Stretching Your Income to Meet Expenses

Coin stacksIf you just retired, congratulations. You’ve received the gold watch, relished the looks of co-workers who envy your new freedom, and begun to plan that long-awaited European tour you had always hoped to take. Life is good, but you do have concerns – mainly, whether your future income can sufficiently cover your basic living expenses, plus those little extras that make retirement special.
 
Financial experts generally calculate that you need between 70% and 85% of your pre-retirement income to maintain your lifestyle. Even if you were diligent about saving during your working years, it’s likely that your investment portfolio has not yet fully recovered from the recession, and returns are still lower than you expected them to be. How do you ensure that your nest egg is big enough to meet ongoing expenses?

Significant Future Income Increases Are Unlikely

Your future income will be a combination of Social Security benefits and the systematic liquidation and withdrawal of your retirement assets over the remaining years of your life. At age 65, you can expect to live, on average, another 19.1 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you are genetically gifted, however, you may live to 100 or longer – the number of centenarians in the U.S. rose to 53,345 in 2010, a 65.8% increase from 1980.
 
Your initial retirement calculations were probably based upon an annual withdrawal rate of 4% of asset value, a figure most financial planners had generally agreed would provide a stable income for 30 years. Nowadays, however, that percentage is considered by some to be too liberal. Recent studies have suggested that in the current economic environment, withdrawing income at a 4% rate could increase the risk of depleting your assets during your lifetime. Since the level of your future income is uncertain and may be lower than originally anticipated, it would be prudent to reduce your living expenses where possible so that less income is needed to provide the same quality retirement for your remaining years, however long that may be.
 
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Day Trading for a Living – Benefits and Risks

Trader Using Multiple Computer Screens While Communicating ThrouIn the days before personal computers, instantaneous communications, and sophisticated software, many Wall Street brokerage firms employed veteran traders to sit and interpret the paper tapes of stock transactions that spewed from mechanical tickers across the city. These traders, known as tape readers, would note the price and volume pattern of individual trades in the hopes that they could identify opportunities for quick profits. For example, if the latest trade of a stock differed significantly from previous trades in either price or volume, this might be interpreted as the work of insiders acting before news that could affect the company is announced. The tape readers would then act similarly, hoping their intuition was correct.

Since that time, the stock ticker has been replaced by a massive electronic network capable of analyzing and reporting trade data throughout the world. That technology has led to changes in the way the investment industry functions. One of the more unique positions in today’s landscape is that of the day trader.

Definition of Day Trading

By definition, day trading is the regular practice of buying and selling one or more security positions within a single trading day. No position, long or short, is held overnight. Day traders frequently deal in thousands of shares, often with leverage, and look for small-percentage profits on each trade – often less than $1 or $2 per share. They take positions based upon their analysis of a stock’s probable price direction within the trading period.

Popular day trading strategies include the following:

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How to Choose the Best Stock Market Investment Strategy

piggybank According to a recent Pew Research report, more than one-half of people aged 30 or older have investments in the stock market and 80% of those making $75,000 per year or more have equity investments. These investments include individual stocks and bonds, as well as mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

While many suffered from the sharp decline in the market in 2008 – it lost 38% of its value – the S&P 500 closed above 1,800 on November 22, 2013, more than doubling its low of 721 on March 11, 2009. As investor confidence returns, many analysts predict that the market is going to continue its bullish behavior well into 2014 and beyond. Whether you select individual stocks or bonds or rely upon an investment manager to do it for you, it is important that you choose an investment approach fitting to your attitudes and goals.

Components of Investment Success

The optimistic outlook for stocks provides a great opportunity for existing and new investors to review strategies and adjust investment philosophies to optimize their future results. Financial experts agree that investment success is highly dependent upon the following activities.

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4 Strategies to Maximize Retirement Income

This article first appeared in Forbes.com on November 28, 2013.

Retirement Fund 3More than seven out of 10 Americans worry about outliving their income during retirement, according to a recent survey by Prudential PUK +1.57% Retirement. Decades of pension plan conversions to profit-sharing plans, combined with a stock market decline of more than 50% in 2008 and falling real estate values have devastated savings and retirement accounts nationwide. As a result, a combination of post-retirement work, Social Security benefits, and prudent portfolio management is going to be necessary for most baby boomers to retire during the next two decades. Implementing the following steps can help you maximize your post-retirement income so that you remain financially independent during your golden years.

1. Continue to Work

According to a recent Gallup Poll, almost three-quarters of U.S. workers intend to work past retirement age, 40% by choice and 35% due to necessity. Delaying retirement as long as possible makes economic and psychological sense due to the following reasons:

  • Increased Financial Security During Retirement. The last years of work are typically the highest income-earning years of employment. At the same time, most of life’s major expenses – buying a house, educating children, acquiring significant assets – are over, so that a greater proportion of income can be devoted to savings.
  • Improved Mental and Physical Health. According to Carol Dufouil, at a recent presentation at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, the risk of getting dementia drops by 3.2% for every year worked past retirement age. Study after study indicates that people who continue to work live longer and are in better health than those who retire at age 65 or earlier, and the benefits are present for those who worked full-time or part-time.

Unless your job is too physically demanding or stressful, seek to extend your employment, either full-time or part-time, as long as possible.

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