Uncertain Times

Ray’s Take We live in uncertain times. There are no guarantees; there is only planning and adapting. A sound financial plan is a great hedge against uncertain times, and the inability to predict future tax rates or the direction of the stock market should not be a deterrent to having a good financial plan.

A generation ago, not many people really cared what “the market” was doing. We worked, retired, and lived on a pension. Trained investment professionals worried about asset allocations, interest rates and longevity risk. Now it’s up to us.

With the demise of pensions, uncertainty in home prices, generation low interest rates and a volatile stock market, in addition to ongoing changes to Social Security, Medicare and employer-sponsored retirement plans, setting financial goals and sticking to them is more important than ever before.

The fact is, we are living in a new normal and 21st-century retirees have a slew of things to plan for, so it’s important to devote some time to thinking about the areas of your financial plan that you can control. And the sooner the better.

Start with the amount you put into retirement accounts and how those accounts are managed. Next up, review the tools in place to manage unexpected future expenses like a long-term health care plan, a power of attorney and a will. Additionally, have an emergency cash fund to cover short-term expenses.

Short-term volatility is no reason to change your long-term financial plan. But media stories of an alarming nature can give rise to doubts and concerns. An annual review is an important part of making sure you’re still on track. Financial planning in uncertain times requires thoughtful decision-making and a decision to do nothing is as important a decision as is to do something.

A qualified financial planner who is on top of the changing face of the world of planning and investments can help you navigate the murky waters.

Dana’s Take The baby boomer generation is creating a new retirement lifestyle. But what will our kids’ retirement look like? Will there be a new new normal by the time they reach retirement age? And what will retirement look like for them?

With all the changes taking place in the financial world in everything from how we handle paying bills to how we save for the future, it’s very hard to imagine what tools we need to give our kids in order for them to achieve the type of retirement we’ve dreamed of for ourselves.

But will they even want the same type of retirement that we envision for ourselves? It’s important to teach our children money skills based on the world as it is today, but make sure they adapt those skills to match changing trends as they mature into their own retirement dreams.

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