives.1

If you are a breadwinner going without disability insurance, are you taking a risk? Suppose an injury stops you from working for months or years. Even if your household benefits from two or more incomes, the financial hit could be significant.

Insurance for the Small Business Owner

What kind of coverage do you need, and why?

Do you own a small business? Are you starting one? What kind of insurance should you have? Truthfully, you should consider (and preferably have) three kinds of insurance for your business and its assets.

Liability insurance. Absolutely essential. If you run a small business, especially one that provides services of some kind, you will inevitably be sued someday or at least threatened with a suit. Liability insurance will help

Robo-Advisors vs. Human Advisors

If an investor chooses a non-human financial advisor, what price could they end up paying?

Investors have a choice today that they did not have a decade ago. They can seek investing and retirement planning guidance from a human financial advisor or put their invested assets in the hands of a robo-advisor – a software program that maintains their portfolio.

Why would an investor want to leave all that decision making up to a computer? In this era of cybercrime and “flash crashes” on Wall Street, doesn’t that seem a little chancy?

No, not to the financial firms touting robo-advisors. They are wooing millennials, in particular. Some robo-advisor accounts offer very low

America Saves Week

How much are you setting aside on behalf of your goals?

“Set a goal, make a plan, and save automatically.” This is the motto of America Saves Week, which begins on February 27.

America Saves – a project of the American Savings Education Council – calls on Americans to do all three of those things to try and improve their finances. Each winter, it surveys Americans to see how well (or poorly) they are saving. The survey is in its tenth year, and perhaps some recent trends will be reversed in the 2017 edition.

Last year, 52% of Americans said that

Protecting Yourself
While Shopping Online

What steps should you take?

Whether you shop online routinely or infrequently, the risk of identity theft rises as you offer more and more information about yourself online.

Avoid using a debit card, and use only one credit card. If your debit card gets hacked, the thieves may be able to access your bank account. But if you use just one credit card for online shopping, you will have only one card to cancel if your card number is compromised. (It would also be wise to keep a low credit limit on that particular card.)

Look for the..

How Millennials Can Get a
Good Start on Retirement Planning

Some simple steps may make a major financial difference over time.
If you are younger than 35, saving for retirement may not feel like a priority. After all, retirement may be 30 years away; if your employer does not sponsor a retirement plan, there may be less incentive for you to start.
Even so, you must save and invest for retirement as soon as you can. Time is your greatest ally. The earlier you begin, the more years your invested assets have to grow and compound. If you put off retirement planning until your fifties, you may end up having to devote huge chunks of your income just to catch up, at a time when you may have to care for elderly parents, fund college educations, and pay off a mortgage. Do your part to reject the financial stereotype that the media places on millennials. Are you familiar with it…