The Complete Retirement Planner Blog

The Number One Rule Of Retirement Planning

Retirement planning can certainly be overwhelming. With articles written daily offering suggestions about how much to save, how much to withdraw annually from retirement accounts, how to choose when to claim Social Security, diversifying investments, whether or not to pay off a mortgage before retiring, etc., it can be tough to know where to start. Since you are reading this, you're headed in the right direction. However, while gathering information is important, the real goal is to take concrete steps towards being financially secure. You can delay retirement itself, delay claiming Social Security, and delay re-balancing your portfolio, but don't...

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Will You Be Affected By IRMAA?

If you are unfamiliar with IRMAA, and how it may affect you, it could end up costing you a lot of money. IRMAA is an acronym that stands for Medicare's Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount. This "adjustment" can cause an increase in your Medicare premiums for Part B and Part D. It is based on your most recent tax return supplied to Medicare by the I.R.S and specifically looks at your Modified Adjusted Gross Income. In most cases this may be a tax return from 2 years ago (or 3 years ago if the return from 2 years ago is...

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Percent Of Income To Allocate To Each Expense Category

A common question that arises when itemizing your monthly expenses is, "what percent of my income should be allocated to each expense category?". Unfortunately, there is no "one size fits all" answer to this since everyone's circumstances are unique - a person may spend a higher percent for rent in New York City but have no car expenses, or live in an area where you spend much less for rent but then own a car (or two). However, while there's no need to over-analyze every last category, it's still a good idea to be aware of what percent of your...

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Why "Sequence Of Returns" Matters

As you develop your financial plan for retirement you will give a good deal of thought to the known details of your finances (e.g. monthly expenses, income, etc.) and what you expect/would like to happen in the future. You will also need to decide what rate of return you should use for your savings/investments. Since you can't predict the future, you may end up relying on your historical results to arrive at a reasonable expectation. That makes sense, but how you choose to enter that information can have a serious effect on your results. If you expect a 5% return...

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Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Before Retirement?

Paying off your mortgage before retirement has long been considered a smart financial move. But is it always?The long standing rule of thumb is that you want to reduce expenses as much as possible before retirement so that it takes less money to live on. In theory, this will help your savings to last as long as possible. But if your mortgage does not reach the end of its term by the time you retire you have a decision to make. Either you pay off the balance using your savings, or you continue to maintain the mortgage. Since a mortgage...

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