Two topics of interest for those approaching retirement were addressed recently in articles I read. In the October edition of Investment Advisor, a story summarized results of an Allianz Life survey “2013 Women, Money and Power Study”. This study focused on 2,000 women ages 20 to 75 with a minimum household income of $30,000, and found that 20% of the women polled fit the woman of influence profile based on specific criteria, including activity in major investment decisions, good understanding of financial products and interest in learning about financial matters. Even though 46% of these women fear outliving their nest egg, they felt financially secure and confident in their ability to spend, save and invest wisely. More than half described themselves as CFO of their household and 75% suggested that they could not rely on their spouse to handle investing for current and future needs. As a side note, 60% of the “women of influence” are the primary breadwinner in their household. These women tend to have more earning power and postgraduate educations. They also have more success in the workplace, as they are 50% more likely to be a business owner and 80% more likely to be at the director or VP level within their company. A post script to the article noted that 70% of married men say they make financial decision by themselves, but only 13% of married women agreed with that assertion according to a survey by BMO Private Bank.
I routinely get questions about social security benefits. In the September 9, 2013 Wall Street Journal, there was an article on maximizing benefits. There are, according to this report, a growing number of online programs that help soon-to-be retirees determine the best path to follow for better benefits. The author and her staff tested five different programs, all of which were relatively easy to navigate, per the report. Within a few moments of prompting a user to enter his or her date of birth and estimated monthly social security benefit, each generates clear recommendations. All five tools provide help for single and married people. The report tested two free sites—AARP Social Security Calculator and T. Rowe Price Social Security Benefits Evaluator. Three sites had a cost ranging from $39.95 to $250, depending on the level of service. These tools were MaximizeMySocialSecurity.com, SocialSecurityChoices.com and SocialSecuritySolutions.com. If you are at the stage in life where you have to make decisions about your social security benefits, you may want to check some of these sites out. It is an important time in your life and it makes sense to use all the resources available to you.
My youngest daughter just had her first baby, a beautiful boy. She is married to the youngest child from his family, so two babies had a baby. Can you believe that there is an adjustment to their daily living habits taking place? Can you believe that, once again, Beverly and I celebrate and witness the glory of God’s creation in the miracle of birth? On a related note, we had the good fortune to spend a few days on the beach at Fort Morgan. Once again, we witnessed beautiful sunsets, moon and stars, rainbows, and various types of coastal wildlife. Once again, we marveled at the glory of God’s creation. Elisabeth Eliot in her book “Discipline: the Glad Surrender” says: “Is there any image of freedom and joy more exhilarating that a full orchestra, everybody sawing, tootling, pounding, strumming, blowing, clashing, and hammering away for all they are worth, under the direction of a man who knows every note of every instrument in every concerto, and knows how to elicit that note exactly so that it will contribute most fully to the glory and work as a whole?”
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