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Archive for November, 2008

What Baby Boomers Need to Know About Retirement Planning

November 21st, 2008 at 03:07 am

Retirement planning is something that everyone should do, but baby boomers in particular need to look long and hard at their retirement investments, or find themselves having to put off retirement for several years because they just don’t have enough money. This is more likely if you are still supporting your children through university while at the same time providing health support for aged parents.

We tend to jog along complacently as far as our retirement investment plans go, thinking that our cost of living will go down once we retire, but this may not be so. We still need to eat the same amount. Our utilities will still cost the same - or more if the price goes up as it is quite likely to. And then we have all that time on our hands that we want to fill with travel or other hobbies. We can’t do that for nothing.

Travel costs money and so do hobbies. And it would be a shame to have to miss out on doing something that you’ve been looking forward to for many years simply because you still don’t have enough money. But with a little more foresight and attention to financial affairs, that need not be the case. Baby boomers are the ones who have traditionally worked the hardest and helped their families get educated, all the while helping out their aged parents either financially or physically.

This has led them to lead a frugal kind of life and they may be looking forward to reversing that a little in their retirement. The bad new is that they may have to tighten their purse strings even more. In fact, baby boomers need to analyse their situation carefully, testing everything to see what they can expect to get and what they are likely to need.

Baby boomers no longer have all the criteria needed to gain wealth through investments. Retirement planning needs three things to be successful; time, rate of return and money saved. But baby boomers no longer have the luxury of time. Therefore they need to get the highest rate of return for the money they have saved that they can, without being exposed to too much risk. If they cannot get a good enough return, then they face the probability that their retirement will not be as they have dreamt and that a life of frugality will extend into the future.

The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got

November 4th, 2008 at 04:39 am

There is much financial advice floating around - some of it is even free. But you may think that the only financial advice worth taking note of is something you've paid dearly for. It must be some special, long report full of jargon that you can barely understand - and of course written by those professional financial advisors who charge an arm and a leg for it. In fact, you would need to take it to another financial advisor to have it explained.

Nope, not so. You don't need financial advice that is hard to understand or so longwinded it bores you to tears. What you need is something short and succinct. You need financial advice that switches the light bulb on in your brain; that gives you one of those moments of brilliant clarity with which to peer down the long years of your life. It should be easy to understand and easier still to implement. This financial advice should become a part of your life, your spending habits and character. And certainly it should be something that you can easily pass onto your kids.

The best financial advice I ever got was from my mother. She said, “Do you really need that?” Now how hard is that to understand? Do you really need it? You may desire it. You may long for it. You may even dream about owning it. But do you really need it? In other words, will not having it cause you to die?

You can apply this piece of financial advice to clothing. We all need clothing. We don't need designer clothing that is so expensive that it would feed a third world child for a year. We don’t need to have our wardrobes stuffed so full of it that we never see the bottom layer.

We can apply this financial advice to food. Everyone needs food: we don’t all need the most expensive cut of steak. Nor do we need to eat out every night, nor even once a week. Homes? Sure we all like to live in a nice, big home. A little one will do, though. We won’t die if we don’t have four bedrooms with ensuites and a swimming pool. New modern furniture would be great, but we can make do with stuff from the op-shop, or Gran’s bedroom suite.

Financial advice doesn't have to be difficult. Ask yourself do you need it every time before you buy something and you'll soon find that you have plenty of money to invest - and some left over to pay for expert financial advice on the best way to do it.

Choosing Your Financial Advisor

November 3rd, 2008 at 02:38 am

Choosing a financial advisor can be the best - or worst - thing you ever did. There are many people out there who call themselves financial advisors, but are they trained and licensed to do the job they claim to be good at? And are they a good fit with you personally? Even if the financial advisor you choose is good at his job, if he has a personality that clashes with yours, you won’t find it comfortable or pleasant working with him.

The main thing to remember is not to use Uncle Joe or Grandpa as your financial advisor - unless they are trained and experienced in doing the job. Even so, they may not be objective enough when it comes to your investments, simply because they are close to you.

A financial advisor can guide you through a maze of laws, rules and regulations on all kinds of topics to do with finance. His expertise about retirement plans, superannuation, insurance, income and family taxes will be invaluable. But before you choose your financial advisor, you need to find out a few things about him.

You need to know if he has the kind of good track record that comes with experience. A financial advisor can be highly trained and have all the right certification, but unless he also has a proven track record of giving successful financial advice, then you don’t want him touching your finances.

You also need to find out how your financial advisor gets paid. If he is paid commission from the products he advises for you, then you cannot be sure that they are truly the best ones for your situation. He could want you to have them because he gets paid a great commission from selling them. Even if a financial advisor claims to be fees-based, that doesn’t mean he is totally paid by fees. It could be that his remuneration is only part fees and the other part is commission.

Another consideration is what you actually want your financial advisor to do. If you have a specific problem such as estate planning for him to sort out, then you need to choose someone who is well trained in that area; if you have tax questions an insurance advisor would not be the best person to ask.

To find the best financial advisor, start by asking your friends and family whom they use. You can also ask other professionals that you trust whom they would recommend.