Retirement, Ready or Not?
October 30, 2012
By : Inspired Woman Magazine

by Heather Welle

I work as a Financial Services Professional at Solid Rock Financial. I have lived in Bismarck for nearly 10 years, am married to a wonderful man and we have three sons. Like most families we are busy balancing work, school and activities. One area of many families’ lives that may not get enough attention is financial planning. I spend most of my week speaking with people about growing and protecting their wealth. The majority of my clients are married couples. I do encourage both the husband and wife to be present for all of our meetings but all too often I only meet with the husband. The reasons I get are: she isn’t interested, she wouldn’t understand or she just doesn’t care.

It is crucial that women be involved in financial decisions and retirement planning. What if there is a divorce, separation, or death of a spouse? These are very emotional situations, but could be financially devastating if women are not prepared. What bills should be paid? What debts are owed? Do we even have a retirement account?

Following are reasons why women should be saving for retirement, what type of accounts are right for you, and the importance of being protected if you are left alone.

Women’s financial responsibilities are growing faster than their knowledge. There is a big problem with women feeling insecure about their finances, not knowing where to get help, being too conservative and facing retirement alone and underfunded. Women are gaining financial independence to an unprecedented degree – they now make up the majority of college graduates, are nearly half of the labor force and are becoming the primary earners in many households. Yet most remain uneasy or uninvolved when it comes to talking about and managing money.

Most people are so busy trying to make money in the moment, they don’t think about their financial future. There is a pretty slim chance social security benefits will be around in 20 to 30 years, at least not the full benefit. The national debt will have an impact on many of the government programs that are heavily reliant on our tax dollars, meaning taxes will most likely go up. With Baby Boomers retiring, about 40% of people will be removed from the workforce in the next 15 to 18 years. This means less tax payers and more people on government programs (Social Security and Medicaid). They will also be pulling their money out of the stock market, which may have a detrimental effect.

I encourage you to explore your options for retirement planning to ensure what you are doing matches with what you are trying to accomplish. Some of the traditional financial products include Roth Ira, Traditional Ira and 401k. Things you may want to consider when choosing retirement accounts are stock market risk (how much are you willing to take on) and tax implications. Do you think taxes are going up in the future? If so, do you want your money in an account that you will pay higher taxes on when you pull it out? Many accounts are also subject to stock market risk and do you want your money subject to the “mood” of the market? Where is the safest place to park your money so you can also enjoy some benefits along the way? Ask yourself these questions and determine what is important to you.

Women need to prepare for financial independence. Many women do not have a personal savings. Others have set aside a little in a savings account, which is fine for the short term but doesn’t really offer a chance for the money to grow into a worthwhile sum.

Women typically live longer than men, so protection is very important. Questions you should ask yourself: Do we have life insurance? Who is my agent? I recommend having the following “must have documents” in place: a will, a living revocable trust, an advance directive and a durable power of attorney for healthcare.

We all dream of being financially free, but most of us don’t know where to start or don’t believe it’s truly possible. Whatever you decide to do about your financial security, do something. At Solid Rock Financial we offer an education based approach where we look at entire financial portfolios and find where people may be losing money unknowingly. Many are losing funds every day in areas like taxes, mortgages, qualified plans and debt. I find this money, bring it back to the table and put it to work. We can verify that being more efficient with your money is the safest method for building a solid foundation of protection and wealth. There is more to be gained by avoiding losses than picking the apparent winners. It makes little sense to have a million dollars only to discover you lost a million on the way.

Heather can be contacted at: Solid Rock Financial, 2525 E Rosser Ave Suite 4, Bismarck, ND 58501 Cell 701.226.5065

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