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Retirement Savings Calculators: Terrific Tools, If You Use Common Sense


“How much should I save for retirement?”


It’s one of the top questions any of us ask. The answer used to be somewhat elusive. You’d consult a financial professional, who would run the numbers using a mysterious “black box” formula and provide the result. Thankfully, retirement savings calculators are now easily available online. Plug in a few numbers, and they’ll give you a ballpark estimate of the amount you should save every month. But can they be trusted? Yes and no.


Each calculator makes certain assumptions – the better ones allow you to play with rates of return based on your own portfolio allocations. But keep in mind that the result of any online calculator is both a snapshot and an approximation. They're only as good as the information you provide, and you need to apply common sense to the result based on your personal financial needs. They're no substitute for your own hard thinking about decisions concerning retirement planning, investing, life insurance, annuities, and other retirement planning tools.


Visit our retirement calculators here to start planning.             



Find out more at Time.com.



As Population Ages, a Shortage of Geriatricians Looms


The average age of the U.S. population is rising as the Baby Boom generation enters its golden years. More than 10,000 Americans turn 65  every day, and by 2030 more than 20% of the population will be over 65 years old. Given this unstoppable trend, it’s head scratching that the number of doctors who specialize in older patients – geriatricians – is declining. Interestingly, some medical experts dismiss this trend as irrelevant; they say older Americans have similar health issues as middle-aged folks. What can’t be dismissed is the importance of maintaining a high quality of life in retirement. As Americans live longer lives, they’ll need greater resources to maintain financial security. Experts say the building blocks of financial security are smart retirement planning and a mastery of the tools that make it possible – including retirement accounts, life insurance, annuities and other income generators. After all, the goal is to remain both healthy and wealthy for as many years – or decades – as we enjoy in retirement.


For more, see the New York Times.



Millennials Need Smart Financial Habits


Many Millennials are somewhat wary when it comes to taking steps toward saving for their financial futures. Perhaps that’s not surprising, given when they came of age financially: in fact, a recent survey by Bank of America found 40% of 20- and early 30-somethings are more reluctant to invest in the stock market and 36% are more hesitant to buy a house because of they entered their working years during the Great Recession.


But to meet your long-term financial goals, you need a smart approach to financial planning. Fortunately for their financial futures, 80% of Millennials say they’re optimistic about the long-term financial future. To get there, they can follow common-sense rules of money management and investing, including paying off student loan debt, increasing savings when they get a raise, getting more comfortable with investing, and focusing on the long-term future with life insurance and retirement accounts. It’s never too early to start planning for the future!


Find out more at US News & World Report.



A DIY Approach to Retirement Planning


Call it the DIY Retirement. As pension plans have become less common, most Americans now need to craft a “Do It Yourself” retirement plan with two major goals: a high quality of life and financial stability in retirement. If you’re approaching retirement age with a sizable nest egg in place, experts advise shifting your mindset from accumulating assets (as you did during your working years) to generating income (as you’ll need when retired).


That means thinking not only about asset allocation but about Retirement Income Generators (RIGs). To ensure that you’ll have enough income for the rest of your life, you’ll need to diversify among a range of RIGs that could include systematic withdrawals from retirement accounts; Social Security; interest and dividends; real estate rental income; and guaranteed annuities. A life insurance product with a death benefit may also play a part, if you want financial protection for your loved ones.


Find out more at CBS News.



Getting Your Term Right


Everyone’s financial situation is unique, which is why insurers offer a variety of options for life insurance. One of the most basic questions is “term life insurance vs. permanent life insurance” – and if you answer it by choosing term life insurance, you may be wondering how to select a term. The fact is that there’s no right or wrong answer. The reason you can choose from a range of terms is that what’s right for you and your family might not make sense for your next door neighbor or your cousin in another state. But, as a rule of thumb, consider how long you’ll need to have a death benefit – the amount your beneficiaries will receive if you die.


Many parents choose a term that will cover their children until at least early adulthood, when college expenses are no longer an issue. But, if you anticipate supporting your kids in graduate school or helping them financially while they pay off student loans, a longer term may make sense.


Likewise, if you’re married, you may want to ensure your spouse’s financial security by choosing a term that lasts beyond the time they turn 59½ and can withdraw funds from retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs, without paying a penalty. Again, the answer depends on your personal situation.


Keep in mind that selecting a term that ends too early likely will result in higher premiums if you renew the term life insurance policy later in life. To avoid gaps in coverage or higher premiums down the road, select a term that will cover you and your loved ones for as long as necessary.




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