Tips Every Parent Should Know before Contributing to Their Child’s Wedding

By Dave Henderson, CFP, ChFC, CLU

In 2014, the average wedding cost $31,213 – no small sum.

The median cost is lower, but almost any way you slice it, weddings are expensive. And paying for them can be stressful.

Before you contribute any money towards your child’s wedding, read these tips to avoid matrimonial money mayhem. I know they worked for us.

And like great food and drink, these tips pair well together!

1. Don’t wreck your retirement to fund a wedding

Too often people think it’s important to put on a big show or spend a ton of money on a wedding when they’re already behind on their savings. And they’ll pull from retirement accounts, which can be a huge mistake.

Say you paid for an “average” $31,213 wedding. That might have grown to $75,000-100,000 over 15 years or more, if it remained invested.

Ask yourself – will the party be worth 2 or 3 times the amount you withdraw? [Read more…]

Tips and Tricks for Vacationing with Hearing Aids

LeannePowers-copyBy Leanne Powers

Believe it or not, hearing aids can actually make traveling easier! You may think your hearing aids will make vacation travel more complicated, but the opposite is true. For example, consider the time you may spend in airport terminals or on a museum tour struggling to hear announcements over the loudspeaker or straining to listen to a tour guide.  The advanced technology in hearing aids allows you to hear these things even better than the average tourist.

However, it is important to remember that your hearing aids need to be protected and maintained during travel, to ensure they work well for your entire vacation, and beyond. Keep these tips and tricks in mind when planning for your next trip. [Read more…]

Keep Your Active Family Connected for Less

shutterstock_70660873According to the remote technical support company iYogi, 63 percent of those surveyed said they would rather stay connected than warm. The findings aren’t too surprising in an age where hyper-connectivity is the norm and families and friends can get in touch instantly, regardless of the distance between them. But finding communication options that are cost-effective isn’t always easy. Enjoy your active retirement and still keep in touch with your family without breaking the bank. Here’s how to keep tabs on your loved ones:

Start Video Chatting

Stay connected with your family in real time by video chatting while you’re on the go. They can see what you’re up to and appreciate your adventure without being there in person. There are multiple video chat providers, including Skype and Facetime. Or if you want to simplify the process, take advantage of Google’s video chat service to start a conversation online. Download Google’s Hangouts plugin and sign into your Gmail, Google + or Chrome OS device. With this tool, even if someone in your family doesn’t have a webcam, they can still hear you and chat right through Google. [Read more…]

6 Questions You Should Be Asking Your Retirement Planner

By Hagen M. Pruemm

Over the years, I have seen people spend more time planning their summer vacation than planning for the next 25+ years of their lives.  Planning for retirement is not very easy, because it is a new and unknown phase of life.  You have saved up a certain amount of money and now you need to make sure that it is enough to last throughout the rest of your life.  In order to be well prepared for retirement, you should work with a professional who can help you with the transition as well as the setup of a retirement plan.  Here are 6 questions you should be asking your retirement planner to assure you are working with an expert you can trust with your savings for the next 25+ years of your life.

[Read more…]

Aquatic Exercise: Good for the Body, Mind and Soul

shutterstock_207504688When you imagine a swimming pool, images of sunny afternoons, sunscreen and kids doing cannon balls into the deep end may come to mind. But besides its recreational purpose, your pool is great for exercising, especially for seniors. The extra resistance without the impact means that aquatic fitness benefits the mind, body and soul.

Good for the Body

According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, swimming is the fourth most popular sports-based exercise in the country. It’s no wonder why, since participating in a swimming activity just two to three hours each week can significantly decrease incidents of chronic illnesses.

Since water offers natural resistance, aquatic exercises can increase your endurance and strength while taking it easy on your joints. The low-impact of water aerobics and exercise makes it a popular choice among seniors. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) even claims that water-based exercises can lessen disability severity in seniors. If you are a senior with muscle, joint or bone issues, pool exercises can be challenging enough to make a difference in how your body feels while being gentle enough not to strain troubled areas. Specifically in older women, swimming has been known to maintain or improve the health of bones after menopause. Furthermore, seniors have reported decreases in discomfort, daily function improvement and a better quality of life, says Whetstone Mescher from the Arthritis Foundation. [Read more…]

What You Need To Know About Your 401K

By Jerry Linebaugh

So, either you are reading this article because you have been investing for a while in your 401K or you are new potential saver to the 401K concept.  I believe I can give some timely information for both audiences.  This can be a tune up for experienced savers and something to help others get started. 

Size Matters

First–right off the bat–the first thing everyone needs to see is that you may indeed have more money in your 401K than the value of your home.  Or maybe you will have this amount or even much more by retirement but even seemingly large amounts 1 to 2 times your current home value may only produce a small amount of paycheck replacement.  Maybe, and I mean maybe, you might be able to take out of your market invested 401K an amount of 4% to 5% of the balance and not run out so look at it this way. 

You might need the income to last 20 or 30 plus years.  You might actually spend more time in retirement than you worked.  In that case you need a plan on how not only to build the money but also how to take it out.  401Ks are great for accumulation but better options are available for income planning during retirement.  Yes, you may be able to roll your money penalty and tax free even while you are still working if you are over 59 and ½ but we will talk more on that in a minute.  Right now, let’s look at the next most important thing you need to know… [Read more…]

Is Your Online Privacy Being Threatened?

By Jeff Tinsley

“Security” is a term we are all familiar with.  Security comes with locking our cars, keeping valuables in a vault, installing alarm systems for our houses, and so on.  However, our online security is just as vulnerable to theft.  For instance, did you know identity theft is on the rise?  Just last year, 14 million people were reported to be victims of it in the United States alone.  Thieves are stealing credit card and social security numbers, opening phony bank accounts, making purchases, and filing fraudulent tax returns—all a result of a breach in online security.  But it’s not just our financial information at risk; it’s our personal information too.  For example, did you know complete strangers could have access to your home address, your email, your age, the names and ages of your children and even grandchildren?  In most cases, all it takes is a simple Google search for this information to be found.

Who or what wants this information?  Spammers looking to send emails in mass amounts, hackers trying to obtain financial and health records, and “cookies” tracking your Internet search habits, to name a few.  However, the largest threat to your online privacy is YOU.  That’s right; much of what puts you at risk online is a direct result of your own Internet habits.  The good news is even if you have been haphazardly surfing the web for decades, there is much you can do now to regain control of the information you are exposing on the web.   Here are some tips: [Read more…]