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Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Ask Larry: Will Changes In The Full Retirement Age Reduce My Social Security Benefit At 70? – Forbes

Posted: December 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Economic Security Planning, Inc.

Today's column addresses questions about spousal benefits before delayed retirement credits at 70, potential effects on Social Security benefits of the WEP and the GPO due to receiving a public pension and what happens to other benefits drawn on a person's record when child benefits end. Larry Kotlikoff is a Professor of Economics at Boston University and the founder and president of Economic Security Planning, Inc, which markets Maximize My Social Security and MaxiFi Planner.

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Have Social Security questions of your own youd like answered? Ask Larry about Social Security here.

Will Changes In The Full Retirement Age Reduce My Social Security Benefit At 70?

Hi Larry I turn 68 January 2021 and I was planning on waiting until 70 to start drawing my Social Security retirement benefits. I currently receive my spousal benefit, which is relatively small. My wife retired at 62. Will my age 70 Social Security benefit be reduced due to all these changes of full retirement age I've heard about? Thanks, Jonathan

Hi Jonathan, Your own Social Security retirement benefit amount won't be reduced as a result of the fact that you've been drawing spousal benefits. Nothing has changed with regard to Social Security regulations that would affect your ability to wait and claim your full rate at 70 when you reach that age. Your full retirement age (FRA) is 66, so if you wait until the month you turn 70 to start drawing your retirement benefits, you'll receive four full years of delayed retirement credits (DRCs). That will make your benefit rate 32% higher than if you'd started drawing your retirement benefits at FRA. Best, Larry

Is It True That My Social Security Amount Will Be Reduced If I Receive PERS Retirement?

Hi Larry, I am a retired NV teacher in the marvelous PERS retirement system. I worked enough summer jobs and NV National Guard to qualify for about $900 when I turn 66 years and two months old. The rumor mill out here claims that Ill only get about $300 monthly from Social Security because Im receiving PERS money. Please, tell me the rumor mill is wrong. Thanks, Chuck

Hi Chuck, Your monthly Social Security retirement benefit rate won't be reduced by as much as $600 because of your PERS pension, but it sounds like it will almost certainly be reduced significantly due to the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP). The WEP can cause a person's Social Security retirement benefit rate to be calculated using a less generous calculation formula if they receive a pension based on their work and earnings that were exempt from Social Security taxes.

I don't have enough information to be able to give you an idea of how much your Social Security rate may be reduced, but you may want to consider using my company's software Maximize My Social Security or MaxiFi Planner to analyze your options so that you can determine the best strategy for maximizing your benefits. Our software is fully capable of handling WEP computations as well as the Government Pension Offset (GPO) that could also come into play if you receive auxiliary or survivor benefits based on another person's Social Security record. Social Security calculators provided by other companies or non-profits may provide proper suggestions if they were built with extreme care. Best, Larry

What Happens When My Son's Benefits End?

Hi Larry, My last son is turning 18 in January and his Social Security benefits will end. What happens to the money and does it come back to me or does it just end? Thanks, Rita

Hi Rita, Your son's benefits will simply stop being paid when he's no longer eligible. Child benefits paid from the record of a living parent are auxiliary benefits. In other words, they are an extra benefit paid in addition to the parent's own retirement benefit rate. Auxiliary benefits are only paid if an eligible family member qualifies for such benefits.

The payment of auxiliary benefits does not reduce the benefit amount payable to the worker whose record the benefits are paid from. Therefore, since your son's benefits had no effect on your benefit rate in the first place, your benefit rate won't change as a result of your son's payments stopping. Best, Larry

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Ask Larry: Will Changes In The Full Retirement Age Reduce My Social Security Benefit At 70? - Forbes

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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5 Unexpected Sources of Retirement Income — All Related to Your Home – Motley Fool

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Most Americans approaching retirement have not saved nearly enough. More than a third of those 55 and older have socked away less than $100,000, and about 60% have saved less than $250,000 (perthe 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey). Clearly, even factoring in Social Security income, most people will need additional sources of retirement income.

The good news is that there are a lot of ways to generate retirement income, such as working for a few more years and tapping life insurance policies. Here are five sources of retirement income, all of which relate to your home.

Image source: Getty Images.

One way to generate income from your home is to occasionally (or frequently) rent out parts of it -- or all of it -- via a service such as Airbnb or This is a particularly powerful strategy if you live in an area where many business or vacation travelers might like to stay, such as in a big city or by a beach. As an example, last year (pre-pandemic), the average daily Airbnb rate in Steamboat Springs, Colorado -- a skiing hotspot -- was around $450, while in Boston, it was $266.

You might be able to take this strategy further, if you want, by taking in a boarder. If someone rents a room in your home and pays you, say, $500 per month, you're looking at $6,000 in extra income. Plus, when you're retired, a trusted housemate can be helpful and reassuring to have around.

Another way to wring dollars out of your home in retirement is via a reverse mortgage. That's where you borrow against the equity of your home, receiving either a lump sum or specified regular payments. You're allowed to remain in your home, but when you leave -- perhaps due to moving to a long-term care facility or when you die -- the loan will need to be repaid. That typically is handled by selling the home.

A downside is that your heirs generally won't get your home. Read up on this strategy and learn a lot more about its pros and cons before getting a reverse mortgage.

You might also get more money for retirement by downsizing into a smaller home. Doing so will generally give you smaller mortgage or rent payments and should cost you less in property taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs, and utilities. It might not cramp your style too much, either, if your kids have grown and moved out, leaving you with more space than you need during retirement.

You might also generate more retirement income by moving to a less costly town or part of the country. This could include moving to a smaller home, but it might not. Check out the median home value in some representative cities, along with a recent cost-of-living score there (with a score of 100 representing the national average):


Median Home Price

Cost of Living

Portland, Oregon



Longmont, Colorado



Salt Lake City, Utah



Charleston, South Carolina



Nashua, New Hampshire



Atlanta, Georgia



Chicago, Illinois



Tampa, Florida



Richmond, Virginia



Yuma, Arizona



Oklahoma City, Oklahoma



Ocala, Florida



Tulsa, Oklahoma



Hobbs, New Mexico




There are, of course, lots of other possible locations that can be great places to retire.

Finally, another way to generate more retirement income from your home is to work there doing a side gig. That might be tutoring kids online in a subject you're good at, such as math or French, or running an online store where you sell sweaters you've knitted or wooden jigsaw puzzles you've cut or soaps you've made. There are many other side gigs to consider that can bring in needed income. If you can generate just $200 extra per week, you're looking at more than $10,000 in additional annual income.

Take some time to figure out how much income you'll really need in retirement, and see whether any of the above strategies can help you. Be sure not to ignore healthcare costs, and factor Social Security income into your overall plan, too.

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5 Unexpected Sources of Retirement Income -- All Related to Your Home - Motley Fool

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Considering retirement? Here’s why you need to talk about it. A lot. – Minneapolis Star Tribune

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The pandemic has accelerated a major social and economic shift that has been unfolding over the past three decades: Retirement is less a binary choice you are either working or retired and more another transition into a mix of activities, some paid and others unpaid. The so-called retirement years (better yet, unretirement years) often include activities that may include a mix of volunteering, grandparenting, leisure, flexible work, part-time jobs, gig tasks, self-employment and encore careers.

Behind the shift in expectations is the fact that Americans are living longer and healthier lives (on average) since retirement-as-leisure became commonplace in the 1950s and 1960s. The typical person now reaching age 65 will spend about 22 years in the traditional retirement years, according to the MIT AgeLab. Not many people can save enough to maintain their standard of living for that length of retirement. The pandemic recession has been hard on so many older workers that the need to earn an income longer for financial security is greater than before. At the same time, working a meaningful job offers purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning exerts a powerful pull.

Deciding on the right mix of paid and unpaid activities for you is a difficult task to figure out on your own. Tapping into professional expertise, say, financial planners, career coaches and lifestyle tutors can help, of course. What if you don't command the kind of resources it takes to hire well-schooled professionals? Where can you turn for guidance?

That's the question moderator Rich Eisenberg, managing editor of PBS' Next Avenue, asked a group of experts during a panel discussion on "Unretiring: The New Rules of the Second Half of Life." Panelist Andrew Scott, professor of economics at the London Business School, hit the mark when he urged people nearing the transition to unretirement to hold many discussions in their household. Your household, your family and extended family are an incredibly valuable resource. Don't try navigating this major transition (or any big transition for that matter) on your own.

Engage in conversation with your broad network for ideas, suggestions, and insight. Run the numbers to see how your income and savings match up with your portfolio of desired paid and unpaid activities. Budget and learn new skills as needed. Personal finance is nothing more than making realistic calculations to support your goals, your dreams and your values.

Chris Farrell is senior economics contributor, "Marketplace," and Minnesota Public Radio.

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Considering retirement? Here's why you need to talk about it. A lot. - Minneapolis Star Tribune

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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3 Moves to Make Right Now if You Want to Retire Early – The Motley Fool

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Approximately 52% of workers say they plan to continue working past age 65, or never retire at all, according to a survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

If the idea of working well into your senior years sounds dreadful to you, retiring as early as possible may be a better option. While retiring early isn't easy, there are a few steps you can take to make sure you're on the right path.

Image source: Getty Images.

No matter what age you choose to retire, you'll need to set a savings goal. But it's especially important if you're retiring early, because you'll have to save more money in a shorter amount of time.

Use a retirement calculator to estimate how much you'll need to save. Remember, too, that depending on how early you plan to retire, you may not be able to depend on Social Security benefits. You're not eligible to begin claiming benefits until age 62, so if you intend to retire before that age, you may need to survive on your savings alone until you can start collecting benefits.

The average 65-year-old couple can expect to spend close to $300,000 on out-of-pocket healthcare costs during retirement, according to research from Fidelity Investments. In addition, you won't become eligible for Medicare until age 65. So if you retire before then, healthcare costs could take a substantial bite out of your budget.

You have a few options when it comes to covering healthcare costs in retirement if you're not eligible for Medicare yet. You can enroll in COBRA insurance after you leave your job, for instance, but the caveat is that you can only keep COBRA coverage for up to 18 months. So if you retire before age 63 1/2, you'll need to find another type of health insurance before you can enroll in Medicare.

Another option is to buy health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. You may face higher premiums or deductibles than when you were still employed, but if you develop health problems, having expensive insurance is better than no insurance at all. Just be sure to account for these costs as you're budgeting for retirement.

It's hard enough to save when you're planning on retiring at the traditional retirement age, but it's even more challenging if your goal is to retire early. You'll need a hefty nest egg to enjoy retirement comfortably, and unless you have loads of spare cash lying around to invest, you may need to make some budget cuts.

Depending on how much you need to save for retirement and how many years you have left to prepare, you might need to make significant financial cutbacks. But the sooner you start saving, the fewer sacrifices you'll need to make.

If you're unable to save as much as you need, you may consider reducing your retirement expenses instead. You may choose to downsize to a smaller home once you retire, for example, or consider relocating to a more affordable city. The more you can reduce your expenses, the easier it will be to retire early.

Early retirement is more achievable than you may think, but you'll need to have a strategy in place. By making these money moves right now, you'll be on your way to retiring as early as possible.

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3 Moves to Make Right Now if You Want to Retire Early - The Motley Fool

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Dont Miss These CARES Act Retirement Benefits – Forbes

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Signed into law on March 27, 2020, Congress created the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide financial relief to Americans suffering from the economic fallout of Covid-19.

Several of the more high-profile retirement provisions of the CARES Act have expiredincluding stimulus checks, supplemental weekly unemployment benefits and the suspension of federal student loan payments. But there are still a few important CARES Act benefits that you can take advantage of before the end of 2020.

The CARES Act eliminates the 10% withdrawal penalty for qualified retirement account holders who have a valid Covid-19-related financial hardship. It allows them to withdraw up to $100,000 from their tax-deferred retirement accounts, or taxable earnings in a Roth account, in 2020.

Under normal circumstances, withdrawing funds from most tax-deferred retirement accountslike a 401(k) or a traditional IRAbefore age 59 triggers a 10% penalty from the IRS in addition to the income tax youd normally owe on the withdrawal. Earnings, but not contributions, withdrawn from a Roth account are hit with the penalty as well.

Valid Covid-19-related hardships include a positive coronavirus diagnosis for the account owner, their spouse or a dependent; a lay-off, furlough, reduction in hours, inability to work or lack of childcare because of Covid-19; a delayed or rescinded job offer because of Covid-19; or Covid-related closing or reduced hours for a business owned by the account holder or their spouse.

The CARES Act has also waived the 20% mandatory tax withholding requirement for early withdrawals from workplace tax-advantaged retirement accounts. This withholding is how the IRS normally ensures that plan participants pay the necessary taxes on their early withdrawals.

But just because you can avoid both the early-withdrawal penalty and the mandatory withholding does not make your early distribution free of taxes, however. Michele Cagan, a certified public accountant (CPA) based in Baltimore, warns plan participants to remember the tax bite. The lowest tax bracket under current tax law is 10%, so you need to prepare to pay at least 10% of what you take out. So if you need to take a $50,000 withdrawal, expect to owe at least $5,000 in taxes.

The CARES Act allows for some flexibility in paying those taxes. Cagan notes that you have the option of paying your taxes in three even installments for the 2020, 2021, and 2022 tax years.

Heres how that might look. According to Vanguard, the median coronavirus-related withdrawal was $12,000. A hypothetical participant could either choose to add the entire $12,000 withdrawal to their 2020 income to pay taxes all at once, or increase their 2020, 2021 and 2022 income by $4,000 each year, spreading the tax burden over three years.

That said, if your income was significantly diminished in 2020 and you can afford to pay any applicable taxes this year, you might save money compared to future years.

The CARES Act also allows participants to redeposit the money within three years of the distribution, which is much longer than the usual 60 day allowance for redepositing early withdrawals. If you do choose to return the money, you will owe no taxes, although you may have to file an amended tax return to get back any taxes you paid on the early distribution prior to redepositing it.

While expanded access to retirement funds may provide an important financial lifeline, Cagan suggests participants try to exhaust other options first. Even with all of these CARES Act breaks, taking early withdrawals could end up costing you thousands of dollars and putting you in an even worse financial position than youre already in, she says.

Thats because money taken out of your retirement investments cant grow. You lose the momentum of your investment which makes it harder for your account to recover, Cagan says. And though you may need money now, youre taking it from your 75 or 80-year old self, and it will be that much harder to get needed money once you reach that age.

These pitfalls may explain why only 4.5% of Vanguard plan participants decided to take a coronavirus-related distribution as of Oct. 30, 2020.

In addition to penalty-free early withdrawals, the CARES Act also expanded hardship loans from employer-sponsored retirement accountssuch as 401(k), 403(B), and 457suntil Sept. 22, 2020.

Under the CARES Act, plan participants were allowed to borrow up to 100% of the vested balance or $100,000, whichever was less. This was double normal hardship loan limits50% of the vested balance or $50,000, whichever is less.

The window for borrowing the expanded amount from a workplace retirement account has already closed, so anyone considering a hardship loan now will be limited to the 50% or $50,000 maximumor a coronavirus hardship withdrawal of up to $100,000.

One hardship loan provision does remain in effect until December 31, 2020: If you took a hardship loan prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and have a repayment due between March 27 and Dec. 31, 2020, your repayment can be delayed for up to one year. Thats because the CARES Act allows retirement account borrowers (including new borrowers) to forgo repayment in 2020. Under normal circumstances, you must pay back your loan within five years and you are required to begin paying it back immediately.

According to Vanguard, only 1.0% of plan participants took advantage of the Coronavirus Hardship Retirement Account Loan options. This may be in part because participation in the loan program was optional, so not all workplaces allowed for participants to take loans. But the downsides of 401(k) loans may also have discouraged people.

According to Kevin Matthews II, creator of Building Bread, a financial education company, People think a 401(k) loan has no drawbacks since you repay it. But taking money out of the market means you lose the compounding factor, and you wont see the true opportunity cost until years later.

Considering the major market rebound since May of this year, Matthews worries that participants who took 401(k) loans in the spring, when the market tanked, may have hurt their future account growth. Borrowers wont see the same bounce as those who remained invested, Matthews says. The S&P 500, for example, has grown 64% from its March low as of mid December 2020.

Additionally, job stability is a concern for 401(k) loans. Though participants are no longer beholden to the old rule requiring repayment of such a loan within 60 days of terminating employment, you will still have to repay it when your federal tax return is due for that year, with extensions, or else you will have to treat the loan as a distribution and owe taxes on it.

For 2020, that means if you take a loan this year and lose your job, you will have to repay the loan in full by Oct. 15, 2021. For that reason, if your job is not secure, a 401(k) loan could be a risky proposition and wind up a large financial burden.

While financial experts implore struggling Americans to find other places to look for extra money, like 0% APR credit cards or low-interest personal loans, Cagan concedes that if you need to take it because there are no other choices, then take it.

But dont take the maximum simply because you can. Cagan recommends you take only what you need and not more. But consider including the amount you will need to pay taxes so youre not left scrambling come tax time. For instance, if you need $30,000, plan on withdrawing $34,000 and paying your tax bill with the excess.

And to prevent such a dilemma in the future, Matthews offers some advice: Everyone should have three different tax buckets for investing: a tax-deferred retirement account, a Roth retirement account and taxable investments. Then, if youre strapped for cash, you can take money from the taxable investments without worrying about the implications on your tax-deferred retirement accounts, he says. A Roth, with its penalty-free and already-taxed contributions, might then be your next line of defense.

Another important provision of the CARES Act was the suspension for 2020 of required minimum distributions (RMDs), or mandatory minimum withdrawals the IRS mandates for most retirement accounts. This was done to give retirement accounts a chance to bounce back from the market downturn in the first half of 2020.

Until Aug. 31, 2020, anyone who had already taken an RMD for 2020 and wished to return it could do so with no penalty. If you have not yet returned your RMD for 2020, though, the window has closed.

The IRS normally requires RMD withdrawals from retirement accounts belonging to individuals over age 70 (for those born before July 1, 1949) or age 72 (for those born after July 1, 1949) as well as non-spousal heirs who inherited tax-deferred accounts. RMDs are calculated each year based upon the balance of the account on December 31 of the previous year.

In addition to decreasing your taxable income by avoiding RMDs this year, you may also be able to decrease income through charitable donations in 2020.

The CARES Act allows taxpayers who dont itemize their deductions to take up to a $300 deduction for a cash contribution made to qualifying organizations in 2020. Under normal rules, you cannot deduct charitable giving unless you itemize your deductions. Further, if you do itemize your deductions, the CARES has temporarily suspended limits on charitable contributions for tax year 2020. Normally, you are limited to deductions of up to 60% of your income. This year, you can deduct 100% of your adjusted gross income.

For the first time ever, you can make your tax liability zero. Give 100% of your AGI to charity, owe zero taxes, says Cagan.

With 2020 rapidly drawing to a close, there are only a few weeks left for CARES Act provisions that can help you access needed funds or reduce your tax burden. However, though there is only a little time left, make sure you consider your financial options carefully before deciding to take advantage of any of these temporary rules.

Consider speaking to a financial advisor or tax professional for help with this decision. You dont want to start 2021 with regrets because you made a hasty decision to beat the deadline.

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Dont Miss These CARES Act Retirement Benefits - Forbes

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, says he will retire ‘eventually’: ‘Hard to know exactly when’ – Fox News

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer indicated that he does not plan on remaining on the bench for the rest of his lifeand will retire at some point.

Justices enjoy lifetime appointments, and while some like Justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg have remained on the court until their passing, others like Justice Anthony Kennedy have called it quits early. In an interview with Slate, Breyer said he looks to be among the latter.


"I mean, eventually Ill retire, sure I will," Breyer said while noting that "its hard to know exactly when."

Breyer described how this year has posed challenges for him as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Supreme Court continued to hear and decide cases, but conducted oral arguments via conference call as the justices remained at home.


"The thing that makes that difficult is were doing our normal court work," Breyer said about his time at home. "In fact, COVID cases come along, and there are a few more of them that we have to decide quickly. We have a telephone that is secure. And we do our oral arguments. People have to listen harder and be more direct in their questioningthats all good. But all of that takes time, and we have to write opinions."

U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer is seen during a group portrait session for the new full court at the Supreme Court in Washington, Nov. 30, 2018. REUTERS/Jim Young

A retirement in the near future would allow President-elect Joe Biden the nominate Breyer's replacement, ensuring the ability to replace the liberal jurist with a like-minded successor.


Earlier this year, rumors abounded that conservative Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito were considering retirement. The departure of one or both of them from the Supreme Court during Biden's administration would allow Democrats to chip away or overtake the high court's current conservative majority.

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Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, 82, says he will retire 'eventually': 'Hard to know exactly when' - Fox News

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Don’t forget to check your retirement plan. Here are moves to make before the year is out – CNBC

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wera Rodsawang | Moment | Getty Images

As you check off your to-do list for the end of the year, don't forget to look at your retirement savings.

Whether it is an individual retirement account, an employer-sponsored plan like a 401(k) or a brokerage account, assessing your portfolio is crucial.

That means checking to see where you are at with your savings, comparing it to your long-term financial planning goals and making a plan to bridge the gap, if necessary, said certified financial planner David Totah, senior wealth advisor at Frisco, Texas-based Exencial Wealth Advisors.

There's no better time to do it than the end of the year.

"We are wrapping up the year and beginning a new year and you have the entire year for these changes to impact your position, your plan," he said.

While the stock market has been volatile, it is up which means your portfolio could be out of balance. Instead of a 60% stocks/40% bonds split, you could be more heavily weighted in equities than you want.

"If there is a big downturn, you will expose yourself to a bigger loss," said CFP Jude Boudreaux, senior financial planner with The Planning Center in New Orleans.

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Sell some stock to get yourself back to your original asset allocation.

"Buy low, sell high," he said. "Stay disciplined to a strategy."

If you have a target-date fund in your 401(k), which is geared towards your anticipated retirement date, it will automatically adjust the allocations based on your age.

designer491 | iStock | Getty Images

Try to contribute enough to your 401(k) to at least get your employer's matching contribution, if there is one.

"Pay yourself first," Totah said. "Save the money first, and then spend what is left over."

It may also be a good time to see if you can bump up the amount of your contribution for next year.

"Don't let the perfect 'I can't get to the max so I won't make any changes' get in the way of doing 1%," said Boudreaux, a member of the CNBC Financial Advisor Council.

"Try 1% and see how it goes," he added. "Taking a step forward and doing a little more can be a big plus."

You may also be in line for an annual raise. For instance, if it is 3%, aim to bump up your contribution by 2%, if you can.

Also, if you are age 50 or older, consider trying to add in the catch-up contribution.

The contribution limit for 2021 is $19,500, but people age 50 and up are allowed an extra $6,500.

"Catch-up contributions are so critical," Totah noted. "You are in the last quarter of the game.

"You have to start socking it away if you are short of your goals."

You may find that you have a lot of stocks in a certain sector, especially if there were a lot of gains during 2020. You may consider reducing some of that exposure, Totah said.

You may then increase your exposure in another area.

"Make sure that the positions that you own currently are the positions you want to own next year in possibly a new type of economic situation," he said.

If you made money on the sale of some investments this year, you can offset those gains with selling other assets at a loss during the same year.

This is called tax-loss harvesting, and it should reduce the amount of capital gains taxes you'll have to pay.

Constantine Johnny | Moment | Getty Images

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

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Its Time to Change How We Talk about Retirement, Starting with the Word Itself – Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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Kevin and Sara were a young couple in their early 30s passionate about the outdoor lifestyle and living life to the fullest. They had reached a point where they were ready to engage with a professional financial adviser to help guide them through their life full of future adventures.

In our first meeting I began my interview to learn more about who they are and what is important to them. I got to the part where I ask about goals and retirement. As I asked, Tell me about retirement for you. What does that look like? When do you see that happening? I got this deer-in-the-headlights look, and I could see them mentally checking out.

Kevin and Sara had no idea. Retirement seemed so far way, and the picture of retirement in their heads sitting in rocking chairs drinking tea is not one that they wanted for themselves.

That is when I realized that retirement can feel a lifetime away for some clients, especially those who are younger. Some clients have a tougher time visualizing what they might want it to look like. The last thing advisers want is for clients to feel intimidated by having these types of conversations.

I knew we had to change the dialogue if we were going to be able to help folks paint the picture of their future and help them get there. Moving forward, I began to ask clients about what they planned to do when work was optional, which morphed into a term I use now: vocational freedom.

Vocational freedom opens up a world of possibilities for people to imagine what their days would look like if they didnt have to answer the alarm clocks call, didnt have to be in a certain meeting, or turn a report in at a certain time. It does not have to be at 60 or 65 or some other pre-determined age that society sets. It can be whenever a person wants to shoot for making it happen. It also does not mean you have to stop being completely productive. Maybe there is hobby that you want to turn into a career, or a line of work that you have always wanted to do. Whatever that is, it can be possible.

To get started working toward this goal, begin by writing down what you want this phase of your life to look like. Be sure to include a partner or spouse in the conversation who will be with you on this journey to help design and decide what you will do together and individually. Ask yourself these questions:

These questions are only to be used as a starting point but will help get the conversation going in your mind to generate more questions and more answers about your vocational freedom masterpiece.

Next, begin prioritizing your goals and crunching the numbers. Start by asking yourself what the non-negotiables are as they relate to your goals. For example, if you want to take four international vacations a year, determine if you need first-class accommodations on each trip or if there is flexibility to go economy. If you are unfamiliar with what it might cost to have a certain type of lifestyle, do the research to get the data needed to support your goals. Working with experts such as travel agents, Realtors, accountants and financial advisers can help you to develop a plan to move closer to reaching your vision of what vocational freedom looks like for you.

Once you know where you want to go and the associated costs, its time to put a plan of action in place and start implementing it. Just like any other goal, you need to take the steps necessary to make it happen. One simple way to do this is to begin by automating your savings. Start by taking advantage of a 401(k) or another employer-sponsored plan and begin contributing. A good rule of thumb is to save around 15% of your income.

If taking a 15% bite out of your take-home is a tough pill to swallow, start smaller, but start! Begin by doing 5% this year, then put a reminder in your phone one year out to move to 7%, then 9% the next year, and so on, moving you closer to that 15%. If your employer does not offer a plan, you can set up your own account with an investment firm and have automated monthly transfers. The point is to get going, and to automate. The less you have to do with the decision of saving, the more you can save over time, and the closer you will move to your goal.

Back to our clients from the beginning, Kevin and Sara. When we had our second meeting, we changed the dialogue from retirement to vocational freedom, and it completely changed the course of our conversation. Kevin is an engineer and has a passion for snow skiing. He shared that if there were no constraints, that he would love to be a ski instructor. We encouraged Kevin to start doing this now. Begin spending some time on weekends or vacation days here and there working as a ski instructor. Not only could he start to hone his skills, but he could make some extra money to put away toward that future vocational freedom lifestyle.

You can do just as Kevin did: Find something on the side to make extra money, move you closer toward your goal, and learn along the way. If you have enough money going toward your goals, start volunteering in the area that interests you.

Vocational freedom means different things to everyone and can happen at different times. Dont be constrained by what the societal norms are for retirement. You dont have to reserve yourself to the rocking chairs on the porch.

Through proper design, planning and taking action, you can make your vocational freedom look like whatever you want it to be. Whether it is taking a year off to live abroad or building a life where you control your time and schedule, your path to vocational freedom starts today. Now, put pen to paper, and start charting out your adventure!

Financial Adviser, Springs Wealth Group

Chris Young is a co-founder and financial adviser at Springs Wealth Group where he focuses on working with individuals and businesses with a passion for the outdoors and the outdoor lifestyle. He holds a Certified Financial Planner designation.

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Its Time to Change How We Talk about Retirement, Starting with the Word Itself - Kiplinger's Personal Finance

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Posted in Retirement

LeBron on course to join legends with jerseys retired by multiple teams –

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LeBron has won titles and left lasting impacts in each of his three NBA cities.

LeBrons James NBA footprints are deep, made so by the weight of record-breaking statistics, championship trophies and the sheer power of showmanship.

His impression is also unique in that it spans from coast to coast on the NBA map.

Though made by the same man, each step is markedly distinct. After his as-great-as-advertised beginning in Cleveland, James rode his groundbreaking Decision to Miami. It was the precursor to the superstar player movement that would follow, but in the moment it was easy to over-analyze. James bore the weight of the scrutiny and won two titles, two Kia MVPs and two Finals MVPs anyway.

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Mission accomplished in Miami, James returned his attention to his original team. His second stint in his home state broke Clevelands sports curse in dramatic fashion, punctuated by a historic rally from a 3-1 Finals deficit in 2016 against the most successful regular-season team ever.

But after Golden State reloaded with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving left Cleveland, James found himself looking West when free agency loomed in 2018. Now he is a Laker, a much more meaningful statement after leading L.A. to the 2020 championship and perhaps just as importantly serving as the teams superstar ambassador following the passing of Kobe Bryant.

There is little doubt that each of those three franchises Cleveland, Miami, and Los Angeles will retire James number whenever his absurdly accomplished career comes to a close. Assuming that happens, he will join an elect few who are so honored in more than one city. Unlike the Bill Russells, Magic Johnsons and Dirk Nowitzkis of the world, most of these were legends whose careers brushed their teams more briefly, but left indelible marks on each of them just the same.

Kareems skyhook was a championship shot in Milwaukee and Los Angeles.

Number retired by: Bucks (No. 33), Lakers (No. 33)

Still the NBAs all-time leading scorer and almost underrated when it comes to GOAT debates, Abdul-Jabbars early days in Milwaukee have been timely revived thanks to the Bucks recent ascent. The 7-foot-2 superstar was known as Lew Alcindor when he led a three-year-old franchise to the 1971 championship while seizing Finals MVP honors. After adopting his Muslim name, Abdul-Jabbar went on to earn three MVPs and lead the Bucks to the 74 Finals, where they lost to the Celtics in a classic seven-game series.

Abdul-Jabbar requested a trade in 1975, a wish that saw him sent to the Lakers. Three more MVP awards and five championships as the big man of the Showtime era cemented his status as one of the all-time greats, as did his passing Wilt Chamberlain for the career scoring record. Now, Abdul-Jabbars iconic No. 33 graces the rafters of the franchises that saw him sink one sky-hook after another with an easy dominance no one has ever been able to duplicate.

Barkley was unstoppable once he got going, and there was no such thing as a 50-50 rebound if he was around.

Number retired by: 76ers (No. 34), Suns (No. 34)

The Round Mound of Rebound is widely recognized for his current television work, but proof of his on-court speed and strength still raises eyebrows two decades after his final season as a player. For eight seasons, Barkley bulldozed past, around or through opposing defenders for Philadelphia, putting up numbers and highlights that are mind-boggling to this day. Though he was unable to help the 76ers retain their championship standing once the old guard retired, Barkley is still an undisputed legend there.

Change was ultimately needed for both sides, however, and Barkley was eventually traded to Phoenix in 1992. It was there, alongside All-Stars Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle, that Sir Charles tasted meaningful postseason success. The 1992-93 NBA MVP led the Suns through a grueling Western Conference to The Finals, where his team matched Michael Jordans Chicago Bulls point-for-point (640-640) and came within one possession of forcing a Game 7. Barkleys No. 34 is retired in Philadelphia and enshrined in the Suns Ring of Honor.

Chamberlains numbers still dominate the record books despite the constant attention of fellow legends like Bill Russell.

Numbers retired by: Warriors (No. 13), 76ers (No. 13), Lakers (No. 13)

Perhaps the most dominant well-traveled superstar before LeBron, Chamberlain is a near-constant reference point when current players produce an absurd statistical performance. The Big Dipper was even more overwhelming than expected, winning MVP honors in his rookie season and averaging 50.4 ppg and 25.7 rpg in his third season with the Philadelphia Warriors.

Chamberlain did not taste the ultimate team success, however, until after being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers from the Warriors, who had since moved to San Francisco. In 1966-67, Wilts scoring average dipped below 30 points for the first time in his career and the 76ers upended his ultimate competitor in Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics for the championship. Chamberlain won the MVP three seasons in a row with the Sixers, too.

A season later, Chamberlain was on the move again, this time to join forces with fellow legends Jerry West and Elgin Baylor on the Lakers for the 1968-69 campaign. Though his time in L.A. marked Wilts rebounding average dipping below 20 for the first time in his now-10-year-career, the team thrived and peaked in 1971-72, winning a still-standing record 33 consecutive games en route to winning The Finals against the Knicks. Chamberlains monolithic No. 13 hovers over each of his former teams current homes, an unmatched symbol of sheer physicality and production.

Drexlers brilliance made the Blazers contenders and the Rockets champions.

Number retired by: Trail Blazers (No. 22), Rockets (No. 22)

As memories of Portlands lone 1977 championship became cluttered by more recent playoff shortcomings, the 14th overall pick of the 1983 Draft tiptoed his way into a new Blazers era. After averaging just 7.7 ppg as a rookie, Clyde the Glide and his new team proved they were around to stay. Drexler made eight All-Star teams in Portland while leading the franchise to Finals appearances in 1990 and 92, an era defined by his greatness and the teams toughness.

When that period began to fade, Drexler was traded in the middle of the 1994-95 season to defending-champion Houston, where he immediately meshed with reigning MVP Hakeem Olajuwon. Freed by the constant defensive attention drawn by The Dream, Drexlers efficiency and Houstons repeat chances skyrocketed immediately. A few months later, Drexler was hoisting the championship trophy that had so long eluded him.

Ervings gravity-defying ability captured fans and championships in two different leagues.

Number retired by: Nets (No. 32), 76ers (No. 6)

The legend of Dr. J resonates not just across teams, but leagues as well. Erving was more myth than man in the less visible ABA of the 1970s, where he redefined the games aerial possibilities. He served as the quintessential superstar for both the league and the New York Nets, which won two championships with Erving leading the way. The Doctor also won three straight ABA MVPs (1973-76) before the league merged with the NBA in 76.

Ervings new home, Philadelphia, seemed tailor-made for his showmanship and starving for its first title since the Chamberlain era. The Doctor didnt disappoint, turning the 76ers into an instant contender before breaking through with the 1983 NBA championship.

Lanier is a star worth remembering, one that still shines in the memories of Pistons and Bucks fans alike.

Number retired by: Pistons (No. 16), Bucks (No. 16)

Detroits 1970s NBA identity revolved around Dave Bing and Lanier, a 6-foot-11 lefty that more than held his own with some of that decades giants. Mobile and fundamental, Lanier tortured opponents with a sweeping hook from either hand and a quick second jump on the offensive glass. And though his Pistons teams never enjoyed a major playoff breakthrough, his individual success (seven All-Star appearances) and longevity in Detroit ensured his place and No. 16 among the franchises all-time greats.

Lanier was traded to Milwaukee in the middle of the 1979-80 season. He enjoyed one more All-Star honor with the Bucks, with whom he experienced his first ever conference finals in 1984. That wound up being his final season in the NBA, but Milwaukee didnt let the calendar year flip before raising his No. 16 to the rafters.

Maravichs wizardry led to points for his team while leaving opponents scratching their heads.

Number retired by: Hawks (No. 44), Jazz (No. 7), Pelicans (No. 7)

One of the most gifted ball-handlers of all time, Pistol Pete began his NBA career in Atlanta. In his four years with the Hawks, Maravich was twice named an All-Star and averaged 23 ppg or better in three of those seasons.

A trade to the then-New Orleans Jazz in 1974 saw Maravich earn three more All-Star nods, as well as All-NBA honors and a scoring title. While his playoff success never matched his talent (he played in 26 career postseason games), Maravich remains an icon for basketball fans who remember or want to see the endless possibilities of a basketball in hand. His instinctual talent for misdirection and improvisation saw his No. 44 retired in Atlanta and his No. 7 with the Jazz. The New Orleans Pelicans franchise, though technically not the team for which Maravich played, also immortalized his No. 7.

First time, second, third, fourth every rebound seemed to belong to Moses Malone.

Number retired by: Rockets (No. 24), 76ers (No. 2)

Too often, Malones name goes unmentioned in conversations of all-time great big men. Fans in Houston and Philadelphia know better. The Rockets enjoyed Malones rebounding talent for six seasons, a stretch that saw Malone win two MVP awards and the team make its first trips to the conference finals and Finals.

Malone was traded to Philadelphia in 1982, joining a 76ers team fresh off a Finals defeat to Abdul-Jabbar and the Lakers. With Malone aboard, Philly tore through the competition and prompted their new MVP center to predict a fo, fo, fo sweep of the playoffs. He was only one loss off, as the 76ers blasted their foes including the Lakers in The Finals en route to the 1983 title.

Monroe was as brave as he was fearless, making him an instant favorite in both Baltimore and New York.

Number retired by: Wizards (No. 10), Knicks (No. 15)

In a league dominated by big men, Earl the Pearl proved that the small could indeed topple the tall. The 6-foot-3 guard dazzled his way to the rim in four seasons with Baltimore, where he won Rookie of the Year honors and a pair of All-Star appearances. Monroe led the team in scoring in 1970-71, a season highlighted by the then-Bullets first trip to The Finals.

A trade to New York saw Monroe team up with Walt Frazier to form the Rolls Royce Backcourt. The dynamic guard duo led the Knicks to their second title in four season, culminating in a five-game Finals coronation over the star-studded Lakers. The Pearl earned another pair of All-Star appearances before retiring with the Knicks in 1980.

Few things were less likely to succeed than a shot near Dikembe Mutombo.

Number retired by: Nuggets (No. 55), Hawks (No. 55)

The finger wag is universal now, but it was what came just before it that terrified would-be interior scorers for 18 years. Mt. Mutombo led the league in blocks per game from 1993-96), all in his formative years with the Denver Nuggets. His time there is well documented (three All-Star appearances and a Defensive Player of the Year award) and is fondly remembered as the Nuggets became the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the first round of the playoffs.

Mutombos defensive dominance continued in Atlanta, where he earned another three DPOY trophies (he was traded to Philadelphia in the midst of his final award-winning season with the Hawks). He also helped the Hawks to their first back-to-back 50-win seasons since the Dominique Wilkins era.

If Shaq was close enough, it never mattered how many defenders were between him and the rim.

Number retired by: Lakers (No. 34), Heat (No. 32)

ONeals dominance as a player was matched only by his personality as a person, qualities that meshed with the Los Angeles Lakers perfectly. The Big Diesels arrival jump-started a new era of NBA basketball in L.A., a new brand of Showtime that had an enormous star attraction in the middle. ONeal realized his full potential with the Lakers, running away with the 1999-2000 MVP award and decimating the rest of the league in route to a trio of NBA titles with a young Kobe Bryant as his running mate.

A parting of ways saw ONeal traded to Miami in 2004, where he quickly set about proving he was still a championship-deciding superstar. Alongside another young star guard in Dwyane Wade, ONeal helped the Heat claim its first championship in 2006.

The Big O set record upon record with the Royals before winning a title with the Bucks.

Number retired by: Kings (No. 14), Bucks (No. 1)

Robertsons early days are harder to visualize not because of the player, but the team. The Cincinnati Royals are now the Sacramento Kings, but the teams former city and name remain synonymous with the NBAs original walking triple-double. Robertson averaged an absurd 29.3 ppg, 10.3 apg and 8.5 rpg in 10 seasons with the Royals, including his iconic triple-double average as a 23-year-old player in his second season. He was an All-Star from 1960-70 in Cincinnati while claiming six assist crowns, a scoring title, Rookie of the Year (1960-61) and MVP honors (1963-64), too. In terms of competitiveness, many of his peers describe him as Jordan before Jordan. The Royals came within one game of toppling the mighty Celtics in the 1963 Eastern Division finals.

A stunning trade to Milwaukee in 1970 paired Robertson with the ultimate frontcourt teammate in Lew Alcindor (later Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). The pair quickly gelled and led the Bucks to 66 wins in its first season together before rolling through the playoffs and sweeping Baltimore in The Finals. Robertson and Abdul-Jabbar made the Finals again in 1974 before ultimately falling to the Celtics.

Thurmonds work on the glass is among the best the league has ever seen.

Number retired by: Warriors (No. 42), Cavaliers (No. 42)

The oft-forgotten third pillar of rebounding during the Russell-Chamberlain era, Thurmond averaged 15 rpg over his entire Hall-of-Fame career. The Chairman of the Boards spent his first 11 seasons with the Warriors, amassing seven All-Star appearances and five All-Defensive honors. Thurmond played for two Finals teams in San Francisco, the latter coming closest in a 4-2 loss to Chamberlains 76ers in 1967.

Thurmond spent the last two years of his career in his home state of Ohio, playing a key role in Clevelands first conference finals team in 1976.

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LeBron on course to join legends with jerseys retired by multiple teams -

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:00 pm

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I’m retired and won’t live to see my mortgage paid off. Should I refinance to lower my monthly payment? – MarketWatch

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The Big Move is a new MarketWatch column seeking to answer questions about navigating the world of real estate.

Do you have a question about buying or selling a home? Do you know where your next move should be? Email Jacob Passy

I am 68 and became disabled in December 2007; I had to retire in May 2008. In 2010, my home was refinanced with Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac. I have no idea how this works having two mortgages.

My refinanced mortgage started at 3% and has increased over the years. It is now at 4.75%, and the monthly payment is around $780, which includes escrow, except homeowners insurance, which increases every year.

I owe $48,000 on my home. Since I wont live to see my home paid off, I need to lower the principal to help me stay in my home, because the cost of living is increasing every year.

Is it worth having my home refinanced at a lower, fixed percentage rate and paying closing costs? Im trying to avoid a reverse mortgage, mainly because I dont understand how they work.

I hope you will help me, because I have no one to help. Im single and have no children.


Refinancing while retired

Dear Refinancing,

Right off the bat, I have to commend you for being proactive in considering ways to reduce the burden of these housing costs. In speaking with mortgage experts, it became clear that youre far from alone.

Many baby boomers are facing similar dilemmas: They havent paid off all their debts before retiring, or theyve found that their fixed income cannot account for inflation as well it once might have. But youre thinking a few steps ahead.

More often than not the calls arent being made to me as the lender until the mortgage is already behind, which is going to limit the options that we could look at, Donny Schulze, a mortgage banker with Embrace Home Loans, said.

Before I jump into some recommendations about your situation, I do quickly want to clear up one common misconception. Freddie Mac FMCC, -2.83% is not actually a lender. Like Fannie Mae FNMA, -2.81%, Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored enterprise that was created to provide liquidity to the housing market. What does that mean? Fannie and Freddie purchase pools of mortgages from banks, like Wells Fargo, and securitize them.

By buying these mortgages, Fannie and Freddie not only pump more money into the housing-finance ecosystem which lenders can use to create more mortgages but they also take on the risk associated with those loans. Without Fannie and Freddie, 30-year mortgages would be more a rarity than the default in this country.

So it sounds like, in your case, that you actually have a single mortgage from Wells Fargo WFC, -2.00% that was backed by Freddie Mac.

As to your question, refinancing your mortgage could help to reduce your monthly housing costs, but there may be limits. Refinancing the balance of a $48,000 mortgage with an interest rate thats in the low-4% range and bringing it down to todays rates might not have as big of an impact as a homeowner might anticipate, Schulze warned.

But a refinance could help right-side your finance in other ways that make your life more comfortable. You dont mention what other debts you have, but lets say that you also have credit cards or auto loans youre looking to pay off. Those loans typically carry higher interest rates than mortgages do.

Dont miss: We want to use our inheritance to buy our dream home in this popular vacation destination is $800,000 overpriced?

So one option you have is to do a cash-out refinance, where you take a portion of the equity youve accrued and use it to pay off those other loans. While you may have a larger principal to pay back, eliminating those loans could reduce your overall monthly outlays.

A cash-out refinance could also help you ensure that your home meets your needs as you get older. Imagine what you would want when youre 85, not when youre 68, said Brian Koss, executive vice president at Mortgage Network, a Massachusetts-based lender. Taking some money out now to make repairs or improvements that will make your home more livable could pay dividends down the road.

As you indicated, refinancing doesnt come for free. Youve indicated that you dont expect to pay off your mortgage before you die, and that you dont have heirs who might want to inherit the property. So the cost-benefit analysis may look somewhat different for you.

Weve given 30-year mortgages in the last year to people in their 90s. Its against the law for us to discriminate.

When most people refinance, their main priority is the aggregate savings and it can take many years to realize those. For some people, a lower interest rate might not save them money overall even if their monthly payment is smaller because they could pay more in interest, if theyre extending the term of their loan significantly by refinancing.

In your case, youre looking simply for a lower monthly payment. Lets say refinancing will save you $100 a month on the mortgage payment, but will cost you $2,000 in closing costs. Those closing costs often can be rolled into the principal, so you wont necessarily need to pay them up-front. Doing the math, after 20 months, youll have broken even when looking at it from this perspective. Ultimately, youll need to do the math after getting offers to see if it makes sense.

My advice: Go to multiple lenders, and be up-front with what youre looking for. And dont worry about your age or fixed income being an issue. Weve given 30-year mortgages in the last year to people in their 90s, Koss said. Its against the law for us to discriminate.

Once youve done the math, determine whether it does make sense to refinance. Should you choose not to go through with one, youre not necessarily out of luck. You can also go to your existing mortgage lender to explain that youre having trouble.

Her problems are also her current lenders problems, said Holden Lewis, mortgage expert at NerdWallet. Her lender doesnt want her to fall behind on the payments, so it has an incentive to reduce the monthly payments and make them easier for her to afford. The lender might offer a refinance for a lower interest rate, with little or no closing costs paid out of pocket.

One last thing: I know you said you dont want to consider a reverse mortgage because you dont understand them and that instinct is definitely a good one. But I do think that you should be aware that yours is a scenario where a reverse mortgage could make a lot of sense.

Recent reforms have made these products much less risky than in the past, said Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist at LendingTree TREE, +5.07%. Since this borrower is struggling with cash flow, a mortgage that pays you rather than one you pay could be the way to go.

Heres a longer rundown of how reverse mortgages work (and some recent changes to the loan product), but in essence with a reverse mortgage you dont pay the lender. Instead, they pay you. (Though the loans do come with certain costs, namely the cost of mortgage insurance.)

You can use a reverse mortgage like a line of credit to pay for living expenses in your old age. And then when you die, or when you move out of the home, you must pay the loan back. In most cases, this is done by selling the home.

Read more: Now could be the time for a reverse mortgageor it could be an expensive mistake

Reverse mortgages have been the subject of scandals in the past. People today are wary of them for a couple of reasons: First, people often will go through most of the equity in their home using one, leaving their children with little in the way of an inheritance. Plus, people who are not careful about ensuring they have money set aside to cover utilities, taxes and insurance can face foreclosure for failing to make those payments.

Because you dont have children or other relatives to rely on, it sounds as if you may not encounter the concerns many do in worrying about the inheritance they will leave behind. So for you, a reverse mortgage could be a lifeline to stop worrying about monthly mortgage payments though you would need to make sure to pay your utilities, taxes and insurance.

If you need more direct assistance as you go through this process, consider contacting a housing counselor. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a directory and hotline that can help you find a counselor in your area suited to your needs. Best of luck!

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I'm retired and won't live to see my mortgage paid off. Should I refinance to lower my monthly payment? - MarketWatch

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December 22nd, 2020 at 7:00 pm

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