How to Evaluate Life Insurance Needs in Your 60s and 70s

The older we get, the more acutely aware we become of human mortality. And as we age, we often think more often of how we can help protect our family members in the case of an untimely death. Life insurance is different from other types of insurance — such as car insurance and health insurance — in that you most likely hope your family will never have to make use of it. However, since death is an inevitable part of life, chances are, your policy will not be purchased in vain.

According to a report published by Atidot — an insurance technology company providing AI, big data and predictive analytics tools for the life insurance industry — many people with life insurance policies are actually underinsured, with only about 30 percent of total coverage needs being met, leaving approximately 70 percent of unmet potential coverage.1Additionally, LIMRA’s 2018 Insurance Barometer Study found that about one in five people who have life insurance say they do not have enough.2 If you’re in your 60s or 70s, there are a variety of things to consider when evaluating your life insurance needs.

Am I Too Old for Life Insurance?

From mortgages to home repairs, there are many expenses your spouse could incur in the event of your passing. By purchasing a life insurance policy, you’re providing both you and your family with peace of mind knowing that these expenses will not lead to the loss of a house or more. A common belief about life insurance is that it’s expensive, especially if purchased later in life. However, as you get into your 60s and 70s, you may not need as substantial a policy, since your spouse may also not have as many years of living left to cover financially.

When considering whether or not you should get life insurance, it’s important to evaluate how many people rely on you for financial support, as well as how much that support entails. If your spouse doesn’t work or only works part-time, then they will most likely require additional income in the event of your passing. In a case like this, getting a life insurance policy is highly recommended if you want to make sure your partner is protected from excessive financial stress after you’re gone.

For people with estates very large estates, it’s often recommended to get permanent life insurance to minimize your estate taxes. Other people choose to fund their retirement with the cash value of their permanent life insurance. If this is your plan, then you’ll, of course, want to purchase a policy.

Life Insurance and Your Health Status

Typically, the older you are, the more expensive your life insurance quote is going to be. This is in part due to the fact that the older you are, the more health problems you could have. In some cases, you may be better off investing your money instead. If you’re in good health, it may make more sense for you to get a shorter term policy. For those with health problems, you may want to consider getting guaranteed issue life insurance, which anyone can get regardless of any health issues they may have.

Renewing and Extending Your Life Insurance Policy

While you may have bought a policy years ago, if you have a term policy, you may want to consider extending your coverage if you are aren’t able to cover retirement costs with pensions and savings. You can do this by either renewing your current policy or converting it to whole life insurance. If you choose to renew, it’s important to note that your premium could increase, and some companies may not even allow you to renew depending on how old you are.

What to Do Next

Regardless of your age, it’s always recommended to consult with a financial professional who can evaluate your individual situation and needs to determine whether or not life insurance makes sense for you. If a policy is recommended, they can help make sure you choose the type of life insurance that offers the most benefits for both you and your family.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. 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. 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.
A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish

We all know this famous line and we all know the value of planning, but how do you plan your life or make a plan for your business or career when the future is uncertain or foggy at best?

I was spurred on to write this blog post from a recent Harvard Business Review article. The author Kate Northup suggests that the infamous five-year plan is dead. But is it? Or has it just evolved? How about we still create the five-year plan, breaking it down into manageable and more defined chunks (aka micro-planning as Ms. Northrup suggests), but also have a Plan B?  As the Pandemic has certainly showed us, having a Plan B is critical. It’s also made our planning feel less reliable. As my father in-law likes to say, “Our plans ‘suffered a shock’ this past year and perhaps we find ourselves off track and floundering a bit.

For many of us, we don’t even commit to planning. Perhaps because of overwhelm or not knowing where to start. Having any sort of plan (or plan B can calm the chaos of life). I’ve been a planner and list maker for as long as I can remember. It’s really the only way my life can function. Just ask my kids what happens when I misplace my to-do list and how I behave if I don’t have a plan.

At Her Retirement, we are ALL about planning (and coaching you on your life and your financial and retirement journey). Having a plan is one of the best stress-reduction strategies in existence. It’s an important key to the peace of mind puzzle. As humans, we crave to feel in control and live with certainty. In fact, research shows that a sense of control helps us stave off symptoms of depression and anxiety and can even decrease mortality risk. And of course, if you live longer, you’ll need a plan for how you’ll live and be financially stable.

But…in a world where chaos reigns (even at the molecular level), how do we reign in control? Planning of course. And the more control we achieve, it turns out, the higher achieving we tend to be (in life, career and business). And just because we’ll never be able to control everything in our lives (and we don’t have crystal balls into our future), doesn’t mean we can’t still benefit greatly from the stress reducing and achievement-enhancing process of planning.  For these reasons and more, we believe a successful retirement is predicated on preparation and planning…even though retirement may be a long way off for many people. The closer you are to retirement, the more important it is to have that plan in place. And a 401k plan is NOT a retirement plan, but that’s a topic for another blog post. Remember: Fortune does indeed favor the smart, the bold and the prepared.

So let’s take a look at Ms. Northrup’s micro-planning idea, which is designed to make planning for the future (whatever it may hold for us) easier and much less overwhelming.

“Fortunately, you don’t have to leave planning behind, even in the face of an uncertain future. With micro-planning, you can plan for the future in smaller chunks, allowing you to reassess at set points throughout the year and readjust to circumstances as necessary. To micro-plan, start with identifying your compelling purpose for your life, business or career. Then, make a plan for the year that aligns with this purpose. Each quarter, reassess and reflect on what you’re working on, and each month, break those goals and projects down into distinct phases. At the start of each week, have a broad view of what you need to do. Finally, each day, track your energy and see where you can improve to reach your goals.

Micro-planning is simple. It takes a larger vision and breaks it down into yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily check-in practices to plan and adjust as necessary. We get some of the same stabilizing effects that a five-year plan may have given us but with shorter chunks of planning that make more sense in our current economic and cultural context.

Micro-planning is based on biomimicry, “a practice that learns from and mimics the strategies found in nature to solve human design problems — and find hope along the way.” Prolonged stress, like the kind experienced during a global pandemic of unknown length, can cause a significant decrease in our ability to function optimally, especially when it comes to our cognitive abilities (like our brain handling high-order tasks or our ability to make decisions based on our goals instead of based on our habits). Micro-planning allows us to relieve this stress without the seduction of thinking, however erroneously, that we have control over what is going to happen in the next one, three, five, or more years of our lives.

There are six elements of micro-planning:

Purpose – Identify the common thread that connects what all of your different roles have in common throughout your lifetime by thinking about the most fulfilling career experiences you’ve had to date and noticing their commonalities.

  1. The Year– Make a plan for the year that aligns with your purpose and identifies one to three focus areas for desired growth. Keep the list of focus areas short in order to promote a better chance for success.
  2. Quarters– At the beginning of each quarter, reassess what you’re working on (successes and failures) and set goals for the next quarter, being careful to choose no more than five – keep the list manageable. There may be a shift in your plan at this stage based on your reflections on the previous quarter.
  3. Months– Each month break your goals for the quarter down into specific projects, and then break the projects down into even more specific and manageable phases:
    1. planning and initiation
    2. shipping/launching/making it visible
    3. completion and integration
    4. rest and reflection
  4. Weeks– At the start of the week, create a weekly to-do list, making sure to plan time for movement, sleep, time outside, hydration and healthy food. Doing this makes sure that you are physically and mentally caring for yourself in support of your intellectual goals.
  5. Days– Use a journal to track your energy on a daily basis. Doing this gives you powerful information as to how to optimize your workflow and helps make annual planning more mindful. Make sure to note daily what you are grateful for, as well. Journaling in this way gives you an immense sense of control, which has been proven to shrink the amount of time it takes to get tasks done.

Adaptability is key when managing stress because of uncertainty about the future due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Use micro-planning to help you plan achievable goals and to promote a sense of control over the trajectory of your career, your retirement plans, your wellbeing and your life.

A Plan Without a List is Just a Miss

I’m a list maker (as you can see by this amazing illustration my daughter did of my desk). My first boss once told me, “The way to remember more is to remember less by writing it down.” And I’ve taken his advice to heart ever since. Lists are great ideation platform for your planning process. Start with a list or check-list to quickly organize, summarize and prioritize your ideas. From there, your list can be the basis of a complete plan, using the micro-planning technique to eliminate the overwhelm.


I’ve created our “Get Her Done Retirement To-Do List. You can use it alone to track your retirement planning to-do’s or as the foundation of a complete retirement plan. You can break the list down into time segments so that you practice mico-planning and don’t get overwhelmed by everything you should do prior to retirement. Check out and download the list here.


If you’d like to chat with a RetireMentor about the list, or our education and coaching programs, please reach out here.



April Is Financial Literacy Month. Do You Have These 5 Finance Basics Down?

Working with a financial professional is important when it comes to strategizing and preparing to meet your financial goals. But as most of us handle money on a daily basis, it’s important to have an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals of financial literacy. Below we’ve identified five financial basics everyone should know. Understanding these important concepts can serve as a basis for your financial standings.

Basics #1: Debt & Credit Scores

Understanding the ways in which credit or debt can work with or against you should serve as the foundation of your financial knowledge. First and foremost, it’s not wise to avoid credit or debt altogether out of fear or intimidation. Instead, it’s important to have a firm grasp on your financial standings and a plan for tackling debt responsibly.


When used correctly, debt can be useful. But when misused, it can spiral out of control fast. Missed payments can accrue interest or penalties and may impact your credit score in a negative way. Debt that is managed responsibly can help you reach important goals like buying a car, purchasing a home, going to college, starting a business and more.

Credit Score

Your credit score is one of the factors lenders use to judge your trustworthiness and qualification for mortgages, auto loans and other lending opportunities. Landlords and employers may also check your credit before renting to you or offering you a job. Your credit score is dependent on a number of factors including previous credit history, current debts, history of payments and more.

Basics #2: Interest

There are two sides to interest that can make it a tricky concept to grasp – interest accrued on debt and interest accrued on savings. When you take on debt (like credit card debt, an auto loan or mortgage), you’ll be responsible for paying back both the principal amount and the interest accrued on the loan. The interest is how a lender makes money on the loan and provides the borrower with an incentive to pay the loan back in full and on time.

When you have a savings account that accrues interest, the interest earned gets added to the principal. Then, interest is earned on the new, larger principal, and the cycle repeats. This is called compounding interest, and it can be an integral part in growing your retirement savings – as the longer the interest has to compound, the greater the savings will grow.

Basics #3: The Value of Time

As a general rule of thumb, it’s never too early to start saving – for retirement, homebuying, a child’s education or whatever could be coming down the line. The earlier you start saving, the more you’ll be able to tuck away over time – especially with the power of compounding interest. This leverages the value of time to your advantage.

Basics #4: Inflation

Inflation has the potential to eat away the purchasing power of your money. That means, with inflation, the dollar you earn today may not be worth a dollar in the future. Below are two important concepts to remember regarding inflation.

Cash in a Mattress

Keeping all your cash under a mattress is not only unsafe, but it also literally costs you money. Assuming the annual rate of inflation is a hypothetical two percent, every dollar you keep under your mattress and not earning interest would shrink in value to $.98 next year.

Rate of Return

Because inflation erodes the purchasing power of your money, any returns you earn on your accounts may not be the “real” rate of return. If your account earned a hypothetical six percent rate of return over the last year, but inflation was 1.5 percent, your real rate of return was 4.5 percent.

Basics #5: Identity Theft & Safety

Especially as the world shifts to doing everything virtually, identity theft remains one of the biggest threats to financial and personal security. A cracked password or misplaced Social Security number can have big consequences on your current and future finances. The common wisdom is to use a unique password for each site or service you use. A password manager can make this easier by generating and storing strong passwords automatically.

While this is a brief overview of some important financial basics, it’s important to work with your trusted financial professional to explore these topics further. Remember to reach out if you have questions about any financial basics and take this month to reevaluate your current financial knowledge as you identify potential areas for improvement.

Retirees with a Guaranteed Income Are Happier, Live Longer

Retirees with a Guaranteed Income Are Happier, Live Longer

Every individual who has savings can secure a lifetime income; a key element towards having peace of mind in retirement.

As per articles published in Time and The Wall Street Journal, retirees who have their family, friends, and loved ones – and who are assured of receiving a substantial monthly check for the rest of their lives are much happier. Studies further suggest that these individuals live longer.

This makes sense because most retirees often worry about running out of money. Therefore, when they are assured of a specific amount of income every month for life, this often removes a great deal of stress from their lives.

Initially, retirees used to receive enough money from Social Security and a traditional pension to take care of their living expenses. However, few employers have now resorted to providing pensions, putting the responsibility of saving on the employee. Social Security is equivalent to approximately 40% of the average wage earners pre-retirement income.

Income that lasts as long as you do

The question is; how can you get additional guaranteed income? Income annuities give a solution that is often overlooked. With income annuities, an insurance company converts a lump sum or chain of premium deposits into an income stream that can either begin immediately or in the case of delayed income annuities, at whatever future age you choose, normally starting no later than 85. With most annuities, there is often an option of guaranteed lifetime income. Most of these annuities allow you to name a joint income recipient; this means that your spouse can also get a guaranteed lifetime income.

According to a LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute study, annuities have both psychic and financial benefits. Retired annuity owners are more confident that they will be able to afford the lifestyles they prefer in retirement – even if they live to age 90 or older – than those who do not have an annuity.

Some 73% of retirees who own an annuity are convinced that they will live the retirement lifestyle that they have always desired, compared to just 64% of retirees who don’t. About 7 in 10 retirees who own an annuity are more confident that if they live to age 90, they will not run out of it, unlike 57% of retirees who don’t own an annuity; the 2016 LIMRA survey found.

An annuity presents a solution for creating long-term income security along with assured happiness that comes with it.

Don’t Invest Unless It’s Right for You                           

Even though annuities are powerful, they are not for everybody. Do not invest unless you are sure that it’s the right product for you.

Before buying, ask yourself;

  • In addition to Social Security and other sources, how much income will I need to cover my expenses?
  • Will I need additional income for any other person besides myself?
  • For how long will I leave my money in the annuity?
  • When do I expect to need income payments?
  • Will I be able to have access to the funds from the annuity if I should need them?
  • Do I have sufficient cash reserves to meet my expected needs?
  • Am I using the funds to save for retirement, or to generate a retirement income – or both?

Once you have concluded that an annuity is a right choice, then you are at liberty to choose the type that would be best for you. With the various types of annuities available in the marketplace today, being aware of how you will use the product will enable you to make the best choice.

Most annuities offer a guaranteed interest rate and principal. However, most variable annuities offer a chance at higher returns but don’t warranty earnings or principal. Within a year, immediate annuities begin paying out income. On the flip side, deferred annuities allow you to make deposits for many years before you start taking out an income stream.

Just like a car, various models can get you from point A to point B, but the one that suits your specific needs depends on its particular features and benefits.

You can buy an annuity with either a lump-sum payment using cash or by rolling over funds from IRA, 401 (k), or another retirement account. You may also consider making a series of regular, smaller deposits over time. Until you make withdrawals, there is no tax on earnings.

A secure retirement relies on having sufficient dependable income for your lifetime to meet your basic needs and also the extra expenses that make life enjoyable. A lifetime income annuity can supplement Social Security and take the worry out of retirement because you are assured of your monthly payments even if you live past 100.


Should You Offer Your 401(k) Plan Participants an Annuity?

Many business owners offer retirement options, with 401(k) plans amongst the most popular. Traditional 401(k) plans offer a variety of investment options that business owners can provide, with more plans offering the purchase of an annuity. Read on to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of annuities and whether you should include an annuity option for your 401(k) plan participants.

How Do Annuities Work in a 401(k) Plan?

Traditional 401(k) plans offer a variety of investment options. Including an annuity within your employer-sponsored plan allows plan participants to purchase an annuity using their 401(k).

An annuity could prove useful to someone who needs a reliable, non-fluctuating stream of income in retirement. There are certain limitations, however, that make it a less attractive option for some. Your participants will want to discuss this decision in detail with a financial planner before deciding whether or not to purchase an annuity.

As a business owner, here are some things to consider when determining whether or not to provide an annuity option for your plan participants.


The average retirement age is 62 for women and 64 for men. This, combined with an increased life expectancy, means plenty of retirees will enjoy many years of retirement.1

Remember, however, that the more time spent in retirement, the more savings is needed. Individuals who have accumulated a significant amount of wealth may be able to make up for this gap. Others may be better off purchasing an annuity, providing them with guaranteed income.

Difficult to Transfer

When an employee leaves a company, the transfer of their retirement accounts is relatively easy – especially 401(k) accounts. However, since there are various types of annuity products, the transfer of an annuity can be more challenging. This will likely depend upon the type of annuity purchased.

Varying Annuity Types

There are two types of annuities fixed and variable.

Within those two types, there are income options that include immediate income or deferred income.

Amongst annuities, there are multiple products, but two types and two main payout methods to consider. These four types include:

  • Immediate annuities: These begin providing payment immediately after purchase.
  • Deferred annuities: These are given time to accumulate interest before distributing payments, giving the potential for a larger payment amount than immediate annuities.
  • Fixed annuities: A fixed annuity is a type of insurance contract that promises to pay the buyer a specific, guaranteed interest rate on their contributions to the contract.  – Investopedia
  • Variable annuities: A variable annuity pays the interest that can fluctuate based on the performance of an investment portfolio chosen by the account’s owner.  – Investopedia

It’s important to note that immediate and deferred annuities can be combined with fixed and variable.

Tax Obligations for Plan Participants

Annuities help establish consistent income, but one disadvantage business owners will want to make participants aware of is the potential tax obligation. Annuities are tax-deferred, similar to withdrawals from a traditional IRA or 401(k). But taxes must be paid once payments are received. Unlike some investments that are subject to being taxed based on capital gains, annuity payments are considered regular income for tax purposes.

If plan participants choose to access annuity payments before the age of 59 and a half, they may be subject to an additional 10 percent tax penalty unless certain conditions are met.2

Providing annuity options to your 401(k) plan participants could prove beneficial for their retirement. However, whether they will want or need an annuity will depend entirely on their personal situation. Those that need a consistent level of income over time and can pay the cost of an annuity may see the benefit in utilizing one. While those that can’t afford it, or have little in savings may consider an alternative. Keep the above considerations in mind as you work with your plan provider to discuss incorporating annuities into your retirement plan offerings.

Guarantees provided by annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank or the FDIC.

Annuities are long-term products of the insurance industry designed for retirement income.  They contain some limitations, including possible withdrawal charges and a market value adjustment that could affect contract values.

  3. Investopedia –
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. 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. 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.

Understanding & Conquering the Bad Behavior That Affects Your Financial Wellness


Being financially literate means you have a good grasp on your finances, as well as what are considered positive financial habits. Maybe you contribute to your 401(k) regularly, keep an emergency savings fund on hand and work hard to pay down debt because you understand the consequences of accruing interest.

On the other hand, there are some common behaviors that may seem small, but can significantly impact financial wellness over your lifetime. From avoiding opening a bill to splurging on your nights out, most of us are guilty of a few bad financial habits.

Below, we’re discussing how you can identify your own costly hang-ups and work through them to create a strong foundation of positive financial decision-making now and through retirement.

4 Common Money Mistakes

There are a few common scenarios we tend to fall into time and time again with our money.

Mistake #1: You Play Victim to Your Debt

If you keep telling yourself you’ll never get out of debt, it can make it much harder to overcome. Convinced the task is impossible, likely means you’ll put less effort into trying to do anything about it.

Mistake #2: You Don’t Plan for the Future

The earlier you start saving, the harder your money will work for you in preparing for retirement. It can be tough to think (or care) about retirement in your 20s and 30s, but putting a small (but consistent) amount in retirement savings every month through your early adult years could mean thousands more you’ll have to withdraw in your 60s and 70s.

Mistake #3: You Aren’t Prioritizing Properly

One of the hardest things to do when it comes to improving financial wellness is to strike a balance between your needs and wants of today with the financial security of your future. When you’ve got your own retirement to think about, aging parents and kids headed off to college – how do you know what to spend and where?

Prioritizing your finances properly typically requires the help of a knowledgeable financial advisor who can help you stay focused and organized.

Mistake #4: You Don’t Have a Distribution Strategy

Saving enough for retirement is really half the battle. The other half? Distributing your retirement income in an effective and tax-efficient way. Heading toward retirement with no distribution strategy in place could create unnecessary tax burdens and financial distress.

Conquering Bad Behaviors

Conquering bad (or unproductive) financial behaviors takes persistence and self-discipline. There’s no quick fix, and you should expect changes to be gradual. Below are a few of our tips for conquering bad behaviors that may be affecting your financial wellness.

Tip #1: Be Mindful With Spending

With online shopping and contactless pay, buying is easier than ever. This, unfortunately, can make it easy to be impulsive and unintentional with your spending. Before a purchase, take a step back and determine whether or not this buy is in line with your greater financial goals.

Tip #2: Don’t Let Financial Paperwork Pile Up

Avoiding a bill or bank statement doesn’t make it go away – but it does increase the chance of incurring late fees and penalty charges. If you aren’t already, get organized with your statements and other financial paperwork. Work on conquering any anxiety you may have surrounding unpaid bills or bank balances and remember that ignoring them won’t make them go away.

Tip #3: Create an Emergency Fund

By creating and contributing to a savings account regularly, you can save your future self headache and financial worry. Remember to boost your emergency savings. In fact, adding to your savings account should be a top priority in your monthly budget.

Tip #4: Make a To-Do List

The truth is, there’s almost always something you could be working on when it comes to boosting your financial wellness. Reviewing insurance coverage, updating your will, outlining future goals, etc. – the list can continue on indefinitely. If it feels overwhelming, start writing down everything on your financial to-do list. From there, prioritize tasks that should be taken care of now and make a game plan for those you can work on later down the line. Breaking it down and crossing one thing off your list at a time can help make financial wellness much more manageable.

While it can be difficult to break old financial habits, it’s certainly not impossible. Finding financial wellness is a constant work in progress, but identifying your own areas for improvement and implementing small changes can yield impressive results. It’s important to ask your financial advisor for help as well. Tell them what bad behaviors you’d like to break, and they can help determine the most effective way to do it.

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided by Twenty Over Ten. 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. 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.

What Makes a Great Leader? 10 Powerful Women Weigh in

What makes an effective visionary leader? Some of the most interesting insights and answers to this question come from those who are considered trail-blazing leaders in their own right.

However, many of the leaders that are most often quoted are men. Perhaps that is because (according to the Harvard Business Review), “fewer than 5% of CEOs of public companies in the United States today are women. In the Fortune 500, that number fell by 25% from 2017 to 2018, dipping from 32 (6.4%) to 24 (4.8%), before rising back in 2019”.1

However, “Women have outnumbered men on college campuses since 1988. They have earned at least one-third of law degrees since 1980 and accounted for one-third of medical school students by 1990. Yet, they have not moved up to positions of prominence and power in America at anywhere near the rate that should have followed”.2

Here are 10 quotes from powerful women on working hard, taking risks and learning from failure.

On working hard

“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” — Tina Fey

“Work harder than everybody. You’re not going to get it by whining, and you’re not going to get it by shouting, and you’re not going to get it by quitting. You’re going to get it by being there.”― Barbara Walters

On taking risks:

“Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.” ― Amy Poehler

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.” — Marissa Mayer

On learning from failure:

“Every problem, every dilemma, every dead end we find ourselves facing in life, only appears unsolvable inside a particular frame or point of view. Enlarge the box, or create another frame around the data, and problems vanish, while new opportunities appear.”— Rosamund Stone Zander

“Don’t be frightened: you can always change your mind. I know: I’ve had four careers and three husbands. You are not going to be you, fixed and immutable you, forever.”― Nora Ephron

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great good fortune.”― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

On managing a team:

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

“It sounds so simple to say that bosses need to tell employees when they’re screwing up. But it very rarely happens… I would argue that criticizing your employees when they screw up is not just your job, it’s actually your moral obligation.” — Kim Scott

On finding balance:

“Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first… There are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your bank account, but your soul…People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore. It’s so much easier to write a résumé than to craft a spirit. But a résumé is cold comfort on a winter night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you’ve gotten back the chest X ray and it doesn’t look so good, or when the doctor writes ‘prognosis, poor.’ ” — Anna Quindlen



This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. 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. 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.

Have Your Cake & Eat it Too: New PPP Basics and Tax Savings

Good news. The new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) law enacted with the stimulus package adds dollars to your pockets if you have or had PPP money.

Did you miss out on the first two opportunities to receive your tax-free Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) cash? Many did miss out. Why?

One reason: the word “loan.”  Who wants a loan? No one. Well, almost no one.  But who wants a cash gift, tax-free?  If you do, read on for the details. But first, you should know that the big picture works like this:

  1. You obtain your PPP tax-free monies from a lender (it’s called a “loan,” but watch that word disappear as you read this letter).
  2. You spend all the PPP money on yourself if you are self-employed or operate as a partnership; on payroll (including pay to you, if that applies); and on other covered expenses such as rent, interest, utilities, operations, property damage, suppliers, and worker protection.
  3. You apply for loan forgiveness and achieve 100 percent loan forgiveness, which is easy-peasy when you spend 60 percent or more of the money on payroll (and yourself if you are self-employed or a partner in a partnership).
  4. You deduct the expenses that you paid with the PPP loan monies that were forgiven.

New Money on the Table

The new COVID-19 stimulus act sets aside $35 billion for first-time PPP applicants, with $15 billion of that made in loans for first-time applicants with 10 employees or fewer or made in amounts less than $250,000 to businesses in low-income areas.

New Deadline

The new deadline of March 31, 2021, replaces the expired deadline of August 8, 2020. The monies available in this new round of PPP funding are on a first-come, first-served basis. Don’t procrastinate. Get your application for your first-time PPP monies in place now.

Before we go further, please note the PPP money comes to you in what appears to be a loan. We say “appears” because you typically pay back a loan. Done right, however, the PPP loan is 100 percent forgiven. The word “loan” makes some businesses leery of this arrangement. Don’t be. The PPP monetary arrangement is a true “have your cake and eat it too” deal.

And this remarkable deal applies to your past PPP loan, the PPP loan you have outstanding, and the PPP loan you are about to get if you have not had one before. Here are the details.

Loan Proceeds Are Not Taxable

The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 reiterates that your PPP loan forgiveness amount is not taxable income to you.

Expenses Paid with Forgiven Loan Money Are Tax-Deductible

As you may remember, the IRS took the position that expenses paid with PPP loan forgiveness monies were not deductible.

Lawmakers disagreed but were unable to get the IRS to change its position. The IRS essentially told lawmakers, “If you want the expenses paid with a PPP loan to be deductible, change the law.”

And that’s precisely what lawmakers did. The COVID-related Tax Relief Act of 2020 states that “no deduction shall be denied, no tax attribute shall be reduced, and no basis increase shall be denied, by reason of the exclusion from gross income.”

In plain English, the expenses paid with monies from a forgiven PPP loan are now tax-deductible, and this change goes back to March 27, 2020, the date the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted.

Good luck to all small business owners as they navigate this new PPP process.

Insurance Coverage and the Coronavirus

The coronavirus pandemic has caused many people to re-assess their need for life insurance, along with other types of insurance such as long term care insurance and the adequacy of their health insurance.

Life insurance ensures surviving family members are provided for financially after someone’s death. There have been some changes in the application process for life insurance policies, and the good news is it’s still possible to get a policy.

In some ways it may actually be an easier process. According to Bankrate, “Because many people (and insurance companies) are honoring the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, in-person blood or urine tests and weigh-ins aren’t possible now. That means insurance companies currently have fewer potential reasons to reject applicants for coverage.”

“To make it easier for consumers to apply for a policy under these unusual circumstances, more than a quarter of U.S. life insurers have expanded their automated underwriting practices,” says Catherine Theroux, director of public relations for LIMRA. “One in 5 U.S. companies have postponed or waived paramedical requirements.”

Folks applying for life insurance however, are still required to provide a complete health history, allowing the company to analyze the insurability of the individual.

Some insurance companies are changing their offerings and limiting their coverage options based on age or the term of the coverage sought. For example, Mutual of Omaha Insurance and Penn Mutual Life Insurance have temporarily suspended applications for individuals aged 70 or older. Some other insurers are also temporarily suspending life policy applications for people in their 60s who might previously have been approved for coverage despite health issues like diabetes and asthma.

We believe that now is actually a good time to apply for life insurance, because it might possibly be the easiest process from an underwriting standpoint. If you believe a life insurance policy will protect you and your family, there really isn’t any reason not to apply now. Our insurance experts can help find the company that best meets your needs.

What about an existing policy and coronavirus coverage?

For the most part, existing policies will cover a person if they were to die from COVID-19. As long as your policy is in good standing, it will provide a death benefit to your beneficiaries. Just be sure not to let your current policy lapse. However, here’s a few exceptions to keep in mind:

  • The life insurance industry has something called a “contestability period,” a window of one or two years during which an insurer can investigate and deny claims. If it’s determined that the insured lied on their application or otherwise misled the insurer to defraud them, coverage — in the case of life insurance, the death benefit paid to the family — may be denied.
  • Another exception to a payout due to the coronavirus is for those who have purchased an accidental death policy. Those policies generally don’t cover death by disease. There are some exceptions, though, like if an injury causes someone to be hospitalized and the disease results directly from that hospitalization. It’s wise to discuss the specifics with your insurance agent.

If you’ve been honest on your application and current on your premium payments, you shouldn’t have any worries.

If you’d like to read more FAQs about life insurance, long term care insurance, healthcare or more, check out this article from AARP.

If you’d like to chat with a life insurance expert to analyze your life insurance (or long term care insurance) needs, talk to a RetireMentor to discuss your specific needs.

Do’s & Don’ts of Finding the Right Retirement Advice

First off, I’m NOT an advisor. I’m a retirement researcher, writer and educator. I have a few Do’s and Don’ts to consider as you begin planning your retirement and finding the right person/people to help you go from Savings (401k, etc.) to Security (creating an income for life from your 401k).

  1. DON’T listen to a neighbor, a friend or even that friendly financial/investment advisor who’s probably not well versed in retirement planning and is biased toward investments. The insurance advisor is biased toward insurance. And the big companies in both camps spend a lot of money to spread their version of the truth. Looks for a “retirement advisor” who’s license in both investments and insurance and therefore, doesn’t have the bias of one vs. the other. They should be dedicated and taking the time to educate you about this retirement planning process and all the strategies they are recommending vs. just saying “it’s a good idea because I said so.” All professional service providers make money….they must be paid like everyone else. Just make sure they are 100% transparent in their fees.
  2. DO listen to retirement researchers, academics and economists who focus on retirement planning and there are plenty.
  3. DO base you decisions on research…always ask Why? and ask for the data to support an advisor’s/friend’s recommendation.
  4. The right answer can only be found by answering a number of questions about you and your goals, along with analyzing what you’ve got, what you’ll have, and what you’ll need. And then finding the best combination of strategies to make your money lasts throughout retirement.
  5. You’ll need to have an open mind as it relates to retirement/distribution strategies because they are completely different than the accumulation phase of life.
  6. The traditional 60/40 portfolio is dead. As you approach and enter retirement, you’ll need a portfolio strategy that reduces your risk, while also being positioned to take advantage of growth. You MUST mitigate volatility in retirement. There are a number of ways to do this. With the current low bond returns, you should seek alternatives. For some that may include Fixed Indexed Annuities. For others, it may be structured investments. Stocks will always be a part of your portfolio, albeit a smaller part.
  7. DON’T work with an advisor who knows nothing about tax planning for retirement…and most CPAs don’t know how to do pro-active retirement planning. A true retirement advisor knows how to integrate tax efficient withdrawal strategies into your income distribution plan so that you keep as much of your hard earned money as possible. This may be one of the most important strategies. Side note: ask them about Roth Conversions…2020 may be a perfect storm for Roths for many people.
  8. DO make sure your portfolio is stress tested and proven to last in ALL market environments.
  9. DON’T let anyone guess as to when you should take Social Security. This accounts for 33% of your income in retirement (in most cases) and must be incorporated into your overall income planning. The answer as to when depends on a lot of factors. Also, Social Security must be included in your tax picture as well. Since 85% of your benefit could be taxable without the right planning.
  10. DO find out if they are aware of MAGI and Medicare (and the impact on how much you’ll pay for Medicare). Make sure they have resources to help you navigate the Medicare maze.
  11. DO find out if they help you find ways to fund a Long Term Care policy, if needed?
  12. DO consider a reverse mortgage as an emergency income buffer…this is a perfect example of when having an open mind is important. Find out what the retirement academics say about reverse mortgages. And, no, they can’t take your house away if you follow some basic rules, like paying your taxes. And no, the bank doesn’t own your home. Take the time to find the facts vs. listening to hearsay.
  13. DO find out if the advisor you’re considering working with has a team of providers to help you with other ancillary needs.

I do believe it’s impossible for the layperson (and most of the 300,000 financial advisors in this country), to do ALL of the proper retirement planning that must be done to improve and secure your retirement outcome.

Fortunately or unfortunately, advisors, like many other for-profit companies have to make money. But, with the right advisor you won’t question their fees…their value will be evident in everything they do for you. DO make sure they are committed to spending whatever time you need to be 100% confident in your plan and are acting in your best interests. And there’s nothing wrong with checking their references.

Finally, most of us have good intuition when choosing our professionals. Get to know him/her. Ask about his/her family. Ask about their perspectives on finances and life. Ask why they do what they do. Find out a lot about this person personally, and then dig into their “retirement planning” experience.

It’s easy for an advisor to give you credentials and pretty reports and look good on the surface. But dig a little deeper and you might be able to discover if he or she is the real deal.

Click here to chat with a RetireMentor to help you connect with a retirement planner or other retirement professional (legal, healthcare, etc.):