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June 21, 2018

Public Sector Retirement News

Federal Employee Retirement and Benefits News

Tag: retirement planning

Retirement planning

Retirement planning is the process of being foresighted and thinking about how to make your post-retirement life secure and financially sound.

Smart TSP Investors Could Have $1M in Plan At Retirement – By Timothy Walker

Smart TSP Investors Could Have $1M At Retirement

By Timothy Walker

Timothy Walker works with federal employees and helps them maximize their retirement benefits.

When it comes to the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)  there’s no other plan that can match its greatness. After all, it’s got the lowest administrative fees, which allows people to put additional cash into their (TSP).

Timothy Walker
Timothy Walker

The majority of employees who qualify for the FERS retirement system get a 5% match from the government.  This means most employees get tax-deferred free money. Only a limited number of employers offer their employees 401(k) plans, and even less have matching worker contributions at the 5% level. With a steady investment in the TSP – going with S and stock-indexed C funds – most federal and postal workers living within modest means can become wealthy from their TSP. They invested when they first could, stayed with their investing plan even during the Great Recession and have around or more than $1 million now.

Vanguard founder and financial pro, John Bogle said he wishes he could invest in the TSP. People who run it are watched very carefully. There is a multitude of federal regulatory agencies that watch it. Employees, Congress members, along with their staff are in the TSP as well.

There are many resources out there about The Thrift Savings Plan. Be diligent and ask questions. There are professionals out there that do understand many of the factors about the plan, like myself. Whether you have questions about investing in the plan or you’re ready to think about retirement and need guidance, I’m here to help!

Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]



Other Tim Walker Articles

Article: Complete Guide to FEGLI for Federal Employees By Timothy Walker


About Timothy Walker:

Tim Walker is the founder and president of Fortress Financial as well as an author and financial professional whose sole focus is helping senior Americans solve problems and seize opportunities regarding their retirement finances and estate planning wishes.

You can reach Timothy Walker by email or phone

Office: (208) 233-1685

Cell: (208) 317-4803

[email protected]

Americans Need Better Financial Planning…Here’s Why

Data has revealed time and again that Americans need better financial planning to ensure that they live well, not only in the present but the future as well. Estate planning should not be the only aim of accumulating money for the golden years, maintaining a good standard of living is more important. Americans need to cut down on expenses by making some lifestyle changes. They should also ensure that they have enough retirement benefits savings avoid any debt such as TSP as it relates to the federal employee workforce.

financial planning

Data Says Americans Need Better Financial Planning

In a recent study conducted by GoBankingRates, 69 percent of adults admitted that they have less than $1000 USD  in a bank account and 34 percent said that they do not have any savings at all. In another study by National Bureau of Economic Research, it was revealed that almost half of Americans are nearly broke when they die. Of the general population, about 46 percent of retirees die with savings of about $10,000 USD  or less. If you are single, that number is 57 percent.  This situation is serious because it means that Americans do not have the money to pay unexpected expenses in the last few years of life.

The Solutions:

Though many Americans do not have the means to immediately cover a sudden expense, those who do have a job have an advantage over retirees (i.e., they can earn more to cover the costs incurred during an unexpected expense). Retirees do not have that option so one of the best solutions to avoid getting stuck in a financial fix when you’re older is to start saving now. The sooner you do that, the better your finances will be when you are no longer earning.

Limitations of Seniors

Many of the seniors who are 65 or older carry credit card debt of more than an average of $6,300 USD. This is primarily because they do not have many liquid assets so when they have to deal with any unforeseen expense, they resort to credit cards for help. Working Americans and retirees should both stash at least three to six month’s worth of living expenses aside as an emergency fund.

Start Saving Now

Start saving for retirement now! You can do so by mapping your current expenses and find new ways to cut corners in an attempt to set aside some extra cash. Some ideas include reducing luxury spending or cutting out a few restaurant meals each month.

If those changes do not increase your emergency funds enough, you can start thinking bigger and opt for changes like selling your car or moving somewhere less expensive. If drastically changing your lifestyle is not an option then you can earn extra money by taking additional side jobs on weekends or for a few nights every week.

Stay away from credit card debt by ensuring that your bills are always paid on time. Avoiding credit card debt might not increase your savings by much, but it will surely help you keep more money in the bank by avoiding interest charges.


If you feel that you have not done enough, seek out a professional. A professional financial planner will help in accumulating retirement benefits savings as well as an emergency fund. This also removes some of the worries from trying to plan it out yourself. No matter what it takes, your aim should be to live a comfortable life in your retirement years.

How to Submit Your ‘Healthy’ and Complete Federal Retirement Application by Jeff Wiedrich

How to Submit Your ‘Healthy’ and Complete Federal Retirement Application by Jeff Wiedrich

Jeff Wiedrich is the founder of Olive Creek Investment’s, LLC as well as an advisor working with government employees in the Phoenix metro area, as well as throughout Maricopa County and greater Tucson. He has extensive experience in the areas of wealth management and estate planning, specializing in the area of government employees.

If you are currently going through the process of planning your retirement, you will need to submit a complete federal retirement application, but the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) suggests making it ‘healthy’. For example, this describes a form that is complete from the very top while containing the right signatures and dates. With all questions asked on the form, you should provide full answers as well as check the appropriate boxes.

Jeff Wiedrich Recommends Avoiding Common Problems

According to OPM, there are some common issues that arise for many including the survivor election chapter; this needs to be filled regardless of your relationship status. For example, consent must be given by the spouse if a married applicant were to elect less than a full survivor annuity. Furthermore, the section regarding court orders must still be addressed even if there is no order.

Elsewhere, you’ll also need to list all periods of creditable civilian and military service; for the latter, you’ll need a Form DD-214. If you happen to be taking an early retirement or perhaps even discontinued service retirement, there will be additional documentation to complete. Finally, the forms require you to provide information regarding your FEHB status and whether any of your policies will continue into retirement. For example, individuals need to have worked in federal employment for five years before their retirement date. If you also want to remain eligible for FEGLI, you need to prove your coverage for the previous five years here too.

As you can see, a healthy retirement application can be difficult to achieve so take your time, don’t feel the need to rush the process, and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you feel your application would benefit.  Oftentimes a qualified financial professional is the best solution to your lack of knowledge.  But make sure you find a highly-trained and knowledgeable federal employee financial planner.

Jeff Wiedrich
Jeff Wiedrich of Olive Creek Investments, LLC

Contact Jeff Wiedrich

Olive Creek Investments, LLC
Phone: 480-887-4569

Jeff Wiedrich Articles

Why Federal Employees Should Verify Their FEGLI Coverage Now by Jeff Wiedrich

TSP – Should you play it safe? by Jeff Wiedrich

Picking Smarter Investments in Your TSP by Jeff Wiedrich

Your Roth TSP and How it’s Taxed by Jeff Wiedrich

WIFLE Conference Held In Houston With Talks On The Importance Of Retirement Financial Planning

WIFLE Conference: The Importance Of Retirement Planning for Federal Employees



The Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) recently met in Houston for the yearly leadership training conferences and offered good insight into the importance of retirement planning for federal employees. Here, the women talk about the various challenges that come with their often dangerous jobs.  Along with the training sessions, the program holds awards ceremonies that honor the ladies’ courage, outstanding service, and bravery.


The women are proud of their jobs and are grateful to the law enforcement women who came before them.  The event is an eye-opener to any who go as to why these federal employees deserve to get their retirement benefits after they have completed their public service so dedicatedly.


It helps those attending the WIFLE to understand that the retirement benefits and future planning are just as important to new employees as it is to the veterans who are midway in their career. It is certainly on the minds of those prospective retirees.


There is a strict mandatory retirement age of 57 for federal law enforcement officers. If officers are retiring in their 50’s and don’t plan on a second career anytime soon, they need to make some plans way ahead of their retirement time.


The younger workforce needs to understand why it is so important to think retirement planning for federal employees early in their career. Failure to do this means making mistakes that could be difficult to address when a person is so close to retirement age.


The WIFLE audience comprised of people who are covered under FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System). It is important that these people understand how the FERS basic retirement benefit, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) will give them an income when they’re no longer working.


Some women at the WIFLE first began their federal careers in the military and then went into civilian federal service workforce. This meant they could fulfill their service requirement before they can retire. However, a longer career would give them more time to save and for their savings to increase. On top of that, more time in the federal service means a better FERS retirement benefit.


During the WIFLE conference, people exchanged stories about retirees they knew who took the lump sum from the TSP accounts to pay debt off – eliminating student loans or mortgages. However, that’s not always the best thing to do.


Bob Leins with the National Institute of Transition Planning informed attendees that it was ill-advisable to withdraw a lump sum of money to pay off a large mortgage balance. Why? The TSP withholds 20% for the federal tax pre-payment, which means a person may not have enough to pay the full tax obligation.  A person may find that they owe as much as 15% more federal tax for that withdrawal.


Leins suggested retirees use the TSP monthly payments to make their mortgage payments like they were doing when they were working. He also suggested talking to a financial adviser to learn about allocating and rebalancing withdrawal from various investments.


It’s extremely important that people pick their advisor. The SEC said undisclosed fees, conflicts and overcharges have become a habitual theme in commission cases pertaining to investment advisers. In fact, the SEC recently charged four former Atlanta area brokers for fraud that involved convincing federal employees in rolling their TSP account holdings over into variable annuity products with a higher fee.


The WIFLE conference is an eye-opener to any who attend. It’s a place for people to lean onto one another for support. It doesn’t matter what the reason – if it’s for getting justice in the community in which they live or to better understand the way to have a safe financial future.

Many American Physicians not Prepared for Retirement and have less Retirement Benefits Savings

A new study has found that a large chunk of the physicians in America are unable to meet their retirement goals and they are behind schedule with regard to retirement benefits savings. Those who are better prepared for retirement and are ahead of schedule say that they have better knowledge of financial matters. They also have better financial health and confess to the fact that they make use of the services rendered by financial advisors.

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Being Behind the Schedule for Retirement Benefits Savings

A study conducted by American Medical Association Insurance that was entitled 2016 study on physicians’ financial preparedness found out that the percentage of American Physicians who said that they were ahead of schedule in their retirement plans from 2013 to 2016 has doubled. It went from 6 percent to 11 percent. Unfortunately, the same study has found that about 40 percent of American physicians admit to being behind schedule when it comes to retirement benefits savings.

The Study

The study was conducted in about 125,000 practicing physicians. They had varied age, employment situation, and specialty. It discovered that physicians can be financially prepared for the retirement at any age so age is not a valued factor. It stated that 7 percent of physicians who are on their 30s are ahead of schedule. It added that 11 percent of physicians in their 40s and 13 percent in their 50s were also ahead of their retirement schedule.

Being Financially Educated

The researchers found that the physicians who were financially prepared were eight times more likely to claim that they have better knowledge on financial matters such as insurance, investing, retirement planning, etc as compared to the physicians who admitted to being behind their retirement schedule.

Taking Help

About 67 percent of physicians who claimed that they are ahead of the retirement schedule said that they took the assistance of a financial advisor than 44 percent of physicians who are behind.

Better Financial Health

The physicians claiming that they are ahead of the retirement schedule and have better retirement benefits savings also have more money saved as compared to other physicians in their age and career stage. They also max out their qualified retirement plan contribution, have fewer debts, have the real estate plan well-defined and have more diversified investments. On the whole, they have better financial health.

Americans Don’t Plan On Retiring Until They Are 70: Survey

A recent survey has shown that many Americans don’t plan on retiring until they are 70 years of age. The survey also found out that people who expected to work until 70 would likely be more stressed and unhealthy as compared to those who plan to retire at 65. The survey stated that Americans were also of the opinion that their generation is worse off financially than their parents’ generation.


50 Percent of Private Sector Employees Don’t Plan on Retiring Until 70

As per the Willis Towers Watson survey, about 23 percent of Americans are planning to continue to work into their 70’s. This percentage was just 16 percent in 2009. The human resource consulting firms’ survey also stated that though almost all average employees wanted to retire at 65, about 50 percent of them would still be working until 70.

Stress in Jobs

The survey also exposed the fact that most of the employees who planned to work past 65 years of age were stressed about the job, less healthy as a person and they even felt more struck in the jobs as compared to the ones retiring at 65. The survey included opinions of more than 5,100 U. S. workers. It also included the opinion of about 30,000 working professionals who resided in 19 nations.

The Hidden Pensioners               

The term used for people who are planning to retire beyond the retirement age due to any reason is hidden pensioners.

Employees Feeling Stuck at Jobs

The survey has pointed out that about 40 percent of people who plan to retire after 70 feel that they are stuck in their jobs. This percentage is 28 percent in people who plan to retire at 65 or even before that. These details were shared by Steve Nyce who works as a senior economist at Willis Towers Watson.

The Pessimism

The pessimistic nature of U.S. employees was also revealed. The survey stated that about 76 percent of Americans think that their generation will be much worse off in retirement when compared to their parents’ generation. This percentage was considerably lower among the global respondents. It was just 66 percent. Nyce confessed that the developed economies such as Japan, U.K, and U.Ss are less optimistic about next generation. This may be the reason why most professionals who are doing a job right now don’t plan retirement before they reach the age of 70.

Federal Employees Plan on Retiring Earlier

As a result of Federal Employees having access to retirement benefits like the FERS Annuity, the Thrift Savings Plan and FEHB, most Federal Employees are likely to retire earlier than their private sector counterparts.  These advantages illuminate the realities and the differences between the benefits available in the private market compared to the benefits afforded to federal employees and their families.

Diminished Capacity Makes Retirement Benefits Planning Harder: Study

A recent survey has highlighted that the biggest concern of the retirees after 10 years into retirement was dementia or diminished capacity. People are concerned about the financial implications of their health and it is being stressed upon that the CPA financial planners should make sure that the financial fears of a person are addressed and retirement benefits planning is done smoothly before this disease takes total control of a person’s mind and leaves the person and his/her family devastated.

retirement planning

How People are Reacting to the problem of Diminished Capacity and Retirement Benefits Planning

The survey was organized by the American Institute of CPAs and it asked some questions from the CPAs regarding their clients’ attitude towards retirement benefits planning and dementia or diminished capacity. The survey stated that only 18 percent of clients are taking steps to address the problem while 35 percent are still weighing the problem. Half of the CPAs who were interviewed admitted that their clients have shown signs of diminished capacity or dementia in the last year.

The vital survey further revealed that one-third of the respondents feel that their clients have chosen to deal with dementia on a reactionary basis and about 13 percent are ignoring the problem. This makes it difficult for the CPAs to create a solid financial plan for the future years of the retiree.

How CPAs are Helping?

The survey highlighted that the financial planners are playing an active role in dealing with diminished capacity or dementia. About 85 percent are doing it by ensuring that all the health care proxies and powers of attorneys were in place. About 61 percent have made arrangements so that they can make contact with the professionals and relatives of the clients.

About 44 percent of the CPAs have got the authorization to contact the client’s attorney when needed while 35 percent have moved the money to a trust. About 34 percent have also automated the annual required minimum distributions needed by a client from their eligible retirement accounts. Around 18 percent have admitted that they had their clients move into an assisted care facility that was previously discussed with the clients.

Good Going

It seems that a number of CPAs are doing a good job of ensuring that their clients have access to retirement benefits and other facilities even after dementia or diminished capacity becomes a major issue for the clients. To help further, the members of the PFP Executive Committee have even developed a Diminished Mental Capacity Checklist that can assist too.

Planning for Retirement in Five Years by Ron Raffino

Tips from Ron Raffino for Those Planning on Retiring in Five Years

retirement benefits

You must have heard that it’s never too late to start planning, but have you heard it’s never too early to start planning? In fact, the earlier you start your retirement planning, the better it will be for you. Retirement planning is no joke as a lot of factors need to be considered carefully. We will advise you take some assistance from your local personnel service center. Since they have your employment records, they are in a position to provide you with personalized assistance.
We all know and understand that health and life insurance are of top most priorities but still, we see a lot of retired personnel without proper coverage. This usually happens because of lack of awareness and lack of knowledge. It must be noted here that in order to carry the coverage forward, one must be covered continuously for five years before retirement.

Help from your employer
You can get all the information you need on the retirement process from your agency. It should be noted here that the agency only provides you with the information. In order to interpret it and get advice on what to do, you should contact your local personnel service center. As they have your employment records, they are in a better position to advise you on such matters.

When to start planning
This is an important question. We hear a lot of employees asking this question – when should I start planning. Well, to be honest, it’s better to start as early as possible. But just in case if you haven’t done it then make sure you start planning at least five years before retirement. We advise you to start planning five years prior to your retirement as you must have insurance coverage for five years immediately before retirement to keep it after retirement.

Keeping your health insurance benefits after you retire
Pay close attention to this part. Following are points that specify the conditions for being eligible to continue your health insurance coverage.

  • You must be covered at the time of retirement.
  • Your coverage must not fall under the category of converted individual policies.
  • The date of issuance of the first annuity check must not be later than 30 days after the retirement.
  • Prior to 5 years of the date of retirement, you must have continuous coverage.

You can also avail the benefits of optional life insurance if at the time of retirement you are eligible to continue your basic coverage, and again if you were continuously covered for a period of 5 years before your retirement date.

Waiver of the requirement for continuing life insurance coverage into retirement

Currently, there is no such provision that allows a retirement employee to bypass the stipulated conditions for continuing life insurance coverage. However, if you do find yourself in such a situation then you always have the chance to migrate to an individual policy.

Review your service history

As someone who is about to retire, it’s always a good idea to review your service history. You can find all the information in the Official Personnel Folder (OPF). The purpose of such a review is to make sure that all your service records are valid and verified. If you encounter a situation where some of the records are missing then you must report it to your employer. Your employer can help you to find the missing records and document them properly. Some employees are required to make retirement contributions. You can enquire about the consequences of payment or nonpayment of such contributions from your employer.

A complication can arise if you haven’t made payment for receiving the military credits (only if you have served in the military). Such payments are to be made before you retire. You can also get advice from the Personnel Officer on waving the military retired pay.

Check your eligibility for Social Security benefits

In order to check for your eligibility to receive social security benefits, you need to visit your local Social Security Office. After you fill and submit the form SSA-7004-PC, you will be provided with a benefit estimate statement. This statement will contain all the information your future eligibility for Social Security benefits and estimates of these benefits at specified dates.

Government Pension Offset

In some cases, it has happened that the social security benefits of a retiring employee’s spouse saw some kind of offset. This mostly happens when the pension of the retired employees is not covered by social security. In such cases, there is no offset on the social security benefits of the retired employee; it happens only to the social security benefits of the retired employee’s spouse. This offset amounts to two third of the federal pension.

Such an offset does not apply universally. There are some exceptions. For example, those employees who are covered by the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS), Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) Offset, and those who voluntarily took transfers to the FERS before January 1988, are exempted from the Government Pension Offset.

Windfall Elimination Provision

Windfall Elimination Provision reduces the Primary Insurance Amount (PIA) of a person’s Retirement Insurance Benefits (RIB) or Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) when that person is eligible or entitled to a pension based on a job which did not contribute to the Social Security Trust Fund. While in effect, it also affects the benefits of others claiming on the same social security record.

The Windfall Elimination Provision does not apply if:

The WEP is applied to certain beneficiaries who are receiving RIB or DIB and who also:

  • The beneficiary becomes entitled to the benefits after 1985
  • The beneficiary also first becomes eligible, after 1985, for a pension based in any way upon earnings from employment that was not covered by social security
  • The beneficiary’s entitlement to this pension has not yet ended (even if not yet claimed)
  • The beneficiary is still alive
  • The beneficiary has not obtained 30 Years of Coverage (YOCs) at the age of 62 years.

Estimating the amount of the Windfall Elimination Provision reduction

At your request, using the form SSA-7004, the Social Security Administration will send you a Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement (PEBES) that will list your earnings from employment covered by Social Security and provide a Social Security benefit estimate assuming retirement at alternative ages, 62, 65, and 70. You should contact your local Social Security office (external link) to determine the effect of the Government Pension Offset and the Windfall Elimination Provision on your Social Security benefits.

Effects on benefits

When the WEP applies, it is used in determining all benefits on the record, both for the primary beneficiary and any auxiliaries. This includes an effect upon the maximum total benefits paid on the record as well. Since the WEP does not apply after the death of the primary beneficiary, it is never used for survivors.


More from Ron Raffino:

Ron Raffino Author Page – Ron Raffino

Ron Raffino

Top Three Concerns of Americans Nearing Retirement

A report has mentioned the top three concerns of Americans nearing retirement. It has also mentioned that many of the late-career respondents prefer free advice from a financial planner as compared to paying for the advice.


What are the Top Three Concerns of Americans Nearing Retirement?

The top three concerns of Americans nearing retirement as per the Pain Points and Actions report crafted by Hearts & Wallets are retirement planning, making investment decisions and estate planning. Hearts and Wallets is a renowned data and consulting firm that is focused on understanding the key drivers behind the decision making of the investors.

In this annual survey, the organization polled more than 5200 adults while oversampling for wealthier Americans. They are dubbed as the late career (age from 53 to 64). The survey organizers also oversampled the pre-retirees, people who expected to retire within the next 5 years.

Retirement Planning Challenge

Retirement planning topped the top three concerns of Americans nearing retirement. About 52 percent of the late-career and 59 percent mid-career respondents (age from 40 to 52) admitted that they are facing difficulties with regard to retirement planning.

Estate Planning Challenge

The survey also states that estate planning was among top three concerns of Americans nearing retirement, especially pre-retirees, and retirees. A higher percentage of people said it to be a challenge this year as compared to the last year. It rose to 26 percent in 2016 from 24 percent in 2015. Still, just 8 percent of pre-retirees say that they sought help for estate planning in the last 12 to 18 months.

Investment Challenge

As per the survey, 54 percent of the late-career respondents and 47 percent of the pre-retirees admitted that finding appropriate investments was difficult or very difficult for them.

Another Problem

Apart from the top three concerns of Americans nearing retirement, the survey also highlighted the fact that late-career people favor getting free financial advice. They don’t want to pay the financial advisors and that’s an increasing trend. About 71 percent of those respondents sought free advice by using the services of brokerage and mutual fund phone reps.  The respondents also sought assistance from other sources like media, employers, friends, etc. This percentage is up by 8 percent as compared to the results of 2015.  About 43 percent of the late-career respondents admitted to paying money for getting financial advice.

Retirement is the top financial planning goal of Americans: Survey

A new survey has revealed that retirement is the top financial planning goal of Americans. Many Americans also think that investing today is more complicated. Many pre-retirees say that they are not doing enough for retirement and some of them don’t think that they will be able to retire. Some retirees also admit that the future generations would have a lot of problem regarding retirement planning.


Survey says retirement is the top financial planning goal of Americans

The survey that states that retirement is the top financial planning goal of Americans was done by Prudential Investments. It revealed that retirement is the top priority for Americans. But when it comes to being prepared to retire, most Americans give themselves a C.

Expert Opinion

Stuart Parker, who serves as the President of Prudential Investments stated that developing an understanding of the hurdles that keep people from a secure financial future is vital for helping people meet their goals. He added that the research reinforces the fact that people need to seek financial advice and the investment community should give advisers the best solutions and tools that are available.

Views on Investment

According to the survey, about 66 percent of Americans admitted that investment decisions are complex as well as confusing. They also said that it’s more complicated for them when compared to their parents. About 64 percent of the respondents said that they are overwhelmed by the available choices and 42 percent had no idea about how their investments are allocated. Around 43 percent said that they barely have knowledge about the products they have opted to invest in.

Uncertain Future

About 74 percent of the pre-retirees think that they need to do more to be prepared for retirement and about 40 percent of them do not have any idea on what they should do. About 24 percent state that they would need at least $1 million to fund the retirement and about 54 percent of the pre-retirees have less than $150,000 in retirement savings.

About 20 percent of the pre-retirees also think that they won’t be able to retire at any time while 35 percent say that they won’t be able to save enough. About 75 percent of the retirees opine that the generations that follow them would have a more difficult time while saving for retirement. Seeing this level of uncertainty, it is not hard to agree that retirement is the top financial planning goal of Americans because it should be.

Millennial Small Business Owners Better and Retirement Planning than Baby Boomers: Study

A new study has revealed that Millennials are better at retirement planning as compared to baby boomers and Generation X. They are supposedly the most concerned generation in the recent history that is prepared for everything like retirement, cyber attacks, business succession and natural disasters. The study results were shared in the form of a percentage.

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The Study on Retirement Planning by Millennial Business Owners

The study was conducted by Nationwide Property & Casualty with the help of Harris Poll. It was carried out online from June 10 to 23 2016. The respondents of the study were over 500 small business owners of America who had less than 300 employees. The numbers of Millennial respondents were 190 (age between 18 to 35) while the numbers of baby boomers (age between 51 to 65) were 106. About 152 respondents were Gen Xers (age between 36 to 50). It was Nationwide’s second annual Small Business Indicator survey.

Expert Opinion

The President of Nationwide Property & Casualty, Mark Berven has said that some of the survey data is surprising. But when one considers the risks experienced by Millennials while they were growing up like cyber attacks, economic meltdown, etc. it should not be surprising to see Millennials come up as the most concerned individuals. They just want to protect their business as it matters the most to them.

The Results

The survey showed that about 51 percent Millennials have a disaster recovery plan in place while just 30 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of baby boomers have it. It also revealed that 42 percent of Millennials have a written cyber attack response plan in place as compared to 17 percent of Gen Xers and 12 percent of baby boomers. It also exposed the fact that about 61 percent Millennials have a business succession plan as compared to just 32 percent each of Gen Xers and baby boomers.

Retirement Planning and Millennials

The survey also shed light on how many Millennials are offering retirement benefits to their employees. It discovered that 59 percent of Millennials are likely to offer retirement benefits to their employees.  It also showed that about 84 percent Millennials offer add-on benefits to the employees when compared to just 60 percent of Gen Xers and 46 percent of baby boomers.

The add-on benefits include everything from medical insurance to paid time off and from dental insurance to vision insurance. It also includes retirement benefits like the 401 (k) plans that assist in retirement planning, workers’ compensation, life insurance, short & long-term disability as well as domestic partner benefits.

Free Retirement Benefits Planning Advice to be offered across the US

Many people often feel that they need the assistance of a financial planner to ensure that they do their retirement benefits planning right or manage their finances in a correct manner. Unfortunately, not all people can afford it. To help such people out, a program is being organized across the US which will offer free financial advice to people. This program would cover various US cities and would be organized in the month of October only.

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Program Offering Free Retirement Benefits Planning Advice

The program that lets people get free advice on retirement benefits planning and personal finance will be sponsored by the Financial Planning Organization, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Foundation for Financial Planning. As a part of the program, hundreds of financial planners will provide free financial advice to the area residents.

The financial planning days will be organized across various US cities and the cooperation from the local city governments will be sought. The program is now in its seventh year. The events regarding the program will be organized in schools, libraries, and municipal buildings depending on the city.

Core Mission

The mission of the program is to offer free and ethical financial planning advice to the people by various means. The means include group workshops and even one-on-one advising sessions. All the financial advisors would provide the attendees with no-strings-attached advice and they are not allowed to sell any financial products/ services, take names or offer business cards.

The Process

During the financial planning days, the financial planners would be seated at tables and they will meet privately with the individuals as well as couples to answer their questions. The topics of the discussion can vary from getting out of debt to managing credit, budgeting to income taxes, planning & paying for college to home ownership and from insurance to estate planning. Free classroom-style workshop presentations will also be conducted that would cover the key areas of personal finance.

Financial Planning in Local Communities

Pamela Sandy, who serves as the President of FPA stated that people often think that financial planning is something the wealthy people can afford but this is not true. The members of the Financial Planning Association constantly work to ensure that financial planning is accessible within the local communities too.

Vital Details

People who wish to attend the sessions for attaining some financial planning or retirement benefits planning advice in their cities need to visit for free registration. Walk-ins are allowed too. A person can also call a toll free number 1-877-861-7826.

People consider their homes to be a Key Part of their Retirement Plans

A new survey has unveiled the fact that most people consider their homes to be a vital part of their retirement plans. Some people have homes worth more than their retirement savings and some are worried about paying off the mortgages. Some even consider it an investment that would pay off later in life. People also want to avoid downsizing post retirement and some even deny that their home is a part of the retirement wealth.

retirement benefitsHow can a Home be a part of Retirement Plans?

The survey was done by Aviva, a British multinational company offering Insurance plans. It found out that about 46 percent people who are more than 45 years of age think that property is a key part of the retirement plans. In the same survey, about 69 percent admitted that the home they own is worth more than all their savings plus investments plus pension.

About 23 percent of people over 45 were worried about being able to pay the mortgage off. About 16 percent admitted that they may need to borrow money in retirement while 31 percent planned to give money to their children so that the children can become first time buyers. About 56 percent of people also expected the housing wealth to be a tool that can help pay for their care expenses later in life. About 61 percent think that the housing wealth is a vital part of their inheritance planning.

Avoiding the Downsizing

About 80 percent of the respondents were reluctant to let go of their homes post retirement. They want to stay in it as long as possible. In contrast, about 26 percent had already downsized or planned to do it in the future. People who wish to avoid downsizing have many reasons such as not wanting to let go of their friends, the transport links, the communities, etc. They also wish to avoid the stress related to going through the house selling and house buying process. All these factors were shared by Roger Marsden who serves as Equity Release Managing Director at Aviva.

Home as a part of Retirement Wealth

About 39 percent people over the age of 75 said that the home was a vital part of retirement plans because it could help them get some extra wealth. Respondents over 45 years of age wanted to use the wealth for pay for care later in life and they also wanted to use it to pay for house adaptations. About 61 percent of respondents over 45 years of age perceived the property wealth as a crucial part of the inheritance planning process.

U.S. Workers Feeling Better About Retirement

A new survey has revealed that many of the U.S. workers are feeling great about retirement and the U.S. economy in general. The survey also revealed the fact that U.S. workers are now relying on robo advisors to guide them on investment decisions. It is expected that their dependence on robo advisors would increase in the future too as more and more people are becoming aware of it.

retirementThe Survey Showing Better Feelings about Retirement

The survey that revealed that the U.S. workers are considering the U.S. economy and the retirement prospects to be moderately better was conducted by Wells Fargo/Gallup. It was entitled the Investor and Retirement Optimism Index survey. The survey was done by tracking 1,019 investors who had an investment or savings of over $10,000.

The Increase

The survey also showed that the index rose by 22 points only in the second quarter of 2016. It is the highest level the index has achieved since the second half of 2015. The Wells Fargo Index for non-retirees rose by 27 points and the index for actual retirees rose by 25 points across the board.

The Bullish Strategy

The survey found out that many respondents were bullish on the U.S. stock market which boosted their prospects of a higher household income.

Robo Advisors

The survey highlighted the crucial fact that there are several people who are depending on robo advisors. In simple terms, robo advisors are digital advisory services that make use of several computer algorithms to select the suitable investment options like stocks for people. The robo advisors make use of the information provided by people with regard to their risk tolerance and goals.

The Awareness

In the survey, it was also pointed out that about 45 percent of retirement investors now have an awareness of robo advisors. Currently, only 5 percent of these investors have admitted to using it. It is being expected that the awareness levels and the usage would increase in the future.

The Opinion

The Head of Digital for Wells Fargo Advisors, Mr. Devon McConnell stated that the automated infancy tools are still in the infancy stages but it is expected that the awareness of these tools will grow quickly. He correlated these tools with online shopping and said that there is an adoption curve that happened with online shopping and it is expected that a similar curve will be repeated with regard to robo investment advisors when people become comfortable with this new method of investing. People planning their retirement are also expected to trust this method in the future.

Baby Boomers Face Numerous Retirement Challenges

Baby boomers that are yet to retire are facing a lot of challenges. Most of these retirement challenges are due to financial constraints. They are also dealing with the problem of debts. All these facts were discovered in a recent study that surveyed non retired baby boomers with middle income.

The Study on Retirement Challengesretirement

The study was conducted by Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement recently and it involved asking a lot of questions from people who are yet to retire and fall into the category of middle income boomers. It did not include the first set of baby boomers who retired about 5 years back. Around 4 of 10 baby boomers who are fully retired were not surveyed.

The Financial Challenges

When the middle income baby boomers were asked about their spending about 60 percent of them replied that they are spending more than their household income. About 38 percent of the middle income baby boomers admitted that they had to make adjustments to ensure that they compensate for financial shortfall during retirement.

Retirement Finances

The income baby boomers are also not sure about their retirement finances. About 69 percent of the middle income baby boomers accept that they won’t have enough money to live comfortably after they cross the age of 85 years. Around 88 percent middle income baby boomers also expressed one or more than one concern with regard to their retirement.

The concerns are varied. About 64 percent of middle income baby boomers are worried about the decisions taken by the government with regard to budget and spending. Around 56 percent of middle income baby boomers are worried about their own declining health. About 54 percent middle income baby boomers are worried that they won’t have money to pursue their interests in retirement while 50 percent are worried about the lack of savings.

The Persistent Debt

About 81% of all the boomers who were surveyed stated that they have some form of debt. About 28% admitted that they put more than 40 percent of their income to get rid of the debt. Also, about a quarter of middle income baby boomers have a mortgage that has over 20 years left on it.

About half the middle income baby boomers plan to get rid of the debt before they retire only 23 percent of boomers who are retired are really debt free. So it’s probable that many middle income baby boomers won’t overcome the debt related retirement challenges before retirement.

Philadelphia Residents Contributing Least Towards Retirement Benefits

A new research has proven that Philadelphia residents contribute the least amount of money towards their retirement benefits. They are hence less prepared for the retirement and may struggle financially in their senior years. The major reason behind the fewer contributions is that most employers don’t provide a provision of retirement savings to the employees. Officials agree that this issue needs to be solved as soon as possible.

Retirement Benefits

The Need to contribute more to Retirement Benefits

The research that says that most Philadelphia residents are less prepared for retirement as compared to the Americans living in other states was done for a city council committee. The committee aims to know how to improve retirement savings. The study was conducted and released by the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis on Wednesday. It was divulged during a hearing conducted by Council’s Committee. The hearing was on Labor and Civil Service.

The Current Situation

During the hearing, several witnesses testified to the fact that there is a retirement crisis in the U.S. The witnesses also stressed that the retirement crisis in Philadelphia is particularly troublesome. The study exposed that about 20 percent of retirees in Philadelphia are poor and about 30 percent have incomes between 100 & 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

The Reason

Anthony Webb who works at the Schwartz Center for Policy Analysis stated that the reason behind the Philadelphia’s people saving less for retirement is that the employers who offer retirement plans are very few. Even those who offer a plan don’t always participate in the plans. He also added that a high proportion of seniors are nearing closer to poverty and the people who are working right now are also at a high risk of retiring in poverty.

Need For Action

Webb also stressed on the need to offering a retirement plan to people who don’t have any yet. He stated that offering a retirement plan may not help them to have a retirement of their dreams but it will definitely help them to get away from the poverty and near poverty situation they are facing right now. He insisted that the sooner an action is taken in this regard, the higher would be the number of households that get help. When a swift action is taken, they will be able to save a bit more money towards retirement benefits.

What is the Ideal Retirement Age for Americans? Poll Tries to Find the Answer

A poll has tried to find the answer to the popular question, what is the best retirement age for Americans. It found out that the age at which people retire has increased over the years. The poll revealed that most of the Americans plan to retire by 62 to 67 years of age. It also found out that some of the people who crossed 67 years of age are still working but didn’t divulge the reasons behind the same.

Retirement Age Expected by AmericansRetirement

About 38% of Americans who have yet to retire, plan to retire between the ages of 62 to 67. About 31% plan to retire only after crossing the current retirement age of 67 and 23% of Americans expect that they would stop working before they even reach the age of 62. The average predicted for retirement age is 66 currently, which is not very different from 65 to 67 age range found since the end of the 2007-2009 recession.

The Poll

The findings were revealed to be the result of the Gallup’s 2016 Economy and Personal Finance Poll. This poll was carried out from April 6 to April 10, 2016. The poll included people who were planning to retire in the future. It also included people who had already retired. The retirees included those who had retired a day back to those who retired a decade back. The total time span was 40 years.

Retirement Age of the Retired

The poll also divulged that the retirement age is consistently growing as it was 64 during the period of 2004 to 2008. It was even just 60 years in 1995. About 44% of the retired employees stated that they stopped working after reaching the age of 61 which is significantly lower than the current retirement age of 66. About 13% of the retired respondents admitted that they continued working even after reaching the age of 67 or being much older than that.

Retired Working Pattern

The poll also studied the working pattern of the retired employees. It found that 1 in 7 of people over 67 years of age are still working, part time or full time or are unemployed. These people seem to have no set retirement age. The reasons why they are still working may differ from financial difficulties or the simple fact that they love their jobs.

Over 40 Million Americans Regret not saving earlier for Retirement Benefits

retirement benefitsA recent survey done by has revealed that most of the Americans live with financial regrets. They primarily regret not saving enough money for retirement benefits. The other thing they regret is not saving for emergencies. The survey also revealed that people had better financial situations, financial security, and net worth when compared to a year ago.

Retirement Benefits and Emergency Savings are Key Regrets

Most of the Americans admitted that they had financial regrets. The percentage of Americans admitting the regrets was 75%. This was revealed in a study done by The study also found out that 18% or about 42 million Americans thought they should have started saving earlier towards their retirement funds. The study also found out that about 13% Americans thought they didn’t have enough money to pay emergency expenses.

Age and Retirement Saving Regrets

The survey also uncovered the fact that the Americans who were older had more concerns with regard to not saving up early for retirement. People who were more than 30 years old felt that they should have started saving for retirement early on. About 17% of respondents who were between the ages 30 to 49 regretted it. About 24% of respondents who were within the age range of 50 to 64 had this regret too. The percentage increased to 27% when the respondents were over 64 years of age.

Expert Opinion

The Chief Financial Analyst of, Greg McBride, CFA stated that most Americans dealt with the financial distress of not having enough savings.

Better Financial Situation

The good news for the Americans is that they got better at other financial factors.  The number of Americans who admitted that their financial situation is better than it was one year ago is almost double the number of people admitting that their financial situation is worse. The Financial Security Index of is at its 2nd-highest reading ever. It is currently 104.7.

About 31% of Americans have also confessed that their net worth is better than it was a year back and just 13% said that it has worsened. The financial security of men and women has improved considerably in the last one year too. Each posted the best readings in over 1 years’ time.

The Survey Subjects

The survey that found out all about the retirement benefits regret and the financial situation of Americans was done on more than 1,000 adults who were living in the continental United States. It was conducted by Princeton Data Source from May 5, 2016, to May 8, 2016.

The Worst Places to Retire in the USA

A recent study has found a few places that are the worst places to retire in the USA. The study also pointed out that the people who are retired or wish to opt for retirement must remember to look for certain criteria’s when selecting the best place to retire. Some of these criteria are affordability and quality of healthcare.

worst place to retireHow the Worst Places to Retire in the USA were decided?

The researchers at examined a lot of healthcare, financial and quality of life categories. They created a list of the best and worst places to grow old if you live in the USA. The major categories they used include the availability of quality healthcare, support for seniors and family caregivers, affordability of senior care and overall quality of life for seniors. They added that these criteria’s are not at the best in the common retirement destinations such as Arizona or Florida.

Topmost among the Worst

West Virginia was named as the worst state to retire because spending a year in an assisted living facility there will cost you $42,000. If you opt for home health care aide, you will have to shell out $36,600 every year. The state was said to be lacking in providing the important healthcare offerings and quality of life to the seniors.

New York has made it to the list also. It is a state that is named as the most expensive state for senior care in the USA. When a retiree opts for assisted living community, approximately $49,000 would be needed per year. On the other hand, the home health care aide would cost about $52,600. The third option, the option of using a semi-private room in a nursing home would cost around $131,700 on average.

Indiana was termed as relatively affordable in offering senior care. Unfortunately, the state was still counted among the worst as the quality of life and healthcare are not too good.

Advice for Retirees

If you are a retiree or you are looking forward to retirement in a few years, you need to make sure that you set your priorities right. Otherwise, you may end up planning your retirement at one of the worst places to retire in the USA. First, you need to have money for all the basics such as healthcare and comfortable living. After that only, should you focus on leisure options such as travelling and doing activities that you enjoy but never had time for.

Social Security Teams Up With CFPB For Retirement Planning

Social Security Teams Up With CFPB For Retirement Planning


Social Security
Social Security (photo – DonkeyHotey/flickr)

Social Security takes a cut out of every pay check to pay for providing disability and retirement benefits to the previous generation, but a whole lot of people don’t really think much about it, or about retirement planning in general. The Bookings Institution recently hosted an event regarding this issue for the Social Security Administration and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

At this event, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn W. Colvin, gave the keynote remarks on helping people plan for retirement.

The Social Security Administration also presented retirement planning tools available at the my Social Security online hub where people interact with the agency.

Approximately 168 million workers pay toward Social Security coverage through taxes on their earnings, and almost 60 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits. Around two-thirds, or 40 million of these beneficiaries, are retired workers or their dependents.

Still, many workers paying into Social Security don’t know much about how the system works, or what they need to do on their own in terms of retirement savings and plans.


How is Social Security Going to Help With Retirement Planning?


SSA intends to step in along with CFPB to provide retirement planning assistance to those who need help.

“We are so pleased to partner with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Brookings Institution to help Americans plan for retirement,” said Acting Commissioner Colvin. “Creating a sound retirement plan is vitally important. Social Security provides secure online services for our customers—including the my Social Security suite of services, the Retirement Estimator, and the online retirement application.”

The event hosted by the Brookings Institution also included a panel discussion on efforts to improve retirement planning. Panel guests included Olivia S. Mitchell, International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and Jean Setzfand, Senior Vice President of Programs at AARP.