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How Working from Home Could Impact Your Retirement Plan

How Working from Home Could Impact Your Retirement Plan

If you’re working from home during the pandemic, and the “new normal” becomes permanent, you should contemplate how this change could affect your retirement strategy.

 

First, it’s important to consider the difference between working from home (WFH) and working from anywhere (WFA). In a WFH arrangement, employers may still expect workers to come to the office from time to time. But in a WFA arrangement, employees have the flexibility to live and work from wherever they choose.

 

A WFA scenario offers maximum freedom and may allow a worker to relocate to another part of the country (or even outside of it altogether) to take advantage of a lower cost of living.

 

WFA is not nearly as common as WFH. In 2019, few companies based in the U.S. offered WFA arrangements, with about 95% of remote employees required to work from a set location. However, Household Pulse Survey data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that more than 35% of U.S. households have engaged in more frequent telework than prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Remote Work Can Be a Retirement Game-Changer

 

Working anywhere other than the office may reap significant cost savings for employees in a variety of areas, including:

 

·         Cheaper housing

·         Lower transportation costs

·         Fewer socializing and entertaining expenses

·         Reduced purchases and upkeep for work attire

·         Greater ability to handle child and adult caregiving duties

 

Many employees who’ve come to appreciate the benefits of WFH are considering the possibilities of extending that arrangement — and rethinking their retirement plan in a number of ways as a result.

 

Retire sooner. With a substantial drop in housing or caregiving costs, you may find that you can retire sooner than you’d hoped. Taking advantage of a lower cost of living can bend the retirement timeline significantly. You may not have to move very far for this to make a big difference, particularly if your job requires you to reside in a major city, where the cost of just about everything is often much more expensive.

 

Work Longer. On the other hand, WFH may give some the flexibility and desire to continue working past retirement age. For example, if an employee has health or mobility limitations, working from home may make it easier to stay in the workforce longer. Additionally, employees nearing retirement may have parents who require assistance, and having the kind of flexibility that WFH or WFA affords them may allow them to fulfill their family obligations while remaining on the job. Others may want to work longer to be able to afford an “upgrade” to their retirement lifestyle.

 

Re(work) the Numbers: The first step in evaluating the possibility is to reevaluate the household budget. With housing, transportation, childcare and so many other major components of the budget potentially affected, you have to crunch the numbers. Your financial advisor can help you make an A/B comparison of what your retirement plan looks like if you work remotely or on-site to see how it impacts your retirement trajectory.

 

The pandemic has created significant hardships and burdens for many families. The possibilities for continuing remote work may constitute a bright spot in the darkness.

Source

 

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/09/harvard-study-says-a-popular-work-benefit-may-delay-retirement-in-workers.html

 

Ease Into Retirement With a Smart Pre-game Strategy

Ease Into Retirement With a Smart Pre-game Strategy

Retirement is a major milestone — a moment to turn a new page to a chapter you’ve probably dreamed about for decades. People look forward to unencumbered schedules, freedom to travel, spending more time with relatives or moving to a dream home on the beach. Retirees often have big expectations about what a life of leisure may bring only to find out that they miss the routine and camaraderie of going to work each day. Or that moving to their favorite vacation destination means leaving all their friends behind.

It’s not uncommon for retirees to experience a surge of well-being and happiness directly after retirement, followed by a decline in life satisfaction as time passes. But you can avoid some of the stress and anxiety that retirement can bring with a smart pre-retirement strategy to help smooth out the transition.

Dip Your Toe in Retirement Waters

The day after you retire might seem like plunging into the deep end of the pool – your daily work-life routine suddenly stops cold. So, instead of jumping in, consider wading into retirement with a transitional job. Maybe your current employer will let you step down to part-time work for several months — or you can explore a new opportunity with a bridge job that keeps you in the workforce (and keeps your retirement account growing) while lightening your schedule. Your WellCents financial professional can help you figure out how much income you’ll need in order to make a gradual transition into retirement.

Retire to Something Else

Prior to your last day at work, make plans and lay the groundwork for what you’ll retire to — not just the job you’ll retire from. Join a community or volunteer organization now. Get to know them and what the possibilities are so that when you retire you’ve already found a group you like, and are ready to fully engage in — or ramp up — your participation. 

Relocate With Confidence

Moving closer to children and grandchildren or relocating to a favorite vacation destination can sound like the perfect retirement plan. But it can also lead to disappointment — family may be busy with other activities or your vacation spot might be lonely without a group of friends. Invest in your new community before you make the big move. Plan longer trips to the area so that you can take part in local activities, meet people, start new friendships and have something to do outside of your family circle.

Invest in Prep

Just like the time and financial investment you make toward retirement readiness, investing effort and energy into retirement prep can yield big rewards. Talk to your spouse, family and friends about the dream you have in mind for your golden years and discuss how it aligns with theirs. Make a plan and start investing in your dream well before your last day of work. Contact your WellCents financial professional to check your financial readiness and figure out the best time to kick off your retirement pre-game.

Source: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2014/01/retiring-minds

 

Holiday Gifts That Won’t Break Your Budget

Holiday Gifts That Won’t Break Your Budget

You’ve done a good job of sticking to your financial plan all year, but when it comes to holiday gift giving, it’s easy to let good intentions knock you off your savings path. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend about $1,000 on winter holiday gifts. That can be a real budget-buster, but meaningful gifts don’t have to come with a hefty price tag. We’ve got some $25-or-less gift ideas for everyone on your list.

Celebrate Coworkers
Office gifts are part of work culture. Maybe you manage a team and want to give your group a token of appreciation. Or you know one person who always gives gifts, and you want to return the favor. A work-appropriate gift that won’t put your account in arrears could be a nicely bound notebook, a quality writing pen or a gift bag of color-coordinated office supplies like paper clips, magnets and Post-it notes. Keep it professional but fun to brighten your coworkers’ day.

Seasonal Presents to Service Providers
Postal workers, hair stylists and even your GrubHub driver are people you might want to thank during the holidays. A batch of your favorite cookies presented in a festive box or tin is a low-cost way to show your gratitude for a year of good service. Make it extra special by including a handwritten note and a copy of the recipe.

Thank Your Terrific Teachers
Whether it’s your child’s 4th grade teacher or your yoga instructor, there’s lots of reasons to give extra thanks to the people who help us learn and grow. A pick-me-up, like a $10 gift card to a coffee shop, can help any teacher start their day off right. Make it more meaningful by supporting a local business close to your favorite teacher’s place of employment. Bakeries, ice-cream parlors or tea shops often offer gift certificates or cards that you can package in a pretty envelope or decorated box for that personal touch. 

Great Gifts for Grandparents
Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins — you want to remember your extended family in your holiday giving, but the costs can add up. Go for truly personal, budget-conscious family gifts by using the photos you take during the year to make photo-mugs, photo-calendars or even a family photo t-shirt! You can look online for low-cost, photo-personalized gift services. And at some big-box stores or national pharmacies, you can connect your camera or thumb drive to their in-store kiosk for easy ordering and processing.

Treat Yourself Too
No one should fault you for indulging in a holiday gift to yourself, but you should be as mindful here as you are in your presents to others. Money you receive as gifts (and funds you save by using our budget gift ideas!) can add up to a special treat and an end-of-year contribution to your retirement savings account. Talk to your WellCents financial professional about how catch-up contributions can help maximize your retirement savings and give your future self the gift that keeps on giving — a more financially secure retirement. 

Summer Fun on a Budget

Summer Fun on a Budget

Planning for the future is important, but so is enjoying the present. Luckily, there are many fun summer activities that don’t have to break the bank. Here are some tips to have a blast on a budget as the thermometer heats up.

 

Dining. Whether you enjoy freshly caught fish at an Italian trattoria or boardwalk funnel cake, waterfront restaurants are inherently appealing. But sometimes all you really need is a great view. Save money on your next trip to the beach or lake by packing a picnic meal. Bringing your own food adds a simple charm to your day, and you’ll often find that purchasing tasty treats from the grocery store saves money and leaves you with great leftovers for your next summer adventure.

 

Travel. Road trips are synonymous with summer travel value for good reason. Airline or cruise travel often leaves you with additional costs beyond the ticket price, such as rental cars or Wi-Fi. In contrast, a road trip lets you better control your budget by bringing more snacks, minimizing surcharges, and picking cheaper lodging through Airbnb or a discount hotel chain. If possible, plan your summer trips well away from major holidays or conventions to avoid price spikes.

 

Entertainment. You don’t have to leave town to see something new. Check out your city’s social media pages or good old fashioned bulletin boards for upcoming events. Even if crowded fireworks celebrations aren’t your thing, you’ll often find art shows and antique festivals that bring interesting wares — and unique food — to a cultural district near you. In addition, many libraries and parks host free movie screenings that let you experience a familiar classic at a pleasant venue.

 

Nature. Many people choose the place they live just for easy access to a beach or an unspoiled forest. But city folk need not despair. Use Google Maps to search for city or national parks in your area. Some may be close enough to justify a day trip. Others may be just a turn away from the main road but conceal the bustle in ways that feel like you’ve entered another world.

 

Activities. Learning about your parks will also show you great places to go for tennis, basketball, baseball and other sports. Certain parks may specialize in specific activities, while others go all-in on a massive multi-sports complex. Flow down the river in a kayak at a state or national park or take your kids to a public pool with slides and fountains that feel like a mini water park! There are also your local YMCAs, athletic clubs, and rec centers for air-conditioned fun, which could include slower-paced games like billiards and shuffleboard for family and friends of all ages. Checking social media may help you find amateur leagues or informal groups that connect you to other enthusiasts.

 

Staycation. Don’t assume you know your area inside and out. Even small towns have museums and cultural centers you may be unaware of — or offer new exhibits that reveal unknown parts of its history. Unorthodox attractions like ghost tours or escape rooms can be a fun diversion for date nights. If you enjoy camping, pack up some gear for an overnight trip or set up a tent in the backyard.

 

Don’t head into Labor Day with a huge credit card bill over your head. Keeping your summer activities budget-friendly will help rein in expenses so you can keep the fun going all year long.

 

 

Putting off 401(k) Enrollment Could Cost You More Than You Think

Putting off 401(k) Enrollment Could Cost You More Than You Think

You just landed a new job, and there are so many things to do. You have to set up your new workspace (even if it’s at home), become acquainted with your boss and coworkers and get up to speed on your new responsibilities. And there’s the company-sponsored 401(k) you should sign up for.


It could be tempting to put off investment- and retirement-planning decisions until you settle in. But that’s an idea that could cost you more than you might expect, especially if you have a longer time horizon to retirement.

According to The Motley Fool, a 25-year-old employee making about $47,000 who saves 15% of their income and realizes a 7% annual rate of return would have almost $100,000 more at retirement than another worker with all the same parameters — except that they waited until age 26 to begin their contributions.

 

So, move signing up for your 401(k) to the top of your to-do list. If the options are a little overwhelming, sit down with a financial advisor who can help you determine your personal risk tolerance and recommend investments accordingly.

 

Another option to consider if you’re unsure about making investment decisions is electing to contribute to a target date fund (TDF), if your plan offers one. These funds create a mix of investments according to an estimated retirement date.

 

The fund automatically adjusts the mix and risk of investments to become more conservative as the target date approaches. A TDF handles much of the decision making for you. However, it’s still important to monitor the fund’s performance and periodically check in with your financial advisor to ensure you remain on track to meet your retirement goals.

 

You generally want to contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) plan. But at minimum, try to contribute at least enough to earn the maximum company match.

 

Companies that offer a what’s called a 401(k) “match” will match your retirement contributions either dollar for dollar, up to a certain amount — or according to a percentage or formula. You always want to aim for contributing at least enough to receive the maximum possible employer match or you’re leaving free money on the table.

 

What you may intend to be a small delay in contributing to your 401(k) can lead to months or years as life gets busy. If this should happen, you can easily miss upswings in the market and opportunities for growth to compound over time.

 

Choose to make retirement planning a priority and put yourself first. Your employer-provided financial advisor can be a tremendous resource whether it’s the first time you enroll in a 401(k) plan or your third or fourth time around. And if this isn’t your first experience with a 401(k), be sure to discuss the options for any funds remaining in 401(k) accounts from your previous employers as well.

 

Don’t delay this important decision set up an appointment with your financial advisor today.

 

Source:

https://www.fool.com/retirement/2020/08/18/waiting-to-save-for-retirement-heres-how-much-itll/

 


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