The stock market has enjoyed an extended period of strong performance that dates back to the end of the last bear market in early 2009. While stock market performance can be measured in a myriad of ways, it’s the Dow Jones Industrial Average that has surpassed several one thousand point milestones so far in 2017: The Dow first topped the 20,000 mark on January 25, before passing the 21,000 level just over a month later. Then in early August, it broke through the 22,000 mark. As August ended, the seemingly smooth sailing market rally hit a few bumps. While no one can predict the future, market strategists and analysts are suggesting that we could see some additional market volatility in the months ahead. So how do investors keep all of this in perspective while trying to manage their portfolios? Here are three points to keep in mind as you follow the stock market:
The passing of a spouse can take a heavy emotional toll on anyone. Especially early on, newly bereaved widows or widowers may find it difficult to get through each day, much less focus on items that involve paperwork and investments. But, while everyone grieves differently and on their own timetable, it is important for those who’ve suffered the loss of a spouse to get their financial affairs in order – and the sooner, the better. Breaking it into smaller tasks can make the process feel less daunting. If you or someone you know are looking for guidance on organizing your finances following the death of a husband or wife, the following checklist can help.
Gather documentation. As the surviving spouse, you’ll first need to finalize your partner’s financial affairs. When you receive your spouse’s death certificate, make several copies right away, as you will have to provide the certificate as proof of death when closing or changing ownership of accounts. You will also need your spouse’s Social Security number, your marriage certificate, life insurance policies, bank account information, list of creditors and a copy of your spouse’s will or estate plan. If your spouse owned property or other assets, gather any paperwork that proves ownership. While compiling documentation can be cumbersome, having the right materials will make it easier to manage other financial tasks. Continue reading Putting Your Financial Affairs in Order After the Loss of a Spouse
Social Security benefits are a cornerstone of retirement income for many Americans. Yet, deciding when to start collecting benefits can be a puzzle, and the solution is different for everyone. You can claim Social Security as early as age 62, or delay it until your 70th birthday. The longer you wait, the larger your monthly benefit will be. There are a variety of ways you can structure your Social Security claiming strategy, based on your income needs, personal savings and retirement goals. Use the following three scenarios to evaluate what timing is best for you:
Starting Social Security early
A person who will retire at age 62 is counting on Social Security to help meet income needs once retirement begins. His monthly benefit will be $1,500, 25 percent below what he would have received at age 66, which is his full retirement age. Continue reading Is There a Right Time to Take Social Security?
As a business owner, you’ve poured your time and energy into making your company successful. But how much thought have you given to what will happen when you relinquish this role? Sooner or later, you will step down and hand the reins to someone else. Even if you intend to work for many more years, having a well-defined path can help you develop peace of mind as you enter the next phase of life. Looking ahead allows you to anticipate future opportunities and challenges, as well as give you time to create financial contingency plans that improve your prospects down the road. Here are five ways to constructively think ahead. Continue reading 5 Steps to Retire from Your Business with Confidence
Managing finances following a divorce can be emotional and overwhelming. Even the best-laid financial plans may seem complicated as you adjust to your new situation and next steps. No matter how complex your financial circumstances may feel, the following steps may help you secure your financial future:
As you think ahead to retirement, do you ever worry that your savings nest egg may come up short? If so, you aren’t alone. Many Americans are finding that they are not as prepared for retirement as they should be.
2017 has been an eventful year in the news, with a seemingly endless stream of fast-breaking developments coming out of Washington and other parts of the world. Through all this commotion, the stock market has posted significant gains. Investors who have stayed invested in stocks have likely been rewarded.
At the same time, investors can’t assume that this market environment will continue. At some point, the long-running bull market (currently in its ninth year) could suffer a decline. Are there steps investors should take to prepare for that? Continue reading In Unpredictable Times, Stay the Course
With all the attention on saving for retirement, it’s easy to overlook another important activity: creating a plan to pay yourself in retirement. More than ever, pre-retirees—especially those who don’t have a pension—will have to rely on a combination of income sources to pay for their essential and lifestyle expenses in retirement. Here are some tips to consider as you design your plan.
Create a plan. A recent Ameriprise Financial study found that more than half of pre-retirees report feeling overwhelmed and anxious about their impending retirement and worry that they will run out of money. The good news is that those with a retirement income plan are more likely to feel confident about their financial future. You too can take action to help lessen fears about the unknown. Continue reading How Will You Pay Yourself in Retirement?
Speaking from experience, the relationship between a financial advisor and his or her clients is incredibly important. Whether you rely on your advisor to help with retirement planning, saving for college, or meeting other goals, this individual will help determine how you approach some of life’s biggest financial decisions. That’s why it’s critical to ensure you’re working with the right person. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when choosing an advisor. Continue reading How to Select Your Financial Advisor
What makes a couple successful in their financial relationship? Ameriprise Financial surveyed over 1,500 couples (those married or living together for at least six months) to learn about their money conversations and how they make decisions. The results revealed eight ways you can improve the financial health of your relationship:
- Understand your partner’s money mindset. It’s normal to have differing views and habits about money, but that doesn’t mean you can’t agree on your financial goals. Couples who report being on the same page financially work to understand their partner’s approach to money and keep the lines of communication open.