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Shane Flait's Articles in Personal Finance

  • Paying Down Your Mortgage For Retirement
    Paying off your mortgage at retirement gives you the peace of mind that your house is all yours and lowers your expenses for your lower retirement income. Here's more of what this means...
  • Is It Worth Paying Back Early Social Security Benefits At 66 For Higher Benefit Payments?
    Can you make out better taking you Social Security benefits early and then paying it all back at your full retirement age to get a higher payout? Yes and no. Here's a way of evaluating it for you.
  • An Investment Strategy Using ETFs For A Retiree
    The common benefit of exchanged traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds (MFs) is the diversification in the underlying stocks or bonds to support their investment purpose. That's an important benefit. Now, when should you- as a retiree - choose to use an ETF instead of a MF?
  • Retirees Should Try To Deduct All Itemized Medical Expenses
    You can lower your income tax if you can itemize your deductions so they add up to more than the standard deduction given to everyone. The two major itemized deductions are typically mortgage interest paid and state income taxes withheld.
  • Catch-up On Savings With A Solo 401(k) If You're A One Person Business
    If you have a profitable one-person business, then consider setting up a Solo 401(k) for more pre-tax contributions to your savings. I.e. more than either a SEP or SIMPLE can offer you. Here's how the numbers work in 2012...
  • Use a Reversionary Annuity to Provide for Your Surviving Spouse
    If your income doesn't make adequate provision for your spouse if she survives you, you might consider a reversionary annuity to make a better income provision for her. This article explains when and how a reversionary annuity can be effective.
  • How Will a Retiree's IRA Value Change While Taking Out the Minimum Each Year?
    If you have a traditional (i.e. deductible) individual retirement account (IRA), you may wonder how much you'll have in it when you die for legacy purposes You must make minimum required distributions (MRDs), but if you restrict your withdrawals to these minimums, I can give you an idea. I'll assume that you make it to 70 years of age, you're the owner of your IRA, and you'll withdraw your yearly MRD starting at age 70.
  • Dump Unnecessary Living Expenses for a Better Retirement
    Creating a retirement that's enjoyable involves assuring yourself a retirement income that can pay your living expenses. The less are these expenses, the less retirement income you need. This article shows you the benefit of reducing your living expenses now and at retirement. It categorizes the ways to reduce your expenses so you can get started.
  • Create a Budget to Save Fast for Retirement and Set Yourself Free
    If you don't have the savings you need for retirement, then you've got to buckle down and save fast. If you need to live on less, then a budget will help you do it. This article gets you going on creating a budget designed for you.
  • Project a Better Retirement with Only 4 or 5 Years to Go
    Knowing what your retirement income and expense will be is essential to planning your retirement life. You can estimate your income and expenses under your present circumstances. If you're not happy with the results, take some quick steps to fashion a better retirement. Here's the process:
  • What Are the Benefits to Contributing to an IRA or 401(k) Type Plans?
    Taxes undermine our ability to grow our wealth and secure our retirement. To help people save for retirement, the government has authorized tax advantages to those who contribute to regulated retirement savings plans. This article explains the benefits of contributing to them.
  • The Benefit of Reducing Living Expenses Vs Accumulating More Savings
    When you reach retirement, your concern is having sufficient income to last you indefinitely. Typical sources of income are your Social Security, pension, and the income you can withdraw from your invested savings. But if these sources are low in your case, this article shows that budgeting to reduce your retirement living expenses can significantly relieve your reliance on retirement income.
  • It's Never Too Late to Save for Retirement - Never!
    Think it's too late to save for retirement? It's not because every little bit can bring you more income and more opportunity. This article shows how a little savings can put you ahead of where you thought you were.
  • Overview of Government-Regulated Retirement Savings Plans
    Over the years, the government has allowed a variety of tax-advantaged savings plans to come into existence so you can save for your retirement. This article overviews the types of plans you can choose from as an employee or as a business owner.
  • How to Plan for an Enjoyable Retirement in Less Than 5 or 10 Years
    Your retirement age has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. And then you've got to ask yourself, 'How can I retire?' Perhaps you've got less than 5 or 10 years and haven't been able to give it much thought - or much savings! What should you do? In this article, I'll show you how to plan to retire enjoyably if you've only 5 years or so left to prepare.
  • Social Security Income - When Should You Start Receiving Yours
    Social Security pays you a monthly income that's annually adjusted to the cost of living (COLA) until you die. But Social Security permanently increases your benefits the longer you delay beginning them. But that poses the problem of when its best for you to begin them. And that's what this article addresses.
  • Estate Planning Addresses Your 5 Basic Questions in Later Life
    You may have heard about estate planning. Your estate is composed of everything you own - and that includes yourself. But what is the 'planning' really about and should you be concerned getting it done? At some point later in life you decide that you should make provisions for both you and your estate. This article addresses 5 basic questions that encompass those provisions, the consequence of not answering them, and the urgency for doing so.
  • Earnings Are As Important As Contributions to Your Retirement Savings
    Just contributing to your retirement savings is not enough. You've got to make them earn decent returns so their compounding effects significantly add to what you eventually accumulate. To settle for pathetic investment earnings makes saving for retirement only a contribution game with meagre results. This article shows the kind of earnings you need to compound your way to a decent retirement.
  • Enjoy Retirement by Recreating a New Mental Outlook
    Retirement is our third phase of life. Our first phase found us growing up and becoming educated to make a living. In the Second phase we create a family and the wealth to support and raise the kids through their own first phase. we need to recreate our outlook for our third phase to reap a new opportunity for enjoyment and avoid the depression and loss of purpose that many retirees feel. This article addresses how you can do just that.
  • It's Never Too Late to Create an Agreeable Retirement
    If you're a Boomer or fast approaching retirement age but you're far behind in retirement savings, don't give up. You can still pull together a retirement that you can enjoy. With perseverance, planning, and sacrifice, you can retire in relative comfort even with a late start. In this article I show you how to set up a strategy for achieving a good retirement by maximizing your retirement income and minimizing your living expenses.
  • IRAs and Qualified Plans Offer Limited Asset Protection
    You can lose your assets to creditors (whom you've borrowed from), to claims under divorce or paternity suits, to trumped-up claims against your deep pockets, or to government for taxes owed. What you have in your IRA or other qualified plan has some asset protection. But federal and state laws together determine when and how much protection those assets actually have - and from whom. That's what this article addresses.
  • A Self-directed IRA: the Pros and Cons
    Government rules allow use of your IRA for more types of investments than banks and mutual fund companies allow. But you must steer clear of violation self-dealing rules for those nonconventional IRA investments. But, taxation of IRAs obliterates the tax-advantages of some alternative investments. This article overviews nonconventional investments, tax rules and restrictions, and suggests reasons for and against investing in them.
  • Keep Your Wealth Longer by Withdraw Income from Your IRA or 401(k) Only After Using Up Your Taxable
    As a retiree you've probably accumulated savings in both IRA-type retirement accounts and regular taxable accounts. You'll withdraw from them for your annual living expense. But the different tax treatments that apply to IRA-type and regular taxable accounts make it confusing about which type you should withdraw from first. Below I'll show that withdrawing from your taxable accounts first allows you to preserve your wealth longer.

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