Financial and Retirement Planning Modules

Financial and Retirement Planning Modules

1. How to Maximize Your Social Security Retirement Benefits

Though Social Security is a major income source for most retirees, most employees don’t know how to use its feature to maximize their benefits. That could be a costly oversight, costing retirees tens of thousands of dollars over their life-times. This session will help employees employ strategies to maximize their benefits by understanding Social Security rules and exploiting them effectively.

2. Making Sure Your Retirement Income Lasts a Life-time, while keeping Pace with Inflation

Outliving their retirement income is the number one fear expressed by retirees. Far too many retirees live much longer than they anticipate, often running out of purchasing power well before they run out of time. This session will consider the latest strategies to make sure employees don’t outlive their retirement income while at the same time keeping pace with inflation. These strategies will include: investment withdrawal strategies, annuitization, time-segmented retirement income planning, longevity insurance, and using HECMs (reverse mortgages).

3. Identifying and Managing Investment Risks

Many know that there are risks associated with all investments. What’s less well known is that retirees will generate most of their life-time return on their portfolios after they retire. This means that employees and retirees must be engaged in the investment planning process. This session will help employees learn which investment risks prudent investors embrace, and which risks they avoid. In addition, employees will learn how to manage the risks they’ve embraced.

4. Dealing with Long-term Care Expenses

Often, employees first confront the high cost of long-term care is when they must deal with the expense of their parents’ long-term care. Many are shocked to discover that neither Medicare nor Medicare supplemental insurance plans cover (what can be) the $13,000 a month cost of long-term care. Employees have also heard about the high price of long-term care insurance. This session will help employees formulate strategies for dealing with the potentially retirement life-style threatening costs of long-term care. We consider viability of buying long-term care insurance vs. “hybrid” insurance policies.

5. Estate Planning Documents Everyone Needs

One of the most loving things you can do for yourself and your family is to make sure you have your estate planning documents in place and up to date. This session will help you make sure you have the needed documents to make sure that your property goes to the right people at the right time and in the right form, while minimizing tax and administrative expense. Employees will also learn the importance of Advance Directives, which authorize others you designate to make financial and health care decisions for you if your become incapacitated.

6. Life and Disability Insurance Planning: How Much Do I Need and Which Kind is Best?

Did you ever consider what would happen to your family if you were to die (or became disabled)? Would they be able to continue to make the mortgage payments and have enough to cover the kids’ college expenses? Would they be able to maintain their standard to living? That’s where life and long-term disability insurance come in. The session will help you calculate if you have enough coverage and which coverage is best. Though your employer provided group term coverage provides a good base, will it be enough? This session will address these questions and where best to shop for more coverage.

7. How Best to Inherit Proceeds from Retirement Plans

One of the last opportunities for significant wealth transfer left to the middle class is the inheriting of retirement plans. These plans include: employer provided defined contribution plans, i.e., 403b plans and 401k plans; Traditional IRAs; Roth IRAs; as well as a variety of other retirement plans. This session will review the rules associated with “required minimum distributions” from retirement plans, and how best to inherit retirement plans and how to avoid common pitfalls. Much of the planning here will occur “post mortem”, so it’s imperative to communicate these strategies with those who will inherit the plans.

8. Using Your Home to Generate Retirement Income

This session will focus on the various ways retirees can use their homes to generate retirement income. We’ll review the various strategies retirees have traditionally used, including: downsizing, or relocating to a less expensive state. Here, we’ll also consider what to look for when relocating, the most tax friendly states, as well as the current capital gains exclusion rules on the sale of a primary residence. Finally, we’ll consider how a reverse mortgage can move from a “last resort strategy” to a more central method for retirement income planning.

9. Understanding Medicare and Shopping for Insurance to Supplement Medicare

This session will focus on the basics of Medicare Coverage, including: Part A: Hospital Coverage; Part B: Medical Coverage (Doctor’s Bills); and Part D: Prescription Drug Coverage. When to sign up. We’ll then consider how Medicare Supplemental Plans (Medi-gap Plans) work and how best to shop for them. We’ll next consider the relatively “new kid on the block”, Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C of Medicare) and examine their advantages and disadvantages. Finally, we’ll review the “best time” to sign up for Medicare and the associated “penalties” for signing up at the “wrong time.”

10. Managing Your Credit Report

Why it’s important to keep your Credit Report accurate and up-to-date. Rules for obtaining your Credit Reports. How are Credit Reports Used? How do you know if you have too much debt? Various strategies to pay off debt: ordering debts by balance size; debt stacking (by interest rate charged); others. Sources of borrowing and deciding which is best for you. Shopping for Mortgages: how to compare offers; how large a mortgage can I handle; what to expect on closing costs. Good debt versus Bad Debt. How debt management should be incorporated into your overall Cash Management System.

11. Retirement 101-Basics of Retirement Planning

When it comes to retirement planning, many employees don’t know where to begin, so they don’t. This workshop will help employees get started by helping them calculate how much they may to afford to retire and develop a savings and investment plan to reach their objectives. We’ll review the importance of starting early and setting investment priorities. We will also explain some basic investment terms, tools, and the importance of using the tax deferred retirement plans offered by their employers. We’ll also explain, and consider the importance of asset allocation, the main driver of employees’ investment plans.

12. Education Funding: Creating Tax-Advantaged Ways to Pay for Educational Expenses

What are 529 College Savings Plans and how can they be a tax-advantaged way to save for the kids’ Educations? How do I compare among the variety of Plans? What about Coverdell Education Savings Accounts? How did the New Tax Law effect 529 Plans? What about Roth IRAs? What are they and how can they serve “double duty” in helping to fund College Educations? We’ll address these and related questions during this program.

13. Recent Changes to HECMs (Home Equity Conversion Mortgages) make them a more viable retirement planning tool.

With the lowering of upfront costs and the enhancement of consumer safeguards, HECMs have become a more mainstream option for retirees to safeguard their financial security. This workshop reviews these changes and explores how HECMs can unleash the power of retirees’ primary residences’ home equity in ways that were unthinkable just a few years ago. This session will also offer specific examples of ways that HECMs can used to protect your portfolio and retirement income plan. We’ll also review common misconceptions people hold about reverse mortgages and this can lead to ignoring this rapidly improving financial tool.

14. How Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) Coupled with High Deductible Health Plans Can Supercharge Your Financial Future.

The unique tax advantages of HSAs provide an excellent way to help pay for retiree health care costs, the number one fear pre-retirees express about not being able to afford a comfortable retirement. This session reviews the special opportunities HSAs represent to underwrite retiree health care costs as well as manage your income taxes in retirement. The characteristics of High deductible health plans (to which HSAs are coupled) also can help participants better understand risk management both prior to and after retiring.

15. What are Annuities and the Role they can play in Your Financial Life?

Though they’ve been around since the Babylonian times, annuities continue to be among the most misunderstood of all financial vehicles. Perhaps it’s because these unloved vehicles can have different phases, come in many varieties, and sometimes, can be overwhelmingly complex. Never the less, certain kinds of annuities can manage retirement security risks which no other financial vehicle can manage. This session will describe different types of annuities and the roles they can serve in your retirement income plan.

16. How to Select a Financial Advisor.

Choosing the “right” financial advisor can make or break your financial plan. Therefore, it’s important to know: the different types of advisors; how they can help you; their professional backgrounds ( their training, experience, and professional designations), aligning your needs with the appropriate advisor, how advisors are paid and uncovering potential conflicts of interest, knowing what a “fiduciary” is and why it’s important for your advisor to serve in a fiduciary at all times. Here, we’ll will help you address these questions and others to make certain you have the best advisor for your needs and pocketbook.

17. Special Financial Planning Challenges Facing Singles.

Some of us have always been single. Others have become so during adulthood. Since most women, and a growing number of men, will become (or already are) single in retirement, it’s important to recognize how financial issues could differ somewhat for singles, including: income planning, Social Security issues, long-term care planning challenges, challenges with using advance directives; bequeathing property, the extra importance of letters of instruction; beefing up ready cash reserves for unforeseen expenses, and identifying professionals to help, among others.

18. Tax Planning: Reduce your tax bite to Enjoy more of what you Earn.

This session will review the various types of tax levies individuals must incorporate into their personal financial planning. Income tax planning opportunities will emerge as we consider the USA’s federal income tax system’s structure and various features. We’ll help participates figure out their tax brackets and effective tax rates, the cornerstones of tax planning. Likewise, we’ll consider how state income tax levies come into play. Likewise, we’ll review estate taxes and gift tax planning at both federal and state levels and how to plan to avoid them. We’ll also consider tax deferral, tax deductions, tax credits, and tax avoidance and how they fit into a comprehensive tax plan.

19. Behavioral Finance: What are Common Financial Planning Mistakes Smart People Make?

This session will review the latest findings in Behavioral Finance and examine how they can influence financial decisions we make. We’ll consider the mental heuristics humans use when deciding among financial options, including: the Endowment effect; Mental accounting; Loss aversion; Herd following; Recency Bias; Overconfidence; the Benchmarking effect, and Availability bias, among others. Each of these “mental dispositions” can sabotage our financial efforts without our awareness of their influences.

20. Helping Those Who are Running Late in Planning for Their Retirements

For a variety of reasons, some people have not been able to plan for their retirements and fear they may never be able to retire. Sometimes these folks take heedless risks in trying to “catch up” and fall further behind. This session explores effective strategies to them get back on track. By judiciously using retirement plans, Health Savings Accounts, Roth IRAs, and Social Security Collecting Strategies, along with making some challenging career-life decisions, many of these folks can still look forward to a financially secure retirement.

21. Key Components of the New Tax Law and its impact on Individual Taxpayers

The New Federal Tax Law changes will have muted effects on middle income tax-payers but should reduce their federal taxes by modest amounts, perhaps by a few hundred dollars or so. The real benefit falls to those with higher incomes, especially for whose incomes exceed $250,000 or so. Never the less, significant changes to 529 Plans, Roth IRA recharacterization, Home equity loans, the deductibility of state taxes, and changes to tax brackets and standard deductions are Tax Law changes we’ll consider in this session.

22. Annuitization: What Is it and How can it manage Certain Risks Other Strategies Cannot?

Retirees have a variety of ways to take distributions from their retirement accounts. Some of these choices can be irrevocable. Annuitization is one such option but it’s often misunderstood. This module will describe what is annuitization and how it can be part of a comprehensive retirement income plan. Annuitization can prevent a retiree from running out of income while protecting a portfolio from stock market downturns throughout retirement.

23. Which Type of IRA (Traditional or Roth) is Right for you?

Though IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) have been around for decades, many don’t know the differences between the two types of IRAs and which one may best for them. The preferred type of IRA may change over time as their life their life circumstances change. This workshop will describe each type and help individuals identify which one may be the current, preferred option for them. The workshop will also help individuals identify if they are even eligible to contribute to either type of IRA, both, or a combination of the two.

24. If you want to retire “early” What Do You Need to Consider?

Many employees dream of retiring early. But have they thought about how they will have to modify their long-term financial planning strategies. Among the issues they’ll need to consider: How will they accumulate a sufficient amount of assets to underwrite an “extended retirement? How will they obtain health care coverage and at what cost? How will their retirement investment plan need to change to cover a 40 year or more post-work life? What about a retirement income plan that will need to last perhaps four decades, while keeping pace with inflation? How will they deal with reduced future Social Security benefits? What the rules on withdrawing funds “early” from retirement accounts? We’ll address all these issues and more in this session.

25. What’s Your Money Style and How It May Be Helping or Hindering Your Personal Finances?

It’s the rare person who doesn’t associate intense feelings with money: fear, guilt, shame, envy, or even apathy. Research findings indicate that “money matters” as the number one reason couples fight and a major contributor to divorce. Unless we have some understanding of “what money means to us,” with the best of intentions we may be undermining our financial future. Equally important, we must understand our partner’s financial style to work cooperatively on our family’s finances. This session will explore how to identify your money style and see how it may be helping or hindering your financial future.

26. The Recently Passed Secure Act: Directs Sweeping Changes to the USA Retirement System

The Secure Act aims at increasing access to work-based retirement plans and helping Americans savings last longer. Besides raising the age at which people need to start taking required minimum distribution withdrawals, the Act also removes the age limit restricting contributions to Individual Retirement Accounts. Likewise, the Act also restricts the ability of non-spouse heirs to stretch retirement distributions over their lifetimes. This session will scour the law’s provisions to find opportunities for employees to enhance their retirement security.