3 Questions Every Woman Should Answer Before Claiming Social Security Benefits

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Although Social Security was never designed to sustain retirees’ living costs in its entirety, it has become a reliable source of income many Americans utilize to help bridge the gap between other sources of retirement income and total expenses, especially for women.

According to the Social Security Administration, women make up 56% of the 37.8 million beneficiaries aged 65 and older. Why? Women enjoy longer lifespans than men and have less saved for retirement due to the gender wage gap and years spent outside the workforce in caretaking roles. As a result, women between the ages of 60 and 64 are estimated to have $40K less in retirement savings than their male counterparts, making social security benefits a more integral part of their retirement plan.

Maximizing social security benefits, then, should be a retirement planning factor women take care not to overlook.

  • Should I Continue Working to Make Up for Years Out of the Workforce?

Social security benefits are based on lifetime earnings and are calculated using your average indexed monthly earnings during the thirty-five year period when you earned the most income. However, since many women leave the workforce to raise their own children or help care for aging parents, they may not have had an opportunity to log a full thirty-five years or, if they did, inevitably earned less over that duration due to the gender wage gap (which still exists today).

One option women can exercise is to continue working past their initial projected retirement date in order to (a) inflate the income average that will be used to calculate their benefits or (b) avoid having zeros factored in for the number of years under 35 that they did not pay into the system.

Social security benefits are considered earned benefits, so if you don’t work for a full 35 years, and subsequently do not pay into the system for a full 35 years, you’ll have zeros factored into your calculation for the number of years you did not show an income. Since working full-time at an older age is not always feasible or desirable, some women choose to take on part-time work from home in order to avoid having zeros factored into their lifetime benefit calculation.

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The Top 3 Financial Challenges Hispanic-Americans Face

Top Financial Challenges Hispanics Face

Hispanic Americans make up one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. population, and with more Hispanics being birthed in the U.S. then ever before, the growth of this group shows no signs of slowing down. The US Census Bureau projects the Hispanic American population to increase 115% by 2060, at which point they will represent 30% of the entire population.

And this burgeoning segment is not growing without prosperity. According to the Hispanic Access Foundation, the buying power of Hispanics is exceeding $1 trillion and is expected to grow another 50% over the next five years. Hispanic business owners alone contribute more than $70 billion to the US economy.

But despite their entrepreneurial and financial success, nearly half of all Hispanic Americans surveyed by Mass Mutual still reported feeling less financially secure than other groups. So how do we explain this disconnect? For many Hispanics, the following factors tend to get in the way of preparing for long-term financial success and, subsequently, create feelings of financial insecurity.

1) Language and Monetary System Barriers

For native-born Hispanic Americans, the language barrier and US monetary system are far less problematic than they are for older members of the population who immigrated to the U.S. at an older age with limited language skills and resources.

Being a non-native English speaker entering a country with a completely different monetary system can pose huge problems for individuals trying to decipher complicated US tax forms, legal contracts, or applications for credit. Many times, the less fluent, older Hispanic populations will rely on help from their teenage children (or even grandchildren) to translate and interpret such forms!

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WHAT WOMEN NEED TO KNOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF THEIR FINANCIAL FUTURE - PART II

What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future Part II

Insuring Against the Unexpected

Risk management is a vital element of any financial plan. There are events and occurrences in life that we simply cannot predict. However, we can help to guard ourselves against financial devastation in the face of these unfortunate changes with different types of insurance tools.

  • Life Insurance: Traditionally, life insurance policies are purchased with the intention of financially aiding the surviving widow or widower after the unfortunate loss of a spouse. These policies pay death benefits to surviving spouses or beneficiaries upon the owner’s passing in exchange for premiums paid during the owner’s lifetime. There are two basic types of life insurance policies: term life insurance and permanent. Term life insurance policies expire after a certain term, or number of years, whereas permanent, whole life insurance policies provide lifetime coverage.

Life Insurance policies can provide many benefits. For women who are the primary breadwinner of the family, life insurance policies can provide financial security for the family in her absence. The hybrid policies with cash allocations allow the owner to borrow against the cash value of the benefit, which could help a woman pay off debt, start a new business, or finance her children’s education. And policies which combine life insurance with long-term care riders can provide financial resources should the owner become terminally ill. The type of policy you choose, though, should not be a decision made in isolation, but in the perspective of your overall financial circumstances and available resources.

  • Long-term Care Insurance: According to the most recent data presented by the US government, at least 70% of Americans over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care in their lifetime. Long-term care needs range from periodic in-home help with daily activities to full-time nursing home living. However, planning to pay for the high costs of assisted living or in-home aids is often overlooked.
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What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future - Part I

What Women Need to Know to Take Control of Their Financial Future

Here are the facts: Women are living longer than men[i] and nearly 50% of all marriages are likely to end in divorce (with even higher rates of “Gray Divorce,” or divorces amongst those over age 50). What does this mean for women? That at some point in their lives, whether through divorce, widowhood, or personal choice, the responsibility of financial management will land squarely on their shoulders.

Women have made impressive strides over the past few generations with more than half of American women acting as the primary breadwinner in their household. Today, women are working and earning more than ever before.

But when it comes to money matters, a striking number of women statistically still leave the responsibility of financial management up to men. Experts attribute this trend to a lack of confidence in financial decision making, the female focus on caregiving and homemaking, and even just traditional, societal norms; but regardless of this tendency, longer life expectancies and higher divorce rates indicate that women should empower themselves to take control of their financial futures sooner rather than later.

The main problem, however, is that many women are unsure of where to begin. In fact, over 40% of women say that a lack of knowledge regarding their financial affairs is the single largest deterrent to becoming more involved in money management.[ii]

With this in mind, we have formatted this article into two installments to help women overcome their financial challenges and take control of their future.

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Pre-Retirement Planning for Professional Athletes

The Dos and Donts of Pre Retirement Planning for Professional Athletes

As much as professional athletes are known for their stellar athletic abilities, they are equally notorious for living extravagant lifestyles and blowing their earnings in a flash. According to a Sports Illustrated article published in 2009, 78% of NFL players are either bankrupt or under financial stress within 2 years of retirement, and 60% of NBA players go bankrupt within five years of leaving the league.

A host of famous professional athletes are earning more than “the average Joe” will in his lifetime, but struggle with transitioning their short-term paychecks into lifelong financial security.

On a fundamental level, earners of all income levels face similar financial hurdles, such as staying out of debt, fighting the temptation to overspend, and saving for the future. But due to the nature of their careers, professional athletes are faced with some pretty unique challenges of their own.

The Game Plan

1) DO Become Financially Literate

Athletes often earn a great deal of money at a young age when they have had little to no experience handling their own finances. Not only does this increase the likelihood of mismanagement, but also leaves them vulnerable to financial salespeople who prey on those who come into sudden money.

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Regulatory Disclosure: The information on this website has been obtained from sources considered reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. This website is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation to buy any securities. Gerard Gruber offers Securities and Investment Advisory and Financial Planning service through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments are not FDIC insured. Investments are not deposits of the financial institution and are not guaranteed by a financial institution. Investments are subject to investment risks including loss of principal amount invested.