My personal journey in a blended family
ESTIMATED 1MIN READ
The cycle of life often brings us transition periods. These periods can be positive and negative experiences. After my personal experience of divorce, I had to transition to making financial decisions on my own again. And now, a few years later and having met someone special again, I have to consider the transition of merging financial decisions and plans again. My special someone has also experienced divorce in her life. Our recent experiences in a blended family bible study together made me realize that there are a large percentage of Americans in blended families.
I am going to focus this series of writings on sound financial tips and strategies for new blended families coming together. After all, when we experience the loss and grief of divorce, we often hear ourselves saying “I don’t want to make the same mistakes again this time”. Financial actions and habits are often one of the stressors that lead to divorce in the first place, so let’s focus on bringing some positive ideas and ways to help make healthy financial decisions together in our new family.
ESTIMATED 2MIN READ
Buying life insurance – when is the right time?
One common financial instrument that is recommended for new parents is life insurance.
There are many different types of life insurance policies out there to consider such as whole life, term period certain life insurance, universal life insurance with underlying investments and cash value, etc etc… This can be a bit overwhelming for new parents looking for the proper life insurance policy.
Furthermore, the insurance premiums can be very expensive and cost-prohibitive for young parents.
The key is finding a life insurance policy that is a good fit for your family’s financial situation without overextending the budget.
I recommend that new parents consider purchasing a term life insurance policy that will cover the amount of time the parents expect their kids to be financially dependent. Another important consideration is the expected timeline of paying off large debts such as a mortgage.
Choosing a death benefit amount to apply for is a little more tricky. There are many things to consider such as the cost of your family’s lifestyle, the ability for your family to replace your income after you have gone, the affordability of premiums, etc…
I recommend that young parents discuss these variables with a professional financial planner that can point them in the right direction. One simple thing to remember when it comes to life insurance is this: you buy life insurance with your health more than dollars and cents.
It is much more affordable and easy to attain life insurance at a young age while you have your health. Talk to a professional and start implementing life insurance in your financial plan. Start small and build on it if you have to, but do not wait.
MONEY DO’S AND DON’TS: Stop managing your money like it’s the 50’s!
ESTIMATED 2MIN READ
You Can’t Eat Your Home.
In my last editorial, I began making the case about why a person might NOT want to pay off their home and how I believe that equates to “1950’s thinking. In effect, becoming the bank…
In the 1950’s, coming off the heels of WWII, jobs were plentiful, GIs had some nice education benefits with the early GI Bill to level up their skills, and a person could work their way up in a corporation for an entire career. That led to extra cash that could be spent on “consumerism” and a more comfortable lifestyle, especially since the company generally provided a pension. Paying off the home meant those pension dollars could be used to live on.
Also, life expectancy in the 1950’s was about 66.5 years for men, and 71.8 years for women (1) so the need to fund twenty years or more beyond retirement wasn’t common. Today life expectancy is estimated between 77 (2) to 84 years depending on the data source, and likely difficult to accurately predict due to COVID-19’s impact. It’s safe to say though, that we are living longer after retirement.
That being the case, let’s practically explore what paying off a home might mean:
- The median home price today is about $400,000 (3)
- With 20% down, that requires a $380,000 mortgage ($1,817 monthly payment) (4)
- In 30 years, one would pay $334,000 in interest (4)
- Sending $1,000 a month extra would shorten the mortgage to 14 years
As I mentioned in my last editorial, the average American family lives in a home for about 13 years. If that is the case, does it make sense to send savable, SPENDABLE (in retirement) dollars to the bank, or accumulate that $1,000 into your own savings? I. effect, becoming the bank yourself while “renting” your temporary home from the bank.
Consider the extreme: You put all your resources into paying off your home, either in the full 30 years, or by sending extra payments each month, instead of saving the extra money into a retirement account. You reach retirement with your home paid in full, but have little-to-no spendable dollars to use for food, fun, medical expenses etc. When you stop working, how will you fund your living expenses, especially emergencies that require larger lump sums?
Next time, I’ll go deeper into the actual numbers that support this theory, and how they could impact you.
EXPLAINING DIVERGENT OF LONGEVITY IN HIGH INCOME COUNTRIES (FREE PDF)
MORTGAGE CALCULATOR LINK
MORTALITY IN THE UNITED STATES STATISTICS
AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE BY STATE 2021
So You Think You Want to Retire?
ESTIMATED 2MIN READ
In the last post I was somewhere in my mid- 60’s; this time I am approaching 70 as we start. I postponed Social Security because I was in good health at 65, and I knew the larger payout was worth waiting for if I lived. Yes, I did start to think a bit about my mortality, after all, I was 70!
Some clients depend on me for financial matters, but others want to talk about things non-financial. There are things they may be dealing with and they know that I’ll be candid and confidential if we speak. Often, I’ve already been there. Things like aging parents and the issues involved with staying in their homes, thinking about the need for assisted living for a parent, etc. present serious concerns and the need for someone who’ll listen and be a straight shooter. Was it time for me to think about myself in that light?
So “roaring” toward my 70s I decided that I needed to play more golf so I would be ready when retirement did come. We moved, got a smaller house with virtually no yard. I did play more golf, but not as much as I thought I would…I was too busy! I also thought I would do some other recreational things, but it was hard because I was just too busy. I have two young grandsons who are terrific, and at very young ages they already loved to fish. So I did spend time with them fishing, and it was great–loads of fun for all. We didn’t fish enough because I was… too busy. Golf suffered, too. I was too busy!
If you are still with me, join me next time. It gets more interesting.