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Dana Anspach

Dana\'s Money Over 55 Blog


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Where Do You Find Yield?

Tuesday May 27, 2014

With ultra-low interest rates offered on savings, where do you find yield? There are places to find it, but it isn't free money. Too many people chase after high yielding investments without understanding the risks. If you're looking for yield, check out the suggestions I offer in High Yield Investments. Just be sure to understand the risks before you buy.


Captain Kirk and Your Retirement

Monday May 26, 2014

Financial topics can get dry sometimes. I was looking for a way to spice things up a bit, so I turned to Star Trek's Captain Kirk for inspiration. After all, there was never a boring day at the helm of the Starship Enterprise. I was amazed at what I found. Here are†9 Things Captain Kirk Can Teach You About Retirement Planning.

Blogs Go Away, Newsletters Stay

Friday May 23, 2014

To my regular readers - there are some great changes in progress at About. There will be major changes to the look and feel of our sites, and some changes to our content strategy. The primary change to our content strategy will be the elimination of our blogs. Let me explain.

There are two types of content on our About.com sites; blogs and articles. Our blogs are frequent, regular posts where we have always been encouraged to share our personal stories, personality, and timely news. As web content evolves we are now encouraged to share this type of content on our personal social media outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google Plus. So, after May, no more blog posts.

The primary type of content we focus on are our articles. Articles are focused practical, everlasting, "how to" content. This type of content will continue and our weekly newsletters will continue. You will see our latest articles feed through to the home page of each our sites, and I will continue to send them out in the weekly newsletter.

The primary difference for you; blogs allow reader comments, and articles do not. If you want to interact with me, and comment, the best option is one of the social media sites.

By mid-summer most of the changes should be complete. I am excited about them and I think you'll love the new look and feel of the site!


When Your Social Security Statement Gives You The Wrong Estimate

Wednesday May 21, 2014

Have you or a spouse ever worked as a government employee, either federal, state, or local? And was it in one of these states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada Ohio, Rhode Island, Texas?

If so, the estimate you see on your Social Security statement (available online at My Social Security) may not be right.

Employees who work for an entity that has its own pension system are affected by two provisions of Social Security: the Windfall Elimination Provision and the Government Pension Offset.

If these things affect you, read up on them, and factor them into your planning - †or you may be counting on Social Security benefits that won't actually be there for you.

How to Become a Retirement Income Expert

Monday May 19, 2014

At the end of April one of my firm's advisors, Brian Duvall, attended a conference in Las Vegas. The conference was about retirement income planning. He came back shocked at some of the questions the advisors in the audience were asking.

Knowledge we take for granted in our firm (such as Medicare Part B premiums that increase if your income is higher, Social Security claiming strategies, and the difference in taxation between ISO and NQ stock options) was breaking news to some of these practicing professionals. †The problem, Brian decided, was much of the audience was still focused on sales. That's not the kind of advisor you need as you near retirement.

Retirement income planning is a specialty. Your family practice doctor won't be able to address all the same questions a cardiologist will, and a general financial advisor will not be able to address all the questions that a retirement income specialist will.

If you are an advisor who works with older clients, you need to give some serious thought to how you can advance your own knowledge and become a retirement income specialist. One good option is to study and get an advanced designation.

Wade Pfau, a leading academic in the retirement income space, discusses three advanced education designations in the retirement income space at RICP Vs RMA Vs CRS - Choosing The Best Retirement Income Designation Financial Advisors.

Of the three designations, I hold the RMA, or Retirement Management Analyst, which I acquired in early 2010. This summer, for the third year in a row, I will be heading to Salem State to guest lecture for a class of upcoming RMAs.

If you are currently an advisor and thinking of become a specialist, I'd love to see you there.

You can register for the July 14 - 18 bootcamp, or learn more about the RMA designation.

Learn more ~ or join the conversation!


Smart Company Stock Strategies

Tuesday May 13, 2014

A few weeks ago I met with an upcoming retiree who has consistently employed what I call a smart company stock strategy. He had access to an ESPP (Employee Stock Purchase Plan) which enabled him to buy company stock at a 15% discount.

He bought shares regularly. But what made his plan smart, is that he also sold shares regularly. He recognized that his income, and thus much of his financial security, was tied to his employer. He didn't want to load up on company stock and expose an even larger part of his financial wealth to the same risk, but he did want to take advantage of buying stock at a discount.

Not everyone employs such a strategic plan. So what do you do when you are nearing retirement and you still own a lot of ESPP shares? When should you sell your shares? Find out in Retirement and Your Employee Stock Purchase Plan.

Learn more ~ or join the conversation!


Getting the Most From Social Security

Wednesday May 7, 2014

Not everyone likes to read complex rules about their Social Security benefits. I understand. It's pretty dry stuff.

Now you have another option. A short (less than 9 minute) informational video called Getting the Most From Your Social Security.

Some fun facts I learned from this video:

  • If you are married, there is a 25% chance one of you will live to age 97.
  • As of December 2010, 5.8 million Social Security recipients were at least age 85.
  • The first Social Security recipient lived to age 100.

(Disclosure: the video mentioned above is hosted on a site paid for by Sensible Money, Dana Anspach's firm.)

If you prefer to read, and want to stick with the basics, I'd recommend one of the following three articles:

Learn more ~ or join the conversation!


Finding Money You Didnít Know You Had

Wednesday April 30, 2014

Many years ago, twice a year I would conduct a retirement planning presentation for Medtronic employees each year at the Medtronic campus in Tempe, AZ. It was a lot of fun.

Many of the upcoming retirees asked to meet with me one-on-one. Some of them hired me, and, our course, some of them didn't.

One probably should have. I recall going to her home and reviewing her statements with her. She had both an ESPP (employee stock purchase plan) and an ESOP (employee stock ownership plan).

  • With an ESPP you buy shares through payroll deduction and you receive a discounted price on the shares. These shares are not held inside of any type of retirement account.
  • With an ESOP, shares are given to you within your 401k plan, usually in the form of a company match or profit sharing contribution. These shares are held inside a retirement account. Sometimes you can use a special tax rule called "net unrealized appreciation" to get them out of the retirement account with more favorable tax treatment.

This woman thought her ESPP and ESOP shares were one and the same.† In fact, they were not, which in her case meant she had $300,000 more than she thought she had. I honestly think she didn't believe me. Perhaps that is why she didn't hire me. Maybe she thought I was spinning a tall tale. I wasn't.

Something similar occurred this week with an existing client of mine. She brought in statements from what she thought was a private real estate holding (a private REIT) that she had owned for quite some time. In fact she did own that REIT, but she also owned public stock that went by the same name. She thought they were one and the same. In fact, they were two different investments.

It's got to be nice when someone can point out to you that you have more money than you thought you had!

I can't help everyone find money, but you'd be surprised what might be lurking out there that you can find on your own. For example, I discovered an insurance company owed me a refund from when I lived in Florida. I had canceled a policy when I moved to Colorado and left no forwarding address. Lucky me, over a decade later I recovered a few hundred dollars.

Start your search for such things with 7 Places to Look For Unclaimed Money.

Learn more ~ or join the conversation!


Oh No. I Forgot to Save for Retirement.

Wednesday April 30, 2014

I get it. It's easy to live day-by-day. And you never thought you'd live past 50 anyway, did you? But here you are. So what do you do when you wake up one day and realize retirement age not too far away, and you haven't saved enough? Here are five things you can do that will help.

Wait! Donít Put Those Docs Away

Wednesday April 23, 2014

It never fails. In February, March, and early April my phone rings off the hook and emails come pouring in. As people gather information to file their taxes, all kinds of other money questions come up. †This fresh look at your finances can continue right into spring.

Think of it as spring cleaning for your financial house. It's time to get organized, find hidden assets, tidy up your portfolio, and get a clear picture of your future. Want to know how? Here are my financial spring cleaning tips: 7 Ways to Get Your Financial House in Order.

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