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Anita Walker, Head Of The Mass. Cultural Council, Is Retiring – WBUR

Posted: March 6, 2020 at 3:46 am


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wbur Anita Walker, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council, talks at the Councils official announcement that Lenox has been designed as the states 48th Cultural District on September 9, 2019. Walker announced she will be retiring from the Council in June. (Courtesy Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle)

As executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), Anita Walker has been running on what sometimes appears to be a boundless reserve of energy. For more than a decade, shes worked to nurture hundreds of organizations, historic sites and artists from all genres throughout the state always with a big smile on her face. An ardent arts cheerleader, Walker has been seen bouncing between the corridors of the State House to Cape Cod then off to Springfield and the Berkshires. Now, after 13 years on the job, shes retiring.

During her tenure, the independent state arts agency has distributed millions in grant funding from the state and the National Endowment of the Arts. The money goes to large institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Symphony Orchestra, but also smaller organizations including the Aquinnah Cultural Center on Marthas Vineyard.

Walker and her team have also supported artists through fellowships, apprenticeships and youth programs, along with launching innovative initiatives to make art more available and affordable to the public, especially in underserved communities.

Walker listed a few examples. Our Up program, which is really focused on accessibility for people who have difficulty navigating the world; our Creative Youth Development Program, which really unleashes the agency of vulnerable teenagers; and our newest initiative, CultureX, which is really at the intersection of the health and well-being of the people of Massachusetts and the power of arts and culture to improve that.

When asked why shes ready to hang up her hat after enthusiastically greasing the wheels that keep the states creative economy humming, Walker said it feels right because the MCC is in great shape. If Im going to move on, this is the time to do it, she added, the work its doing is at the top of its game.

Walker is clearly proud of her many accomplishments with the MCC, but speaks about them in we terms not me terms.

I think we've built an environment of trust between our state agency and the constituents that we serve, she said. We've built strong relationships in communities whether it's in the offices of the mayor, or elected officials, or the working artists, or the chambers of commerce, or the people that are running cultural organizations and nonprofits.

Walker has worked closely with state legislators and fought for budget increases every year. Shes had an impact on buildings and grounds around the state, too, via the Cultural Facilities Fund.

This is the only state in the nation that has consistently addressed cultural infrastructure, Walker said. You know, we're the caretakers not just of treasures here in Massachusetts but we're responsible for the nation's historic sites. I mean, we're the birthplace of democracy. Im so proud of Massachusetts for rising to the challenge and being good stewards.

Walker is gratified by the January release of research from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies that found the MCC grants more money to more recipients and communities than in any other state in the U.S.

We support 400 cultural nonprofits in the arts, humanities and interpretive science, Walker said. This is brand new research from our national association. So we do more grantmaking than Massachusetts, than New York and California and Texas and much larger states. Talk about punching above your weight.

The MCC also supports 329 local cultural councils and about 50 cultural districts.

There's really no part of life in Massachusetts that doesn't in some way benefit from the intersection with the arts and culture, Walker said.

Walker will be missed, according to Nina Fialkow, chair of the MCC. The Council has deep gratitude and appreciation for Anitas vision, passion and leadership in the nonprofit cultural sector, she said in the councils retirement announcement. We are thankful for her 13 years of service and grateful that she will be with us four more months to ensure the important work of the council continues.

The MCCs governing council is working with a search firm to find the MCCs next executive director.

Walker grew up in California and said shell be heading west after retiring in June to spend more time with her sons.

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Anita Walker, Head Of The Mass. Cultural Council, Is Retiring - WBUR

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March 6th, 2020 at 3:46 am

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As markets drop, think long-term with your retirement savings – MarketWatch

Posted: March 5, 2020 at 12:47 pm


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Fear is infecting the stock market on concerns that the spread of the coronavirus will interfere with global trade. In the past few days, U.S. stocks have slid into a correction, defined as a 10% drop from the market top.

Its safe to say that only day traders like thinking about stock market corrections. But for the rest of us, trying to ignore market free falls is not a bad strategy, especially when it comes to a long-term goal like retirement.

Thats because one of the best ways to make sure your retirement accounts survive economic turbulence is to fortify those accounts as well as you can and then go do something else, come what may.

See: Heres how the 30 Dow industrials companies are prepping for the impact of the coronavirus

Dont get caught up in the motion of the market when investing for a long-term goal, says Chris Remedios, a certified financial planner with Remedios Financial Planning in San Francisco. If it makes you uncomfortable when things go down, dont look.

Taking the steps below will help protect yourIRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts from events beyond your control.

During big market SPX, -3.34% swings, your investment portfolio could well lose money. This is where ignoring the market becomes important if youre investing for retirement.

You have a long-term goal try to focus on that long-term goal and not the short-term volatility of the markets, says Rob Williams, vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research.

If the turbulence has you worried, dont forget that though the market is falling, its falling from record highs. Investing in the stock market remains the best way to achieve long-term growth.

Even a diversified portfolio can lose money, but diversification helps stem your losses by reducing investment risk. You want to be sure youve spread your money around so if any stock market sector crashes particularly hard, youve got investments in other sectors providing stability.

Dont be too exposed to one or two stocks. We see a lot of individuals who are invested all in one company, Williams says.

While investing in single stocks can be risky, a single mutual fund can be completely diversified. Target-date mutual funds offer one-stop-shopping convenience, because they invest in a broad swath of stocks and bonds. Alternatively, you can build your ownsimple retirement portfolioto get you to your goals. Heres more onhow to invest your IRA.

Asset allocation means figuring out what percentage of your money goes to which investment. At the highest level, that means how much money you have in stocks versus bonds.

Also see: Coronavirus fears are clobbering the stock market is it doing the same to your retirement?

Your time frame is important here. If youre decades away from retirement, a hefty allocation to stocks makes sense, even when the stock market is tanking because you have time to let your money ride that out. Just how hefty your allocation is will depend on yourrisk tolerance.

But if youre closer to retirement, make sure any money youll need for living expenses in the next five years or so is in cash or a cash-like investment such as short-term bonds.

A rule of thumb is to have about 60% in stocks and 40% in bonds or cash at the retirement date. Moving toward that is a good way to be prepared for a down market, Williams says.

If youre in your 20s, 30s or 40s and dont have plans to retire until youre in your 60s, time is on your side. Dont sell out of the stock market when it starts dropping.

In fact, a better strategy might be to buy more shares. A down market just means youre buying stocks on sale, Williams says.

Related: Retiree warning: History suggests were overdue for a bear market

Even in your 50s or older, buying might be a strategy for you too, given that retirement may last as long as two or even three decades.

While youre aligning your investment strategy with your long-term goals, assess your overall personal finances, too.

A stock market correction can be the push you need to clean up your finances. Smart steps to put on your to-do list include paying down debt and building an emergency fund. Moving forward on those goals sets you up to better weather any economic headwinds ahead.

And dont think you have to get to perfect in 60 seconds or less. Its OK to take small steps toward each goal. For example, just $500 to $1,000 in a savings account can help provide a safe harbor from rough economic waters.

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As markets drop, think long-term with your retirement savings - MarketWatch

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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55% of Americans Are Making This Retirement Planning Mistake – The Motley Fool

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What should you do if you planned to work but it turns out you can't?

If you planned to work in retirement but you discover there are no jobs you can do, you need to make some swift changes to your lifestyle.

Start by assessing the amount of income actually available to you from Social Security, retirement savings, and any pension money you have. Make sure you're calculating income from savings based on a safe withdrawal rate. This should be no more than 4% of your account balance, while some experts suggest it should be even less.

Compare the income available to you with your budget to see if there's a shortfall. If it turns out you'll have too little income without a paycheck and you can't find work, you need to make some budget cuts quickly. This could mean downsizing to a smaller home, which could help you to boost your savings account balance if you cash out home equity. You might also need to give up a car or move to an area that has a lower cost of living.

The key is to make sure you don't draw down your retirement account balance in an effort to maintain a lifestyle you really can't afford without the paycheck you planned on having.

While you may want to work as a senior, chances are very good you won't be able to. To make sure you aren't left with too little money when it turns out holding a job isn't possible, always set your retirement planning goals without the expectation of a paycheck. If it turns out working is doable, you can use the extra income to enjoy your life a little bit more.

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55% of Americans Are Making This Retirement Planning Mistake - The Motley Fool

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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The good news and bad news about women and retirement and what can be done about it – MarketWatch

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Theres bad news and so-so news about the retirement insecurity of American female workers in the new Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2019. But the good news is that if employers, the U.S. government, financial advisers and those workers take a few key steps, todays cloudy retirement prospects for women could become sunnier.

After receiving thesurvey of 14,400 employees and 1,600 retirees in 15 countries from Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement and nonprofits Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies (TCRS) and Instituto de Longevidaded Mongeral Aegon I parsed its massive data. Then, I learned more about the findings and advice for working women from the surveys author, Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of TCRS. (The reports also called The New Social Contract: Achieving retirement equality for women.) And I asked Cindy Hounsell, president of the nonprofitWomens Institute for a Secure Retirementfor her thoughts. Finally, I had a candid conversation with Holly Lawrence, a 59-year-old freelance writer in Washington, D.C.who has written eloquently for Next Avenue about her financial struggles.She had some piercing opinions about the surveys results.

Our overarching goal for the report is to inspire and empower women to take action, said Collinson. My sense is that women need a vote of confidence. And small steps can lead to a big impact over time. For many women, taking the first step is the hardest.

So, to the news:

First, the bad news. Only 25% of the U.S. women surveyed believe theyre on course to achieve their retirement income needs and just 26% are confident theyll be able to retire with a comfortable lifestyle. By contrast, 40% of men say theyre on course to achieve their retirement income needs and 48% are confident about their retirement prospects.

It is alarming, Collinson said, speaking about the responses of women and the disparities with men.

Two reasons for American womens retirement insecurity, she noted, are thegender pay gap, making it harder to find spare cash to save for retirement (median income of women surveyed: $40,375; for men, $54,599) andcaregiving expensesthat cut into retirement savings.

Related: Why is it still so hard for women to save for retirement?

Almost every woman my age is having to think about how to take care of a parent or a millennial child if he or she cant get a job, said Lawrence.

She noted that the retirement insecurities the women expressed in the survey resonate with her.

Im definitely on the worried side, she told me. Im underemployed without savings and living below the poverty level. Ive felt lucky just to make my rent and utilities, with a smidgen in a low-earning savings account.

And now for the surveys so-so news: The researchers produce what they call the Aegon Retirement Readiness Index score and it has risen for U.S. women from 5.8 in 2014 to 6.1 in 2019. Collinson calls the 0.3 rise here a small increase. Her explanation for it: When the economy is doing better, people are more likely to be engaging in retirement planning and more optimistic about the long-term. (The index score rose for women globally, too, from 5.5 in 2014 to 5.8.)

But even a 6.1, Collinson noted, is just a medium retirement readiness score. Above 8 is high. The score for American men is now 7.1, up from 6.7 in 2014.

What could boost womens Retirement Readiness Score? A few things, according to Collinson.

More employers couldoffer retirement savings plans to their part-time workers.The survey found that women in America are nearly twice as likely to work part-time. And part-timers typically arent allowed to contribute to 401(k) or similar retirement plans where they work. Access to workplace savings plans has proven to be an effective way encouraging people to save, said Collinson.

Hounsell noted that the new federal SECURE Act will encourage employers to let part-timers put money into workplace retirement plans. That will make a difference, she said.

Financial advisers and the financial services industry could do more to assist women. For many financial advisers, training is deeply rooted in working with men, said Collinson. Theyrenot necessarily understanding or addressing the needs of womenand the life course of women in a way that is empowering and can lead to better decision-making.

Women can try to become what Collinson calls habitual savers.Just 50% of women in the survey said theyre habitual savers always saving for retirement. The percentage was lower for female boomers (45%) and even lower for Gen Xers (39%). About a third of boomer and Gen X women arent currently saving for retirement at all.

Habitual saving is one of the most important things we can do to self-fund a greater portion of our retirement, Collinson said. She acknowledged, however, that there are times when we cant save as much as wed like or at all due to pressing financial needs.

Lawrence told me she accumulated some savings years ago, when working in New York City. But that money dwindled due to high rents, her inability to find full-time work and medical emergency expenses.

Also see: Women now have more jobs than men but thats not necessarily sign of progress

Lawrence hopes to start saving again, though she detests when financial firms chide people for not putting away enough money for retirement. I glaze over when they say: You should have been here [with a large amount of savings] by now. She added that the study says its imperative women take greater control over their savings and retirement planning, and I certainly agree. But I think that type of sentence packs in some assumptions. If companies make people feel guilt and like theyve already lost before they get started saving for retirement, theyll never start.

Hounsell worries that possible cuts in Social Security and Medicare benefits toshore up those programswill only make retirement prospects more frightening for women and men. It is clearly a worry, she said, adding that thefoundation for womens retirement is still Social Security.

Shed like to see Washington make several changes to Social Security: higher benefits for widows; an anti-poverty minimum benefit that would not impact the income limits to qualify for Medicaid; bigger benefits starting at age 85 or 90, reflecting Americans longer lives and a caregiver earnings credit to offer retirement protection to women (and men) who have spent significant time as family caregivers.

One last finding in the Aegon survey that I think is worth noting. Only 23% of the U.S. women surveyed correctly answered three basic financial literacy questions dealing with interest rates, inflation and risk diversification; 36% of men did (thats better, but frankly not very impressive).

We have a tremendous opportunity to increase financial literacy in the U.S. and around the world, said Collinson. How can someone make informed decisions about retirement saving and investing over the long run without an understanding of the most basic concepts?

Her advice: Take advantage of retirement-saving educational tools and resources offered by your employer, if they exist. Read personal finance websites and publications. Enroll in a personal finance course at a local college.

Lawrence agreed and told me she has made a point of teaching herself about personal finances, watching videos and reading online media. She wants to see other women follow suit. Even if we dont have a 401(k) or savings, we need to start educating ourselves about these financial instruments, Lawrence said. Education is power.

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The good news and bad news about women and retirement and what can be done about it - MarketWatch

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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If These 3 Things Apply to You, You Must Postpone Retirement – The Motley Fool

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Many people dream of retiring early, or at least on time. But if you kick off that milestone unprepared, you'll regret pulling the trigger. And while delaying retirement may not be something you want to do, it's something you'll have to do if these three scenarios apply to you.

You need independent savings to live comfortably in retirement for one big reason: Social Security will only replace about 40% of the income you're used to, and that assumes you're an average earner. If you're an above-average earner, it will replace even less. Meanwhile, most seniors need 70% to 80% of their former paycheck to enjoy life and keep up with their bills, and retirement savings are generally what's needed to fill in that gap.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

As a general rule of thumb, it's wise to enter retirement with about 10 times your ending salary socked away in an IRA or 401(k). If your current savings balance looks nothing like that, then you'll need to look at postponing retirement until you're able to get closer.

Say you're 65 years old and are itching to retire, but you currently earn $75,000 a year and only have $500,000 socked away. Though half a million dollars is certainly a respectable sum, it means you're still worlds away from the $750,000 should you be targeting. If that's the case, postponing retirement until age 70 will give you five more years to build wealth. And if you max out a 401(k) at today's annual limit for older workers -- $26,000 -- for five years, you'll wind up with a bit more than $750,000 if your investments in that account generate a relatively conservative 5% average annual return during that time.

Once you retire and move over to a fixed income, you may find that you're forced to cut back on certain expenses just to make ends meet. It therefore stands to reason that entering retirement with debt payments that monopolize your limited income is not a good thing to do at all.

If you're carrying debt, it pays to eliminate it before you retire, and you can do so by cutting back on expenses in your current budget or getting a second job to boost your earnings. This especially holds true if you're carrying credit card debt, which is generally considered the least healthy kind to have.

That said, if the only type of debt you have is mortgage debt, you don't necessarily need to postpone retirement until your home is paid off. Mortgage debt is regarded as one of the healthiest types of debt out there, and the interest you pay on your home loan can serve as a lucrative tax break.

Retirees are 40% more likely than workers to suffer from depression. The reason? They often find themselves hopelessly bored once they stop having a job to go to.

If you have no idea how you'll spend your days in retirement, then you're better off continuing to work until you figure it out. And if you know what you want to do with your time but can't afford it (say, you're hoping to travel extensively), work a few more years and boost your savings to make your goals more attainable. If you decide to retire without having a good sense of how you'll fill your days, you may find that your mental and physical health quickly start to deteriorate.

Postponing retirement may seem like a terrible thing to have to do, but remember, Americans are living longer these days, and if you push yourself to work until your late 60s or early 70s, there's a good chance you'll still enjoy a solid 20 years of retirement, if not more. And that way, you'll retire at a time when you're financially and emotionally ready.

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If These 3 Things Apply to You, You Must Postpone Retirement - The Motley Fool

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What the Fed’s interest rate cuts means for your retirement – WREX-TV

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ROCKFORD (WREX) The Coronavirus threw stocks into turmoil the last few days, leading the Fed to lower interest rates.

Financial experts at Northwest Bank says that's good news for homeowners.

"We'd encourage all consumers to take a look at their current mortgage rates. For many, many folks, the time would be very favorable to come in, talk to your bank, talk to your mortgage people that you know and take a look at refinancing," said Tom Walsh, president of Northwest Bank.

On the flip side, when it comes to your retirement accounts, Walsh said you will likely see a dip in returns. That doesn't, however, mean you should panic.

"This move by the Fed I think is hopeful to stabilize the stock market as well and hopefully provide some calming affect, not only to the markets themselves, but to all of us who invest in the markets, and give us a little more confidence about our retirement savings," he said.

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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With less savings and longer lifespan, women must take 4 key steps to shore up retirement – CNBC

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It's a harsh reality of modern retirement planning: Women live on average five years longer than men, yet they accumulate less for retirement. According to the 2019 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Workplace Benefits Report, women come to retirement with $70,000 less than men.

Are women worse savers? Hardly. According to research from Vanguard, women participate in retirement plans in greater numbers than men. The difference in savings boils down to wages.

First, there's the gender pay gap. Despite having more education than men, women still only earn 80% of what their male counterparts do.

Women also get penalized for motherhood, suffering around a 4% decline in wages for each child they have, according to think tank Third Way. Men, on the other hand, experience a "daddy bonus," seeing their wages rise about 6% with each child.

And because women are more likely to be caregivers, both for their children and elderly relatives, according to the Merrill Lynch survey, they are also more likely to take breaks from their careers, work part-time or participate in the gig economy. What they gain in flexibility, they also lose in access to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

In short, women must finance more years of living expenses, health care and long-term care, but they've got less money to do it with.

"Awareness of the issues is the single most important first step to addressing the issues," said Catherine Collinson, president and CEO of the Transamerica Institute and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. "There are many things women can do [for their retirements] that are within reach."

Experts recommend these four steps.

At the beginning of your career, saving for retirement on top of food, rent, insurance and possibly student loan debt seems beyond daunting. But it's one of the most effective things you can do for the future. The earlier you start, the less you need to save, because compounding does a lot of the work for you.

Financial planners like Maria Bruno, head of U.S. wealth planning research with Vanguard, recommend putting aside 15% of your pretax salary for retirement. Can't swing 15%? Start small and build up. A little retirement savings is always better than nothing.

"Retirement savings isn't all or nothing," insisted Bruno. "Maybe at first you take advantage of your company's match so you only save 3%; then you increase your savings by 1% a year. By the time you're 30, you'll be at that 15% level."

More from Invest in You: The secret to financial success: Paying off debt These 3 steps will help you track where your money is going in 2020 How much you need to save every month to earn $60K a year in interest alone for retirement

Also, in the early years, be particularly mindful of your salary negotiations. Your early salary is the foundation for future earnings, so it behooves you to learn the art of negotiation.

"Know your worth and don't settle for the first offer," said Judith Ward, senior financial planner with T. Rowe Price Associates. "Do some research on your industry and position and be knowledgeable going into a salary negotiation."

No one likes to budget, but it's the clearest way to get a handle on your money. Being aware of where your money goes each month can help you identify which areas to cut back on and how much you can redirect toward retirement.

"You need to get smart about what your spending is," said Stacy Francis, a certified financial planner and president and CEO of Francis Financial. "What you earn is important, but what you spend is even more important,"

There are a number of apps like mint.com and YNAB (You Need A Budget) to simplify budgeting. A simple spreadsheet works, too. When you've figured out where to trim and how much to allocate to retirement, automate your savings. Many companies do this for employees through auto-enrollment features, but you can automate additional savings on top of that yourself.

"I say take [retirement savings] off the top and that forces you to live within your means with the remaining amount," said Bruno.

Who says 65 is the magic retirement age?

"The whole retirement thing is really outdated," said Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert and founder of KBK Wealth Connection. "There's an upside to living longer and that's that you can have a really vibrant life well beyond 65."

Aside from staying engaged, working longer also lets you build up a bigger nest egg and maximize your Social Security.

"To think that you can work for 30 or 40 years and have enough money to fund retirement for 30 or 40 years doesn't add up mathematically," said Collinson of Transamerica. "We all need to think about extending our work lives."

More Americans are getting on board with delayed retirement. Pew Research reports that 29% of baby boomers age 65 to 72 are either in the workforce or looking for work, a much higher percentage than older generations were when they were that age.

"It doesn't mean you have to continue to work the way you did before," insisted Collinson. "You might shift from full-time to part-time, maybe seasonally. The idea is, you continue to work but with more freedom and flexibility."

The gig economy allows people to take on part-time or project-based work to bring in additional income.

While Social Security makes up 40% of the average person's retirement income, for women it plays a bigger role. Because it's such a valuable source of retirement income, it's important to maximize this benefit.

You are eligible to receive Social Security at age 62, but you'll get dinged for each month you collect before your normal retirement age, which for anyone born after 1960 is 67 years old. By the same token, you get a bonus of about 8% a year for waiting until age 70.

"For most women it pays to wait til age 70," said Francis. "If you start collecting at age 70, you could be collecting for the next 20 or 25 years at a higher rate."

To be sure, retirement is a heavy lift for most people. For women it's compounded by lower wages, caregiving responsibilities, breaks from the workforce and greater longevity. While you may not be able to solve all these societal issues on your own, there's a lot you can do to shore up your own retirement security.

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With less savings and longer lifespan, women must take 4 key steps to shore up retirement - CNBC

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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Suze Orman: There is a retirement ‘crisis.’ Here are strategies for those 50 and over – CNBC

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In your 20s, retirement seemed so far away.

By the time you hit 50, it's a reality that is a lot closer and one you may not feel prepared for. That may be especially true as fears over the coronavirus rattle the stock market and your investment portfolio.

Or, you may have nothing saved at all. In fact, a 2019 survey by the Insured Retirement Institute found that 45% of baby boomers have zero savings set aside for their golden years. The organization polled 804 Americans aged 56-72 in February of 2019.

Personal finance expert Suze Orman believes many Americans simply can't afford to retire.

"We have a crisis," the New York Times best-selling author said.

Yet, by making some savvy moves, you can get on track.

More from Invest in You: How to manage your 401(k) as the coronavirus upends the markets History of sudden market shocks shows the market is due for a big comeback Women must take 4 key steps to shore up retirement

The first thing you should do is stop dreaming of retiring by 55 or 60, said Orman, whose latest book is titled "The Ultimate Retirement Guide for 50+."

"You need to start thinking, '70 is when I want to retire,'" she added. "If you can just know that you're going to be working from 50 to 70, you have 20 more years for your money to grow."

Here are five strategies people 50 and over can employ to prepare for retirement, according to Orman.

"This is the time that you really need to look at your total financial situation, in terms of how much money are you spending, how much are you saving?" said Orman, host of the weekly podcast, Women & Money.

You should do everything you can to cut back on unnecessary expenses.

If you own a home and plan to stay in it, make sure you have a plan in place to pay off the mortgage by the time you retire.

You may love your home, but if it is larger than you need and you can make a profit selling it, do so. Then, move into something smaller and less expensive.

"I don't want you to wait till you're 60 or 70 to sell this home," she said. "I want you to downsize right now, so that you can start saving more money right now."

Now is the time to super-charge your emergency fund.

While many experts suggest setting aside three to six months' worth of living expenses, once you are over 50, Orman wants you to save two to three years worth.

That's because once it's time to start drawing from your retirement account, you want to avoid taking big losses if the stock market is down like happened last week when the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite all fell more than 10%. It was their biggest weekly decline since October 2008.

"That's not when you want to be withdrawing from it," she said.

"If you have cash, you can live on that cash for two or three years until the market recovers."

Of course, you will still have to make your required minimum distributions the amount you must take out every year - from your traditional IRA or 401(k) if you are 72 or older.

Any new contributions you make into a retirement account should be in a Roth IRA, if you can, Orman said.

"Later on in life, you want to be able to take that money out tax free," she explained.

Roth IRA contributions are made after tax, so you aren't taxed when you take the money out during your retirement. On the other hand, when you put money into a traditional IRA, it isn't taxed but it is when you take it out.

However, your income will determine whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA. As a single person, you can do so if your modified adjusted gross income is under $139,000. If you are married and filing jointly, your income just be under $206,000.

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Suze Orman: There is a retirement 'crisis.' Here are strategies for those 50 and over - CNBC

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March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

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Know These 3 Facts to Avoid Paying Half Your Retirement Income to the IRS – March 05, 2020 – Nasdaq

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Failing to withdraw a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your own or an inherited IRA by the deadline results in a big tax code penalty: 50%. That's right. If you were supposed to take out a minimum of $4,000 and (oops!) did not do so, you have the privilege of writing the IRS a check for $2,000. It's important to remember that the rules related to RMDs changed on January 1, 2020

In case you're like most investors, you're probably trying to build a financial portfolio that is solid enough to guarantee a comfortable retirement. Among retirement financial planners, this is known as the "accumulation phase." In this stage, your objective is to carefully invest by selecting stocks with long-term potential for your retirement nest egg. For example, you might choose Evergy Inc (EVRG), which is a current top ranked dividend stock.

But that's just half of retirement planning. The second part, the "distribution phase," sometimes gets overlooked even though it can be more fun to think about. That's because the distribution phase is where you determine how to spend your hard-earned assets.

Making plans for the distribution stage involves deciding where you'll live in retirement, whether you'll travel, your proposed leisure activities, and more decisions that will affect your spending during your golden years.

In addition to these considerations, it is essential to take into account the RMD that applies to most retirement accounts. Basically, this is an IRS requirement that you withdraw a certain amount from your qualified retirement accounts once you reach age 72.

Why does the IRS require you to start taking your money out? It's simple - they want to make sure they get their tax. If this rule didn't exist, people could live off other income and never pay tax on their retirement investment gains. Then, that money could be left to family or friends as an inheritance without the IRS collecting any taxes from you.

What You Need to Know About RMDs

Which types of accounts have RMDs? Qualified retirement accounts such as IRAs, 401(k)s, 457 plans, and other tax-deferred retirement savings plans like a TSP, 403(b), TSA, SEP, or SIMPLE IRA plan require withdrawals in retirement.

When does it become necessary to begin taking distributions? Your first distribution must be taken by April 1 of the year following the calendar year that you turn 72 (for most accounts). Also, if you retire after that age, you must take your first RMD from your 401(k), profit-sharing, 403(b), or other defined contribution plan by April 1 of the year after the calendar year in which you retire.

For each year after your required starting date, you must take your RMD by December 31. Note that you don't need to take an RMD on a Roth IRA since you covered taxes before contributing. Other varieties of Roth accounts require RMDs. But, there are approaches to avoid them - for instance, you can roll your Roth 401(k) into your Roth IRA.

What happens if don't take my RMD? The penalty for not taking a required minimum distribution, or if the distribution is not large enough, is a 50% tax on the amount not withdrawn in time.

How much cash do I need to withdraw? To figure out a particular RMD, you should divide your earlier year's December 31st retirement account balance by a "distribution period" factor dependent on your age.

Here's an example to give you an idea of the amount: Ann is 71 and will take her first RMD in the year following the year she turns 72. Her IRA balance at the end of the prior year was $100,000. Her "distribution period" factor is 27.4. Dividing $100,000 by 27.4 equals $3,649.63. This is how much Ann is required to withdraw for her first RMD.

Learning about the "distribution phase" is just one aspect of preparing for your nest egg years.

To learn more about the tax implications of retirement spending - and much more about retirement planning - download our free guide: Retirement Made Easy.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Know These 3 Facts to Avoid Paying Half Your Retirement Income to the IRS - March 05, 2020 - Nasdaq

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Seniors Are Stressed About Income in Retirement. What To Do. – Barron’s

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A large number of American workers closing in on retirement are showing anxiety not just over how much theyve saved but also over how to manage their different income sources during their post-career lives.

A new study by Charles Schwab found that most pre-retireesdefined as those within five years of retirementhave at least one fear about their income in retirement. The findings were gleaned from a survey last summer of 1,000 Americans aged 55 and older with $100,000 or more in investable assets, half of whom fell into the pre-retiree cohort.

Seventy-two percent of the studys 500 pre-retiree respondents said they are worried about running out of money after they retire. Thats the most popular worry, but its not the only: 64% say they are overwhelmed by not being able to maintain their current lifestyle or quality of life after they retire, while 60% worry about not getting a regular paycheck in retirement.

We talk a lot about investors saving for retirement, but that transition to retirement and that time right before retirement is often the most stressful, says Rob Williams, vice president of financial planning, retirement income, and wealth management at Schwabs research arm.

Thats because there are so many moving parts and there are so many pieces, he adds.

While knowledge wont solve every retirement problem, understanding the rules and how theyll affect you can save you some stressand moneyas you prepare to retire. These are the two most common pre-retiree income blindspots, according to the Schwab survey.

Taxes

Of the pre-retirees Schwab surveyed, 70% said they knew nothing or not a lot about the tax implications of retirement withdrawals. Thats a problem since traditional individual retirement accounts are tax-deferred, not tax-free, Williams adds.

Contributions to a traditional IRA or 401(k) are pre-tax, meaning investors can use the accounts to shrink their annual taxable income and benefit from returns generated by pre-tax income.

But its important to remember that the investments you make in your traditional IRA or 401(k) arent tax-free forever. Investors must pay income tax once the money is withdrawn. (This doesnt apply to Roth IRAs, which are post-tax investment accounts.)

Because traditional IRA distributions help determine ones tax bracket, many retirees plan their distributions to minimize their tax bill using tools like charitable contributions or Roth conversions. To start estimating how IRA withdrawals could affect your tax bill, you should have a plan for when you will retire and how much you can sustainably withdraw. A common rule of thumb suggests retirees can sustainably withdraw 4% to 5% of their retirement accounts each year, though investors should research the best approach for their particular circumstances.

Required Minimum Distributions

Seventy percent of those Schwab surveyed said they knew little or nothing about annual required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from tax-deferred accounts. That could lead to an unwanted surprise after their 72nd birthdays, when retirees are obligated to start taking RMDs. (That age is up from 70.5 thanks to a recent change in the Secure Act.)

While the amount any retiree must withdraw from their taxable IRA varies based on IRS calculations, the penalty for failure to withdraw it is the same. The 50% fee on the unwithdrawn RMD amount is one of the largest fees I can think of, other than, I suppose, breaking the law, Williams says. You can estimate your RMD on Schwabs website.While retirees must start withdrawing from taxable accounts at age 72, that timing isnt perfect for everyone, Williams says. There are plenty of strategies for managing RMD income you dont needsuch as Roth IRA conversions or qualified charitable donationsbut Williams recommends speaking to an advisor for a personally tailored RMD plan.

Write toShaina Mishkin atshaina.mishkin@dowjones.com

Original post:
Seniors Are Stressed About Income in Retirement. What To Do. - Barron's

Written by admin

March 5th, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Posted in Retirement


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