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Threats To A Comfortable Retirement

When it comes to your retirement, you’re the only one who’s ultimately going to be looking out for your best interests. While a financial advisor can help you through the steps of making sure that your retirement funds are properly secured, it’s up to you to make sure that you have enough money set aside to help you in your later years. That means understanding the most common threats that put retirement funds at risk. Keep these in mind before you sit down and define with your retirement goals.

Medical Risks

It’s impossible to know what potential medical problems you’ll be dealing with ten or twenty years down the line, and that makes it hard to define ballpark estimates for how much you need to safe. But it’s critical that you keep a few things in mind. If you’re retiring early, it’s crucial that you set some money aside for the window between when you retire and when you’re eligible for Medicare. You’ll also want to carefully evaluate your Medicare options so that you have a plan that appropriately covers the potential needs of you and your spouse. Regardless of your circumstances, you’ll want to put aside an emergency fund in the case of a medical emergency. It’s advised that this emergency fund equal at least two years of retirement income.

Putting Too Much Stock in Investments with Low Returns

Placing your money in guaranteed investments averaging a return of 2% – 3% may be the conservative route to take, but it also leaves you less to work with in retirement. While you shouldn’t be investing entirely in higher risk/higher return options isn’t sensible, spreading out your portfolio more evenly is generally a sensible approach. Generally, you’ll want to split your assets into three categories: funds you’ll need in the next two years, funds you’ll need in the next six years, and funds you’ll need long into the future. Shorter terms funds should be focused on low risk or no risk investments, while longer-term funds should place an emphasis on investments with growth potential.

Not Accounting for Inflation

It’s easy to look at the money you have now and not taking into consideration the fact that the value of wealth depreciates. Inflation is an issue to take seriously, especially considering your retirement fund is supposed to fund you for decades into the future. Many financial professionals suggest following the 4% rule. According to this philosophy, you should only be planning to withdraw 4% of your savings each year. Naturally, this can’t account for emergency expenses, but by planning ahead, this policy should allow you to weather any unnecessary costs and also keep you protected from dramatic market decreases.

from Mike Plumlee Financial Advisor | Financial Planning https://ift.tt/2xSxNT0
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The Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

Anyone considering taking up the great game of golf must take into consideration several factors before buying a set of clubs.

A budget may be important. A beginner golfer should not splurge on the latest and greatest set of clubs. What the actual amount spent will vary depending on an individual’s financial situation, but there are a number of beginner golf sets that cost less than $300. These sets typically include a driver, hybrids and irons, and a putter. The rules of golf allow for no more than 14 clubs to be carried during play. Beginner sets often do not include specialty wedges like a sand wedge. Those may be purchased separately.

Beginners might also want to take into account the flex of the shafts. More flex, or the amount of stiffness, is better for longer hitters. That usually means a beginner will benefit from more flex.

Another option for a beginner is to consider used clubs. That isn’t necessarily the best choice since there are plenty of good new options. Let’s take a look at some of the best new golf sets for beginners.

Callaway Strata Complete Golf Set

Golf pros described this set as “high-quality equipment with everything you’ll need.” The quality of this set means it could last a golfer all the way from beginner to moderate expertise. This set lists at around $200.

Wilson Golf Men’s 2017 Ultra

Wilson’s 2017 Ultra Complete Set has improved technology that focuses on helping beginners get more distance out of their drive. Golfers will also only spend about $160 on this nine-club set.

Tour Edge Bazooka Men’s 360 Box Set

Golf pros love this club set. These high-quality clubs are great for anyone just starting out, despite the lack of brand name recognition. This set is a bit pricier at more than $350, but well worth it.

Other good options include:

It should be evident that the beginning golfer can start with a complete set of quality clubs without breaking the bank. This list is merely the beginning, as the choices are numerous.

Threats to Retirement

When it comes to your retirement, you’re the only one who’s ultimately going to be looking out for your best interests. While a financial advisor can help you through the steps of making sure that your retirement funds are properly secured, it’s up to you to make sure that you have enough money set aside to help you in your later years. That means understanding the most common threats that put retirement funds at risk. Keep these in mind before you sit down and define with your retirement goals.

Medical Risks

It’s impossible to know what potential medical problems you’ll be dealing with ten or twenty years down the line, and that makes it hard to define ballpark estimates for how much you need to safe. But it’s critical that you keep a few things in mind. If you’re retiring early, it’s crucial that you set some money aside for the window between when you retire and when you’re eligible for Medicare. You’ll also want to carefully evaluate your Medicare options so that you have a plan that appropriately covers the potential needs of you and your spouse. Regardless of your circumstances, you’ll want to put aside an emergency fund in the case of a medical emergency. It’s advised that this emergency fund equal at least two years of retirement income.

Putting Too Much Stock in Investments with Low Returns

Placing your money in guaranteed investments averaging a return of 2% – 3% may be the conservative route to take, but it also leaves you less to work with in retirement. While you shouldn’t be investing entirely in higher risk/higher return options isn’t sensible, spreading out your portfolio more evenly is generally a sensible approach. Generally, you’ll want to split your assets into three categories: funds you’ll need in the next two years, funds you’ll need in the next six years, and funds you’ll need long into the future. Shorter terms funds should be focused on low risk or no risk investments, while longer-term funds should place an emphasis on investments with growth potential.

Not Accounting for Inflation

It’s easy to look at the money you have now and not taking into consideration the fact that the value of wealth depreciates. Inflation is an issue to take seriously, especially considering your retirement fund is supposed to fund you for decades into the future. Many financial professionals suggest following the 4% rule. According to this philosophy, you should only be planning to withdraw 4% of your savings each year. Naturally, this can’t account for emergency expenses, but by planning ahead, this policy should allow you to weather any unnecessary costs and also keep you protected from dramatic market decreases.

Estate Planning Tips

It is not uncommon for people to procrastinate on estate planning. Even people who already have an estate plan may not have reviewed it in some time. Changes in the family, such as births and deaths, or in tax laws should trigger a review. Otherwise, people should review the plan every five years to ensure that it still reflects their financial situation and their wishes.

Some people may want to consider a trust. These powerful tools can allow a person to control how assets are distributed to beneficiaries. Assets in a trust do not have to pass through the time-consuming and expensive probate process. Trusts can protect assets from a former spouse or from creditors, and they can help family members with special needs without affecting their access to benefits. A trust can also protect assets for minor children, increase the exemption available to spouses and ensure that assets are distributed fairly in blended families.

Another potentially difficult element of estate planning is discussing it with family members. Some experts suggest making this an ongoing conversation over time. Not everyone may want to provide specific information, but it can be helpful to share reasons behind certain estate planning decisions. Communication can be particularly important if parents are leaving assets unequally to children. They might also want to explore other ways to distribute assets, such as paying a child who is a caregiver.

Some people prefer to give away part of the estate while still alive. This can also provide information about how well a family member handles money. There may be tax benefits to gifting.

In addition to a trust, a person may have an IRA and other accounts to avoid probate. However, non-spousal heirs must roll an IRA into an inherited IRA to avoid required minimum distributions.

People may also want to consider planning in case of becoming incapacitated. An attorney may be able to assist a person with any complexities in creating an estate plan.

How to Invest in Stocks

When it comes to building wealth, few avenues are as effective as investing in the stock market. However, just because investing in the market is generally effective, it doesn’t mean that everyone knows where to start. Here are some tips that can help those who are unfamiliar with investing get started. 

Open an Account

The first step toward investing in the stock market is actually opening an account. It’s possible to open an investment account at a local bank, but it’s more likely that opening an account with an online brokerage will be a better idea. The decision should be tied to the fees that a brokerage charges. The lower the transaction or management fees a brokerage charges, the more of an investment actually goes toward buying stocks. Once an account is open, it’s possible to move money into the account, and that money will go toward making purchases of stock in great companies. 

Look for Appropriate Investments

A low stock price does not necessarily indicate a bad investment, nor does a high price indicate a good one. Buying a quality company at a good price is the way to make money through stocks. Companies with growing revenues and net incomes will likely be better investments than those that have stagnating growth in these two important metrics. This information will be available in the company’s quarterly and annual reports. 

Some level of diversification is recommended. Investors can achieve diversification through buying shares from more than one company within a given sector of the economy, or they can achieve it by buying a number of companies across multiple sectors. The easiest way to diversify is through the purchase of a mutual fund or an index fund that automatically provides exposure to a number of different companies through a single purchase. 

Keep Investing

Once the first investment is made, returns can come in a variety of ways. Companies may decide to return some profit to their investors through the payment of dividends. They can also buy back some of the shares that are outstanding, which will frequently lead to a higher stock price. Companies that grow without paying dividends or buying back shares can also see price appreciation. Those who continue to put money toward their successful investments will have the new capital rolled into the money that’s already started to grow to build an impressive level of wealth given enough time. The key is to continue investing in quality companies for decades into the future.

Telemedicine Is Helping Hospitals and Patients Alike

Healthcare Tech

The power of virtual health is something that Congress and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cannot deny. Significant changes are on the horizon thanks in part to telemedicine. In 2019, reimbursements for those using telehealth services are expected to be prevalent. With healthcare costs reaching astronomical levels, the ability to see a doctor from a computer opens new doors to uncharted territories.

Remember the good old days when a doctor came to the home for a visit? Well, telehealth is born from a similar concept. The beauty of seeing a doctor online is that it can treat those who might otherwise go untreated.

It’s especially helpful for people who live in rural areas, are lacking transportation, or have a demanding schedule that doesn’t permit doctor visits. The benefits far outweigh any drawbacks of the service.

Telemedicine Services Will Help with Staffing Shortages

Though the telehealth program seems to be somewhat new, some facilities have been using it for quite some time. For over 12 years, the Providence St. Joseph Hospital has been working on the technology necessary to help with the lack of resources.

Like many medical centers across the country, this Washington State facility has problems with lack of staff. There is never enough nurses, doctors, or hours to get everyone in and treated.

To date, this facility manages more than 51 hospitals, which are spread through seven states. Many of the people they treat live in rural communities, and scaling their resources to accommodate everyone is nearly impossible.

Though they focus on psychiatry, other states use telehealth services to give people access to specialists. Things like sepsis management, and monitoring patients who are in critical care, becomes a whole lot easier with technology. The real challenge is making sure that clinician and administration teams are united so that the patient reaps the benefits.

Congress and the CMS Agree To Implement Changes

Until recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services believed that telemedicine would not help their bottom line, but they feared it would only increase their expenses. Permitting such things, they dreaded, would allow facilities to over bill. The already financially strapped program cannot handle any more excessive charges.

However, officials are beginning to see the light when it comes to virtual telehealth. They are allowing reimbursements for patients who use these services starting in 2020.

The doors are not going to swing open wide all at once, and it will be gradual progress that requires an application to get approved. However, new legislation that passed in 2018 has allowed telehealth services to become commonplace. Getting preventative care, and allow doctors and nurses to communicate remotely, is only going to improve healthcare for millions of people.

from Mike Plumlee Financial Advisor | Business http://bit.ly/2RjGTBb
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The Best Golf Courses in the U.S.

Golf is a leading hobby enjoyed by men and women across the US and abroad. The origins of the game go back to late medieval Scotland. The game crossed the pond to the Americas in the nineteenth century and has enjoyed growth in the years since. Here are some of the top courses in the US.

Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach is probably the top course that’s open to ordinary Americans. Pebble Beach is open to the public, and it’s hosted the US Open and PGA Championship in the past. The course is famous for its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, and some of its more iconic holes, including the Par-5 18th, lie adjacent to the water.

Augusta National

The Augusta National Golf Club takes its name from the town in Georgia in which it’s located. The course is most famous for hosting the Masters tournament. This tournament is one of the most-watched events on the PGA schedule, and the course is famed for the stretch of holes that is known as Amen Corner. Many Masters have been won or lost around Amen Corner. The course is private so most people will have trouble accessing the fairways unless they pay to travel with the galleries during the Masters.

Oakmont

Oakmont Country Club is located just outside of Pittsburgh, PA. To date, it’s hosted a record nine US Open Championships. Jack Nicklaus won his first professional title at the 1962 US Open. The course is considered one of the most difficult in the US and has more than 200 sand bunkers to challenge play.

Bethpage Black

The Black Course at Bethpage State Park in New York is widely considered one of the toughest tests in golf. It’s a course that’s open to the public, yet it burst into the wider public consciousness in 2002 when it became the first publicly owned course to host the US Open. The course is a major test for weekend duffers and pros alike, and it reaches a lengthy 7,468 yards from the back tees.

Baltusrol

Another of the popular US Open venues is Baltusrol Golf Club, located in New Jersey. Both the Upper Course and Lower Course at Baltusrol have hosted the US and US Women’s Opens. It’s the only course to hold this distinction. The most famous hole is probably the 650-yard 17th at the Lower Course. John Daly is the only player to have hit the green in two shots in championship play on this lengthy hole.

These are just five of the top golf courses in the US. There are many others that are worth playing. While some will be difficult to access because of their private nature, there are many public courses that can provide a memorable day around the links.