WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE SOCIAL SECURITY?

#SocialSecurity #pensions #WhenToTakeSocialSecurity

Some people may want to take their Social Security immediately upon eligibility, just because they need the money.

For others, waiting may be a better option, even if you have to dip into your retirement savings while you wait.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution tackled this decision in an article published Oct. 8, 2018.

In the article, Perry Volpone was determined to take his Social Security as soon as he retired. His financial adviser, Dana Anspach, argued against it. She urged the former retail executive, then 65, to put off applying for Social Security for five more years, because his monthly benefit would increase, the article says.

“(Taking the benefit immediately) would make me more comfortable,” Volpone argued. “The whole thing is just so much more complex than you think,” the article quotes him.

Here are the facts, as stated in the article: For each year past your full retirement age that you put off applying for Social Security, your monthly benefit will increase by 8 percent. That does not include any cost-of-living adjustments the government makes – as it did recently.

Here’s what you have to decide: How much, on average, are you earning with your retirement savings, plus any pension you might be receiving? If your savings – should we say, investments? – are earning you, on average, less than 8 percent a year, can you supplement your income through the dividends and interests on your investments, plus any pensions or other income, to allow you to keep your Social Security “in the bank” for five years or so?

Though that may require some thought, and good advice, as Volpone was getting in the article, there are some no-brainer decisions: if you have little or no retirement savings, and no pension, take your Social Security as soon as you can.

By the same token, if you have a good retirement nest egg, that’s kicking off good earnings that you can tap for living expenses, and/or you have a good pension, postponing Social Security until age 70 is also an easy decision.

If you are married, and both spouses qualify for Social Security benefits, the best decision might be to take the lower-earning spouse’s Social Security at that person’s full retirement age – say, 66 or 67 – and postpone taking the higher-earning spouse’s Social Security until that spouse turns 70. When one spouse dies, the other spouse gets only one check, and the higher-earning spouse’s check is going to be better.

A decision people make rashly is to take Social Security immediately upon qualification, because they believe it’s going to run out of money before they die. Most experts believe Social Security will be around in some form no matter what, if anything, government does to “fix” it.

There is something else to consider. What if there were a way a person, retired or not, could make extra money by committing a few, part-time hours a week working at something that would not feel like a “second job?”

There are many such vehicles out there for those willing to check them out. To find out about one of the best, message me.

In short, most of us dutifully paid into Social Security while working. When it was created, no one predicted the longer life span that medical and other science has given us, so there have been some financial headaches with the system.

Still, most predict it will never go away entirely, though we may see some combination of benefit reductions and increases in the retirement age in the future.

But, Social Security alone will not give you the retirement lifestyle you probably want. It can be part, but should not all, of your retirement income. It’s up to you to decide what kind of retirement you want, and use your working years to save, invest and prepare for it.

The younger you start doing that, the better prepared you will be when you get older.

Peter

WE LOVE VACATIONS, BUT SHOULDN’T WE BE WORKING?

#vacations #vacation #working #jobs

Ah, vacation.

We work so hard for it.

We wouldn’t want to be on vacation all the time, would we?

Brian O’Connor, a philosophy professor at University College in Dublin, Ireland, took on this subject in an article published April 29, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Although annual leave is a right in many workplaces, it is of significant value to employers, too,” O’Connor writes.

Studies urge employers to embrace paid leave, the article says. It refreshes workers, and gives employers opportunities to expose others, who would do the work of the vacationer, to other jobs in the company, thus gaining workers with more diverse skills, O’Connor writes.

O’Connor’s point: vacations are designed as a respite from work, but we all need to be working, rather than being on vacation all the time.

Let’s break this down further. First, as employees, most of us get paid time off in a variety of fashions. There is vacation time, which tends to increase with years of service – up to a maximum, of course.

Then, there is sick time which, in theory, is there to use as needed for illness or other emergencies.

Finally, for those with certain jobs, there is paid time to attend educational seminars, specific offsite training etc.

Some employees will abuse some of this time off, particularly sick time. We’ve all heard the expression of calling in well. Sick time, of course, should ONLY be an insurance policy for illness and emergencies, and should be used only when necessary. Mental health days, unless they are for a specific diagnosed condition, should not be taken. (People with a diagnosed mental condition may have fewer employment opportunities).

Some people don’t get any of this paid time off, despite the encouragement to employers to provide it.

Others are generously paid for NOT using their time off when they retire.

Others, depending on the job they have, are literally punished for taking time off. They have to work extra hours prior to leaving on vacation, and face a huge pile of work when they return. Others can just comfortably go on vacation, without added pressures or work before and after.

With today’s technology, some can take the job with them on vacation. If you are one of those, you may need to set some new priorities.

Though O’Connor’s article argues that vacations are merely a rest from toil, and that toil is something that doesn’t please you, it can be argued that a permanent vacation – or a change in your life – may be needed. There are many vehicles out there that, for a few part-time non-job hours a week, can give you the freedom to change your life for the better. To check out one of the best, message me.

Despite the nobility of labor, if you don’t enjoy what you do, or if what you do does not provide you with the life you want, it may behoove you to look at alternatives.

Your personal goal should be to go on your longest vacation ever – retirement – as soon as you are able. In today’s work world, that decision sometimes can be made for you.

Peter

DOES YOUR PERSONALITY AFFECT EARNINGS?

#personality #earnings #PersonalityAffectsEarnings
Many of us have witnessed people being belligerent a t work. Perhaps they got fired.
We may have seen others who suck up to the boss, and get promoted.
But what about more subtle personality traits? Do they affect how much one might earn?
Tyler Cowen tackles this subject in an article for Bloomberg. It was also published Sept. 17, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Cowen quotes a study by Miriam Gensowski at the University of Copenhagen. She revisited data from California schools, back in 1921-22. She culled out the top 0.5 percent of student in the IQ distribution, meaning they scored 140 or higher on the IQ test.
What did she find? Cutting through a lot of numbers, she discovered that conscientiousness mattered for men. Men who scored higher on the conscientiousness scale earned an extra $567,000 over their lifetimes, the article says.
For women, extroversion correlated with higher earnings – even more strongly than conscientiousness, unlike for men, the article says.
The article quotes the study saying that more “agreeable” men earned significantly less. Remember the saying, “nice guys finish last?”
“One possibility is that more agreeable men self-select into lower-earning, more subordinate professions,“ Cowen writes.
And, perhaps no surprise, the smartest ones among the smartest ones generally earned more, the article says.
OK, so you are who you are. You may think you aren’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, and the study referenced above may not have looked at people like you.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it above where you think you should be – if you want to.
Being conscientious will help. If that doesn’t come naturally, work on it – man or woman. Conscientiousness is something that can be acquired with effort, if it doesn’t come naturally.
To a lesser extent, extroversion can also be acquired but, for some, requires a good bit more effort. If you are naturally shy, you can change that, but you have to be motivated to WANT to change it.
Right now, you could be working in a job that you do not believe will EVER make you “successful,” as experts seem to define it, or wealthy. Don’t fret. There are ways out there for people, even shy people, to be successful. You just have to be willing to look for them. And, though you may be shy, you HAVE to be teachable.
If you WANT to change your life and are willing to check out one of the best such vehicles to potential success, message me.
Teachability can compensate for many natural personality traits. Conscientiousness, however, is easy to learn, in relative terms.
The lesson here, perhaps, is don’t let the person inside you take the best out of you. Be willing to find the best that’s inside you, and bring it out.
Sometimes, it takes another person to see the best that’s inside you and help you bring it out. Sometimes, you never know who that person might be. It may be someone you already know. It may be someone you haven’t met yet.
Don’t look at what someone is offering with the person inside you who wants to take the best away from you. Look at that person believing that the best of you has yet to appear.
Peter