• Retirement Planning for Single Parents

     

    It is a challenge – and it must be met.

     

    Provided by MidAmerica Financial Resources

     

     

    How does a single parent plan for retirement? Diligently. Regularly. Rigorously. Here are some steps that may help, whether you are just beginning to do this or well on your way.

     

    Setting a household budget can be a wise first step. Most households live without budgets – and because of that financial inattention, some of the money they could save and invest routinely disappears. When you set and live by a budget, you discipline yourself to spend only so much and save (or invest) some of the rest. You need not track every single expense, but try and track your expenses by category. You may find money to save as a result.

     

    Save first, invest next. If you are starting from scratch, creating an emergency fund should be the first priority. It should grow large enough to meet 6-9 months of living expenses. If no financial emergency transpires, then you will end up with a cash reserve for retirement as well as investments.

     

    You may want to invest less aggressively than you once did. Young, married couples can take on a lot of risk as they invest. Divorcees or widowers may not want to – there can be too much on the line, and too little time left to try and recoup portfolio losses. To understand the level of risk that may be appropriate for you at this point in life, chat with a financial professional.  

     

    There may be great wisdom in “setting it and forgetting it.” Life will hand you all manner of distractions, including financial pressures to distract you from the necessity of retirement saving. You cannot be distracted away from this. So, to ward off such a hazard, use retirement savings vehicles that let you make automatic, regular contributions. Your workplace retirement plan, for example, or other investment accounts that allow them. This way, you don’t have to think about whether or not to make retirement account contributions; you just do.

     

    Do you have life insurance, or an estate plan? Both of these become hugely important when you are a single parent. Any kind of life insurance is better than none. If you have minor children, you have the option of creating a trust and naming the trust as the beneficiary of whatever policy you choose. Disability insurance is also a good idea if you work in a physically taxing career. Name a guardian for your children in case the worst happens.1

     

    Have you reviewed the beneficiary names on your accounts & policies? If you are divorced or widowed, your former spouse may still be the primary beneficiary of your IRA, your life insurance policy, or your investment account. If beneficiary forms are not updated, problems may result.

       

    College planning should take a backseat to retirement planning. Your child(ren) will need to recognize that when it comes to higher education, they will likely be on their own. When they are 18 or 20, you may be 50 or 55 – and the average retirement age in this country is currently 63. Drawing down your retirement accounts in your fifties is a serious mistake, and you should not entertain that idea. Any attempt to build a college fund should be secondary to building and growing your retirement fund.2

        

    Realize that your cash flow situation might change as retirement nears. Your household may be receiving child support, alimony, insurance payments, and, perhaps, even Social Security income. In time, some of these income streams may dry up. Can you replace them with new ones? Are you prepared to ask for a raise or look for a higher-paying job if they dry up in the years preceding your retirement? Are you willing to work part-time in retirement to offset that lost income? 

     

    Consult a financial professional who has worked with single parents. Ask another single parent whom he or she turns to for such consulting, or seek out someone who has written about the topic. You want to plan your future with someone who has some familiarity with the experience, either personally or through helping others in your shoes.

          

    MidAmerica Financial Resources may be reached at 618.548.4777 or greg.malan@natplan.com. www.mid-america.us

     

    This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

     

    Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC), Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
    MidAmerica Financial Resources and Malan Financial Group are separate and unrelated companies to NPC.

     

        

    Citations.

    1 - cnbc.com/2016/07/20/5-winning-money-strategies-for-single-parents.html [7/20/16]

    2 - aol.com/article/2016/05/03/the-average-retirement-age-in-all-50-states/21369583/ [5/3/16]

     

  • Do Our Attitudes About Money Help or Hurt Us?

     

    We may need to change them to better our financial prospects.

     

    Provided by MidAmerica Financial Resources

     

     

    Our relationship with money is complex & emotional. When we pay a bill, go to the mall, trade in a car for a new one, hunt for a home or apartment, or pass someone seemingly poor or rich on the street, we feel things and harbor certain perceptions.

     

    Are our attitudes about money inherited? They may have been formed when we were kids. We watched what our parents did with their money, and how they managed it. We were told how important it was – or, perhaps, how little it really mattered. Parental arguments over money may be ingrained in our memory.

     

    This history has an effect. Some of us think of money, finance, investing, and saving in terms of getting ahead, in terms of opportunity. Others associate money and financial matters with family struggles or conflicts. Our family history is not responsible for our entire attitude about money – but it is, undoubtedly, an influence.

     

    Our grandparents (and, in some cases, our parents) were never really taught to think of “retirement planning.” Just a century ago, the whole concept of “retiring” would have seemed weird to many Americans. You worked until you died, or until you were physically unable to do your job. Then, Social Security came along, and company pensions for retired workers. The societal expectation was that with a company pension and Social Security, you weren’t going to be impoverished in your “old age.”

      

    Very few Americans can make such an assumption today. Many are unaware of the scope of retirement planning they need to undertake. An alarming 54% of pre-retiree respondents to a 2016 Prudential Financial survey had no clue how much they needed to save for retirement. Additionally, 54% had balances of less than $150,000 in their workplace retirement plans. Have they been lulled into a false sense of security? Did they inherit the attitude that when you retire in America, Social Security and a roof over your head will be enough?1

     

    How can pessimistic attitudes about money, saving, & investing be changed? Perhaps the first step is to recognize that we may have inherited them. Do they stem from our own experience? Or are we simply cluttering our minds with the bad experiences and negative assumptions of years ago?

       

    One example of this leaps readily to mind. Earlier this year, Bankrate surveyed investors per age group and learned that just 33% of millennials (Americans aged 18-35) owned any equities, while 51% of Gen Xers did. (That actually represented a dramatic increase: in 2015, only 26% of millennials were invested in equities.)2,3

     

    College loan debt and early-career incomes aside, millennials watched equity investments, owned by their parents, crash in the 2007-09 bear market. Some are quite cynical about the financial world. A 2015 Harvard University study showed that a mere 14% of respondents aged 18-29 felt that Wall Street firms "do the right thing all or most of the time” as they conduct business.3

     

    How do you feel about money? What were you taught about it when you were growing up? Did your parents look at money positively or negatively? These questions are worth thinking about, for they may shape your relationship with money – and saving and investing – here and now. 

        

    MidAmerica Financial Resources may be reached at 618.548.4777 or greg.malan@natplan.com. www.mid-america.us

     

    This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

     

    Securities and advisory services offered through National Planning Corporation (NPC), Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser.
    MidAmerica Financial Resources and Malan Financial Group are separate and unrelated companies to NPC.

         

    Citations.

    1 - businessinsider.com/reasons-for-americas-retirement-crisis-2016-11 [11/29/16]

    2 - ibtimes.com/should-you-invest-stock-market-why-millennials-might-be-missing-out-when-it-comes-2389589 [7/6/16]

    3 - thestreet.com/story/13135109/1/why-millennials-dont-trust-wall-street-or-investing-in-stocks.html [5/2/15]