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Balancing Your Savings: Retirement vs. Everything Else

Guest Blogger: Katie Bryan, America SavesSmall-arrow-for-disclosure

Should I save money or pay down debt? Should I pay for my child’s education or save for retirement? Should I pay down my student loans or build my savings? These are valid questions, as many of us have multiple savings and debt repayment goals to achieve at the same time. Figuring out how to prioritize them can be a struggle.

The good news is that in most cases, the answer to these questions is the same: DO BOTH….

Is the Three-Legged Stool of Retirement Broken?

The three most common sources of retirement income are traditionally known as the three-legged stool of retirement which is made up of pensions, Social Security, and personal savings. For decades, retirees and investors have been able to rely on these three legs for support. However, in recent years, the stool has become broken, forcing investors and soon-to-be retirees to lean on some legs more than others or even to look to other sources for retirement income security.

These days, it’s common to find many people that lack in all three areas. According to the Insured Retirement Institute, approximately 72…

Retirement Savings Made Simple

Saving for retirement is never easy, but with a little assistance it doesn’t have to be the difficult journey that many make it out to be. In the 2016 American Century National Survey of Plan Participants, more than 80% of retirement plan participants replied that they would like their employer to give somewhere between, “a slight nudge” and “a kick in the pants” to save more for retirement. Nine in ten participants said it would be at least somewhat important to tell their younger selves to save more.

There are a number of benefits for both the employee and employer…

Navigate the Uncertainty of Retirement Planning

Preparing for retirement can seem like a daunting task, especially since there are two unknowns that make retirement planning particularly challenging: how long your retirement will be, and how your investments will perform during that time. Fortunately, there are resources and tools available to help you make educated decisions and build a clear retirement roadmap.

Plan for a long journey. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average life expectancy in 2012 was 78.8 years. Of course, this is an approximation, but people often underestimate how long they will need their retirement assets to support them. People…

Are You Retirement Ready?

Oh no, I saved too much for retirement!


Chances are you haven’t heard anyone utter this phrase. In fact, numerous studies indicate that Americans are not saving enough to ensure a secure retirement. If American workers are not saving enough, then American employers will find themselves with an aging workforce that is unable to retire. For employers this translates into potential increases in costs associated with an aging workforce. Therefore, it is incumbent upon plan sponsors to take a fresh look at how they define a healthy, successful plan.


In the past, plan sponsors often looked at participation rates to determine…

The Risk Free Retirement Myth

During the last month, our group has come across investors who seem confused about advertisements and free lunch seminars promising a retirement strategy that is protected against market crashes. So, what exactly is this? The solution being offered is a fixed indexed annuity through an insurance company. While fixed indexed annuities may offer positive client benefits, an investor needs to know all of the details to make an informed decision on whether to invest or not.


Fixed indexed annuities are insurance contracts that, depending on the contract, may offer a guaranteed annual interest rate and earnings potential that is linked…

Achieve Financial Independence

Financial independence is a terrific goal, but how can you achieve it? I guess you could win the lottery – but that’s not likely.  You could develop a proactive game plan and take the task on yourself. While this is a good idea, it also sounds like something easily put off until tomorrow or the next day. If you are like many people trying to balance all of life’s activities, there often doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day.

To truly get your hands around your finances and complete some planning, it may be more effective to work…

You Insure Everything Else, Why Not Your Retirement?

Almost everyone insures their car, valuables and home. Who wouldn’t? You have a lot invested in your property – possibly hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.

When you think of all the discipline it took to accumulate your assets, why worry about running out of money when you don’t have to? If you are approaching retirement, or already retired, your financial mindset changes from one of accumulating (saving) for retirement to depleting (spending). This is a whole different approach and is often difficult to comprehend.

The biggest fear many of us have is running out of money. While working,…

Girard Insights: Medicare Overview

Recently, a client who is approaching retirement asked me if I knew anything about Medicare.  He knew very little about the program and wanted to be sure he didn’t make any mistakes.  Since I only knew the basics, I thought it would be a good time to take a closer look at Medicare and the choices retirees will need to make.  Although I’ll be the first to admit I am still not an expert, I’ve complied a good deal of basic, important points anyone ready for Medicare should consider.

Medicare has two major components.  Part A, which is free if…

Is Cash Really King?

The expression, “cash is king,” resonates with many investors who survived the dot-com bubble and sub-prime crisis, but how much cash is too much?  A May 2014 study by State Street shows the average investor has a 36% allocation to cash, up from 26% in 2012.  The percentage is even higher for baby boomers at 41%. While cash provides instantaneous liquidity and no market risk, it provides little in terms of long-term performance.  As of August 2014, the national average savings account rate was 0.11%.  In comparison:

  • the annual U.S. inflation rate was 1.7%
  • the 5 year average annual…
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