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Retiring Soon? This Could Mean a Major Health Boost, According to Study

The common refrain when someone retires is: “Don’t sit down!” A friendly – albeit foreboding – warning, to the newly unemployed, about not becoming a couch potato can be a bit of a downer.  Other morsels of wisdom include: “Keep moving. Don’t sit around in your pajamas all day eating doughnuts. Find a hobby. Stay in touch with your friends.”
If you’re retired, then you have probably heard some, or all, of this advice.

In some ways, it’s scary to hear. You imagine yourself morphing into a motionless sloth who stops showering and forgets how to use a fork the moment you cash in that 401k.

The Best Is Yet To Come

Well, it turns out that retirees actually make positive health changes after they stop working, according to a recent study led by the University of Sydney.

The report, which surveyed 25,000 retirees, found that retired folks are more active, sleep better and curbed their smoking habits compared with their working counterparts.1

This is exciting news for a lot of people who believe that retirement signals the end of a meaningful, vibrant life. In fact, the contrary is true. Retirees seem to be traveling more than ever before – along with quitting smoking and not sitting on the couch eating doughnuts.

Travel More, Sit Less

U.S. travel company, Overseas Adventure Travel, which creates adventure excursions for people who are over 50, has seen an increase in older adventurers. The company reported a 67 percent spike, over the span of ten years, in 50+ travel. Here’s another fun fact: AirBnB users, over 60 years of age, total more than 1 million customers.2

This adds up to a beautiful picture of retirement. It’s what we all imagine as we clock in to work every day.

So next time you go to a retirement party – be sure you shelf those tired warnings about being a couch potato and congratulate your newly retired buddy on a fun, fulfilling future!


10 Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Retirement:

  1. Plan Now! Create your retirement goals and make a plan to reach them.
  2. Don’t Wait to Save. Forgoing a latte or new pair of shoes each day or week adds up – so keep one eye on the future (while the other one is on that new purse).
  3. Take Advantage of 401ks. If your employer is matching your money, make sure you jump on that opportunity.
  4. Get Healthy Now. If you get in shape now, by the time you retire you will have the stamina and energy you need to follow your passions.
  5. Think about extra money you’re spending that you could be investing. Do you pay for a storage unit? That money adds up, while the stuff inside depreciates.
  6. Create Healthy Habits. Just like investing your money for retirement, invest in good habits now so later they will be easier to stick with. Replace cookies and chips with fruits and gorgeous salads. Make time for a walk each day or a coffee date with a friend.
  7. Stimulate Your Imagination Don’t wait for retirement to start a hobby. Start now! Even if you only have an hour a week to devote to it – whether it’s tennis or ceramics – jump in! By the time you retire, you’ll have connections and more time to spend doing the activities you already cultivated.
  8. Meet With a Financial Planner A good financial planner can help you set up investments now and adjust them as you near retirement, so that you have enough money to enjoy your life without worrying about running out.
  9. Geography As you near retirement, assess where you live. If you’re far from family and friends, you might want to consider relocating before or right after retirement. A good network of people you love, trust and enjoy being around can dramatically enrich your life.
  10. Check Up On Your Investments Finally, don’t rely on anyone else to make sure you are on the right track for retirement. There’s nothing worse than saving your whole life only to find out at age 62 that your investments were all wrong for your goals… and you lost money. Don’t let “fake science” fool you into thinking you’re earning huge profits. Look at your bottom line – and always follow your gut. If you feel like you need a second opinion, then you probably do.






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Reviewing Your Finances Mid-Year

You made it through tax season and now you’re looking forward to your summer vacation. But before you go, take some time to review your finances. Mid-year is an ideal time to do so, the demands on your time may be fewer, and the planning opportunities greater, than if you wait until the end of the year.

woman typing and filing documents

Think about your priorities

What are your priorities? Here are some questions that may help you identify the financial issues you want to address within the next few months.

Are any life-changing events coming up soon, such as marriage, the birth of a child, retirement, or a career change?
Will your income or expenses substantially increase or decrease this year?
Have you managed to save as much as you expected this year?
Are you comfortable with the amount of debt that you have?
Are you concerned about the performance of your investment portfolio?
Do you have any other specific needs or concerns that you would like to address?

Take another look at your taxes

Completing a mid-year estimate of your tax liability may reveal tax planning opportunities. You can use last year’s tax return as a basis, then make any anticipated adjustments to your income and deductions for this year.

financial spring cleaningYou’ll want to check your withholding, especially if you owed taxes when you filed your most recent income tax return or you received a large refund. Doing that now, rather than waiting until the end of the year, may help you avoid a big tax bill or having too much of your money tied up with Uncle Sam. If necessary, adjust the amount of federal or state income tax withheld from your paycheck by filing a new Form W-4 with your employer.

To help avoid missed tax-saving opportunities for the year, one basic thing you can do right now is to set up a system for saving receipts and other tax-related documents. This can be as simple as dedicating a folder in your file cabinet to this year’s tax return so that you can keep track of important paperwork.

Reconsider your retirement plan

If you’re working and you received a pay increase this year, don’t overlook the opportunity to increase your retirement plan contributions by asking your employer to set aside a higher percentage of your salary. In 2015, you may be able to contribute up to $18,000 to your workplace retirement plan ($24,000 if you’re age 50 or older).

If you’re already retired, take another look at your retirement income needs and whether your current investments and distribution strategy will continue to provide enough income.

Statistic - How Confident Are Americans About Retirement 2015

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Review your investments

Have you recently reviewed your portfolio to make sure that your asset allocation is still in line with your financial goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk? Though it’s common to rebalance a portfolio at the end of the year, you may need to rebalance more frequently if the market is volatile.

Note: Asset allocation is a method used to help manage investment risk; it does not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss.

Identify your insurance needs

Do you know exactly how much life and disability insurance coverage you have? Are you familiar with the terms of your homeowners, renters, and auto insurance policies? If not, it’s time to add your insurance policies to your summer reading list. Insurance needs frequently change, and it’s possible that your coverage hasn’t kept pace with your income or family circumstances.

Infographic - Personal and Financial Benefits to Spring Cleaning

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Important Disclosure

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No Matter What Your Age, Your Social Security Statement Matters

Fifteen years ago, the Social Security Administration (SSA) launched the Social Security Statement, a tool to help Americans understand the features and benefits that Social Security offers. Since then, millions of Americans have reviewed their personalized statements to see a detailed record of their earnings, as well as estimates of retirement, survivor, and disability benefits based on those earnings. Here’s how to get a copy of your statement, and why it deserves more than just a quick glance, even if you’re years away from retirement.



How do you get your statement?

In September 2014, the SSA began mailing Social Security Statements to most workers every five years. Workers attaining ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 who are not receiving Social Security benefits and are not registered for an online account will receive a statement in the mail about three months before their next birthday. Workers older than age 60 will receive a statement every year.

But why wait? A more convenient way to view your Social Security Statement is online. First, visit to sign up for a personal my Social Security account (you must be 18 or older to sign up online). Once you have an account, you can view your Social Security Statement anytime you want, as often as you want.

Check your estimated benefits

Your Social Security Statement gives you information about retirement, disability, and survivor benefits. It tells you whether you’ve earned enough credits to qualify for these benefits and, if you qualify, how much you can expect to receive. As each Social Security Statement notes, the amounts listed are only estimates based on your average earnings in the past and a projection of future earnings. Actual benefits you receive may be different if your earnings increase or decrease in the future. Amounts may also be affected by cost-of-living increases (estimates are in today’s dollars) and other income you receive. Estimated benefits are also based on current law, which could change in the future.

Retirement benefits
Although Social Security was never intended to be the sole source of retirement income, retirement benefits are still very important to many retirees. Your statement shows estimates of how much you can expect to receive if you begin receiving benefits at three different ages: your full retirement age (66 to 67, depending on your birth year), age 62 (your benefit will be lower), or age 70 (your benefit will be higher). When to start claiming Social Security is a big decision that will affect your overall retirement income, so if you’re approaching retirement, this information can be especially useful. But even if you’re years away from retirement, it’s important to know how much you might receive, so that you can take this information into account as you set retirement savings goals.

Disability benefits
Disability is unpredictable and can happen suddenly to anyone at any age. Disability benefits from Social Security can be an important source of financial support in the event that you’re unable to work and earn a living. Check your Social Security Statement to find out what you might receive each month if you become disabled.

Survivor benefits
Survivor protection is a valuable Social Security benefit you may not even realize you have. Upon your death, your survivors such as your spouse, ex-spouse, and children may be eligible to receive benefits based on your earnings record. Review your Social Security Statement to find out whether your survivors can count on this valuable source of income.

Review your earnings record

In addition to benefit information, your Social Security Statement contains a year-by-year record of your earnings. This record is updated whenever your employer reports your earnings (or if you’re self-employed, when you report your own earnings). Earnings are generally reported annually, so keep in mind that your earnings from last year may not yet be on your statement.

It’s a good idea to make sure that your earnings have been reported correctly, because mistakes do happen. You can do this by comparing your earnings record against past tax returns or W-2s you’ve received. This is an important step to take because your Social Security benefits are based on your average lifetime earnings. If your earnings have been reported incorrectly, you may not receive the benefits to which you’re entitled.

What if you find errors? The SSA advises you to call right away if any earnings are reported incorrectly. The SSA phone number is 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

infographic - social security effects from pay gap


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How Does Divorce Affect Social Security Retirement Benefits?

One of the challenges of planning for retirement is that an unexpected event, like divorce, can dramatically change your retirement income needs. If you were counting on your spouse’s Social Security benefits to provide some of your retirement income, what happens now that you’re divorced?

couple from the 1950's

What are the rules?

Even if you’re divorced, you may still collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s Social Security earnings record if:

Your marriage lasted 10 years or longer
You are age 62 or older
Your ex-spouse is entitled to receive Social Security retirement or disability benefits, and
The benefit you’re entitled to receive based on your own earnings record is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record

If you’ve been divorced for at least two years, and the other requirements have been met, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record even if he or she has not yet applied for benefits.

How much can you receive?

If you begin receiving benefits at your full retirement age (66 to 67, depending on your year of birth), your spousal benefit is equal to 50% of your ex-spouse’s full retirement benefit (or disability benefit). For example, if your ex-spouse’s benefit at full retirement age is $1,500, then your spousal benefit is $750. However, there are several factors that may affect how much you ultimately receive.

Statistic - 50+ Divorce at a glance

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Are you eligible for benefits based on your own earnings record? If so, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) will pay that amount first. But if you can receive a higher benefit based on your ex-spouse’s record, then you’ll receive a combination of benefits that equals the higher amount.

Will you begin receiving benefits before or after your full retirement age? You can receive benefits as early as age 62, but your monthly benefit will be reduced (reduction applies whether the benefit is based on your own earnings record or on your ex-spouse’s). If you decide to receive benefits later than your full retirement age, your benefit will increase by 8% for each year you wait past your full retirement age, up until age 70 (increase applies only if benefit is based on your own earnings record).

Will you work after you begin receiving benefits? If you’re under full retirement age, your earnings may reduce your Social Security benefit if they are more than the annual earnings limit that applies.

Are you eligible for a pension based on work not covered by Social Security? If so, your Social Security benefit may be reduced.

divorce in the dictionary

Planning tip: If you decide not to collect retirement benefits until full retirement age, you may be able to maximize your Social Security income by claiming your spousal benefit first. By opting to receive your spousal benefit at full retirement age, you can delay claiming benefits based on your own earnings record (up until age 70) in order to earn delayed retirement credits. This can boost your benefit by as much as 32%. Because deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is a complicated decision and may have tax consequences, consult a professional.

What happens if one of you remarries?

Benefits for a divorced spouse are calculated independently from those of a current spouse, so your benefit won’t be affected if your spouse remarries. However, if you remarry, then you generally can’t collect benefits on your ex-spouse’s record unless your current marriage ends. Any spousal benefits you receive will instead be based on your current spouse’s earnings record.

What if your ex-spouse dies?

If your marriage lasted 10 years or more, you may be eligible for a survivor benefit based on your ex-spouse’s earnings record.

Infographic - Social Security breaking down the benefits

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For more information on how divorce may affect your Social Security benefits, contact the SSA at (800) 772-1213 or visit

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The $849,000 Cost of Being a Woman

While men may save more, a study¹ shows that women face nearly $850,000 in additional expenses just for simply being born female.

So what’s behind the high cost of being a woman?

Think that’s all? Other factors such as death and divorce causes 90% of women to lose a second household income, making it harder for them to save.

What can we do?

  1. Negotiate for better wages
  2. Increase your savings goals
  3. Keep debt low. Use your credit card less often.
  4. Focus on career growth

infographic - the cost of being a woman