October 2007, Volume 3, Issue 9
Published by AEGIS Communications
When Planning for Retirement, Take a Holistic Approach
It is not unusual for investors to consider retirement planning a numbers game that focuses on the size of a nest egg, a desired rate of return, and how much to withdraw annually to cover living expenses. As with many areas of life, though, there are a host of other factors to consider. Many individuals and couples approach retirement with personal goals such as spending more time with family or supporting causes that matter to them.
DISCOVERY AND GOAL SETTING
As a prelude to holistic financial consulting, ask yourself—and your significant other, if appropriate—these questions that probe deeper into lifestyle and personal values issues:
- How do you envision the rest of your life?
- How do you want to spend your time?
- Are there goals or desires that have been important to you but you have not acted on because of work or family commitments?
- Do you have fears or concernsabout retirement?
- Are there aspects of retirement that make you excited or happy?
PLANNING TO PURSUE YOUR GOALS
Once you have greater clarity about your personal goals, you are ready to craft a financial roadmap that supports them. Do not be surprised if you end up with multiple goals. A recent survey sponsored by PLANSPONSOR.com (Stamford, CT) found that investors aged 50 and older hope to take on multiple challenges in retirement—domestic travel, hobbies, international travel, and a new career were men-tioned by more than 80% of respondents.
Achieving your goals is directly linked with your ability to finance them, along with meeting other obligations. Luxury travel, for example, costs significantly more than maintaining a garden at home. Living in a large, expensive home may require significant financial resources, but being close to loved ones may be a high priority. In fact, some retirees continue to provide financial support to children or grandchildren. It is also essential to consider necessities such as the cost of healthcare. Medicare is the primary insurance provider for older Americans, but benefits do not begin until age 65. Many retirees purchase supplementary coverage to pay for routine medical services and long-term care that Medicare does not cover.
SOURCES OF RETIREMENT INCOME
Many Americans rely on a combination of income sources in retirement, including Social Security, assets from an employer-sponsored retirement plan, an IRA (early withdrawals before reaching age 59.5 may be subject to a penalty tax), savings, real estate, and even income from a job. Maintaining tax-deferred accounts, such as qualified retirement plans, for as long as possible enables you to defer taxes on withdrawals. Once you reach age 70.5, the Internal Revenue Service mandates required minimum distributions (RMDs) from the plans based on your life expectancy.
If you need more money than your RMDs will supply, you may want to consider tapping taxable investment accounts, investing in dividend-paying stocks (stock investing involves risk, including loss of principal), or owning bonds that pay regular interest (bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if they are sold before maturity, and their values will decline as interest rates rise and are subject to availability and change in price). Your financial advisor can help you analyze all of your potential sources of retirement income and determine whether you have enough to pursue your goals during retirement. If there are gaps, you may want to consider saving more if you are still working, reducing expenses, or working part-time to make up the difference.
AN ONGOING PROCESS
Holistic financial consulting typically does not end when you retire. It is important to regularly monitor how well your plan is supporting your immediate and longer-term goals. As you age, there may be changes in your personal situation that require a modified approach. But putting your personal needs first may bring you closer to the retirement lifestyle that you desire.
This article is not intended to provide specific investment or tax advice for any individual. Consult your financial advisor, or your tax advisor with questions.
Securities offered through Linsco Private Ledger. Member NASD/SIPC.
For more information, contact Scott Kleiman, SJK Wealth Management, 465 Commerce Drive, Suite 100, Fort Washington, PA 19034, 215-646-7624, or visit www.sjkwealthmanagement.com.
SJK Wealth Management
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania
Debunking the Myths of Healthcare Financing
You want to grow your practice, and you have heard a variety of stories related to healthcare financing. Could this really be a viable option for you? Below are the top five myths about healthcare financing that may have you scratching your head...and the reality that ultimately leaves a good taste in your mouth.
MYTH 1: PATIENT FINANCING PLANS WILL BE A TIME-DRAIN ON MY STAFF.
REALITY: Practices are likely to see an increase in staff efficiency by letting someone else handle financing issues. Streamlined application processes are designed specifically to save you time. You can choose whatever application method is most convenient to your practice and your patients (online, phone, fax). At the end of the day, healthcare financing plans allow practices to spend more time caring for their patients by reducing the amount of time spent on tracking down and processing payments.
MYTH 2: THE PROCESSIS TOO CUMBERSOME FOR MY PATIENTS.
REALITY: Patient financing programs can and should be simple. Today’s technology enables an easy application process, and patients can have the financing they need within a matter of minutes. The patient’s approved paperwork will be available online or via fax even before they leave your office, so you can schedule your patient’s next appointment right away.
MYTH 3: MOST PLANS ARE NOT IN THE BEST INTEREST OF MY PATIENTS.
REALITY: There are a variety of payment plans designed to meet patients’ unique needs. These plans offer an affordable alternative to patients who otherwise cannot afford treatment. Options include credit cards and installment loans, with interest rates as low as 1.99% APR. Many lenders offer interest-free options.
MYTH 4: I WILL HAVE TO PAY EXORBITANT SIGN-UP AND ADMINISTRATIVE FEES.
REALITY: Fees vary by lender. Some lenders assess sign-up or maintenance fees. Other companies, such as Capital One (McLean, VA), only assign a fee when a patient is approved and funded.
MYTH 5: IT TAKES A LONG TIME TO GET PAID...TOO RISKY.
REALITY: Many finance companies deliver full payment up front, and most offer direct deposit so you can be paid within as little as 24 hours. Not only is this good for your bookkeeping, but it also minimizes your financial exposure, since the lender assumes the risk.
If you are still wondering, take a look at the numbers. Dentists offering finance plans have found that more patients opt for treatment when given an option to use an affordable payment plan. Converting more patients from consultation to treatment has dramatic results on profitability and efficiency. And by removing awkward conversations about finances from the office, your staff is freed up to concentrate on what they enjoy—helping patients.
For more information, please contact Capital One Healthcare Finance at 877-559-5050.
Certainly not all healthcare financing options are created equal. Shopping around is critical. Here are some tips to follow as you select a financing partner that is right for you:
- Look for programs offering streamlined processes that make it easy on the practice and on the patient.
- Compare and understand fee structures.
- Make sure you understand the nuances of how and when you get your funding.
- Consider the name and reputation of the lender.
- Look for competitive terms offered to your patients. Also make sure that terms are clear and up front (no hidden fees, etc).
|About The Author|
|Scott Kleiman |
SJK Wealth Management
Fort Washington, Pennsylvania