Retirement Questions That Have Nothing to Do With Money

Preparing for retirement is not entirely financial.

Your degree of happiness in your “second act” may depend on some factors that don’t come with an obvious price tag. Here are some non-monetary factors to consider as you prepare for your retirement.

What will you do with your time?

Too many people retire without any idea of what their retirement will look like. They leave work, and they cannot figure out what to do with themselves, so they grow restless. It’s important to identify what you want your retirement to look like and what you see yourself doing. Maybe you love your career and can’t imagine not working during your retirement. There’s no hard and fast rule to your dream retirement, so it’s important to be honest with yourself. A recent Employee Benefit Research Institute retirement confidence survey shows that 72% of workers expect to work for pay in retirement, whereas just 30% of retirees report that they’ve actually worked for pay.1

Having a clear vision for your retirement may help you align your financial goals. It’s important to remember that your vision for retirement may change—like deciding you don’t want to continue working after all.

Where will you live?

This is another factor in retirement happiness. If you can surround yourself with family members and friends whose company you enjoy, in a community where you can maintain old friendships and meet new people with similar interests or life experience, that may be a plus. If all this can occur in a walkable community with good mass transit and senior services, all the better.

How are you preparing to get around in your eighties and nineties?

The actuaries at Social Security project that the average life expectancy for men turning 65 is 84.1 years old, and the life expectancy for women turning 65 is 86.6 years. Some will live longer. Say you find yourself in that group. What kind of car would you want to drive at 85 or 90? At what age would you cease driving? Lastly, if you do stop driving, who would you count on to help you go where you want to go and get out in the world?2

How will you keep up your home?

At 45, you can tackle that bathroom remodel or backyard upgrade yourself. At 75, you will probably outsource projects of that sort, whether or not you stay in your current home. You may want to move out of a single-family home and into a townhome or condo for retirement. Regardless of the size of your retirement residence, you should expect to fund minor or major repairs, and you may need to find reliable and affordable sources for gardening or landscaping.

These are the non-financial retirement questions that no pre-retiree should dismiss. Think about them as you prepare and invest for the future.

  1. Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2021
  2. Social Security Administration, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2022 FMG Suite.



Retirement Strategies for Women

Preparing for retirement can look a little different for women than it does for men. Although stereotypes are changing, women are still more likely to serve as caretakers than men are, meaning they may accumulate less income and benefits due to their time absent from the workforce. Research shows that 31% of women are currently or have been caregivers during their careers. Women who are working also tend to put less money aside for retirement. According to one report, women contribute 30% less to their retirement accounts than men.1,2

These numbers may seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to be a statistic. With a little foresight, you can start taking steps now, which may help you in the long run. Here are three steps to consider that may put you ahead of the curve.

  1. Talk about money.Nowadays, discussing money is less taboo than it’s been in the past, and it’s crucial to taking control of your financial future. If you’re single, consider writing down your retirement goals and keeping them readily accessible. If you have a partner, make sure you are both on the same page regarding your retirement goals. The more comfortably you can talk about your future, the more confident you may be to make important decisions when they come up.
  1. Be proactive about your retirement.Do you have clear, defined goals for what you want your retirement to look like? And do you know where your retirement accounts stand today? Being proactive with your retirement accounts allows you to create a goal-oriented roadmap. It may also help you adapt when necessary and continue your journey regardless of things like relationship status or market fluctuations.
  2. Make room for your future in your budget.Adjust your budget to allow for retirement savings, just as you would for a new home or your dream vacation. Like any of your other financial goals, you may find it beneficial to review your retirement goals on a regular basis to make sure you’re on track.

Retirement may look a little different for women, but with the right strategies – and support – you’ll be able to live the retirement you’ve always dreamed of.

  1., 2021
  2., 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2022 FMG Suite.

If you have any questions about women and retirement planning, reach out to Lynn at



Ep. 50: The Surprising Benefits of Planning Future You


The Surprising Benefits of Planning Future You


This year I started to really think about and visualize my future me. And because I’m 56 (57 in August), my future will more than likely bring some pretty significant lifestyle changes. But I’m only going to bite off a little bit of future me planning at a time…like visualize me in 10 years and what the path to that future date looks like. 


I wasn’t sure when I was going to record this podcast, but I was spurred on by an article I read recently on the BBC website entitled, “How Thinking About ‘future you’ can build a happier life.” And then yesterday I took my mom to her local senior center to get some advice on Medicare, elder care planning, and the like and I decided this week would be as good as any to Ger Her Done.


Helping my 86-year-old mom put a plan in place for her future, definitely spurred me on to come home and do some visualizing, planning, and recording this podcast. 


I circled back to David Robson’s BBC article and I’m looking forward to sharing some of his insights from the article with you, along with some tips for visually mapping out your future. And with this episode of my podcast, I decided to start assigning some homework with each episode to help my listeners not just listen and then go on about their lives, but to listen and then take action. Because that’s the only way to make a change to your present and future. So at the end of the podcast, I’ll explain your assignment to help you Get Her Done.


Mr. Robson’s article encourages people to imagine and nurture their future selves, including their health, wealth, and happiness. I love the concept of that because health, wealth, and happiness are the focus not only on this podcast but also on my Her Retirement Platform. He asks readers to think ahead to 10 years from now and consider if you’ll still fundamentally be the same person you are today, or will you hardly recognize yourself?


Many researchers and psychological studies show that people’s responses to this question vary quite a bit. But their answer does point to some surprising behavioral tendencies.

Those who have a strong sense of who they are and will become in the future tend to be better and more responsible with their money, how they treat others, and being mindful of actions that will make the future easier. By contrast, some people have difficulty imagining their future selves as just an extension of their current selves. They appear to be somewhat disconnected from their present-day identity so they tend to act less responsibly in their actions.


The article goes on to say that nurturing your future self is just another thing we should all be mindful of. Getting to know our future selves and encouraging acceptance of who we will become has a significant impact (and benefits) on our financial security, health, and happiness.


Sounds good to me. How about you?


But guess what? This recent research is based on writings from 18th-century philosophers, Joseph Butler and Derek Parfit. In 1736, Butler offers this insight to us, “If the self or person of today, and that of tomorrow, are not the same, but only like persons, the person of today is really no more interested in what will befall the person of tomorrow, than in what will befall any other person.”


This theory was later expanded by Derek Parfit and used as a basis by a professor of behavioral decision making, marketing, and psychology, Hal Hershfield at the University of California, Los Angeles.  Mr. Hershfield hypothesized that a “disconnection from our future selves might explain many irrational elements of human behavior – including our reluctance to set aside savings for our retirement. Hmmm…very interesting.”


We may blame a lot of things for our inability to save for retirement (and of course some are legit), but how often do we consider how our own behavior plays into our outcomes?


The article goes into more detail on Hershfield’s research and how he conducted it through conversations with research participants about his future self. He also asked participants to consider various financial planning scenarios such as one in which a person could either receive a smaller reward soon or a larger reward later. As one might expect, those who felt more connected to their future self were much more willing to delay instant gratification and wait for the bigger reward.


As I’m talking about this, I’m wondering how much of this behavior comes down to the people who believe in the motto “live for today.” Or, “you can’t take it with you.”  Do those people tend to just focus on the current me?


Hershfield then went on to find out how this tendency correlated with the actual financial planning of these participants. Guess what? He discovered that those more in touch with future self had more money saved (and off-limits to current self).


Next, as the article says, “Back to the future” (loved that movie by the way… “Wait A Minute, Doc. Are You Telling Me You Built A Time Machine…Out Of A DeLorean?”


Sorry for my digression. Back to the future. Later research by Hershfield examined other areas of life, and here’s what he found out…

1).  People’s future self-continuity could predict their exercise behaviors and overall fitness. With a strong connection to your future self, you’re more likely to take care of your health and fitness now and into the future.

2). People who score highly on the future self-continuity measure have higher moral standards than the people who struggle to identify with their future selves. These people understand the consequences of present-day decisions and their impact on the future self.

3). Future self-continuity at the beginning of Hershfield’s study (which lasted over a decade with 4,000 participants) could predict their life satisfaction 10 years later.

People who set up their lives in a way that benefits the future self (in addition to the current self) enjoy more health, wealth, and happiness. Inability to identify with your future self can have long-term consequences for your overall wellbeing. We all struggle sometimes to imagine ourselves older, but if we could, it would definitely be to our advantage.  I have noticed that in my 30s and 40s, I wasn’t bothered so much thinking 10 years into the future. But now in my mid-50s, a little panic and worry sets in, but it doesn’t stop me from keeping a clear picture in my head of the future, and it’s a good picture.

This extremely interesting article and research wrap up with a section called, The things I wish I’d Know. This reminds me of a piece from Erma Bombeck’s book, Eat Less Cottage Cheese and More Ice Cream: Thoughts on Life from Erma Bombeck, called If I Had to Live My Life Over Again.

So what are some things I wish I’d known?

Based on all the benefits of connecting with and planning a future you (including health, wealth, and happiness), we of course want to know how we can do this. And this is where your homework for this episode comes in.

According to Hershfield’s research, one of the ways you can improve your connection to the future you is to create an avatar of what you might look like at say age 70. People who did this reported feeling a greater connection to their future self, and in subsequent measures of decision making, they showed more financial responsibility, like setting aside more money for retirement. Does this surprise you? According to the author of this article, David Robson, these exercises “encourage people to feel a greater sense of connection with their future self – and, as a result, primes them for positive behavioral change.”

Next, a less techy way to do this is to write a letter to future you, say 10-20 years from now. Include what’s important for you now and what you hope to accomplish in the coming decades of life. I have done something similar with vision boards and a journal where I write down my intentions for the future. In my Her Retirement retirement readiness software platform, I have a module called Envision where you go through a number of exercises either on your own or with your spouse/partner. It’s a similar concept but because I love to write letters, I’m going to write one to myself. I have written one to my kids (only to be read after I pass someday). But I’m going to write this letter next.

Hershfield’s studies have shown that the task increased the amount of time that people spent exercising over the following week (crazy right)… a sign that they had started to take their long-term health seriously. (If you are keen to try this out, he suggests that you could amplify the effects by writing a reply from the future since that will force you to adopt a long-term perspective.)

If you’re wondering how Hershfield has applied his research to his own life, the author shares with us that he tries to put himself in the shoes of his future self to imagine how he might look back on his current behavior. He uses this technique when faced with stressful situations like raising his children. He states,“I try to think whether my future self would be proud of the way that I handled myself.” 

Mr. Robson adds, “It might seem eccentric to start a ‘conversation’ with an imagined entity – but once your future self becomes alive in your mind, you may find it much easier to make the small personal sacrifices that are essential to preserve your wellbeing. And in the years ahead, you’ll thank yourself for that forethought.” 

Well, you actually don’t have to thank yourselves in the years ahead, you can thank yourself in the letter you write to yourself…now that’s the power of positive suggestion. 

David Robson is a science writer and author based in London, UK. His latest book, The Expectation Effect: How Your Mindset Can Transform Your Life, was published in January of this year. If want to check this out. I think I’m going to. I also want to mention another book I heard about in another podcast on this topic called, “Be Your Future Self Now: The Science of Intentional Transformation by Benjamin Hardy.”

It’s coming out in June and the description on Amazon says, “This isn’t a book about BECOMING it’s about BEING: noted psychologist Dr. Benjamin Hardy shows how to imagine the person you want to be, then BE that person now. When you do this, your imagined FUTURE directs your behavior, rather than your past. 

Who is your Future-Self?
That question may seem trite. But it’s literally the answer to all of your life’s questions. It’s the answer to what you’re going to do today. It’s the answer to how motivated you are, and how you feel about yourself. It’s the answer to whether you’ll distract yourself on social media for hours, whether you’ll eat junk food, and what time you get up in the morning.
Your imagined Future-Self is the driver of your current reality. It is up to you to develop the ability to imagine better and more expansive visions of your Future-Self.
Your current view of your Future-Self is very limited. If you seek learning, growth, and new experiences, you’ll be able to imagine a different and better Future-Self than you currently can.
It’s not only useful to see your Future-Self as a different person from who you are today, but it is also completely accurate. Your Future-Self will not be the same person you are today. They will see the world differently. They’ll have had experiences, challenges, and growth you currently don’t have. They’ll have different goals and priorities. They’ll have different habits. They’ll also be in a different world—a world with different cultural values, different technologies, and different challenges.

As I close out this episode of my podcast I want to remind you about a few things. There are many benefits to connecting with and planning the future you, including more health, wealth, and happiness…today and in the future. As  you’re doing this remember:

When you’re evaluating or dreaming about the future you, go into every aspect of your life and think about how you’d like to feel and what you envision.

Here is a list of some of the areas of life you should think about:

Romantic Relationships

And finally, I’d like to share with you what Erma Bombeck said to the question, “If I had to live my life over again would I change anything?”

Her answer was no, but then she thought about it and changed her mind. Here’s what she said,

If I had my life to live over again I would have waxed less and listened more.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy and complaining about the shadow over my feet, I’d have cherished every minute of it and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was to be my only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried less about the dirt when you lit the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have burnt the pink candle that was sculptured like a rose before it melted while being stored.

I would have sat cross-legged on the lawn with my children and never worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television … and more while watching real life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband which I took for granted.

I would have eaten less cottage cheese and more ice cream.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the Earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for a day.

I would never have bought ANYTHING just because it was practical/wouldn’t show soil/ guaranteed to last a lifetime.

When my child kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now, go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more I love yous … more I’m sorry’s … more I’m listenings … but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute of it … look at it and really see it … try it on … live it … exhaust it … and never give that minute back until there was nothing left of it.”

Well, that wraps up this week’s episode. I hope you found it as interesting as I did. Don’t forget to do your homework assignment: create an avatar and write a letter to your future self.

Here’s to knowing more & having more and getting her done.



Episode 49: The True Costs of Retirement Are More Than You Think (Part 2)


Hi there, and welcome to the Her Retirement podcast. This is episode 49, part 2 of the True Costs of Retirement. Last week I covered cost mistakes 1-8. This week I’m going to cover 9-16. These are the 16 most devastating mistakes you can make when estimating your costs in retirement.

As a review, here’s all 16:

  1. Opportunity cost: you don’t start saving AND investing soon enough
  2. Lack of a Long Term Care plan
  3. Not estimating life expectancy correctly
  4. A realistic estimate of healthcare costs
  5. Not accounting for inflation
  6. Forgetting about some big-ticket expenses you’ll likely have
  7. Changing spending habits
  8. Being in the sandwich generation: loaning money to your kids or parents, or taking time off from work to care for parents
  9. Spoiling the grandkids
  10. Not understanding or factoring in taxes (there’s a huge opportunity to make your money last longer with smart tax planning)
  11.  Forgetting about fees
  12.  Getting divorced
  13.  Take on too much or new debt prior to retirement
  14.  Taking too much money from your nest egg each year
  15.  Underestimating the impact of market fluctuations


16. And I’m going to add a 16th mistake: not getting educating and wasting time not doing anything or planning with the wrong team.


If you didn’t catch last week’s episode 48, go back and take a listen before or after listening to this episode.

Let’s start with number 9…


9. But they are so cute…the grandkids, that is.

So easy to spend way too much on the adorable little grandkiddos. This is another area where you need to set some boundaries for yourself and be disciplined. If you give too much, you may risk your own retirement needs.

How to Better Prepare?

Have a plan for what you’re willing to pay for before any grandchildren are born. And make it equitable for all the grandchildren. Also, make sure your children know what expenses you’re willing to cover. This is especially important when it comes to education costs. This conversation is important, so your children understand what they need to make the appropriate plans.


10. Taxes

Many people have no clue how much taxes can take out your retirement. And they also do not indicate that there are legal strategies to avoid paying too much in taxes.

One example is that you WILL have to pay taxes on your retirement savings plan withdrawals, and the government forces you to start taking withdrawals at age 72 if you haven’t yet started taking your withdrawals.

How to Better Prepare?

Number one: find a tax-smart financial or retirement advisor ASAP. There are many things you can do well before retirement to make yourself much more tax-efficient in retirement (i.e., Roth IRAs, which I talked about in last week’s podcast).

Number two: make sure you (and your advisor) create a combination tax strategy that leverages taxable, tax-deferred, and tax-free accounts. Make sure to ask the advisor about Roth conversions and also for them to show you your tax-efficient withdrawal strategy in retirement. If they don’t know how to do this, find another advisor. Not all financial advisors, planners or investment advisors, or the guy at Fidelity or Vanguard know anything about tax planning or retirement planning, for that matter. Who you work with matters…a lot.


11. The Fee Factor

According to research, retirement can cost more than expected because of people’s high fees on investments and retirement accounts. Somebody with $100,000 in a retirement account and terms of 2.5% over 30 years, for example, would pay about $40,000 more in fees over that time than if the fees on their account had been just 1.5%.

That’s a lot of money.

How to Better Prepare?

Check your retirement account statements to see what fees are being charged. If the investments you have chosen have high fees, it might be time to switch.

If your retirement account offers low-cost index or target-date funds, consider those. An index fund is a mutual fund that tracks the performance of a major index, such as the S&P 500. A target-date fund reduces the risk in your portfolio by shifting from stocks to bonds as you near retirement.

If you have an advisor, make sure you get full disclosure of all the fees you are paying, the advisor, and the fund fees. If everything isn’t 100% transparent, find another advisor.


12. Divorce Can Do You In

Divorce can be devastating, but gray divorce is on the rise. According to the Pew Research Center, the divorce rate has doubled since the 1990s for American adults ages 50 and older. Marriages are failing as people near retirement age.

How to Better Prepare?

This podcast isn’t about marriage counseling, so I can’t give you any advice on avoiding gray divorce other than don’t get married. LOL. But seriously, one way to avoid some of the financial fallout from a divorce in retirement is to have a prenuptial agreement. However, that might not be an option if you’re already married. Focusing on your marriage and your relationship could be an essential investment in your monetary future. If this isn’t in the cards, there are some things you can do to avoid as much financial fallout from a divorce as possible.

  1. Make sure you know everything about your financial situation. Not only your own money but your spouses as well.
  2. Make sure you have a copy of all the essential documents for your shared assets and liabilities, as well as legal documents.


13. Ditching Debt

Ideally, you’ll have paid off all debts — including your mortgage — before you retire. But taking on new debt in retirement by living beyond your means is a recipe for disaster, according to every expert. Bad debt is to be avoided at all costs in retirement.

How to Better Prepare?

If you take on new debt in retirement, be sure you are taking proactive steps to pay it down as soon as possible. One option is to refinance if lower interest rates are available. Another option is debt consolidation, which can be helpful if you have multiple high-interest-rate debts. You should also try cutting down on spending to have more money to dedicate to paying down debt and consider taking on a side hustle to bring in income in retirement that can be explicitly used to pay off your debts.


14. Withdrawing Too Much Money in Retirement

Conventional wisdom says you should plan to withdraw 4% from your nest egg each year (this is known as the safe withdrawal rate), but this might be too much. A Morningstar study found that with a 4% withdrawal rate, there was only a 50% chance that funds would last for 30 years in retirement. The amount you should withdraw will depend on the size of your nest egg and economic circumstances, so don’t just follow blanket rules of thumb such as the dated 4% rule. In today’s market environment and traditional 60/40 stock/bond portfolios, the safe withdrawal rate is 2-3%. That’s a big difference in income. On a million-dollar portfolio that’s $20,000 or $30,000 vs. $40,000.  There are some unique outside-the-box strategies for increasing your safe withdrawal rate. In past podcast episodes, blog posts, and my masterclass, I’ve talked about these. If you’d like to review them with me, shoot me an email at:

How to Better Prepare?

The Morningstar study found that the ideal withdrawal rate is closer to 2.8%, but this will vary based on your circumstances. It’s best to meet with a retirement advisor (like to folks at Your Retirement Advisor) to come up with a withdrawal strategy that will allow you to live comfortably without worrying about running out of money in retirement.


15. Market Fluctuations

A lousy market or ups and downs of the market can ruin the best-laid plans, even if you have a safe withdrawal rate all figured out. The need is one thing we can’t control, but not planning around a lousy market can cost you dearly.

How to Better Prepare?

Imperfect markets make people misbehave (i.e., pulling their money out as a knee-jerk reaction vs. staying the course).  Due to the inevitable volatility of the market throughout your retirement, Forbes recommends assessing your withdrawal and return rates each year to determine if your withdrawal rate needs to be raised or lowered.

Also, if you’re nearing retirement, you need to market-proof your portfolio, and you need a bucket of money to get you through a downturn so that you don’t have to raid your investment accounts.

Making a portfolio projection in all market environments is critical. You need to know how your portfolio will fair in a down market.

A retirement advisor can help ensure your retirement strategy and portfolio are aligned with your retirement goals and protected from market fluctuations as much as possible.

I will add a 16
th mistake:

16. Not getting educated and wasting time not doing anything or planning with the wrong team.


I hope this episode of my podcast has given you some insight into actual retirement costs.  There are many ways to better plan for these costs, avoid mistakes and retire with more. If you’d like to chat about your situation, as always, email me at: I can also connect you with whatever planning and advice resources you need.  Here’s to knowing more and having more, and getting her done.







Episode 48: The True Costs of Retirement Are More Than You Think (Part I)

Most of us, if not all of us women, fear running out of money and becoming a bag lady in retirement. My mother has drilled this fear into my head my entire life. Even so, I’ve made some mistakes along the way. Heck, I’m still making mistakes even though I teach people about how not to make mistakes.

One of the biggest mistakes is under-estimating the true costs of retirement and not having a plan to address these costs. There’s a myriad of reasons your projected budget might not be enough to see you through a blissful retirement. 

I got to thinking about this a couple weeks ago as I was moving into my new downsized “pre-retirement” home and then I saw an article in Yahoo Finance about key signs you may run of out of money in retirement. Cueing off of that I decided to record this episode, number 48 and next week’s episode 49 to shed some light on these costs and help you avoid being blindsided. Even if you think you have all your bases covered, I encourage you to take a listen and take some notes. You can never be too prepared.

I want all women to avoid as many surprises as possible. Retirement planning is extra challenging for us anyway. We don’t need to pile on even more challenges. It’s all about knowing more and having more. Fortune does indeed favor the smart, the bold and the prepared. 

Let’s take a look at some of the bigger mistakes when planning our retirement costs and then commit to making some extra preparations to address the true cost of retirement. Worst case, you have extra money at the end of life and leave more of a legacy than you planned. Isn’t this better than running out of money?

Let’s look at 15 mistakes many of us make when estimating the true costs of retirement:


  1. Opportunity cost: you don’t start saving AND investing soon enough
  2. Lack of a Long Term Care plan
  3. Not estimating life expectancy correctly
  4. A realistic estimate of healthcare costs
  5. Not accounting for inflation
  6. Forgetting about some big ticket expenses you’ll likely have
  7. Changing spending habits
  8. Being in the sandwich generation: loaning money to your kids or parents, or taking time off from work to care for parents
  9. Spoiling the grandkids
  10. Not understanding or factoring in taxes (there’s a huge opportunity to make your money last longer with smart tax planning)
  11. Forgetting about fees
  12. Getting divorced
  13. Take on too much or new debt prior to retirement
  14. Taking too much money from your nest egg each year
  15. Underestimating the impact of market fluctuations

And I’m going to add a 16th mistake: not getting educated and wasting time not doing anything or planning with the wrong team.


In this week’s episode, I’m going to talk about 1-8 and then in next week’s episode, I’ll cover 9-16.

  • Opportunity Costs

Opportunity costs represent the potential benefits that an individual, investor, or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another. Because opportunity costs are unseen by definition, they can be easily overlooked. Understanding the potential missed opportunities when a business or individual chooses one investment over another allows for better decision making. In addition, when you don’t start saving and investing early, you lose out on all the opportunity of compounding interest over that time period.

How to Better Prepare?

Every time you need to make a decision, you need to consider the opportunity cost. And if you haven’t yet started consistently saving and investing you need to adjust your budget so that you can start ASAP.

  • Long-Term Care Costs

More than half of adults turning 65 today will need long-term care and about 1 in 7 will need care for more than five years, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

If you receive care in an assisted living facility or nursing home, you’ll have to shell out big bucks. According to a National Center for Assisted Living report, the median cost for assisted living in the United States is about $4,300 per month or $51,600 annually. Over 800,000 Americans currently reside in assisted living facilities, with just over half of residents being 85+ years old.

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey,1 a private room in a nursing home costs $290 per day, or $8,821 per month or $105,852 a year.

Even the wealthy could be at risk if they incur long term care needs.

How to Better Prepare?

Sign up for a long-term-care insurance policy or hybrid life insurance policy that will pay out if you have a long-term-care event. Another option is a longevity annuity.

This is an insurance product that requires a lump-sum investment and will provide a steady stream of retirement income. But, you have to wait several years or until a certain age to start receiving your payout. You should meet with a retirement advisor who can help you devise your strategy. At Her Retirement, we have access to a pretty cool software that can help you estimate your changes of having a long term care need, as well as your longevity projections.

  • Life Expectancy

Retirement will cost much more if you live a good long life. It’s kind of a double-edged sword. About 1 in 4 65-year-olds today will live to age 90, according to the Social Security Administration.

If you plan for say 20 years of expenses in retirement but end up living for 30 or even 40 years in retirement, you’ll need to figure out how to make your nest egg last. 

How to Better Prepare?

Rather than just projecting 20 years after your retirement date, a better option is to project out to age 100 just to be on the safe side. You may decide you have to work longer in retirement. If you’re not happy with your job or career, consider a new work path that can be done in retirement and allows you to make an income. Be cautious however because more than three quarters of today’s workers (77%) expect to work for pay even after they retire, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. However, these expectations are dramatically out of step with the experiences of people who are already retired – just 12% of whom are currently working for pay (either part or full time), according to the Pew survey.

In addition to the software available through Her Retirement for longevity and long term care needs calculations that I mentioned a few minutes ago, you can check out the life expectancy calculator at Here you can get an estimate of how long you may live based on your health and family history. 

One way to better prepare is with something I call a longevity insurance plan. In this plan, you rely on withdrawals from your diversified investment accounts earlier in retirement and then Social Security after age 70 (allowing it to accumulate to its full benefit).  Additionally, you should consider a Personal Pension plan that offers a source of lifetime income such as an annuity if you won’t have a pension or Social Security. 

  • Healthcare Costs

According to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate, an average retired couple age 65 in 2021 may need approximately $300,000 saved (after tax) to cover health care expenses in retirement.


Of course, the amount you’ll need will depend on when and where you retire, how healthy you are, and how long you live. The amount you need will also depend on which accounts you use to pay for health care—e.g., 401(k), HSA, IRA, or taxable accounts; your tax rates in retirement (see chart); and potentially even your gross income.


How to Better Prepare?

Costs for healthcare could be significantly higher in retirement. While some things like mortgages will go down, healthcare will likely go up. In addition to Medicare costs and out of pocket costs, don’t forget about prescription co-pays.

Make sure to compare your Medicare options to choose the right plan for you. Experts say, It can be worth spending more on the premium for a comprehensive Medicare Advantage plan or supplemental Medicare plans to get better coverage and reduce out-of-pocket costs. At Her Retirement we can connect you with Medicare planning specialists. It’s certainly a big maze that many people opt to get help figuring out.

Another tip, if you’re still working and your employer offers an HSA-eligible health plan (or you can get one through your own small business), consider enrolling and contributing to a health savings account (HSA). An HSA can help you save tax-efficiently for health care costs in retirement. You can save pretax dollars (and possibly collect employer contributions), which have the potential to grow and be withdraw tax-free for federal and state tax purposes if used for qualified medical expenses.

  • The Cost of Inflation 

Historically inflation has been about 3%. While we’re working we don’t often notice it because our pay typically increases as well. However, in retirement you may not see inflationary increases. Social Security does offer an annual Cost of Living Increase. Here’s an example of how inflation can impact your retirement costs: over 20 years, your $100,000 of retirement savings will be likely worth 60% less in buying power. That’s a big hit if you don’t account for it.

How to Better Prepare

You (or your advisor/planner) MUST factor inflation into your retirement calculations. Many online calculators or simple spreadsheets don’t factor in inflation. This is a BIG mistake.

On way to protect against the impact of inflation would be to consider delaying Social Security benefits. You can maximize your Social Security benefit by waiting to claim it until age 70. Not only will your monthly check be bigger, but the Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living adjustment — which helps benefits keep up with inflation — will be applied to that bigger payout. 

One of the greatest hedges against inflation is investing in the stock market. One of the worst mistakes is leaving your money in the bank.

  • Big-Ticket Items

When doing retirement income planning, you will estimate your income sources and your expenses. You cannot forget about the big ticket items that most of us have during retirement.

How to Better Prepare?

Whether is a car or home repair or unexpected medical needs, there’s always a big ticket item that comes along. Make a list of possible ones you could face and then build in a big ticket line item in your budget.

  • Changing Spending Habits

Sometimes in retirement spending habits change by choice or by happenstance. Your fun money spending habits are likely to change, especially if you’re planning some travel and vacations, shopping, eating out and other entertainment. This cost will come down to really thinking about how you want to spend your time in retirement and how this will affect your money.

How to Better Prepare?

With your extra time, find ways to spend less on these new spending categories. Shop around for the best deals. Also, find entertainment and travel that might not require as much money, but still gives you a good and healthy quality of life.

There are plenty of other free ways to stay busy after retirement. Check out your local community for many great programs for senior and retirees. Also, consider where to retire to. There are more affordable places than others that cater to retirees and their budgets.

  • Money and Care to Kids or Parents

You could end up spending a lot more in retirement than expected if you lend money to your children or your parents or take time out of work to care for aging parents.  This is often way under-estimated by pre-retirees. 

How to Better Prepare?

By creating a plan and having a help the kids or parents fund can definitely help. But, of course, you need to have the discipline to say no when you can’t help any longer.

Your retirement security depends on the balance you create between your retirement income, assets and spending. If you spend down your assets by making loans to the kids and parents and other people you could risk not having the income you need in retirement. A plan helps you establish those tough boundaries.

I hope this part 1 episode on the True Costs of Retirement has given you some new insight and things to think about and start planning for.  There are many ways to better plan for these costs, avoid mistakes and retire with more. Next week, in episode 49, I’ll cover costs 9 through 16. Please make sure to listen in.

If you’d like to chat about your situation, as always, email me at: I can also connect you with whatever planning and advice resources you need.  Here’s to knowing more and having more, and getting her done.

Click here to listen to the audio of this episode!


Will Power

Only one-third of adults have a will in place, which may not be entirely surprising. No one wants to be reminded of their own mortality or spend too much time thinking about what might happen once they’re gone.1

But a will is an instrument of power. Creating one gives you control over the distribution of your assets. If you die without one, the state decides what becomes of your property without regard to your priorities.

A will is a legal document by which an individual or a couple (known as “testator”) identifies their wishes regarding the distribution of their assets after death. A will can typically be broken down into four main parts.

1. Executors – Most wills begin by naming an executor. Executors are responsible for carrying out the wishes outlined in a will. This involves assessing the value of the estate, gathering the assets, paying inheritance tax and other debts (if necessary), and distributing assets among beneficiaries. It’s recommended that you name at least two executors, in case your first choice is unable to fulfill the obligation.

2. Guardians – A will allows you to designate a guardian for your minor children. Whomever you appoint, you will want to make sure beforehand that the individual is able and willing to assume the responsibility. For many people, this is the most important part of a will since, if you die without naming a guardian, the court will decide who takes care of your children.

3. Gifts – This section enables you to identify people or organizations to whom you wish to give gifts of money or specific possessions, such as jewelry or a car. You can also specify conditional gifts, such as a sum of money to a young daughter, but only when she reaches a certain age.

4. Estate – Your estate encompasses everything you own, including real property, financial investments, cash, and personal possessions. Once you have identified specific gifts you would like to distribute, you can apportion the rest of your estate in equal shares among your heirs, or you can split it into percentages. For example, you may decide to give 45 percent each to two children and the remaining 10 percent to a sibling.

The law does not require that a will be drawn up by a professional, and some people choose to create their own wills at home. But where wills are concerned, there is little room for error. You will not be around when the will is read to correct technical errors or clear up confusion. When you draft a will, consider enlisting the help of a legal or financial professional, especially if you have a large estate or complex family situation.

Preparing for the eventual distribution of your assets may not sound enticing. But remember, a will puts the power in your hands. You have worked hard to create a legacy for your loved ones. You deserve to decide what becomes of it.

1., 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2022 FMG Suite.


Episode 47: Roth IRA & Roth Conversions

Determining when, or if, you should convert your investments to a Roth IRA is an individual decision based on factors such as your financial situation, age, tax bracket, current investments, and alternate sources of retirement income.

Are you confident with your answers to these important questions?
• What is a Roth IRA?
• What is the difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA?
• What accounts are eligible to be converted to a Roth IRA?
• How can a Roth IRA conversion help protect me from future income-tax-rate increases?
• What are the tax consequences of a Roth IRA conversion?
• How can a Roth IRA conversion help provide a greater financial legacy for my beneficiaries?

What is a Roth IRA?
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account from which you can withdraw your earnings completely tax-free any time after you reach age 59 1⁄2, provided your account has been open for at least five years.1

What’s the difference between a traditional IRA and a Roth IRA?
Traditional IRA contributions are tax-deductible when certain requirements are met. With a Roth, contributions are not tax-deductible, but earnings can be withdrawn income-tax-free if you’re at least 59 1⁄2 years old and have had the Roth account at least five years. You also don’t have to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting at age 70 1⁄2, as you do with a traditional IRA. It’s important to note distributions from Roth IRAs cannot be used to fulfill the RMD from a traditional IRA.2

Here are four steps to help you understand Roth IRA conversion opportunities:

1. Know the Basics

What accounts are eligible to convert to a Roth IRA?
Because income limits were removed as of January 1, 2010, anyone is eligible to convert a Roth IRA. You might consider using this opportunity to convert one or more of your qualified retirement savings accounts to a Roth IRA for its tax benefits at retirement.3

Convertible accounts include (but are not limited to):
• Traditional IRAs.
• Old 401(k) plans.
• Old 403(b) plans.
• Old 457 plans.

How can a Roth IRA conversion help protect me from future income tax rate increases?
The future is not always certain, especially when it comes to income taxes. However, a Roth IRA can be used as an option to protect against future tax-rate increases because the account grows tax-free and qualified distributions from the account are also tax- free. This means you will have tax-free growth of hard- earned money and tax-free income at retirement.

What are the tax consequences (if any) of a Roth IRA conversion?
A conversion from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA is taxable. The converted amount is treated as ordinary income, even if some, or all, of the growth in value of the traditional IRA was from an increase in the value of stocks or mutual funds. If all of your contributions to your traditional IRAs have been tax-deductible, then the full amount of your conversion is taxable.4

Can I contribute current income to a Roth IRA?
To qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA, your income must be less than the level set by Congress (for 2016, it is less than $117,000 for single filers and less than $184,000 for joint filers).5

Can I convert my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA?
In 2010, people with incomes of more than $100,000 became eligible to convert a traditional IRA (or any other convertible accounts) into a Roth IRA, regardless of their income. Those married and filing separately can also convert their investments into a Roth IRA.6

How can a Roth IRA conversion help provide a greater financial legacy for my beneficiaries?
A Roth IRA can be an effective estate-planning tool. Pre-retirees and retirees who convert a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA can reduce or eliminate the income tax their beneficiaries would otherwise have to pay on withdrawals taken from the inherited traditional IRA.

After you die, your beneficiaries won’t owe any income tax on withdrawals from the inherited Roth IRA. However, in this case, the account now falls under the same minimum-withdrawal rules as traditional IRAs. Nevertheless, if your beneficiaries don’t need the Roth IRA money right away, they can spread out those withdrawals over their lifetime while continuing to earn tax-free income on the remaining account balance.

Of course, you will have to pay tax on any accumulated earnings and tax-deductible contributions when you make the Roth conversion. But this may not be a bad thing, as long as you can pay the tax out of non-IRA assets. When you pay the taxes due upon conversion, you effectively prepay income taxes for your beneficiaries without owing any gift tax or using up any of your valuable estate-tax exemption, assuming you are susceptible to an estate tax. Plus, prepaying the income taxes reduces the size of your taxable estate.

Can I withdraw from a converted Roth IRA without penalty?
Roth IRA conversion dollars may be withdrawn at any time without penalty as long as you’re age 59 1⁄2 and have held the account for at least five years. There are other exceptions to distribution rules for penalty-free, pre-59 1⁄2 distributions including disability, death and in some cases, the purchase of a first home.

To Roth or not to Roth?
Is a Roth IRA right for you or should you stick with a traditional IRA? Roth IRA conversions aren’t for everyone. It’s important to thoroughly understand your specific situation before you make any decisions. There are several tax- and estate-planning considerations to be evaluated when deciding whether to convert to a Roth IRA. Possible factors to consider are next.

2. Understand Your Conversion Options

• Generally, you shouldn’t convert to a Roth IRA if you can’t pay the tax on the conversion from a source outside of the IRA. By paying the conversion taxes with income from the investments, you not only reduce the amount of the conversion, thus resulting in less tax- free money, but you can also cause an early distribution penalty if not over age 59 1⁄2.

• A partial conversion may be an option. A partial conversion to a Roth IRA allows you to convert a portion of an existing IRA while avoiding the shift to a higher tax bracket during the conversion year.

• When do you retire? Usually, the older you are (or closer you are to retirement), the less sense it makes to convert a traditional IRA to a Roth. This is because you’ll have less time for the tax-free growth to make up for what you paid in taxes on the conversion.

• Do you anticipate your tax bracket increasing or decreasing in the future? If you expect to drop into a much lower income tax bracket after you retire, a conversion may not make sense. You will have to pay income tax on the conversion at your current high rate. Instead, let the money compound in your regular IRA and pay taxes at your lower rate in retirement. However, if your tax rate is only expected to drop after retirement, conversion might be the right move.

It’s important to understand these are merely rules of thumb. In most cases, these conversion options give the right results, but your particular situation may call for a different option. Consult with a qualified tax advisor to understand what’s best for your situation.

3. Recognize the Advantages of Converting

The benefits of converting assets to a Roth IRA vary by individual. A Roth conversion may not be beneficial to some, while it may benefit others greatly. Next, we summarize some of the key benefits of converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA.

Potential for Greater Net Income and Withdrawals
A Roth IRA offers you the potential for greater net income than a traditional IRA. Because the withdrawals, subject to requirements, are income- tax-free on a Roth IRA, you receive more dollars in your pocket as opposed to a portion of your withdrawal being taxed, as with a traditional IRA. Suppose you have a Roth IRA with a $10,000 balance. If you meet all the rules, you won’t pay tax when you withdraw that $10,000, or on any of the earnings it generates. Compare a traditional IRA with the same balance. When you withdraw that $10,000, you’ll pay a percentage of that amount and its earnings to the IRS.

No Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)
This is another benefit that can permit you to accumulate much greater wealth in your later years. Rules for the traditional IRA require you to begin receiving RMDs when you turn 701⁄2. Even if you don’t need those distributions, they still require an annual (and taxable) distribution. The RMD rules don’t apply to a Roth IRA until after the owner dies. A Roth IRA owner who survives well past age 701⁄2 may leave a much greater amount of wealth to children or other beneficiaries as a result of this rule. For this reason, a Roth IRA conversion could pay off handsomely.

Income-Tax-Free Inheritance for Beneficiaries
If your beneficiaries receive a traditional IRA, they’ll have to pay income tax on the amounts withdrawn. The value of what you transfer to them is reduced by the amount of the taxes. Your beneficiaries get to keep 100 percent of the amounts they withdraw with a Roth IRA, which can be a significant financial advantage to them in the long run.

In addition, the conversion to a Roth will reduce your taxable estate by the amount of income tax you pay to convert, which may reduce estate taxes for your heirs.

4. Take Action

To better understand your retirement needs, it is important to work with a qualified financial or insurance professional—someone you trust, someone who will listen to your needs and answer your questions. Your retirement well-being depends on making the right decisions today to create a more stable future for tomorrow.

1 IRS Publication 590 ( p590.pdf)
3 for-converting-to-a-roth-ira?adv=yes 
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5,- Employee/Amount-of-Roth-IRA-Contributions-That-You- Can-Make-for-2016



Some individuals believe that return on investment shouldn’t be the only criterion for how they invest their money. For them, the social impact of investing is just as important – perhaps more important.

The history of socially responsible investing stretches as far back as the mid-18th century, but its more-modern form began taking shape in the 1960s, amidst the fight for civil rights and the emerging Vietnam War protests.

More than $17 trillion is managed under sustainable and responsible investing principles. This includes mutual funds, endowments, and even venture capital funds. It should be noted that amounts in mutual funds are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk. Shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Mutual funds are sold only by prospectus. Please consider the charges, risks, expenses, and investment objectives carefully before investing. A prospectus containing this and other information about the investment company can be obtained from your financial professional. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.1

What Is “Socially Responsible Investing?”

The definition of socially responsible investing has evolved. And it may be referred to by different names, such as “sustainable and responsible investing” or “values-based investing.”

Whatever term is used, this investment discipline is usually characterized by a set of principles that govern how investments are selected. One widely used framework includes environmental, social, and corporate governance criteria (ESG).

What’s ESG?

ESG criteria of good corporate governance, positive environmental impact, and responsible community involvement are a guide for making investment selections, akin to other investment-related criteria, such as price-to-earnings ratio or revenue growth.

The underlying belief is that good corporate practices may lead to better long-term corporate performance.

Investor experience with socially responsible investing will vary. As with any mutual fund or exchange-traded fund, socially responsible investments are subject to fluctuation in value and market risk. Shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

Individuals should also recognize that each investment approach may operate under a different set of principles, so you should be careful that your selection mirrors your personal values and beliefs.

1., 2020 (most recent data available)

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2022 FMG Suite.

Episode 46

Investors and Financial Advice


What kind of role can a financial professional play for an investor?

The answer: an important one. While the value of such a relationship is hard to quantify, the intangible benefits may be long-lasting.

There are certain investors who turn to a financial professional with one goal in mind: the “alpha” objective of beating the market. But even Wall Street’s brightest money managers can come up short.

At some point, these investors realize that their financial professional has no control over what happens in the financial markets. They come to understand the real value of the relationship, which is about strategycoaching, and understanding.

A financial professional can provide guidance about today’s financial climate, determine objectives, and assess progress toward those goals. Alone, an investor may find it difficult to do any of these tasks. Moreover, an investor may make self-defeating decisions. Today’s steady stream of information can prompt emotional behavior and may lead to blunders.

No investor is infallible.

Investors can feel that way during a great year when every decision seems to work out well. But overconfidence may set in, and the reality that the markets have challenging years can be forgotten.

A financial professional can help an investor commit to staying on track.

Through subtle or overt coaching, the investor can learn to take short-term market volatility in stride and focus on the long term. A strategy is put in place based on the investor’s goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon.

As the investor-professional relationship unfolds, the investor begins to notice the intangible ways the professional provides value. The professional may help explain the subtleties of investment trends and how potential risk often relates to potential reward.

Perhaps most importantly, the professional helps the client get past the “noise” and “buzz” of the financial markets to see what is really important to their financial life.

The investor gains a new level of understanding, a context for all the investing and saving. The effort to build wealth and retire well is not merely focused on success but also significance.

A financial advisor, or better yet, a retirement advisor can help pre-retirees really focus in on an investment strategy that will yield the most sustainable and efficient income in retirement. The traditional 60/40 stock/bond portfolio, or a portfolio that’s too heavily weighted towards stocks like an 80/20 portfolio may not be in your best interests. If you’ll be relying on this portfolio to give you an income for life, you may need an advisor who can help you de-risk your portfolio and perhaps help you create a personal pension plan (i.e. a guaranteed income stream that’s protect from market volatility) as well. A personal pension plan protects you from market losses, while also providing some growth.

But finding an advisor who knows what he or she is doing with investments and retirement planning can be a challenge as so many of the 300,000 advisors out there have been focused on growing people’s portfolios. there aren’t nearly enough advisors who help people start distributing income from their portfolios. For us women, it’s a known challenge to find an advisor who provides a judgement free zone and allows us to ask a lot of seemingly silly questions about our money and our retirement. For many of us women, we have a lot of shame about our money or lack thereof and our lack of knowledge about investments and portfolios. There are many good advisors out there who have patience, knowledge and empathy for the unique challenges we women face.

I’m going to be running an investing workshop to help women understand the basics of investing and how to invest for retirement. I’ll also be providing some direction on how to find the right advisor. This will be an education only event. I do not provide investment or tax advice. Please email me at if you’d like to be informed when this workshop will take place.

In the meantime, if you have immediate worries or needs about your portfolio and the current markets, I can connect you with my significant other, Brian Saranovitz at Your Retirement Advisor. He knows investing and retirement and has helped many women feel more confident and comfortable about their portfolio and their income in retirement.

Finally, I know many people are stressed about the ups and downs of the market, inflation and the economy. However, now is not the time to panic or pull all of your money out of your 401k. Stay calm and stay the course. This too shall pass.

Thanks for listening and remember you can know more and have more. Her Retirement is here to help. Also, remember procrastinating on your plan for retirement or burying your head in the sand is not in your best interests. Make a plan, take action and Get Her Done.

Listen to this podcast episode here