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Options for a Fulfilling Retirement

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The transition from a regular job to retirement is usually fraught with numerous queries ranging from “What subjects, hobbies, ideas am I enthusiastic about? What are the areas I must contribute? What should be my legacy?” Planning for retirement can be an occasion to learn of new and original pursuits and passions, and fulfill the things you never had time to do while you were busy on the job. Then again, you might want to get employed at another job either full-time, half-time, as an advisor, or on a volunteer basis. The reason why most people choose to work even during retirement is to maintain their benefits, keep a steady course of income, or because they cannot imagine staying idle! Whether you decide to keep a job or not, you may discover that retirement is a time for deliberating the various options at hand that will bring you satisfaction.

Where do I Draw the Line?

Imagine for a minute that you would like to uphold your current manner of living even in retirement, the foremost thought in your mind is likely, “How much am I going to need?” An answer to that question lies in knowing in advance an estimate of your present annual expenditures. If you would like to know whether your outgoing costs would vary from month to month, or you would be living within a budget or if you would be having a good hold on your daily expenses, making a record of your “Current Annual Expenses” can be a good start to summarize how much you would need to maintain your current lifestyle.

Setting Aside for Sunny and Rainy Days

It is always a good idea to review your savings strategies to help you realize your vision of retirement, and how you would like to live in retirement. When it comes to investing and getting the most out of your funds, time is of the greatest essence and a huge asset in helping money grow. For instance, if you calculate that you will need $600,000 in monetary funds during retirement (to augment the cash flow from your Social Security and work pension), you will need to build on the Current Annual Expenses chart to know how much you would need to save and invest, taking for granted an 8 percent tax-deferred annual rate of return.

Planning Makes All the Difference

Retirement planning is elaborate and may call for a considerable period of time and effort; but all for a good cause. You may want to assess and appraise your requirements, map out a plan, and confer with experts you trust, including your consultant, autonomous accountant and lawyer. They will help you ascertain how much you may want to set aside for your retirement and what steps you would want to take to achieve those goals. You might want to seek financial counselling from the company you work in, to help you understand your retirement funding alternatives.

Taking a practical look towards the future and planning cautiously can help to reach your retirement goals.

Retirement Planning – Preparing for ‘Guaranteed Income in Life’

Monday, October 4th, 2010

In the thick of the stock-market catastrophe in November 2008, Craig Smith, a new retiree at 58, was seized with dread and anxiousness. He wasn’t aware of retirement funds, he was too young to collect Social Security benefits, and he was banking wholly on his savings.

In his mind, he was aware that he couldn’t cash out his stocks because he might live another 30 years or so and would want higher investment returns that would come in from stocks, but emotionally, he was completely scarred.

As retired folks watched their account balances drop sharply, most of them were counseled to cut down their retractions or head back to work to maintain their steady income. The thought of turning into a Wal-Mart welcomer or McDonald’s counter person was certainly not appealing to Craig as he found impossible to sleep at night.

Probabilities are alright — till you become a data point. The recent global recession that gripped the world in fear and horror was so serious and so uncommon (since nearly every asset class, save treasury bonds, endured grievous losses) that it has challenged the accuracy, integrity, and propriety of every conservative strategy.

The biggest source of danger to retirement income lies in removing too much money from a shriveling nest egg, for there may not be adequate left to gain from the unavoidable market backlash. Making the most of all the financial assistance you have at the moment and setting a plan in place that will take care of unforeseen outcomes into consideration is the most crucial and primary step in insuring against them.

Over the next few days we will touch topics such as how to map your time and how you can look out for while looking for a Fulfilling Retirement.

Disabling Long-Term Disability

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

The likelihood of contracting a Long Term Disability always seems bleak. The truth however is quite different. In fact, according to the US Census Bureau, disability is imminent for one in five of us! Disability that could be induced by Cancer, or back, neck, joint & tendon related complications and any such ailment that renders us incapable of holding our jobs for periods ranging from 6 months to 3 years. To go that long without regular income is hard; and to ignore the possibility of disability in the first place; foolhardy.

While we can not always prevent Disability; we can guard against its outcome to a large extent by investment in a good Long Term Disability Insurance program. Experts contend that this is the most important insurance type one can purchase. Depending on the kind of insurance bought, one can be compensated to the tune of 60-70% of one’s salary. This payout can be increased to a healthy 80% if your employer allows you to purchase additional insurance.

There are some basics that one must take into account when deciding a fitting Long Term Disability Insurance. They are:

* Salary is set at the time of Policy Purchase. As your salary increases, increase the value of the plan
* Policy with or without mandatory Physical Examination
* Payout Periods vary. It might be better to opt for late payout (until age 65) as against 5-10 years
* Disability Definition differs between insurers. Take a studied and suitable plan
* Insurance Type varies. ‘Guaranteed Renewable’ ensures that the company can not drop the plan (unless premium payment is defaulted). ‘Non-Cancelable’ type prevents the insurer from raising Premium

These and many more factors need to be specifically scrutinized. Would it suit your needs better to have a ‘residual benefits’ policy (where insurer compensates for incremental difference between old & new remuneration), or buy a ‘cost of living’ policy (where insurer takes inflation into account).

There are many things to consider for a tailor-made insurance plan, best done by engaging a trusted financial advisor (or company). With the perfect Disability Insurance, you have the power to ‘disable’ many of the worst effects of ‘disability’.

The Urging and Surging Need for Group Benefits

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

There are many thing people look for in a job. A great pay package, a feasible location, and so on. Today, some people even ask for group benefits or employee benefits. These are the additional bonuses offered by the company, in addition to the existent salary package.

Some companies today feel that investing in Group Benefits for their employees is crucial. What is so important about Group Benefits? Why are companies world over shifting to models with a focus on employee benefits? Well, the answer is simple. Would you rather work for a company who pays you, and gives you additional perks, or for a company who just pays you!

Both employee as well as employer benefit from these perks. One could say, by providing incentive to the staff, the employer can see better output and performance. On the other hand the employee is availing of facilities like health insurance, dental, etc. which would be likely to boost his morale to work.

You might be contemplating the reasoning behind this – it is very simple. The pay package or the wages you pay your employees are their dues for the effort and work put in by them, over a certain period of time (a day’s wages, a week’s salary, a month’s pay, etc). The gratuity on the other hand is to thank the employee for being a part of that particular institution.

Also, by offering benefits you bring about an atmosphere of “you get what you put in”. This is a way of being grateful for using their talent to the optimum. For every additional qualification and experience the employee has – the employer is likely to add to the benefits, thus ensuring the best possible outcome.

Since, these benefits are employer defined; the employer is more likely to find the perfect fit for the employee he is looking for by offering more lucrative packages, thus taking the first step forward, in a great employee – employer relationship!

Last, but not the least, these benefits create a sense of safety for the workers. If, you know that the company you are working for is for example, covering your Mediclaim to a certain amount, you have on less responsibility to shoulder.