I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog: Facing retirement and questions


It doesn’t seem that long ago that Keith and I started out on our journey of life together. Now, in 2018, we’re looking at retirement. We raised two children who married and had children. Our oldest grandchild graduates in May. Our youngest grandchild was born last January and we love going to Omaha to help out and spoil this little one. We want to spend more time with our children and grandkids.

Keith plans to retire next summer before his 66th birthday. I’ll keep writing as long as I am able. As for drawing on Social Security. It is not so secure for me. My income depends on my book and writing contracts, which means some years income looked very nice, others not so good. This means once Keith retires, I’ll be piggybacking off his Social Security. Our health is also an issue.

So I had lots of questions about when to start, how we get signed up and even the insurance gap between when Keith’s insurance ends and government and retirement insurance kicks in. Not all answers given are the same, making getting answers even more frustrating.

I did figure one thing out. It is important to talk to an expert who has your best interests at heart. Lay out your assets, retirement and debts and let an experienced adviser help you steer a path to financial stability. We’ve connected up with two who are both knowledgeable about investments—Gary Barth, Barth Financial Wealth Management Group, and James E. Whitesel, Twin Rivers Financial Group, Inc.

At 73 years old, Whitesel has been there and done that and knows what he’s talking about regarding Social Security. Gary Barth is on board with Dave Ramsey and his method to financial freedom.

For all of us, it is good to know what we owe and plan ways to get out of debt. The less debt we have on retirement, the more secure our financial position.

We need to have an account designated for one thing—emergencies. I’m not talking about the checking account we use to pay bills, but a separate account or a money market account that we can access easily. We put money into this account and commit to not taking money out unless we’re faced with a real and serious crisis not covered by insurance. We should start this as soon as possible. Such a fund keeps us from resorting to credits cards—and panic.

Whitesel said, “If a person has to replace that $1200 freezer with a credit card, two or three years down the road, it becomes a $3000 freezer. So an Emergency Account is very beneficial and eases personal stress.”

Always learn about your own investments. Don’t simply rely on someone else. Learn and work together with your adviser. Make sure your investments are secure from downturns in the market so they will be available as needed. Whitesel said to consider both “Taxes and inflation.” It matters.

Retirement is not the time to take huge financial or investment risks. The Barth Financial website states, “As retirement nears, the traditional strategy has been to move growth-seeking products to more conservative, fixed-income products.” Your retirement money needs to last. A good financial investor will help make sure it does.

After going over what we can expect from Social Security, retirement and assessing our debts with advisers who understand much more than we do, I feel much more confident that retirement may not be as scary as I feared. At whatever age, don’t wait. Make these not wishes, but commitments—to get out of debt, keep an emergency fund, understand what your investments are doing and work with advisers who aren’t talking you into investments, but teaching you how to know what’s going on and helping you find what is right for you.

Wise money management helps ensure retirement will be a time of security, not sleepless nights.

Published 1/15/2018 in the Kearney Hub as “Retirement brings lots of questions”

By Carolyn R Scheidies

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