Top Tips for Helping You Identify Your Retirement Age

Looking ahead to retirement can help you figure out whether you have saved enough to support your lifestyle and how you intend to pass on some of your assets to others.

The typical worker in the United States retires at age 63, but a growing portion of this population is waiting to retire until later in order to enhance their savings. It turns out that there is not perfect retirement age, but you may be able to identify the various milestones linked to traditional retirement in the United States that can help you figure out what might be most appropriate for you.

You might decide to delay tapping into Social Security benefits since you can increase the amount you receive by going this route. If you delay taking Social Security beyond your full retirement age, your benefits go up. For example, full retirement age is 66 and you If you opt in at age:

  • 66, you’ll receive 100% of your monthly benefits
  • 67, you’ll get 108% of your monthly benefits
  • 70, you’ll receive 132% of your monthly benefits

Social Security Chart:

Some of the most important milestone ages nearing retirement include:

Age 59 ½ is the first time you are eligible to take penalty free withdrawals from your IRA or 401(k).

Age 62 is when you can start claiming social security.

Age 65 is when you initially become eligible for Medicare.

Age 66 is the full retirement age for those individuals born between 1943 and 1954.

Age 67 is your social security full retirement age, if you were born in 1960 or later.

Age 70 is when you stop accruing delayed retirement credits for waiting to enroll in social security.

Age 70 1/2 is when it is necessary to start taking required minimum distributions or RMDs from your traditional 401(k) or IRA.

There are some additional questions that you can ask yourself to help to determine whether or not it is time for you to retire. These include;

  •       How is your health in general?
  •       Are you still working and how is your job?
  •       How do you plan to fill your dates?

Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney in Massachusetts is another step that is necessary to take as you get closure to the retirement process.


How Will You Spend Your Time in Retirement: Tips for Planning

The answer to when is the appropriate age to retire is not easy for anyone to answer, but one of the most important things to consider as you evaluate this question is how you intend to spend your days. This will have a significant impact on how much money you will need and can help you target an age most appropriate for you.

As you attempt to figure out an ideal retirement age, think about how you’ll be spending your days not working. Will you be keeping busy at home? Or will you grow frustrated and restless without entertainment and travel? If you are concerned that you will not be able to fill your days successfully, you may wish to wait a couple of extra years to save enough money to sustain that lifestyle. If you are the type of person who finds themselves bored easily, you may even wish to postpone your retirement age even if you already have a substantial nest egg.

Too many retirees fall victim to depression, so working longer helps to serve as a social outlet and gives you additional motivation to wake up every single morning. It might make sense to delay your retirement age even if you don’t necessarily need the money.

This can give you additional assets to include in your estate plan and leave behind a greater legacy for your loved ones. If you intend to leave behind retirement assets that you do not expect to leave to your family members, it is an ideal situation to discuss with an experienced estate planning lawyer as soon as possible.


Four Basics Steps to Your Estate Planning Process

Unfortunately, far too many people believe that estate planning begins and ends with a simple will but this can be a catastrophic mistake as wills are exposed to potential mistakes as well.

This is particularly true if you attempt to engage in estate planning process on your own without consulting directly with an attorney. What follows are four key steps to consider for your estate plan:

  • Learn the local laws as well as the real estate and probate rules in your individual state. If you own property in multiple states it is even more important to have an experienced attorney representing you and helping you put together your estate plan.
  • Never put a piece of property into a child’s name while you’re still alive without consulting with an attorney about the     right strategy to do this. If the child eventually goes bankrupt, creditors may be eligible to seize the house.
  • Be careful of transferring bank accounts to children in order to avoid estate and probate taxes. With individuals living longer, this could leave will writers destitute in their retirement years.
  • Ensure that your beneficiary information is always updated and your wills are updated on a regular basis by scheduling consultation with an attorney every single year to discuss whether or not your estate plans are still meeting your individual needs.

Following these four steps could help to minimize the chances of disputes and potential problems later in life.

When it comes to approaching your estate planning, having a lawyer you can count on is critical. Knowing that you have someone who can help you as your needs change over the course of your life. A Massachusetts estate planning lawyer may be very helpful for your planning process.



Avoiding the Flaws of Self-Help Legal Planning

It seems like a simple fix to find a document online and use it for distributing your estate in the future, but this could be a big mistake if the form is not correct. Unfortunately, in many such cases, no one realizes the mistakes until it’s too late.

Many people who approach the estate planning process want to get through what they need to do as quickly as possible. However, this can be a mistake if you choose to go the DIY route. Having an estate plan that is specific to your needs and appropriately prepared can make a big difference between having your assets tied up in a costly and frustrating probate proceeding and passing things on in a smart manner.

Online self-help companies have surfaced to provide estate planning to the crowd who is looking for a quick fix, however, these fill-in-the-blank documents often do not suit the individual needs of the person completing them and may not even be legally valid depending on your state’s laws.

Legal language is frequently omitted in these fill-in-the-blank forms, for example, in the event that a revocable online trust form doesn’t specify the language about where your assets would go if one of you beneficiaries passes away before you, this could generate confusion in the future. Special consideration for these plans requires that you schedule a meeting with a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer who can help you determine the most appropriate avenue for your individual strategies.


New Study Shows that Most People Are Confused and Cynical About Retirement Planning

A recent study conducted by Scottrade identified that the vast majority of people who are investing do not act on their own for retirement planning and while some of them are satisfied that the advice they receive, many investors are also confused, cynical or even overwhelmed.

The majority of U.S. investors have made the decision to partner directly with an advisor for retirement planning. Approximately two-thirds of people in the United States are working directly with a financial professional to help them with the retirement planning process and nearly half of them are extremely satisfied with the way their financial advisor has managed their retirement assets.

Nearly half of investors in the United States, in particular GenXers and Millennials, are overwhelmed with the investment choices available and have trouble finding the right advisor.

The challenges associated with retirement planning mean that far too many people choose not to take any action. There are clear parallels between retirement planning and the lack of estate planning, since many people find the process confusing or overwhelming without the help of an outside professional.

It is just as important to identify an experienced professional to help you navigate the estate planning process as it is to find someone to assist you with your retirement. Your estate planning attorney can make recommendations about your individual situation and help you navigate this complex process to determine a plan that works for your individual needs.


New Study Shares that Baby Boomers Do Not Feel the Economy has Recovered From Financial Crisis

Baby boomers are one of the biggest sections of society considering the estate planning and retirement planning process. According to a new study published by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement, baby boomers have a lack of trust in institutions that has led to a permanent financial problem for many of them.

Ten years after the financial crisis started in 2007, only 2% of baby boomers with median incomes felt that the economy had completely recovered. This has required many boomers to adjust their retirement expectations. Although the middle-income boomers who participated in the study still indicated that they plan to retire, the crisis has forced them to reconsider their expectations for what their retirement will actually look like.

One important consideration in this is adjusting your estate planning documents and considering long term care insurance to help with any additional health costs that may emerge suddenly after an accident or diagnosis. The assets you may have set aside for your loved ones may need to evaluated carefully if you need help with nursing home care, for example. How your retirement assets affect your ability to qualify for Medicaid is another crucial conversation you will want to have with your estate planning attorney.

The latest report conducted in the study indicated that up to 84% of boomers in the median income range took a minimum of one step to adjust their spending behavior after the recent financial crisis. To learn more about the estate planning process and how it can work hand in hand with retirement planning, consult an experienced estate planning lawyer today.


What You Should Know About Anxiety in Older Adults

Your aging loved ones may require advanced care as they face greater physical issues, but as family members, you should also be aware of potential mental indicators that your loved one is struggling. This may be in the form of symptoms of depression, anxiety, or isolation. No matter how these signs prevent, they can have a serious impact on your loved one’s ability to live independently. Existing mental concerns can also amplify physical conditions.

Anxiety in older adults is more common than you might think. While anxiety that makes it difficult for an elderly individual to get through the day is not a typical part of aging, up to 14% of older adults already meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder. According to research published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, nearly 30% of older individuals currently receiving care from a provider will have anxiety symptoms outside of a disorder that make day-to-day life difficult.

The most common anxiety disorders affecting the elderly include social phobia, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and PTSD. If you begin noticing that your loved one is withdrawn or not engaging in activities he or she previously enjoyed, it may be time to sit down and discuss anxiety-specific care.

If you are an adult helping an elderly loved one cope with physical or mental concerns tied to aging, you may also benefit from setting up a meeting with an experienced estate planning attorney. Talk to a lawyer now about the tools and strategies that can help you plan ahead with a loved one.

Does a Trust Belong in Your Estate Plan?

Estate planningThe most basic facets of estate planning often include a will and a trust. Both can be helpful for different reasons, but if you’re not familiar with how a trust fits into your general estate plan, consider talking with your estate planning lawyer in Massachusetts to discuss how this might benefit you.

For the purposes of simplicity, a trust is a legal arrangement holding assets for a beneficiary. An individual or entity known as the trustee is designated to manage these assets according to the terms outlined in the trust documents.

As the creator of the trust, you – as Grantor – can determine how the trustee should manage these assets and under what terms they should be distributed. The terms of your trust are somewhat flexible and can be aligned with how you want the trustee to handle it as well as the individual needs of your beneficiaries.

There are several different parties included in a trust. These include:

  •    The beneficiary or the person entitled to receive part or all of the property inside the trust.
  •    The trustee- the company or the person that holds legal title to the assets inside the trust and manages them for others.
  •    The grantor or the person creating the trust, who may also be referred to as the trustor or the settlor.

The two primary types of trusts are irrevocable and revocable. An irrevocable trust may be created during the grantor’s lifetime or upon his or her death. A revocable trust is created during a grantor’s lifetime and can be changed or revoked at any time. Do you think a trust belongs in your estate plan? If so, talk to an experienced Massachusetts lawyer today about next steps.

Optimizing Your Retirement Planning Strategy for Taxes

Time for taxes with moneyLooking ahead to the future is critical for any individual who is in the process of saving for retirement. Setting aside enough money to handle increasing longevity concerns and the rising costs of long term care are two of the most common reasons why an individual will approach retirement planning and estate planning with the help of an experienced professional. However, it is also important to consider how you can optimize your retirement planning strategies for taxes as well.

Your retirement planning and estate planning needs often intersect, and leveraging the right professionals, such as a financial planner and a Massachusetts estate planning attorney, can help ensure that your comprehensive plans are working for your retirement as well as for the benefit of your estate.

There are several different steps that you can take to accomplish this goal, including:

  • Plan to take your Social Security benefits after reaching full retirement age. This allows you to tap into the best tax advantage income sources and will not allow for inflation degradation.
  • Consult with an experienced financial planner and estate planning attorney. Tapping into the power of professionals who have worked in this field for a number of years gives you an overview of the different types of strategies available and allows you to partner with someone who has extensive experience in the field.
  • Update your retirement planning program under an annual basis along with your estate planning. A lot will depend on your tax rates currently and how you will be taxed in the future.

Since tax laws can change every single year, it is important to look back at what actually happened to your investments over the year and how you can update your plan to make the most of it.

Most Americans Simply Are Not Prepared for Retirement: How to Plan Ahead

Majorca, SpainThe country’s largest money manager BlackRock, recently asked Americans who are participating in a defined contribution plan like a 401(k) how they see themselves as prepared for retirement. Most of those individuals said that they were prepared for the future and had a generally optimistic view towards retirement. This suggests, however, that individuals who are in workplace defined contribution plans may actually be too confident about their future returns.

Last year, 52% of people said they were on track to retire with the amount of money and the type of lifestyle they wanted. This year that number increased to 50% and approximately 70% of Americans believe they will able to save enough to meet their financial goals for retirement. One of the challenges with this, however, is that those same individuals had very optimistic feelings about what will happen in the future with regard to how much money they’ll be able to generate. 66% of the savers who participated in the survey, for example, expect that their returns over the next ten years will keep in pace with past performance.

Of those individuals who participated in the survey, 17% expected higher than current returns. Approximately two-thirds of those employees said that they did not know that Wall Street has anticipated lower returns in the near future.
Given that there is such a disconnect with retirement planning, it is no surprise that up to 60% of Americans across the country do not have a will either. Financial planning and estate planning can be difficult topics to discuss but they are both equally important for helping an individual accomplish all of his or her goals.