Tag: retirement planning

The Top Money Podcasts to Add to Your List

Published in: Resources |

Podcasts have become increasingly popular over the years, but even more so during the pandemic. Spotify recently reported that podcast consumption has more than doubled. With everyone at home, people have been turning to podcasts for entertainment, information, advice, and community. We asked our Humphreys Group team what their favorite finance-related podcasts were. Here are their answers:

1. HerMoney with Jean Chatzky

2. Ellevate Podcast: Conversations With Women Changing the Face of Business

3. So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

4. Afford Anything

5. BiggerPockets Money

6. This is Uncomfortable

7. Side Hustle Pro

8. Money For the Rest of Us

9. Future Rich

10. Eye On The Market

11. Odd Lots

12. Masters in Business

13. Planet Money

14. Secrets of Wealthy Women

Financial Planning with The Humphreys Group

Let us know if there’s any other podcasts you’d recommend adding to the list! Don’t forget to check out last week’s blog post too, where we shared our favorite investment reads. Want more tips on personal finance? Check out our blog archive; every week, we share personal finance tips, commentary, and resources.

The Investment Reads You Need on Your Bookshelf

Published in: Resources |

With so much time at home during the pandemic, many of us have found ourselves reading voraciously and revisiting some of our favorite books. If you’re looking for some inspirational and educational reads in 2021, here are some of our favorite books on investing and personal finances:

1. The Investment Answer by Daniel C. Goldie and Gordon Murray

2. A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel

3. On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance by Manisha Thakor

4. Worth It: Your Life, Your Money, Your Terms by Amanda Steinberg

 

5. Women’s Worth: Finding Your Financial Confidence by Eleanor Blayney

6. The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated by Helaine Olen and Harold Pollack

7. The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist

8. Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

Financial Planning with The Humphreys Group

Do you have a favorite finance book to add to the list? Let us know! And if you’d like to continue the conversation about your favorite reads, join us at one of our Conversation Circles, where we have authentic conversations about personal finance beyond the numbers.

The Unique Retirement Planning Challenges That Women Face 

Published in: Resources |

Retirement planning can be a uniquely stressful and anxiety-inducing experience for women because of the financial burdens they face later in life.

Women typically live longer than men (about five years on average) and are more likely to live their final years alone. Living longer and living alone often means more health problems — which means more medical bills and potentially the need for long-term care. Women also might not have as much saved for retirement because of systemic and societal issues such as the gender pay gap and career interruptions to be the main caretaker for their children, aging parents, or other loved ones.

This financial anxiety around retirement is felt by women throughout the nation. A survey last year by the National Council on Aging and Ipsos found that fully half (51%) of women age 60 and older are worried about outliving their savings. Almost six in 10 women (59%) said they are worried about losing their independence.

Many couples do not anticipate how financially and emotionally painful these later-in-retirement expenses can be. When women don’t take part in financial planning and then lose a spouse or get a divorce, they often find out that they aren’t as prepared for retirement as they thought, or that their asset allocation is inappropriate for their level of risk tolerance.

That’s why it’s so important to regularly talk about these gender inequalities and possible scenarios with your partner and financial advisor. According to UBS, when couples do share in the financial decisions equally, they argue less about money and feel more confident in their financial future.  

A Changing Tide

Fortunately, surveys show that more married women are interested in taking a bigger role in their families’ long-term financial planning.

In a UBS survey, 64% of married women said they have a greater interest in discussing financial planning with their spouse due to COVID-19. Sixty-three percent said the crisis has affected how they think about money, and 51% said they intend to discuss their inheritance plans with their children because of the virus.

“The consistent message that we need to get across with couples is that long-term financial planning is just not something that can be delegated,” said Liz Sheehan of UBS in the Barron’s article. “You both have to be sitting at the same table for that conversation.” 

Prepare for Retirement with The Humphreys Group 

It’s important for couples to have open conversations about retirement now. A financial advisor can help facilitate these hard conversations and create a strategic comprehensive retirement plan that addresses these issues.

A financial advisor can help you with every facet of retirement planning — from Social Security optimization, addressing debt, planning for end-of-life costs for both partners, and creating a retirement plan that safeguards you from the “survivor trap.” Start planning for retirement today with The Humphreys Group. Contact us today.

Financial Tips for Starting a Family

Published in: Resources |

Starting a family is a momentous and life-changing experience — and it’s also is expensive. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it can cost a middle-class family $233,610 to raise a child until they are ready to leave for college. It’s important for families to financially plan for this big step. Here are some key financial considerations and tips you should keep in mind as a new parent.

1. Several months in advance, do your research and create a new budget.

Starting a new family means dramatically adjusting your cash flow and lifestyle. Calculate items like baby clothes, food, formula, nursery items, and diapers. A significant new cost will be daycare, whether it’s a daycare facility or a nanny. Get estimates from multiple sources so you can plan effectively. Monthly full-time childcare can cost on average $1,000.

Include new medical expenses in your budget. Talk with your health insurance provider to find out how much coverage you have for hospital bills, such as ultrasounds, labor costs, vaccinations, and regular check-ups.

Try to pay off credit card debt before your child arrives. Also, establish an emergency fund. Aim to save at least three to six months of expenses.

2. Think about lifestyle changes.

In the future, you may want to buy a new home for your growing family; when your child is school age, you might want to move so they are in a good school district. Other lifestyle changes include factoring in the costs of activities like piano lessons, soccer team memberships, etc.

3. Determine how you want your child to be covered under a healthcare policy.

Having a baby is considered a “qualifying life event” that allows for a mini open enrollment period so you can make changes to your health coverage. If both parents are working, view each of your employer’s benefits to see which plan is most advantageous for the delivery and ongoing care.

Increase your Health Savings Account (HSA) contributions. HSAs are available to those in high-deductible health plans; it can can be used to pay for a variety of medical expenses. HSAs are different from Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) for medical expenses in that there is no “use it or lose it” provision; there’s no time frame in which you are required to spend the money.

4. Research your employer benefits.

Does your employer offer paid parental leave or a FSA (which allows you to save money for medical expenses pre-tax)? Talk to your company HR department. With a FSA, you can have additional money withheld to cover the cost of daycare expenses. This will make some of the expenses come out pre-tax and lower your taxable income.

If your employer offers a 401(k) retirement account, contribute to it so you can prepare for retirement. Many employers also offer a 401(k) match; find out about the contribution match levels.

5. Plan for your child’s education.

Start setting aside money to cover college costs.  Talk to your financial advisor about tax-advantaged education savings vehicles such as 529 college savings plans.

6. Know of tax breaks.

Know of the tax benefits of having a child. The Child Tax Credit (CTC) provides a $2,000 tax credit per child, subject to an income phase-out starting at $200,000 for individual filers and $400,000 for joint filers. Research the Child & Dependent Care Credit if you are planning on using some form of childcare,. This reduces your tax liability by up to $2,100 if you have two or more dependents and have incurred more than $6,000 of qualified expenses.

7. Review your life insurance needs.

If you pass away, life insurance can bring your family some financial security by replacing the income needed to maintain their lifestyle. It can also help with outstanding debts, mortgages, and your child’s education. Two types of life insurance policies to consider are term and permanent. Talk with a financial professional to find the right life insurance policy for your family. Also consider disability insurance to replace lost income.

8. Have an estate plan in place.

An estate plan will protect your family’s future. Make sure you have the following in place: a will, a durable power of attorney (DPOA), a health care proxy, and a living will. Update beneficiary designations on accounts to include your child.

9. Talk to a financial advisor.

Talk with a financial advisor to protect your finances — now and for in the future.

Financial Planning with The Humphreys Group

Starting a family is one of the biggest and most exciting transitions in life. Reach out to The Humphreys Group today to start financial planning.

Retirement Planning: What Women Should Know about Social Security

Published in: Resources |

It’s no secret that women face greater economic challenges in retirement than men: women live longer, often have lower lifetime earnings, and may reach retirement with smaller pensions and other assetsThis has all been exacerbated by the pandemic recession, which has been so disproportionately damaging to women’s careers that experts are calling it a “shecession.” 

With this gender gap in retirement security, it’s important for women to be financially knowledgeable so they can best prepare themselves for retirement. Below, we share 5 things women should know about Social Security. Also, note that while Social Security is important for a secure retirement, it only replaces about 40 percent of pre-retirement earningsyou will also need to have other income from pensions, savings, and investments. 

1. Nothing prevents you from getting Social Security benefits. You may be eligible for your own benefits if you’ve worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years and have earned a minimum of 40 work credits. Whether you’re married or not and whether your spouse collects Social Security or notyou may be eligible for your own Social Security benefit once you’re 62 years old.

2. There’s no marriage penaltyIf you are married and you and your spouse have worked and earned enough credits on your own, you will each get your own Social Security benefit. A working woman is not limited to onehalf of her spouse’s Social Security.

3. If you qualify for two benefits, you get the one that pays the higher rate — not bothYou are potentially eligible for benefits on both your own and your spouse’s work record, but you only receive the higher rate. If you don’t have your own work record, you are eligible for between one-third and one-half of your spouse’s Social Security benefit. Most working women receive their own Social Security benefit amount because it’s more than one-third to one-half of their spouse’s rate.

4. If you’re divorced and were married at least 10 years, you’re eligible on your ex’s Social Security recordDivorced women who were married at least 10 years are eligible for Social Security based on their ex’s record, if they are unmarried when they become eligible for Social Security.  

5. You’re eligible for a widow’s benefit when your spouse or ex diesAt age 60, a widow is eligible for 71 percent of what the spouse was getting before they died; at full retirement age, the window is eligible for 100 percent. The Social Security Administration pays your own retirement benefit first, then supplements it with the extra benefits you are due as a widow to bring your Social Security benefit amount up to the widow’s rate.  

Retirement Planning with The Humphreys Group 

The Humphreys Group is passionate about helping women harness their innate financial strengths through an honest, empathetic, and smart approach to wealth management. Want to learn more about retirement planning? Reach out to our team today.

Gaining Control of Your Personal Finances in an Uncertain World

Published in: Resources |

Right now during this pandemic, many of us are feeling overwhelmed, stuck, powerless, out of our depth. We’re dealing with unprecedented levels of uncertainty during this COVID-19 crisis, and it can make us feel like we don’t have control over anything — at work, in our relationships, in life in general.

But we can make moves to gain more control in different facets of our lives — including our financial lives.

And one way to gain control of our financial lives is through tracking expenses and budgeting.

Expenses

Why Track Expenses?

The single most important thing you can do to improve your financial health is track your income and expenses. When we track our expenses, we become more aware of where our money goes. Are you underearning or overspending? Some of both? You can see if you’re working toward your goals or against them. Armed with this knowledge, you can make course corrections and feel more in control of your finances.

Tracking and categorizing your expenses can be tedious and daunting, so we encourage you to approach it with the mindset that it’s just data. Clarifying your income and expenses will give you the information you need to evaluate trade-offs, make informed decisions, and feel confident. There’s no secret sauce, but it all adds up to better financial outcomes.

How to Track?

Check your online bank statements — most provide expense summaries or a tracking function. You can also use an expense tracking app like Mint, You Need A Budget, or Tiller or just use paper and pen. The more frequently you check, the easier it is.

Consider dividing your expenses into categories:

  • Foundation Expenses: Expenses you can change eventually (e.g. rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries)
  • Discretionary Expenses: Expenses you can reduce quickly (e.g. concerts, movies, sports, dining out, clothes)
  • Intermittent Expenses: Expenses that don’t happen monthly; add these up and divide by 12 and set this amount aside each month in a separate account (e.g. car payments, home repairs, gifts, vacations)
  • Subsidized Expenses: Expenses that are paid by an outside source (e.g. software, work-from-home supplies, courses)

Set goals for each category so that you can monitor your progress.

Also, establish an emergency fund. We all know how medical bills and car repairs tend to happen when you least expect it. Saving for those expenses before they happen is vital to building your financial security. Borrow from this fund instead of using a credit card. Build this fund to equal more than 3 months of your Foundation Expenses.

Budgeting

Why Budget?

Budgeting allows you to make conscious choices about what is important to you — and then translate what’s important to you into measurable goals. Through budgeting, you can know if you can have it all, and if you can’t, identify trade-offs to make an informed, intentional, and conscious choice. Overall, budgeting lets you be in control of your financial life.

How to Budget?

First, find what budgeting system works best for you — whether it’s pen and paper, online worksheets, Excel, or budgeting apps. Start even if you don’t have all the answers. Schedule a time to revisit your budget and make changes as you learn more. Set short-term goals so you can celebrate your success.

Lastly, know that “done is better than perfect.” It is okay if you don’t have all the answers right away. At first you will be making estimates, but as you become more aware of your spending, you will be able to make adjustments.

Financial Planning with The Humphreys Group

During this COVID-19 crisis, there are still ways we can find control in our lives — whether it’s going for a walk without any distractions or taking a new class. With these tips on how to find control within your personal finances, we hope we’ve helped you find some peace of mind during these challenging times. Reach out to our team if you’d like to further discuss taking control of your finances and creating a financial road map to success.

How Pre-Retirees Can Build a Rewarding Retirement

Published in: Resources |

Our world looks drastically different from the days when our parents were planning for retirement. With longer life expectancies and re-visioning of later life, many people plan to keep working during retirement. In fact, a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study, “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” found that over seven in ten pre-retirees say they want to work in retirement.

We don’t have to follow the outdated views of retirement from popular culture that if we’re rich, “we should spend our days playing golf, cruising and spoiling our grandkids,” or if we have a more modest income, “we should spend our days in front of the TV, knitting scarves and, if we are especially active, gardening.” Today, we have the freedom to create our own rules of retirement. We each get to choose which rules to break, which to adapt, and which to embrace.

The Merrill Lynch study included this diagram to show how retirement has changed:

Source: “Work in Retirement: Myths and Motivations,” A Merrill Lynch Retirement Study conducted in partnership with Age Wave

 

Creating a Fulfilling Retirement On Your Terms

So how can we build a retirement that is best for our specific situation? Here are some tips from our team:

  • For many of us, our busy work lives have simply provided the template for busy retirement lives. The “busy ethic” is alive and well in our culture. Before you fall into a familiar pattern, take a minute to be sure you are considering all possible paths. Ask whether your chosen approach is satisfying your deeper desires before forging ahead.
  • Give yourself a break! Many of us have charged hard through careers and are now (finally) more apt to stop and smell the roses. But that guilt in the back of our minds can be difficult to banish. Simply letting go of social expectations, the “shoulds,” is easier said than done. Why does it have to be a guilty pleasure? Can’t it just be a pleasure? Go easier on yourself during this transition.
  • Gain insight into the specific learning, work, and leisure activities that are especially meaningful to you. Try this exercise: Complete the following sentences quickly, filling in the blanks with the first word or words that come to mind.
    • I have always wanted to learn more about…
    • When I have free time, I most enjoy…
    • What I like most about my current job/activity is…
    • What I like least about my current job/activity is…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the learning experience that was the most meaningful or interesting to me was…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the work (paid or volunteer) experience that was the most meaningful or fulfilling to me was…
    • When I review my own life story or history, the leisure experience that was the most meaningful or enjoyable to me was…
  • Lastly, write down a list of things that get you out of bed every morning.

Retirement Planning with The Humphreys Group

If we could add an item to our clients’ collective wish list it would be this: find a new, better, less stigmatized name for retirement. Though clients have technically reached retirement, they haven’t retired. There is nothing retired about any of them! So, when our work “outside-the-home-for-pay” stops, what do we do? Do we reinvent? Redesign? Retool? Re-envision? Recreate? Reengineer? Rejuvenate? Relax?

Whatever you call it, we’d like to help you craft a fulfilling, engaging, and meaningful retirement. Reach out to The Humphreys Group today for a complimentary introductory call.