Last week was the first anniversary of Family Retirement, LLC. Most people can say their first year in business is the hardest. If you know me from before, then you know that my first year was pretty rocky. After an unsuccessful business buyout, I was advised by my attorney to limit my marketing. This limited my ability to reach many former clients I had helped for years. As I was building my business I met with many marketing companies to help build business leads. I got help with marketing and social media strategies (which helped build this blog). But a surprisingly good number of them all told me that I should do what everyone else in the industry did -- Dinner Seminars. If you are not familiar with Dinner Seminars you might be too young but don’t worry once you reach a certain age you will receive a mailer to invite you to dinner at a very nice restaurant. Then all you do is eat nice food and listen to a presentation about annuities--the elephant in the room.
I held 4 dinner seminars and invited many of my clients to see how they felt about it. The comments I got back were disturbing: “What kind of sad dinner parties does she throw? My advisor had one on a boat.” Or: “That’s it? Does she give you any other kind of free stuff?”
I realized that these are not the people I want to serve.
My choice in building this business was based on the fact that people need help in all aspects of their finances -- not just those who have the money set for retirement. When I take a look around and see the people who are in my industry I definitely do not fit in. I want to make real changes in the industry by mentoring my clients. I think this can only be done if I start changing the language I use about my profession: I am a Lifestyle Advisor.
I am not only someone who will get you on track with your investments and help you understand the tax consequences of your retirement income stream. I am here to help you create your financial roadmap and advise on changes that happen through your and your family’s life as you continue to grow.
A Lifestyle Advisor will understand that it's not only about investable assets, but other assets that combine into your net worth. As a Lifestyle Advisor, I have broken down my work into two programs: Roadmap to Retirement and Financial Detox.
Financial Detox is for people who need help budgeting, paying off debt, a basic understanding of personal finances and wealth accumulation.
Roadmap to Retirement is for people who are 10 years away from retirement and need to start forming a plan for income streams, tax efficiency, have or want rental properties and want to be set up for success.
Here (link) you can sign up for monthly emails on financial topics to keep you on top of your financial future. The best thing you can do is schedule a phone appointment with me and see what steps we can take together. There is no charge for this meeting, if you decide to move forward with one of my services it’s 1.25% for me to manage your money, $250 per hour for projects, or NO CHARGE to you for insurance products (the insurance company will pay me to work with you). Just like you would go to a store you’d want to know the price of what you might be paying. If I am not in the budget talk to me and let’s see how we can figure it out.
Check my content out on Facebook @familyRetire or Instagram @familyretire
1. The Social Security COLA (cost of living adjustment) in 2019 will be 2.8%.
This is the largest COLA increase from the Social Security Administration since 2012.1
2. Social Security benefits are often taxed.
If you work and are at full retirement age or older, you can earn as much as you want and your benefits will not be reduced; however, you may have to pay taxes on them. If your annual combined income is from $32-$44,000 filing jointly, you may have to pay taxes on 50% of your benefits. If your income is more than $44,000 filing jointly, then you may have to pay taxes on up to 85% of your benefits.2
Social Security calculates "combined income" by adding one-half of your Social Security benefits to your other income.2
3. RMDs can have a profound effect on taxes.
Many people forget that RMDs (Required Minimum Distributions) begin at age 70½. You are required by the IRS to start withdrawing money annually from your 401(k)s, traditional IRAs and other tax-deferred accounts using a precise formula, and you must do so by December 31st of each year or owe the income tax plus a 50% penalty.
Since you’ve never paid taxes on this money, you will owe income tax on your withdrawals based on your tax bracket for the year, and the income from your withdrawals are added in to the combined income amount that Social Security calculates. Some Baby Boomers are shocked at the amount of income tax they will actually owe, and come to the realization that their nest egg is actually much less than they thought.
RMDs, tax planning and income planning are the major reasons having a retirement plan in place is so important.
4. Medicare isn’t free.
Not only is Medicare not free, but the premiums are usually deducted from your Social Security check.
Medicare health and drug plan providers often make changes to their policies each year, including changes to costs, coverage, deductible and coinsurance amounts, and what pharmacies and providers are in their network, so it pays to do your homework every year. Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15 through December 7, and this is your opportunity to make new choices and pick plans that work best for you; changes made are effective as of January 1, 2019.
During Medicare Open Enrollment you can sign up for a Medicare Prescription Drug (Part D) Plan, switch plans, drop your Part D coverage altogether, switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan or select a Medicare Advantage plan from another provider.
You should review drug costs because the prices of some brand-name drugs could be lower next year. As part of the recent tax plan changes, some drug manufacturers will pay more of the costs for enrollees in the drug coverage gap (also known as the “donut hole”) starting in 2019.3
5. Everyone should have an estate plan
Estate plans are for the people you leave behind when you pass away. Here are some things you should be aware of:
For more information about these issues as well as many other retirement issues, book your appointment from the Home screen or below
1 “Social Security Benefit to Increase 2.8 Percent in 2019,” AARP.org. https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/info-2018/new-cola-benefit-2019.html (accessed October 16, 2018).
2 “Benefits Planner | Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefit,” SSA.gov. https://www.ssa.gov/planners/taxes.html (accessed October 16, 2018).
3 “Medicare ‘Doughnut Hole’ Will Close in 2019,” AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-2018/part-d-donut-hole-closes-fd.html (accessed October 9, 2018).
4 “How the new tax law upends estate planning,” Financial-planning.com https://www.financial-planning.com/news/how-the-new-tax-law-changes-estate-planning-trusts-income-tax-planning (accessed October 17, 2018).
Every other year my husbands family has a reunion tradition it’s call STI or “Spending The Inheritance”. Grandpa passed away shortly after he retired and grandma started a tradition to get the family to see each other more often. During this year’s trip to Kauai grandma had a fall just before bed. We call the emergency services to see if she needed to be taken to the hospital, but it seemed that there would be little they could do. Since this was not her first fall it triggered the conversation about using her long-term care. I offered to look at her policy and get what might be the pitfalls. I didn’t get a chance to look at her policy because Thanksgiving she had a stroke and passed away shortly after. She never got to use the policy. Before purchasing a standalone policy these are the five things you should know.
1. There are different types of facilities providing increasing levels of care.1
If you hear the words “long-term care” and automatically think “nursing home,” you should know that long-term care encompasses a wide range of options and a progression of choices. The most self-sufficient seniors might live in independent retirement living facilities, while assisted living often adds medication management, daily personal care, meals and housekeeping.
Continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) offer a tiered approach so that seniors can transition on site as they require more services. Adult foster care is available in private homes run by trained caregivers—there are even special homes designated for military veterans with chronic medical conditions overseen by the Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Of course, nursing homes are also part of the spectrum, offering 24-hour supervision, nursing care, help with daily living activities and three meals per day. Secured memory care units, which are more expensive, are often located within nursing homes to provide a safe but more homey environment for people suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Skilled nursing facilities (SNF) are not identical to nursing homes—they often staff doctors and nurses around the clock and offer physical rehabilitation services. People in these facilities may be bedridden, need two people move them, and require dialysis or other intensive treatments.
2. Statistics vary on how many people will need long-term care.
With 10,000 people turning 65 every single day in America until around year 20302, there are varying statistics regarding the need for long-term care—some as high as 75%.3 In late August, Morningstar put together their 2018 updated statistics, placing the percentage of people 65 or older who will need long-term care at 52%, the majority female.4
3. Alzheimer’s dementia is on the rise due to longevity.5
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Someone in the United States develops Alzheimer's dementia every 66 seconds.” An estimated 5.5 million Americans—one in 10 people age 65 and older (10%)—are living with Alzheimer's dementia, almost two-thirds of them women.
In addition to gender, race evidently also plays a role in the risk of developing the disease. Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementia as whites, while African Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementia as whites.
4. Long-term care costs are high, and rising.
According to Genworth’s 15th Annual Cost of Care Survey, the “blended annual median cost of long-term care support services has increased an average of 3% from 2017 to 2018, with some care categories exceeding two to three times the 2.1% U.S. inflation rate.” 7
Annual National Median Costs 2018 8
Homemaker Services: $48,048
Home Health Aide: $50,336
Adult Day Health Care: $18,720
Assisted Living Facility: $48,000
Semi-Private Room in a Nursing Home: $89,297
Private Room in a Nursing Home: $100,375
Most expensive states in order are Alaska, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, Delaware, Maine, Washington, Minnesota, Oregon and California. 7
5. Hybrid policies are now more popular than standalone LTC policies.9
When it comes to helping people solve the problem of potentially needing long-term care, hybrid whole life, hybrid indexed universal life (IUL) and hybrid annuities have been more popular than traditional long-term care policies, and they are becoming more popular every year.
The reasons for the rise in popularity have to do with a combination of factors, including the rising cost of standalone LTC policies as well as the attractive features of some new hybrid annuities and life policies. The elimination of the “use it or lose it” nature of typical long-term care insurance policies, in some cases providing a death benefit if the policyholder does not need long-term care during their lifetime, is often cited as the most attractive feature of hybrid policies.
If you would like more information about how to make sure you are covered for long-term care if you need it, please call/text (425) 610-9226.
1 “What's the Difference Between Types of Long-Term Care Facilities?” USNews.com. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/aging-well/articles/2018-10-30/whats-the-difference-between-types-of-long-term-care-facilities (accessed November 5, 2018).
2 “Baby Boomers Retire,” Pewresearch.org. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2010/12/29/baby-boomers-retire/ (accessed November 5, 2018).
3 “Long Term Care Statistics,” LTCtree.com. https://www.ltctree.com/long-term-care-statistics/ (accessed November 5, 2018).
4 “75 Must-Know Statistics About Long-Term Care: 2018 Edition,” Morningstar.com. https://www.morningstar.com/articles/879494/75-mustknow-statistics-about-longterm-care-2018-ed.html (accessed November 5, 2018)
5 “Alzheimer’s Is Accelerating Across the U.S.,” AARP.org https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2017/alzheimers-rates-rise-fd.html (accessed November 5, 2018)
7 “Top 15 Most Expensive States for Long-Term Care: 2018,” Thinkadvisor.com. https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2018/10/24/top-15-most-expensive-states-for-long-term-care-20/ (accessed November 5, 2018).
8 “Cost of Care Survey 2018,” Genworth.com https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html (accessed November 5, 2018).
9 “Why hybrid policies are so popular,” Thinkadvisor.com. https://www.thinkadvisor.com/2018/03/28/why-are-the-new-hybrid-ltc-policies-so-popular/ (accessed November 5, 2018).
“How clients can use annuities to pay for long-term care,” Financial-planning.com. https://www.financial-planning.com/news/as-ltc-insurance-prices-rise-long-term-care-annuities-gain-popularity (accessed November 5, 2018).
“Could Your Long-Term Care Premiums Be Hiding in Plain Sight?” Morningstar.com. https://www.morningstar.com/articles/879259/could-your-longterm-care-premiums-be-hiding-in-pla.html (accessed November 5, 2018).
“Hybrid policies for long-term care,” Chicagotribune.com. https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/sns-201806261243--tms--savingsgctnzy-a20180626-20180626-story.html (accessed November 5, 2018).
“Hybrid Policies Allow You to Have Your Long-Term Care Insurance Cake and Eat It, Too,” Elderlawanswers.com. https://www.elderlawanswers.com/hybrid-policies-allow-you-to-have-your-long-term-care-insurance-cake-and-eat-it-too-15541 (accessed November 5, 2018).
‘Leakage’ can erode assets and negatively impact your retirement wealth
If you find it difficult to save or pay for big financial emergencies when they arise, tapping into a pot of money can be tempting – even if it’s your 401(k)-style employer-sponsored plan.
But if you’re able to resist, rewards do come from the power of compounding. The problem, though, is that a small percentage of Americans take early withdrawals and withdrawals after age 59½ from their 401(k)s each year or cash out of their plan when they switch jobs.
A large percentage – typically about 20% of plan participants – have loans outstanding. They’ve used loans from their 401(k) to, among other things, pay down high interest credit card debt, make home improvements, buy a home or refinance a mortgage, or pay outstanding bills. Some don’t repay the outstanding loans they’ve taken, however.
This “leakage” – as the industry refers to it – has financial consequences. For example, the remaining balance of policy loans that aren’t repaid because of a job loss or default may be treated as a lump sum distribution and subject to income taxes and the 10% penalty tax. Moreover, a lower account balance due to leakage means less money in retirement.
An analysis by Alicia H. Munnell and Anthony Webb at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research compared some scenarios. They found that the 401(k) wealth of a 60-year-old plan participant who began contributing at age 30 could be reduced by about 25% because of leakage compared to a participant who didn’t withdraw, cash out or fail to repay loans. The reduction in plan wealth was similar – 23% – for an individual who rolls over money from a 401(k) plan three times during his or her career with the initial rollover into an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) at age 30. (The research, published in 2015, includes a few assumptions such as contribution rates, employer match and annual investment return rates. You can find more details here 1.)
The good news is that employers are focusing on decreasing leakage and many are turning to financial wellness programs to improve employee financial behaviors, according to Fidelity Investments. And loan usage has been trending lower in recent years, according to Fidelity’s second quarter analysis of retirement plan accounts.
That analysis found that the percentage of employees with a 401(k) loan fell to 20.5%, its lowest percentage since 2009’s second quarter when it was 19.9%. Among Gen X workers, who historically have the highest outstanding loan rate, the percentage dropped for the third straight quarter to 26.4%. The data is based on Fidelity’s analysis of 22,600 corporate defined contribution (DC) plans and 16.1 million participants as of June 30 2.
While participants may have good intentions for what those 401(k) loans are earmarked for, the loans could hold back participants from fully achieving their financial retirement goals. That’s because participants with outstanding loans might reduce their plan-saving amounts to pay off the loans, or stop saving altogether until the loan is paid off and they recommit to deferring some of their salary to their 401(k)s.
Kevin Barry, Fidelity’s president of workplace investing, noted that the stock market’s performance over the past several years has “definitely” helped retirement savers. But now would be a good time for investors to take a moment and make sure they’re doing their part to meet their retirement goals.
“Markets may go up and down, but there are a number of steps individuals can take, such as considering a Roth IRA, increasing your savings rate and avoiding 401(k) loans, which can play an important role in their long-term savings success,” Barry said, in a news release.
Now, indeed, is as good a time as any to connect with your retirement goals. Call us for a detailed financial and retirement income strategy session or overview that fits with your needs and goals.
We’re here to help you stay on track! Call us at – 425-610-9226
1 “The Impact Of Leakages On 401(k)/IRA Assets,” Alicia H. Munnell and Anthony Webb. Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research, February 2015. http://crr.bc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IB_15-2.pdf
2 “Fidelity Q2 Retirement Analysis: Account Balances Rebound, While Auto Enrollment Continues to Drive Positive Savings Behavior,” Fidelity Investments, August 16, 2018. https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/employer-services/fidelity-q2-retirement-analysis-account-balances-rebound
As the leaves turn brilliant colors and the weather cools, harvests are underway across the farmlands of America. The bounty that will be headed toward our tables is the result of seeds sown months before.
This is an excellent reminder that, in order to reap the rewards of a bountiful retirement, you need to plant the right seeds in advance.
This is a critical issue for baby boomers, as the results of a 2016 survey on retirement readiness (by PNC Bank) revealed:
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
"Due to advances in medical science, life expectancy is increasing, and people are facing the prospect of spending more time in their non-earning, retirement years," says Robert R. Johnson, president and CEO of The American College of Financial Services.
Many of us are going to live longer, and we need strategies to surmount the potentially heavy cost of medical care…to protect ourselves and our families.
While traditional long-term care insurance has its drawbacks, there is a new wave of hybrid insurance products that could be financial lifesavers when you need it most. You can research these online or save time and schedule an appointment to see me.
Create a Harvest Plan
If you don’t have millions stowed away for retirement (or even if you do) you need to review all your assets and see what changes you might need to make.
Knowing your current assets and anticipated Social Security income, we can craft a plan to ensure you maximize your Social Security earnings with a detailed income plan and optimized claiming strategy.
Will your Social Security income be enough? Together we can explore several scenarios that are custom to your needs and opportunities.
Having helped many clients reap the reward of a bountiful retirement, we are happy to help you:
When and how should you start claiming your social security benefits? Recent changes have made claiming your social security benefits look a little simpler. There used to be a whopping 567 different ways to claim your benefits and an over 100,000-page manual that interpreted each way. But, the strategy to claiming social security benefits is still far from simple. So, here’s the secret strategy you should consider: “Longevity Risk.”
What is longevity risk? Simply put, it is the risk that you will outlive your money. How many of you know someone that lived to 100? Were they prepared?
There is a fine balance to creating sustainable income that will last as long as you. Social Security alleviates some of the worry and for most of us can be the biggest asset in our portfolio. When I evaluate my clients’ potential income streams I am always pushing the boundaries. The most straightforward claiming strategy is at 62, 66, or 70, but those are just ‘mile markers’--the devil is in the details.
Evaluate your family history. Are you healthier than your parents? Have you been tested for hereditary conditions? Family can provide a lot of insight. I have my father’s heart and in my future I may need to watch out for CHF (congestive heart failure). Being proactive with your health can prolong your life--but you should also be proactive with your money so it lasts as long as you do.
While researching this topic I found a great resource: the Actuaries Longevity Illustrator. This online tool asks a series of questions that help estimates your probability of living to a certain age. My jaw dropped at my discovery--I had a 50% chance of living to age 90. My family history had no such indication. I started planning for the chance I would live that long, or even longer. This resource is one of many that you can use to decide what is the best time to take Social Security. As I create my own plan for retirement I know a few things will be certain. Social Security will have many more changes before I am able to claim. I know that I will have to plan to live longer than I could possibly imagine. I know that there will be periods of inflation. I know I need to save more than what is comfortable in my budget. I know my financial plan will change. That’s why it’s important to work with someone who is adjusting your financial plan for the challenges that are not only a head but the ones you are in currently.
“Social Security: There is a better way,” Center for Retirement Research, Boston College, September 2012.
The 2018 U.S. Trust Insights on Wealth and Worth® survey found that while increased wealth provides greater freedom, only half of high-net-worth individuals have a plan in place to optimize the opportunities their wealth provides. However, creating and continuously evolving a customized plan is the key to putting wealth into action.
Findings from a recent survey of high- and ultra-high-net-worth adults across the United States revealed that while increased wealth brought greater freedom to people, most felt they had still not optimized their opportunities for taking risks, pursuing passions, giving back and making a bigger impact on the world.
Comprehensive wealth planning was found to play a crucial role in why some individuals are further along in achieving their goals than others. Those individuals with a wealth manager reported an average of 65% progress toward achieving their goals, compared to an average of only 51% for those without an advisor.
Indeed, the study found that those who don’t, won’t or don’t know how to plan their wealth goals trail those who do in putting their wealth into action. While 90% of those who’ve accumulated significant wealth say they’ve gained the freedom to do more with it, fewer than half have a clear purpose (47%) or plan (49%) for their wealth. Those findings come even as 72% said they have a financial plan to protect their assets.
But when it comes to putting wealth into action, those in the study believe they aren’t doing as much as they can. For example, on a scale of one to 100, respondents reported the following extent of action or effort put in to achieving these important goals:
These responses indicate that there’s still a gap between intent and action among important goals.
What can you take away from the thoughts of the ultra-wealthy? For one thing, whether you’re saving for retirement, catching up, or just getting started, don’t let competing priorities get in the way of what you want to achieve.
With a little planning and guidance from a trusted advisor, the wealth you accumulate can help you realize those values which are truest to your heart and allow you to express and live the kind of life that’s truly important to you. Don’t let competing priorities or time pressures keep you from doing all you can to reach your objectives!
Our focus is on helping you align and achieve your goals, priorities and values by utilizing the comprehensive planning and wealth-building methods we’ve developed through the years. Call us at 425-610-9226 or schedule your appointment at www.familyretire.com to get started!
I am going to my sister-in-laws wedding in a couple weeks and it’s the peak of wedding season. Just like everything else, high demand means high cost when it comes to weddings. The venue is one of the most expensive aspects of a wedding, especially during peak months, with an average cost of $16,107 in 2016. (For just this reason, another expensive month for weddings is December, when weddings compete with holiday parties for venues.)
In fact, a wedding will likely be the most expensive party you will ever host in your life. After surveying nearly 13,000 real brides and grooms across America, wedding website The Knot, found that the overall cost of a wedding in 2016 was $35,329…not including the honeymoon!
In 2016, the average wedding cost topped $35,000!
Where the money goes.
While things like flowers and invitations can add up, there are a few primary factors that will determine your wedding’s cost more than all the others. Bankrate identified some primary areas to focus on when cost is a major consideration.
Guests: The number of people who attend dramatically affects the cost of everything from the food to alcohol to the venue. The more people you invite the more expensive it will be. According to research weddings are getting smaller. The average number of wedding guests has decreased to 141, down from 149 in 2009, while the average cost per guest has increased to $245, up from $194 in 2009.
Location: The cost of just about everything also varies depending on your location. From the food to the entertainment, if you want to save money, be strategic about where you choose to get married.
Timing: If you want to really save money, stay away from peak season. The least expensive months are January, February and March, at least in the parts of the country which experience cold weather and harsh winters—giving new meaning to the song lyric, “it’s a nice day for a white wedding.”
Plan ahead: The best way to pay for all this is to have a financial plan in place. Contact us if you need help planning to pay for a wedding or any other major life event.
Finding meaning / purpose can extend your life
A recent British study led by Andrew Steptoe, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health care at University College London found that after taking other factors into account “people with the highest levels of ‘purpose in life’ were 30% less likely to die during the study period, living an average of two years longer than those with the lowest levels.” The study involved 9,000 people averaging 65 years old. (1)
James Maddux, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, reviewed the study and his team agreed that the findings make sense. Maddux noted that “people who actively search for meaning in life may be generally better at setting goals and making plans, including health care decisions.” The study review said there is good news for people who lack a sense of purpose—“it can be increased”—for instance, other studies have found that meditation, group therapy, taking classes or volunteering can help.
Work longer, live longer
In another study in 2016 conducted by Oregon State University, (2) research indicates that working past age 65 could lead to a longer life, while retiring early may be a risk factor for an earlier death. Chenkai Wu, lead author and currently a doctoral student in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences, did the original research as part of his master’s thesis.
The researchers found that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes, even when taking into account demographic, lifestyle and health issues. They also found that even adults who described themselves as unhealthy were likely to live longer if they kept working.
“It may not apply to everybody, but we think work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives,” said Wu. He became interested in the topic due to much debated mandatory retirement ages in China, which in 2015 were 50 for men and 60 for women and men in labor-intensive jobs, and 55 and 65 respectively for white-collar women and men. (3)
“Most research in this area has focused on the economic impacts of delaying retirement. I thought it might be good to look at the health impacts,” Wu said. “People in the U.S. have more flexibility about when they retire compared to other countries, so it made sense to look at data from the U.S.” He examined data collected from 1992 through 2010, focusing on 2,956 U.S. adults. (2)
Planning for a longer life
There is no better time than now to put a plan in place which accounts for the longer years you may live, and encompasses your deepest desires as well as your current and future financial resources.
1 Pfizer, Get Old, “A ‘Purpose in Life’ May Extend Yours,” by Robert Preidt, HealthDay, July 15, 2016. getold.com. https://www.getold.com/a-purpose-in-life-may-extend-yours (accessed January 17, 2017).
2 OSU, Oregon State University, News and Research Communications “Working Longer May Lead to a Longer Life, New OSU Research Shows,” 04/27/2016. oregonstate.edu. http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2016/apr/working-longer-may-lead-longer-life-new-osu-research-shows (accessed January 17, 2017).
3 USCBC, The US-China Business Council, “China’s Mandatory Retirement Age Changes: Impact for Foreign Companies,” by Owen Haacke, April 1, 2015. uschina.org. https://www.uschina.org/china%E2%80%99s-mandatory-retirement-age-changes-impact-foreign-companies (accessed January 17, 2017).
Whether you have children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews headed to college when they turn get into high school, it’s always best to put anticipated higher education expenses into your financial plan--the sooner/younger the better.
Call us to discuss. And read here to learn more:
1. FAFSA dates have just changed
For students college-bound in the 2017-2018 school year, there is an important FAFSA date change: the application date was just changed from January 1, 2017 to October 1, 2016—three months earlier. Details here.
Even if you think your family makes too much money to qualify for aid, most experts say you should apply for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) anyway, because colleges, state scholarship agencies, and foundations use the FAFSA when deciding who gets their scholarships, as well as how much each student will receive.
Students already on campus should also apply every year. And remember that school deadlines may be different from FAFSA deadlines.2. In terms of job prospects, a college degree is more necessary than ever.
According to the Department of Education,“a postsecondary credential has never been more important” because:
3. The cost of a college degree is high…second only to a home mortgage.
It’s no secret that college costs have skyrocketed. “College has never been more expensive…over the last three decades, tuition at four-year colleges has more than doubled, even after adjusting for inflation,” according to the Department of Education.
For the 2015-16 school year, the College Board estimated the average tuition and fees to be $9,410 per year at four-year, in-state public institutions. Room and board was about $10,000 annually. When you total various scenarios, the average cost of a bachelor’s degree ranges from $52,000-$130,000, depending on whether your child attends in-state or out-of-state, public vs. private university, attends community college first, and whether or not they have housing and food provided.
Chart from CollegeBoard.org
In fact, these days, paying for a college education is one of the biggest outlays any family will ever make, after their home mortgage.
Why so much? According to a Center for American Progress report, it was “the Great Recession and resultant state budget cuts that led to the public college tuition hikes which have unduly burdened low- and moderate-income families.”
4. Student debt is the highest in history
Student debt is a $140 billion-a-year industry, with 42 million Americans bearing $1.3 trillion in student debt. The federal government holds 93% of these outstanding student loans, making the Department of Education, in essence, one of the world’s largest banks. The average class of 2016 graduate with a student loan will owe more than $37,172, the highest level of debt yet. Almost 71% of bachelor degree recipients will graduate with a student loan, compared with less than 50% two decades ago.
Wall Street Journal
5. Try NOT to sacrifice retirement for college
A recent survey of parents by HSBC Group found that 98% of U.S. parents are considering a college education for their child—and 60% would be willing to go into debt to fund it. Although parents say this makes it difficult to keep up with other financial commitments, they still think it’s more important than long-term savings or credit card repayment. And 37% of U.S. parents say their children’s education is more important than their own retirement savings.
Commenting on the findings, HSBC’s Global Head of Wealth Management said:
“The financial sacrifices that parents are willing to make to fund their children’s education are proof of the unquestioning support they will give to help them achieve their ambitions. However, parents need to make sure that this financial investment is not made to the detriment of their own future wellbeing.
“By having a financial plan to meet their family’s overall needs and reviewing it regularly, parents will be better placed to support their children’s studies without compromising on their own long-term financial goals.”
A recent segment on CNBC agrees that sacrificing your retirement is not the best decision in the long run, and urges people to plan early: Watch here.
Let’s discuss ways you can plan ahead to fund both college tuition and your retirement. Call us today.