Monthly Archives: December 2017

Younger Next Year (& creation of Younger Next Year – 2018 Facebook group)

Younger Next Year. How’s that for a New Year’s Resolution?

Seriously, as we head into 2018, who wouldn’t want to be younger in 2018 than they were in 2017?

Impossible, you scoff? Clearly, you haven’t read the New York Times bestselling book, Younger Next Year, or its spinoff titles, including Younger Next Year for Women.

The authors are a vibrant 70-year old (at the time of writing) and ex New York litigator Chris Crowley and his personal physician (25 years his junior), named Henry Lodge (Harry in most of the text; I should clarify that this is the late Henry Lodge, since he passed await at age 58  early in 2017 of prostate cancer. Ironic.)

The subtitle says it all: Live Strong, Fit and Sexy — Until You’re 80 and Beyond. I’m grateful to one of my sources — Hub contributor Doug Dahmer of Emeritus Retirement Strategies — both for twigging me to the book’s existence and to supplying me a copy. (He appears to have laid in a good stash of the book).

Take control of your Longevity

And for good reason. The book is all about taking control of your personal longevity, chiefly  through proper nutrition but first and foremost by engaging in daily exercise: aerobic activity at least four days a week and weight training for another two days a week. Week in and week out, for the rest of your life. And the payoff is what is promised in the subtitle.

Apart from daily exercise and “Quit eating crap” (to use the authors’ phrase, one of Harry’s 7 Rules reproduced below) the authors urge readers to “Connect and Commit,” which means staying engaged even after formal retirement. In fact, as we argue in our own book Victory Lap Retirement, there’s a case to be made for never entirely retiring. Leaving the corporate workplace, probably, but semi-retirement and self-employment from home are certainly viable alternatives.

While Younger Next Year only touches on retirement finances, it certainly reinforces the main theme of this web site (FindependenceHub.com). It’s encapsulated in Harry’s 4th Rule: Spend Less Than You Make.

Harry’s Rules

I can see at this point that it’s best to simply list Harry’s 7 Rules, which formally appear in the book’s appendix (page 305 of my copy): Continue Reading…

Retired Money: How TFSAs can give seniors more tax-free retirement funds

If you’re a senior, the holy grail in retirement is to have as much tax-free retirement funds as possible.

My latest MoneySense Retired Money column looks at this goal: Click on the highlighted text to access the full piece:  How Seniors can use TFSAs to have more in retirement.

This site has always been a strong proponent of Tax-free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) for young people. Starting at age 18, TFSAs are great vehicles for accumulating short-term savings for goals like saving a down payment for a home, buying a new car, or even going on to post-graduate studies or starting a business. And unlike RRSPs, the $5500 annual contribution room for TFSAs does not require having earned income the previous year. So as of next week, with the arrival of 2018, it’s highly advisable to add another $5,500 to your TFSAs. But not just if you’re young!

The MoneySense column makes the point that TFSAs are equally desirable for seniors in retirement, or for those in semi-retirement who are preparing for full retirement.

Why? First, unlike the RRIFs that many RRSPs become, and which generate taxable income, TFSAs generate no taxable income: neither on the withdrawals nor the investment income (whether dividends, capital gains or interest). In addition, TFSAs do not trigger clawbacks of means-tested government retirement income programs like Old Age Security or the Guaranteed Income Supplement.

But there’s another big benefit TFSAs confer on seniors and retirees: ongoing tax-sheltering of investment income well beyond age 71. In contrast, you can no longer contribute to RRSPs after the year you turn 71 and cannot contribute new money to RRIFs: they’re strictly vehicles that shelter what you’ve got until the next forced annual withdrawal limit, which escalates over time from 5.28% at 71 to 20% a year once you reach 95.

Unlike RRSPs and RRIFs, seniors can continue to add to their TFSAs each and every year even after age 71. Even if you live past 100, as my friend Meta has (and who, as the column relates, continues to use the TFSA herself!)

Two ways seniors can get money for TFSAs without having to find “new” money

Continue Reading…

Your (last) greatest show on earth

By Heather Compton

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

What do you envision when it comes to your final wishes? Would there be a formal service? If so, who would officiate? Do you wish to be cremated or buried or donate your remains to science?

I get it, end of life conversations are difficult and even if you are prepared to have the discussion, dollars-to-donuts your kids or responsible family members don’t want to go there.

Regretfully I’ve been involved with funeral planning for a number of relatives, and even some clients, and these are the decisions families find most difficult. When the time comes —  and it will —  the question inevitably asked is some variation of “What do you think mom would have wanted?”

If those closest to you know your personal wishes they don’t have to make it up in the funeral director’s showroom while debating between the grand showcase coffin and the budget version you might have preferred!

Bless Mom — she was very clear — cremation by the most frugal means possible, and a nice lunch for our friends.  My Scottish depression-era mother liked the memorial society option because they negotiate funeral cost discounts.

The Memorial Society Association of Canada’s website identifies contacts across the country. A modest membership fee gets you an information package to help document decisions plus they pre-negotiate cost-conscious plans with funeral homes. You can file your wishes with the funeral home or with a memorial society but keep a copy with your other important documents.

Fire Drill Conversations

Because these are difficult conversations, I suggest you treat them like a fire drill: keep it short, discuss what’s needed, make sure everyone understands, document and call it done.  Have another fire drill if your thoughts or wishes change.

Here goes:

Style of service Continue Reading…

What to do and not to do when with your IRA

By Sia Hasan

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

If you have decided to invest in a self directed IRA (Individual Retirement Account: the American equivalent of Canada’s RRSP), you have taken the first step to enjoying a better financial future and to preparing for peace of mind in retirement. However, simply opening an IRA account is not all that it takes to benefit from this type of retirement account. If you want to maximize the benefits of your IRA fully, follow these helpful tips:

Choose the right type of Retirement Account

There are several types of IRA accounts that you can open, and two of the most common options are a traditional and Roth IRA. There are significant differences between these accounts. By learning more about these differences, you may be able to find the account type that is best for your financial planning efforts.

Both have similar contribution limits, but a Roth IRA uses money that has already been taxed as contributions. When you withdraw the money after you reach age 59 and a half, you can enjoy tax-free distributions. A traditional IRA, on the other hand, uses pre-tax dollars as contributions, and the money is taxed at a later date when you withdraw the funds. Depending on your current tax rate and your projected tax bracket in retirement, you may find one of these options to be far more useful than the other.. For example, if you expect to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, a traditional IRA may be a better option for you because it minimizes your tax liability.

Maximize your contributions

If you want your account balance to grow at the fastest rate possible, you should make regular contributions into it each year. More than that, you should maximize your contributions annually to fully take advantage of the tax benefits associated with the account. Any additional investment funds that are available can be invested in another tax advantageous account or in a non-investment stock account.

Be aggressive in your younger years

With a self-directed IRA, you are in complete control over how your funds are invested. This means you can choose to take less risk or more risk. While taking more risk may sound unwise, the reality is that riskier investments generally have a higher return. In your younger years when you have decades before retirement, you can more comfortably take these risks with your investments. When risks are intelligent and moderated, you can grow your nest egg substantially in the younger years of your adult life. Then you can comfortably reduce your risk and return later in life without negatively impacting your financial security in retirement. Continue Reading…