A Brighter Day Is Coming

The pandemic initiated a change in our community that has brought momentous and abrupt disruption to life as we know, or knew, it. I can remember the simple task of driving to one of my favorite restaurants, sitting down and enjoying a great meal. I fondly recall the waitstaff and their smiles while they served me multiple glasses of sweet tea… Oh! I think I was dreaming just now.

Good news for everyone reading this column – life will return to normal soon. But what does “normal” mean? This simple term once understood by all of us will be redefined in the near future. As the government mandates guidelines to safely open our communities, states and nation, there comes to mind the one variable that can’t, or won’t, be controlled by an edict – our citizens. Will we have the confidence to sit in a crowded restaurant or enjoy a theatre without the somber thought of illness lurking in our memory? I say YES!

One of the most important lessons to learn about capitalism is that this form of an economy works when transactions are being negotiated and labor performed. While businesses continue to define their approach to safely returning to their pre-pandemic routines and functions, a product must be created and sold to a buyer that is willing to part with an asset, their hard-earned cash.

I predict, with great confidence, that our country will return to its former greatness as the world’s best economy. The question as to how long this process will take is the difficult one. To make progress in opening our economy you should remember the traits of our grand tradition. Think about the five characteristics of capitalism: 1) economic freedom; 2) voluntary exchange; 3) private property rights; 4) profit motive and 5) competition. 

Economic freedom is the primary driver of entrepreneurism. We have choices in how we wish to live our lives. “The harder I work, the luckier I get” is often quoted as the basis for the American Dream. Each of us can control our destiny but it takes hard work, dedication and a willingness to accept risk. Currently, our economy is suffering due to a lack of activity caused by an invisible creation of risk. However, we will return to a vibrant economy because of the love of freedom by men like Alexander Graham Bell who desired to speak with others across miles of terrain, Thomas Edison whose inquisitive mind desiderated to light the world with the flip of a switch and Benjamin Franklin who curiously sought to understand electricity and its effects on tangible objects. These men were considered pioneers of their day. Laughed at and mocked by the citizenry because of their unique and unorthodox attempts to conquer unknown areas of life only to see themselves ordained as great men of invention when the world gasped at the benefits afforded our civilization by their creations.

The characteristic of our capitalistic economy that has been the basis for commerce, since the days of pharaoh, is profit motive. In marketplaces across the globe, people gathered to exchange goods and services for the sole purpose of creating income and lifestyle for themselves. In the modern era we continue to seek a profit on the goods we create and sell while retaining the control of our own destinies. It is important to note that our economy is based on this premise and this one characteristic will be the hinge in which our country swings forward from this pandemic.

To truly bring our economy back to the state we appreciated before COVID-19, we must embrace competition. In our state, our primary source of revenues was gross production taxes from oil and gas drilling activities. We are a resilient people that have experienced this type of contraction in our state economy many times before. To revitalize our economy, we must initiate action and take ourselves to the marketplace. I am not telling you to spend your money, I am asking you to invest in the future of our state. Not only do we require investment from private individuals to resuscitate our economy, we must establish an efficient transaction base for the free exchange of ideas and goods. Today is the day to bring a concerted effort of our citizens to the capitalistic economy. To do so in a safe, yet productive, manner would be a catalyst to bringing back the days we so flippantly took for granted prior to the pandemic. Just look overhead, the sun is rising on a new day in the land of paradise that I affectionately refer to as the “Greatest State in the Union”, my home, Oklahoma!

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The Millennial Perspective: Handling the Weight of Stress

Stress. What does this word mean to a millennial? A lot of the time it could be the large sum of student loan debt hanging over our head, saving for our future, finishing a degree, the list goes on. What it really feels like to most of us is a weight on our shoulders that can be hard to shake off. So, how do we handle this weight when it becomes too heavy to bear? As it turns out, there are many ways the millennial generation copes with stress and anxiety.

I, personally, have my own methods of coping with high amounts of stress and anxiety which usually involve eating a lot of snacks, but I wanted to hear the input of my fellow millennials. Since this could be a more sensitive subject, for those who struggle with depression and anxiety, I asked some of my close friends for their input. Many of them claimed playing video games and binge-watching shows, or movies, were a good way to wind down from stress. However, in those higher stress moments where the world feels like it is closing in on them, many turn to proven strategies to help center their mind. In light of recent events caused by COVID-19, finding peace in a disrupted world has been something a lot of us have had to work on. This could be focusing on that single task to distract the mind, such as cleaning, shopping or reading. Many said they make lists of the things they can control to help them get a better handle on what is going on around them. Others seek help from a therapist to talk through their stress. Some said they just cry it out rather than letting their stress build up inside to a point beyond control. Meditation was another tool many used to help ease their mind of stress and anxiety or read something that is similar to a mantra. The last two strategies are interesting and something that I think may be worth trying. Centering your mind to gain perspective is a highly successful strategy for some individuals.

Because of findings, I pursued a lengthy discussion on meditation with a friend. She mentioned that she uses an app called, “Calm”. This app provides guided meditations as well as tips and tricks about how to incorporate meditation into your daily routine. There are similar apps out there as well. Taking time to meditate, in some capacity, on a daily basis can help start and end the day on a positive note. Meditation can also make you more aware that although anxiety and stress are present, our reactions to it may be controllable. People experience a variety of reactions to stress. To put it simply, some people react to situations better than others by approaching stressful situations and anxiety with a different mentality.

There is a concept called “spheres of influence” that is present in some stress-management methods. To briefly describe this concept, there are things you have absolute control over which is called, “The Self”. Things you have limited control over called “Influence”. Lastly, the things you have no control over are grouped as “Everything Else”. 

To place this concept in perspective during the COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following:

  • Self: We as individuals have control over what we do during the pandemic. We can decide to go to the store, or do delivery or pick-up, decide to go to restaurants, decide to exercise, etc. Factors that we can control, we should. We can decrease our stress levels by ensuring we are utilizing good behaviors to keep us as safe as possible. 
  • Influence: The next sphere contains life areas over which we have some or limited control. This may include family members’ decisions during the pandemic. Yes, you can give advice but you cannot decide for them what they can do. Therefore, it is not helpful to devote time to these activities that cause you stress.
  • Everything Else: The final area. This includes the governmental decisions affecting health, safety and the economy. We have very little direct control over these areas on a global basis. It is best not to fixate on these areas of life because it lowers our feeling of comfort and increases our stress level. Focus on what you can affect, not what you can’t.

No matter the method of controlling your stress levels, whether millennial or older, it is important to keep the majority of your focus on yourself and those things you can control. Expend very little, if any, energy on the things you cannot. 

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Relief is on the Way!

These are truly unprecedented times for us as Americans! As businesses deal with the disruption, the U.S. Treasury has designed a few programs to help our citizens with relief. This article will be part one of a two-part series on the various methods and programs for individuals and businesses to seek relief. We will focus on individual relief provisions in this first article.

No doubt that you have heard many acronyms and strange titles assigned to laws passed by Congress but this one may be the most unique. CARES Act is the short name for the Caronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Whew! That is a mouthful. The primary purpose of this bill is to enhance our economy by infusing capital into the hands of citizens and businesses to continue to weather this difficulty. President Trump signed the bill into law on March 27, 2020.

Many of you will be receiving a stimulus check in the amount of $1,200 for each individual and $500 for each child under the age of 17. To receive these funds, you must have filed a tax return for 2018. If you haven’t filed a return for 2018, it is highly recommended that you do so promptly to qualify for this nontaxable benefit payment. For those who filed their 2019 returns before the pandemic worsened in the United States, your 2019 return will be utilized for purposes of qualifying for the stimulus benefit payment.

To qualify for the $1,200 payment, a phase-out, or disqualifying level of income is between $75,000 to $99,000 as an individual or $150,000 to $198,000 as a joint filer. If you did not file a return for 2018 because your income was lower than the filing requirement and you are a Social Security Benefits beneficiary, you will not need to file any returns and the information from SSA will be used to determine your benefit payment qualifications. Many questions exist about the qualifications of the recipients’ income in 2020, which is the year the stimulus payment is received. As an experienced CPA with a Masters in Tax, I expect those individuals that received the stimulus payment based on income reported in 2018, in other words have not filed their 2019 returns, and exceed the income limits for 2020, will not be required to repay the compulsory stimulus payments. We will continue to monitor IRS guidance on this issue.

Typically, a taxpayer would be required to report distributions from an employer retirement plan when received with the resulting tax and premature distribution penalty, if applicable, assessed on their income tax returns. However, for those individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, who receive a distribution from their 401(k)-plan account, the 10% penalty is waived on early withdrawals up to $100,000. The withdrawal will be taxable but the tax associated with the withdrawal will be spread over a three-year period. 

If you own an IRA and were subject to required minimum distributions, you may elect forgo your distribution for 2020 and not be subject to a penalty. This waiver applies even if you were not impacted by the pandemic. This is an excellent planning point and may save retirees unnecessary income taxes at a time our economy is in recovery.

Charities have been stricken particularly hard during this economic halt experienced in our country. To address the issue of revenue loss for these types of organizations, Congress included a provision in the bill that allows individuals to deduct “above-the-line” contribution of a total $300 or less made to qualified charities. To determine the qualified status of a charity, you may find the list of approved charities at the IRS website (irs.gov).

For those individuals who claim itemized deductions on their returns, the limitations for qualified charitable contributions has been increased to allow unlimited deductions in individuals. Another income tax planning point would be to consider charitable contributions more earnestly in 2020 than prior years. You may experience considerable tax savings!

It is critical that you be proactive in the process for applying for additional aid, if needed. This is the time to reach out to your neighbors and check on the welfare of the more senior members of our community. Many families may weather the financial storm but the emotional toll of self-isolation and social distancing may be far worse. Send a note to a friend, place a call to a neighbor for no other reason than sharing a discussion about something positive. This is what makes our nation so exceptional – caring for those who may be suffering worse than you.

Be safe and stay well. We will get through this challenge and become a better community in the process. 

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Perspective is the Key

These truly are challenging times for everyone! One of the most important actions you can take as you consider the current impact on your life is to remain calm. Sure. You have heard everyone tell you to be calm but it is one of the most important foundations of thinking clearly about situations in which you have not control to change.

On February 19, 2020, our economy began a slow down that quickly picked up speed causing a (18.21%) return year-to-date through March 26, 2020. To many of us this precipitous drop in the broad index was felt like an earthquake to our retirement accounts! This is where investors, particular those retiring in the next two years, must find a place of perspective. 

Lets painfully look back to the market turbulence of the last major correction and reflect on the perspective gained from that period compared to today. In 2008, the S&P 500 fell (37.00%) within a period of ten weeks. Comparing the two periods of negative returns in the index gives us a moment of relief. 

When advising our clients to take certain actions to protect their retirement assets, we believe simple steps can be implemented that will yield significant results. The first step is your mindset about investing. Many investors believed the long bull run markets could provide significant returns on their investments but got caught with too much exposure in their portfolios. You should act on those activities you can control – diversification, quality of the investments, timing for retirement election and establishing a level of risk that allows you to sleep at night. 

One of the most important steps of our proprietary process for guiding clients through retirement is to assess their true feelings about risk. The second step is to determine what their ultimate objectives for their investments will be. With these two factors we can develop a portfolio of long-term perspective that considers market contractions and expansions without compromising the investor’s time of retirement.

I have visited with individuals who were surprised by the recent market contraction and will now postpone their retirement plans. This is not the way they wanted to start their next phase of life. Take steps today to seek out the opinion of a specialist in retirement planning to give you confidence that your plan can weather any financial storm you may face. Perspective is the key to success! Are you sleeping well? 

Here is the secret formula to sleeping well tonight: This too will pass. If you are age 50 and above, this is not your first experience with market contractions. Through some miracle, you have survived many market contractions dating back to the 70’s and 80’s. The difference among these markets is that you most likely have more invested at this stage of life than you did in your teens and twenties. More at risk, the more you are concerned about risk. Tomorrow is a new day. Live your life abundantly for today.

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Fear Is Not An Investing Strategy!

In recent days, the airwaves have been inundated with all things COVID-19! At the time of writing this article, the infectious disease had not been reported as a pandemic but may be on its way. It is often the mistake of many individual investors to attempt to know the movements of the stock market. When a disruptive force gives the markets an opportunity to correct, investors not only help the market correct but substantially contribute to the degree of correction. One method of assistance is the overwhelming and uncanny ability humans possess for allowing fear to grip their lives so dramatically that bad decisions are turned into horrific decisions.

At the turn of the new year, the coronavirus began its assault on the people of China. We can debate whether the communication and unified efforts of the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China and the World Health Organization (WHO) may have stifled the transmission of the disease. The fact is that this strain of coronavirus has spread rather quickly from one hemisphere to the next arriving in our nation on the west coast.

What does this information have to do with investing, you ask? Fundamentally, the same companies that achieved record profits in 2019 are the same ones that investor are now selling because of potential supply line delays or collapse. China provides a significant amount of goods to the Unites States. However, the companies that purchase their primary inventories from China for further manufacturing their products in the U.S. continue to hold substantial cash positions on their balance sheets, enjoy full employment of their workforce and, as mentioned earlier, know how to make a profit.

So, what is all of the concern about COVID-19? First, the ability to cope with unknown environmental infirmity by individual investors is almost nonexistent. Two emotions drive most of the market purchases and sells – fear and greed. One of the most often quoted statements of wisdom about these emotions was coined by one of the greatest investors of our lifetime, Warren Buffett. He said, “It is wise to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” The markets’ precipitous drop, as reported by the S&P500 and DJIA, for the period of February 19 through 28 can only be explained with fear. Stocks that were successful and reported good growth in 2019 were now being liquidated so quickly the indices reported an 11% drop meeting the definition of a correction.

Understanding that people are concerned about their overall investment portfolios, I recommend they revisit their purposes for accumulating the investments. If you have a change in your long-term need, your physical well-being has improved or declined dramatically, your family has received an unexpected windfall of assets – these are valid reasons to rebalance your portfolio to reduce risk or increase opportunity. To attempt to time the market by simply selling out after the decline of the market only converts your unrealized loss to a realized one. In country terms of my father’s remarking, “that is about as wise as shutting the barn door after the horse has left the barn.”

The better approach to protecting your family’s long-term investment savings is to make decisions out of unbiased research and analysis. Study the fundamentals of the markets and set a level of expected risk that will trigger the time of rebalancing instead of allowing fear to drive your decisions and possibly cost your family the security you desired in the first place. 

If you feel that you can’t make the decisions necessary to stay the course of your original investment approach, seek out a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and ask for a complimentary consultation and stress-test of your portfolio. You may sleep better at night.

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Relocation Considerations for Retirement

One of the most difficult decisions in retirement planning is to relocate. If you reside in a state that has a high income tax rate, sales tax rate and/or ad valorem tax, it may be something to consider. During the retirement phase of life, your savings must last beyond your lifetime. To ignore the cost of living could be the difference between truly enjoying a lifetime of income and experiencing worry at a time in life that you shouldn’t.

A recent study of individual taxation by state yielded some not-so-surprising news. California, Hawaii, New York, Connecticut and Illinois are the highest taxing authorities on individuals. These states are currently seeing an exodus of its citizens to lower cost of living states. To eliminate 15% of your tax liability by simply relocating to Texas or Florida, states without individual income tax assessments, may provide the additional savings needed for your savings to last to lifetime.

Another area of consideration is property tax. If a state does not assess an income tax on individuals, it will, in most cases, utilize an ad valorem, or property tax, to generate revenue needed to fund the state’s functions. For example, some people consider moving to Texas due to its absence of individual income tax assessments. However, in most of the counties contiguous to the Dallas metroplex, the rate of assessment for property taxes creates more of a tax burden than one would pay by remaining in Oklahoma.

Personal property tax is another consideration when relocating in your retirement years. States have begun to assess sales tax on automobile purchases versus the excise tax previously charged for such transactions. It may take some of the joy out of your new purchase when you realize the bill from the state could be as much as $5,000! 

Lastly, two of the necessities of life are utilities and food. When considering relocating, the cost of meals and household utilities should be considered. In extreme temperature climates such as experienced in Alaska, the cost of food and utilities, compared to Oklahoma, are very expensive. Due to the lack of fruit, vegetable and dairy production facilities and farms, these important staples of life must be flown into the location. The costs of delivery cause extremely high retail costs for consumers. 

Although Hawaii may be the land of paradise many of us enjoy on vacation, the cost of living on the islands is very high compared to other states. Recently, we enjoyed a stay on Oahu and the cost of a gallon of milk was $7.99! If you are raising kids in your family, it may be cheaper to buy a cow. 

It is important to consider many aspects when thinking of relocating during retirement. Cash flow is the ultimate factor coupled with your ecological requirements. One of the lowest costs of living states is Tennessee but you may wish to see the beautiful ocean shore each day. Trade-offs are a part of our lives. Rate the most important factors for you before undertaking a move to another state.

If you have questions as to how you can create a lifetime income plan, contact a Certified Financial PlannerTM practitioner to assist in the analysis so that you can make the best decision for your family’s needs. 

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Maximizing Support Benefits for Families

Many families lack the capabilities to replace the income for their household when they lose a spouse. Depending upon the circumstances, there are many options to prepare for and replace the income from your spouse. 

First, life insurance is a means of replacing income by receiving, mostly if not all, tax-free income from an insurance company by claiming benefits against a policy owned by you or your significant other. To claim the benefits, simply complete a claim form, submit a copy of the death certificate and a copy of your identification. You are not required to be married to be the beneficiary of a spousal life insurance policy. One of our clients divorced after purchasing a life insurance policy. He never changed the beneficiary designation of the policy that originally stated that his wife would receive $500,000 of death benefit proceeds upon his passing. However, our client remarried and, by failing to change his beneficiary designation form, his former spouse received the life insurance benefit! 

Obviously, this could cause some difficulties for the current spouse who may have an outstanding mortgage and other living expenses to pay. The prior spouse is under no obligation to share the proceeds of the life insurance policy with the current spouse and the courts will typically not overrule a beneficiary designation form that has been properly completed by the decedent.

Absent life insurance, your family may be entitled to SSA benefits. If your family consists of children less than 18 years of age on the date of death of your spouse, you may file for survivor’s benefits. The benefit amount depends on the number of years worked by the deceased spouse. As a surviving widow/widower, you may qualify for benefits at age 60 (age 50 if you are disabled). If you care for unmarried children under the age of 16, you may qualify for benefits at any age.

The surviving children of the deceased spouse may qualify for SSA benefits, based on the deceased parent’s earnings base, if the child is younger than 18 years of age or disabled. Some specific requirements must be met to qualify. 

Your children may also qualify for SoonerCare (Medicaid for Oklahoma) to provide dental and heath care. This program will cover the child until he reaches age 19. Oklahoma citizens such as pregnant women and individuals 65 and older also qualify for SoonerCare benefits.

The greatest assets you own are your health and the health of your children. These programs don’t replace the value of a lost loved one but provide the minimal care necessary to give a family hope for the future. If your family has suffered loss, it is important to seek out the assistance of a certified financial planner practitioner that will help you care for your family currently and plan for the future.

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Disruption: Is It The New Way of Life?

In the past 50 years, our world has seen exponential change that affects all aspects of life. We now have more than 4 billion people using the internet for some purpose – work, purchasing, medical, research, etc. Have you found a pay phone in your community? Whereas, these devices were found on each corner, now cannot be found within most cities!

Some areas of life have benefited from disruption: orthopedic and other complicated surgeries are now performed with robotics, ordering food on an app on your smartphone that delivers to your location within minutes or safety in our vehicles is so advanced that emergency services are automatically called if in an accident. These benefits are simply the ideas of ten years ago. If that is truly the case, what does it look like 10 years from now?

Stress is created on individuals when their environment changes and the individuals seem to be simply blown about by the winds of change. To combat this feeling, we work with our clients to find a benchmark in their lives that is stable and within their control. For example, we create a Family Index for them to clearly and simply see their progress achieved in their investment portfolios. 

These three steps will help you mitigate stress from change.

  1. Acknowledge that certain activities in life are beyond your control. As an individual, you do possess a certain amount of control in your world. You should develop and maintain your residence in a manner that is relaxing, soothing and calm. If you wish to reduce stress in the home, turn off the TV! You have no control of the actions of politicians or can you impact the next international war that is brewing somewhere on the globe.
  2. Create and follow routines in life that require less decision-making energy. Personally, I have written, and follow, a morning routine and evening routine that helps me stay focused and keep my world intact. This sounds a little different, right? Think about the confidence level you would generate if you could control your environment and start you day with such positive thoughts!
  3. Adopt a mindset that limits the amount of change allowed in your life. You do not have to own the “latest and greatest” of gadgets: phones, television, automobiles, kitchen appliances, etc. The great news today is that you can adapt to change at your pace. You are in control of you!

In our profession, we are blessed with the most cutting-edge technologies to help us serve our clients’ needs and communicate with them in a more efficient manner. The goals and desires of retirees have become more complex and our role is to reduce the complexity to a simple, implementable process to bring confidence, not stress, to our clients. Markets change, health changes and other areas of life will not impact your mental state if you implement the above three strategies. 

Do you feel more stress today than 10 years ago? If so, seek out someone that can provide far more than simply investment advice. You are far more than money. If you are concerned about the world changing around you, do me a favor this week. Turn off the TV, read a great book and look in the mirror. You are in charge of your world!

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Proper Planning For Your Estate is Critical

“Should I have a trust? A will? Which is better for my heirs?” These are the types of questions many of our clients pose when we are planning for their estates. The short answers to these valid questions are: Maybe, maybe and depends.

Now that I have clearly confused you, this article will provide you a simple strategy for determining the most important documents to meet your estate planning needs. First, determine what you wish to happen with your estate after your death. Notice I stated the phrase “after your death” in the preceding sentence. The reason for this qualification is that we perform two type of estate planning for our clients: Inter Vivos Planning and Post-Mortem Planning. 

During the phase of Inter Vivos Planning, we utilize tax-free gifting and charitable donations to accomplish a reduction of the estate or meet some other objectives. Inter Vivos is a Latin word that means “between two living persons”. Many people have heard of a Living Trust or Inter Vivos Trust. These documents are established while the trustor, the person establishing the trust, is living. If a trust is developed and funded after the individual dies, it is referred to as a Testamentary Trust. Don’t allow the terminology to confuse you. Either way these trusts function in the same manner – distributing your assets to a beneficiary of your choosing.

Post-Morten Planning requires additional thought and serves as strategy to reduce the estate from taxes or to direct trust distributions to other than those individuals listed by the decedent. For example, we utilize disclaimers to avoid estate assets from being received by named beneficiaries, if the person does not wish to receive the asset. Some instances may occur where the decedent, the person that died, failed to update their documents prior to death and their family dynamic may have changed. 

Trusts also serve another purpose for families – privacy. If someone dies with a Last Will & Testament, the document must be subjected to the district court’s jurisdiction to provide the recipients marketable title to property, release of any liens from taxes and all potential heirs have been given notice of the right to protest the estate administration. By utilizing a trust, the decedent does not require, in most cases, the decision of the court to disburse the estate assets and the document maintains its private nature with only the filing of a Memorandum of Trust if real estate is owned by the decedent. 

We have experienced many different scenarios for families during our 30 years as a financial planner. Do not assume there is a “cookie cutter” approach. This is an area of law that can be very complicated and requires significant time to cure problems if the trust is not funded properly, titles do not reflect the correct ownership or the trust is defective in language.

Your lifetime of assets should be transferred to your intended heirs or charities in a manner that is cost-effective, tax-efficient and private. We provide proactive planning for our clients with estate concerns and work with estate attorneys to guide you through the process efficiently. Have you reviewed your documents lately? If you want peace of mind, spend a few minutes each year to confirm your documents are current. Seek out a CPA and Certified Financial PlannerTM practitioner to assure your family that necessary steps are taken to protect your family’s legacy.

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The Power of Habits

Habits are much easier to form than to change. Good or bad, habits are formed by all of us, sometimes subconsciously. For example, which leg do you place in your trousers each morning while dressing for the day? Do you even think about the process of dressing or is it simply a routine that you follow because you have performed the same process for many years?

What do habits have to do with your finances? Everything! Many of the habits involving finances are passed down from generation to generation. Did you know that by simply saving $200 per month and investing it prudently for a period of 25 years, one could amass one million dollars? My personal habit of saving started when I was a young child. Granted, money was a little more difficult to accumulate in the 60’s and 70’s but I digress.

Analyze your living expenses and keep in mind the following phrase: “If your lifestyle exceeds your income, your outlook will be bleak.” One habit that should be learned by everyone is the habit of saving. For example, lets assume both spouses are working and the family has excessive (or discretionary) cash flow each month. Why not assign that excess to a savings plan for future needs? We inform many of our clients that their income needs in retirement will be approximately 80% – 90% of the pre-retirement income. Many are shocked with this statement! Think about what is happening during the retirement phase of life. Are you simply going to stop driving your car, eating regularly, utilizing electricity and other utilities in your home? Of course not.

Another habit we hope you will consider is the habit of exercise. By “investing” in your physical fitness, you will reap generous benefits later in life. Mobility and wellness are easily maintained in our 70’s and 80’s rather than being developed in the same time period. Start now to develop the habit of quitting, yes, quitting. Quit drinking sugar-loaded drinks and consume water instead. Limit your caffeine intake each day. Stop eating processed foods and refined sugar. If you find your willpower lacking, seek out an accountability partner. These simple steps will start you on a path of fitness that will create adventures unsurpassed in your retirement years. 

By combining your new habits of saving for the future and maintaining your physical fitness, you have conquered a tremendous number of these hardships experienced by most retirees. Don’t fear being in the minority of retirees who maintain their mobility, mental health and financial security. We believe life is far more than money. Actually, to us, true wealth is all those things that money can’t buy and death can’t take away. If you seek to reach your potential in life, seek out a specialist that works with retirees and understands the challenges faced by this amazing group of citizens.

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