Season 3

Shifting Gears to Retirement

Episode Notes

Many people who are approaching or in retirement are asking similar questions: What value do I offer if I no longer have a full-time job? What will I do all day? Can I afford to live the way I want do? In his new book, Shifting Gears: 50 Baby Boomers Share Their Meaningful Journeys in Retirement, author and retiree Richard Haiduck offers valuable insights into the aspirations and concerns of those who are experiencing the joys and challenges of their golden years. Most don’t plan on kicking back and doing nothing. By desire or financial necessity, many are working part-time or joining the gig economy. They continue to support the causes they believe in, through direct action and charitable giving. They’re starting new hobbies, speaking their minds, and pushing back against society’s outdated attitudes about older Americans. For many, the pandemic has not changed their retirement lifestyle at all.

The biggest worry among most of Haiduck’s interviewees is whether they’ll have enough money to live the way they want to during a retirement that could last decades. Those who are approaching retirement facing this financial uncertainty should consider working longer, delaying taking Social Security until age 70, boosting contributions to their retirement plans, and envisioning how they want to live when they retire. Many could also benefit by meeting with a fee-only fiduciary financial planner who can help them gain a full understanding of their projected income and expenses during retirement and what they may need to do now to shift as smoothly as possible into their life after work.

For further research:

Next Avenue, Shifting Gears to Retirement: The Joys and the Challenges

Recent Podcasts

Season 3
Where’s my stimulus check?

Show Episode Notes

If you and your spouse or partner make less than $150,000 (if filing jointly) or $75,000 (if filing as individuals), you should have received an economic stimulus payment ($2,400 for couples, $1,200 for individuals) that was part of last year’s COVID-19 relief legislation. In January of 2021, you should also have received an additional payment ($600 for individuals/$1,200 for couples) as part of the new relief legislation passed in December.

If you didn’t receive your payment, you have several options. The IRS Get My Payment tool will tell you whether the IRS sent you these payments and in what form–a check, a debit card, or a direct deposit to your bank. If the IRS says it’s sending your second payment as a check, you can see when it’s being sent using the U.S. Post Office’s Informed Delivery service, which will provide you with digital images of the exterior, address side of all mail sent to you.

If you never received your payments, there may be several reasons. A check or debit card may have been set to an outdated or wrong address. Or, if in the past you filed your tax return electronically and used a now-closed bank account for online payment or refund transactions, the IRS may have tried to deposit your checks to that account and failed.

If these or other situations left you without stimulus payments or the full amount you were entitled to, hope is not lost. You can claim a tax credit for these amounts on your 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. These tax forms will include a Recovery Rebate worksheet you can use to determine how much of a tax credit you’re eligible for. You’ll enter the amount on line 30. Even if your income level doesn’t require you to fill a 2020 federal tax return, file it anyway if only to claim the stimulus amount you deserve.

For further research:, Get the Original Stimulus AND the New One!

Season 3
How Did Your Investments Really Do in 2020?

Show Episode Notes

When you’re reviewing quarterly and year-end performance in your 401(k) and brokerage account statements, it’s important to consider how much you may be paying in annual fees (expense ratios) to mutual funds and commissions to brokers. These combined costs could be as high as 2% per year. While this may seem small, over several decades of investing, these costs could potentially reduce the value of your retirement nest egg by tens of thousands of dollars. And if you’re retired and now invest mostly in low-yielding bond funds, these costs may actually wipe out the small amount of income these funds generate each year.  

It’s up to you to research how much you’re paying in investment costs, and whether less expensive options are available. For example, most mutual funds come in various share classes, each of which have different expense ratios. Shares of funds you purchase on your own may have significantly lower expense ratios than different share classes of the same funds you purchase through a broker, which may add on as much as 1% in additional “marketing” fees to pay brokerage commissions. Not to mention added “back-end” sales charges if you sell shares before a certain time period has elapsed.  

If you invest on your own and you’re not a strong believer in the ability of mutual fund managers to make the best investing decisions, consider investing in index funds and ETFs that offer broadly diversified exposure to different segments of the market at a fraction of the cost of actively managed funds.  

If you’re working with a broker, ask them to disclose the total annual costs of the funds they’ve sold you. If these costs seem too high, ask them to recommend cheaper alternatives that have similar characteristics and track records—but make sure you won’t have to pay back-end sales charges if you make the switch. If your broker doesn’t take your cost concerns seriously, consider firing them and hiring a fee-only fiduciary investment adviser to manage your portfolio. These professionals charge you an annual fee (which they will fully disclose) and never accept commissions from fund companies. In exchange, they’ll be able to tell you exactly how much you’re currently paying in mutual fund fees and recommend lower-cost options that align with your investment objectives and risk tolerance.   

For further research:  

Show Episode Notes

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Pam Krueger

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Terry Savage

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Richard Eisenberg

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