How to Write a Legacy Journal for Your Grandkids

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.

A legacy journal makes for a personalized, heartfelt gift that your grandchildren will treasure for a lifetime. How should you get started, though — and what exactly goes into the creation of a legacy journal?

Legacy journals stem from the ancient Jewish tradition of passing down written memories and life advice to future generations. Legacy journals follow a child’s growth and development throughout their lives, capturing the magical moments that make your family complete. Here’s how to create a beautiful tribute guaranteed to touch any grandchild’s heart.

Select Your Journal and Format

The first step in creating a memorable journal involves selecting an appropriate medium. Given advances in technology, some may opt to create an electronic journal, while others prefer the personal touch of handwriting in a specially selected journal book.

Truly tech-savvy grannies can easily set up a WordPress account and begin typing away. This works particularly well for those with arthritis, who may find typing easier on painful joints than holding a pen. Tinybeans presents the option of a secure sharing page where family members can upload photos and share only between other family members who join, eliminating privacy concerns.

For those who prefer a quill to a keyboard, select a journal that honors the grandchild eventually receiving the book. Creative nanas may choose to decorate the cover scrapbook-style while others prefer journals already beautified with patterns, flowers or leather.

Schedule Time to Write

The hectic pace of everyday life can leave grandparents with little time to write. Many grandparents today choose to work part-time well into their retirement, while others assist working parents with child care duties and cleaning tasks. Some do both.

Select a time to write when the house quiets down and reflection comes easily. Aim to schedule at least 30 minutes per month to add to journal entries. Investing in a tape recorder can help remind forgetful folk of special details they want to include in their writing later.

Whatever to Say?

The contents of legacy journals vary. Some people prefer to journal about only special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations and holidays. Others consider their legacy journal to serve as their last words of wisdom to their families upon their passing.

Anything and everything, from special moments to large milestones, makes for excellent journal fodder. Pay particular attention to capturing events that occur in a child’s early years that they won’t remember but will enjoy reading about just the same.

Focus on Feelings

Even though many grandparents include words of wisdom intended to enlighten future generations, words coming from the heart mean even more. Celebrate the successes grandchildren achieve and shower them with praise.

Include details such as the feelings experienced when holding the little one for the first time. Use humor when appropriate — every family shares little inside jokes that make for marvelous memories. Sprinkle in words of wisdom among the nostalgia.

Consider a Pragmatic Touch

While legacy journals center on emotions, that doesn’t mean they can’t include practical gifts within. One popular emerging trend involves buying children stock and other investments instead of gifts of toys or clothing.

Including information regarding these investments in a legacy journal makes for an extra-delightful surprise, especially among those planning to gift their journals when grandchildren reach adulthood or graduate from college. Imagine the smiles when grandchildren learn they already have the financial resources they need to buy a home or attend graduate school.

Include the Family

While most legacy journals arise from one-person contributions, getting the entire family, or at least certain members, involved can create an even more memorable gift. Everyone views memories of special events through their own unique lens, and additional praise from family members and friends alike make grandchildren feel especially accepted and loved.

Save Letters, Cards and Photos

Legacy journals make the perfect place to preserve favorite letters, cards and family photos for grandchildren. Those utilizing a traditional paper journal can include these items scrapbook style. People creating electronic legacy journals can scan and upload postcards from family vacations and pictures of special celebrations.

Deciding When to Gift

The final step in creating a legacy journal involves deciding when to make the gift. Timing really matters.

Grandparents who consider their legacy journal to serve as a sort of last will and testament may wish to rent a safe-deposit box to be opened only after they pass on. Others, especially those who have made surprise investments for their grandchildren, may wish to present their journal upon the child’s high school or college graduation. Some choose to gift their journals when their grandchild has their first baby to encourage younger family members to continue the tradition.

Legacy journals make the ultimate personalized gift. Leaving a piece of yourself and your treasured memories allows your words and traditions to pass down to future generations. Get started on your own journaling journey today.

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Smokey Sweet Chipotle Sauce

There are lots of ways to add Pizzazz to your life right now. One way is through color, music, dance, travel and changing up an old pattern. An easy way to add spark is through food.

Below is an quick recipe, able to be prepared in minutes, and it will uplift burgers, sandwiches or use as a dip for chicken wings, ribs, or vegetables.

This is a tiny can of Mexican Chipotle Chilis in Adobo sauce. You can find it in your international food section of your grocery store. There are about 5 chilis in the can, the size of a “fat” thumb.

Can of chipotle peppers

Take out one chipotle, slice it open and scrape out the seeds. Chop into a paste. Put this paste into a small bowl and mix in about 1/3 cup of your favorite Ranch or Caesar dressing and let sit for about 6 hours.  Add a few drops of water if you want the consistency to be thinner. Take the sauce out again and stir. It’s ready to serve!

The smoky, slightly spicy chili in the salad dressing will AMAZE your friends. Great as a dipping sauce for buffalo wings or ribs. Or as a vegetable dip. It’s also terrific on a burger or sandwich. This dipping sauce will definitely add PIZZAZZ to your meal.

Susan: Sounds good, but my husband has Rosacea often triggered by spicy foods. Any suggestions for toning down the spice?

Akaisha: Chipotle is one of the lesser spicy chilis. This chili-to-salad dressing ratio gives just a hint of picante. Just a TINY bit of bite. I would make this recipe, let it sit for the 6 hours or so… and then taste it. If it’s too spicy, simply add more salad dressing.

Chipotle is known for its smoky flavor more than its spice. Also, since chili is a product of nature, each chili is different. So depending on the certain chili in the can, it will change thespice.

You could make one dip for your husband (diluted with salad dressing) and one revved up for your guests.

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The Forex Market Has the Lead

Jane Brown

People are always looking for ways to invest their money. But the right type of investment can be tricky and complicated. Just because you have some money on your hands doesn’t mean you’ll be able to double its value by investing. It requires proper research and understanding the ins and outs of how the investment sector truly works.

The Forex Market Has the Lead

When it comes to investment, everyone can agree that the foreign exchange market also known as the (Forex market) is undoubtedly the biggest financial market to exist on earth. Interestingly, the currency market is quite a bit larger than the stock market itself, which indefinitely makes the Forex market a much better investment choice for anyone.

If you’re wondering how hard it could be to exchange one currency for another, then you’re in for a surprise. It isn’t as easy as it may seem. There are some unique attributes and skills that a trader needs to learn before stepping into the market, especially the new traders. It’s important to know the key terms for a trader. For instance, you should know that an exchange rate is basically at what price a currency is exchanged for another. It’s the exchange rate that holds the power to drive the Forex market.

Understanding the Ins and Outs

There are many different official currencies used by the Forex traders globally. These traders are always looking for opportunities to purchase a currency which has the potential to be revalued in the future. For instance, there are several investors who had purchased the Iraqi Dinar for its low value in hopes that the day the currency revalues they’ll make a profit. The revaluation of the Iraqi currency is in the hands of the Central Bank of Iraq and it has made several efforts to bring back their currencies value by revising the country’s monetary policy and by supervising its financial systems. There are several players in the Forex market:

  • Banks
  • Central banks
  • Investment managers and hedge funds
  • Corporations
  • Individual investors

Understanding Currency Appreciation

Basically, currency appreciation is the increase in the value of one currency in comparison to another currency. Interest rates, government policy, business cycles, and trade balances are one of the many reasons why a currency appreciates. In simpler terms, appreciation is directly related to demand. If, for instance, the value appreciates (goes up) the demand for the currency will also rise. But if it depreciates (goes down), it’s going to lose its value against the currency to which it is being traded. Currencies are traded in pairs in the Forex market and a currency appreciates when the value of one currency goes up compared to the other currency. The Forex traders are almost always hoping for a currency to appreciate to have huge returns when exchanged with another currency.

How the Revaluation and Devaluation Affects The Currency And Investment Opportunities

Since the Forex market is based on the revaluation and devaluation game, it’s important to look into it. Currency devaluation and revaluation are the changes brought to a country’s official currency compared to the other currencies in the world. Devaluation involves the lowering of the exchange rate and revaluation involves the rise of the exchange rate. Currency devaluation is often confused with depreciation. It’s extremely important to understand the difference between the two.

Devaluation is an attempt to deliberately lower the exchange rate of a country’s official currency and setting a new rate in respect to a foreign currency like the US dollar. Whereas, depreciation is the decrease in the currency value compared to the other benchmark currencies due to the market force.

One of the reasons a country indulges in devaluation is for economic policies. When currency value is lowered, in comparison to foreign currencies, it improves exports, reduces a country’s debt and shrinks trade deficits. Therefore, exports are encouraged and imports are discouraged as foreign countries will be interested in buying cheaper goods. All this will eventually solve the effects of a trade deficit and create a balance of payments because the export rate will be higher.

It’s important to understand why, when and how a country is indulging in revaluation or devaluation practices. If an investment trader does not have the basic knowledge of how a currency functions in the economy, it will be impossible to make the right investment decisions, which will only lead to a disaster.

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6 Strategies to Consider to Help You Retire Early

Mike Rivers is a retired small business owner and freelance writer. He was fortunate enough to be able to retire early and enjoys contributing to society through his writing and community involvement. He lives in Texas.

Retiring early is a dream for many people. Who doesn’t want to kick back and relax or have the flexibility to pursue hobbies while they still have the energy to do them? But for most, early retirement is more like a fantasy than a reality.

With life expectancies getting longer and healthcare costs skyrocketing, people are required to work for more years to amass enough to sustain them through their retirement years. Long gone are the days when retiring at age 55 or even 65 was realistic. Consider this: according to Fidelity Investments a 65-year-old couple retiring this year can expect to spend $280,000 on healthcare over the course of their retirement. Plus, that’s not factoring in any unexpected illnesses, injuries, or the need for long-term care.

There’s no doubt that retirement is expensive — and the longer you stay employed, the more money you can save. However, if you commit to making the necessary sacrifices, it is possible to reach your goal of retiring early. Keep in mind, though, that it may require a big change in your current lifestyle in order to reap the future payoff.

With that in mind, here’s a look at six strategies you can employ now to set you up for an early retirement later.

6 Strategies to Try if You Want to Retire Early

  1. Determine Your Number

In order to successfully retire early, you first need to figure out how much income you’ll require for 30 plus years out of the workforce. After all, if your aim is to retire at 50, barring any health incidents, living to 80 is a real possibility, which means you’ll need serious cash. This is particularly true if you want to pursue a certain hobby or spend your retirement days traveling the world.

In order to ascertain just how much you’ll need, create a retirement spending estimate that takes into account your current monthly spending and how much it will decrease or increase when you retire. For instance, you may decide to downsize from a four-bedroom home to a two-bedroom condo, which will reduce your monthly outlays. You’re commuting costs and work attire expenses may be reduced, but you could spend more on activities or travel. Once you come up with the number, multiply it by 12 to get your annual figure.  Add an additional 10% or 20% to give you more of a buffer. If you fear costly health incidents, raise that percentage even more.

Also, when coming up with your calculation, don’t forget to consider taxes and those nonrecurring expenses that crop up from month to month. Including these in your estimate will give you the most accurate picture.

  1. Overhaul Your Budget Now to Save Later

The only viable way to retire early is to save enough money to live off of.  In order to save more, you may have to sacrifice by altering your current lifestyle. In some cases, the changes may be drastic. For instance, people who aim to retire early usually start by reducing their costliest monthly expense, which is usually their housing. The money they save from downsizing to a smaller home or apartment can be funneled into their retirement savings account.

However, that’s only the start. Lots of people who are serious about retiring early will put as much as 50% of their income in savings. Others scale back the extras in their lives and live very frugally for many years. There are many ways to cut expenses to the bare minimum, however, in order for this strategy to be effective, you have to be extremely committed. Living frugally can be tough, but if early retirement is important enough to you, it will be a lot easier to achieve.

  1. Get Out of Debt

Ask most people who were able to retire early what their secret was and many will tell you that part of it was a lack of debt. Unsecured debt, in particular, can be costly, requiring you to pay a lot more to cover the interest. The more debt you have, the costlier and more difficult it is to get out from under it. That’s why it’s important to rid yourself of it if you want to retire early.

The last thing you want to do is have a monthly credit card payment hanging over your head when you don’t have an income to pay it. Plus, the sooner you pay off the debt, the more you can save for your retirement.

  1. Invest for Growth

Retiring early means you will have a shorter time span to amass money to live off of. Saving is one part of the equation, but growing your money is another really important one. In order to achieve your savings goals, you’ll need investment returns that are greater than if you were investing over the course of thirty years. That means considering growth investments that may be riskier but can yield you a better return.

No one is advocating making reckless investments that leave you penniless, however, being too conservative is an enemy of an early retirement plan. Make sure to keep an eye on the costs associated with your investments. If left unchecked, they can eat at your returns, greatly reducing the amount you amass for your pending retirement. Go for index funds and exchange-traded funds to keep costs at bay.

  1. Get a Side Gig

Thanks to the gig economy, there are plenty of ways to earn extra cash that can add to your savings. There are a host of part-time jobs that afford you the ability to earn extra money and are flexible enough to fit into your schedule. While driving for a service such as Uber or Lyft is top of mind for many people looking to raise extra cash, there are also other options — from working at a retailer to waitressing in a restaurant, for example. If you have a marketable skill, you could consult or work freelance gigs on the side. Even selling used goods on a resale website like Amazon or eBay can boost your savings.

If you don’t have the time to get a side gig, try to get a higher paying salary at your current employer or move to another company that is willing to pay you the salary you’re aiming for. The higher you earn, the sooner you’ll be able to save enough to realize your dream of an early retirement.

  1. Accept That You May Have to Re-enter the Workforce

Sometimes even the best-laid plans fall apart, and that can easily happen in retirement. The good news, however, is that if you opted to retire early and ran into an unexpected need for cash, you can easily re-enter the workforce for a period of time. If you’re okay with the idea that you may need to work from time to time, it will be an easier pill to swallow if worse comes to worst.

Of course, the goal is to stay retired — but if times are tough, being willing to jump back into the workforce can make the idea of an early retirement a little less risky.

Final Thoughts

Early retirement isn’t for everyone. However, if you’re willing to make the necessary financial and lifestyle sacrifices during your working years, it can be done. Being able to retire early will require you to amass a lot of money, adopt a frugal lifestyle, and invest with an eye toward growth. That’s why before you take the plunge, it’s crucial that you determine whether or not you’re committed to making the lifestyle changes necessary to achieve this goal.

If you follow smart strategies and adopt the right habits, the dream of retiring while you are still young and healthy is achievable.

Do you plan to retire early? What action steps are you taking to achieve this goal?

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The Most Recent Innovations and Advancements in Home Elevators and Lifts

Jane Brown

With the increase in urbanization plans globally, lifts and elevators are critical elements to any building. The escalators will enable urbanization to take place effectively as people can move up to their homes faster. Vertical transportation is an industry that is beginning to gain popularity and attention due to the rise in demand for more advanced residential dwellings.

Escalator Design and Height

One of the most prominent innovations, with regards to vertical transportation, is that of Shanghai New World store. The helix designed escalator is the largest in the entire world. Mitsubishi Electrical made a genius innovation by using the customized chains that are responsive to angle movement.

The technique brought out a smooth and consistent motion of the escalators. Not only will you find vertical elevators but also horizontal lifts. Thyssen Krupp invented a lift that is multi-directional. You are now able to move up the stairs or laterally to another room on the far end.

Personal Elevators for Your Home

There are many innovations with regards to home lifts. They are suitable for those individuals who, for one reason or another, cannot walk up and down the stairs. The innovation helps in the movements within the house. They are easy to install and do not interfere in any way with the home architectural designs. On the contrary, it adds to the décor and outlook of the house because it is stylish.

An in-home elevator to look out for is the EasyClimber residential elevator. The EasyClimber residential elevator does not take up much of your space. You can even install it in the unused corner inside your house. Not only is it appropriate for the people with a hard time walking up and down the stairs, but also saves on time.

Smart Elevators

The new advancements have led to the development of smart elevators. Smart elevators have changed the way elevators operate nowadays. The automation helps the user to press the button on the lifts and chose the location. The lifts will then take you to your destination as fast as possible.

The new advancements have led to the development of smart elevators. Smart elevators have changed the way elevators operate nowadays. The automation helps the user to press the button on the lifts and chose the location. The lifts will then take you to your destination as fast as possible.

Smart elevators have Internet connectivity ability. The feature allows the lifts to diagnose problems and give alerts on the faults occurring. Whenever the technology predicts an impending failure, you will automatically receive a notification. The information reduces accidents and any unexpected happening. When looking for residential houses, select houses with smart stairs to help you in navigating.

Through Internet connectivity, the system gathers up all the relevant data through the sensor installed. The system can processes the data, analyze it and predict any potential inconsistencies and faults likely to happen. The real-time information makes maintenance and repair easy. Moreover, you will know exactly where the issue is and fix it in time.

Virtual Fault Diagnosis

Did you know that you can now repair your lifts virtually? Thanks to the new technology that Microsoft, together with manufacturing companies, came up with recently. The technology allows the mechanic to make repairs remotely. The only equipment the mechanic needs is the holo lens. After wearing the holo lens, the mechanic can use hand motion to inspect the lift remotely. The person can explore different issues that need maintenance and repairs and correct them.

Faster Speed

Residential buildings are growing to newer heights. Innovations are critical in constructing buildings as they help in navigation. Some of the old elevators were slow and some people would prefer walking than using one. There is an innovation in the market that increases the speed of the lifts. The carbon fiber cable has enormous lift power that speeds up the lifts. You are then able to save a lot of time instead of using the stairs in your home.

Going Green

The manufacturers realized that some consumers use environmentally friendly technologies. They have come up with new technologies that use renewable sources of energy to power the lifts. Gen 2 Switch is the latest invention that uses 80% solar energy. The elevator can make up to 100 trips without any blackouts. You are therefore able to reduce lift expenses.

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Pro Tips for Becoming a Silver Nomad

Alex Smart

People decide to retire early for all sorts of reasons, from wanting to spend more time with their families to just getting to the point where there they realize they have better things to do than go to work every day. And if you have the means not to work, why not?

One of the most common reasons for ditching the day job at the first possibility is to pursue lifelong dreams of travelling the world. It’s no wonder that the numbers of so-called ‘silver nomads’ – people who take up long-term travel seriously in retirement, or even become ‘location independent’ – are growing rapidly. Retirement is the perfect time of life to explore the world.

Put it this way – once free of the ties of a career and raising children, what else are you going to do?

For those feeling the tug of wanderlust strongest, waiting until statutory retirement age is just too long. They want to swap the day job for the highways and byways of the world as quickly as they can. But what do you really need to know to turn your traveling dreams into a reality?

Here are some pro tips experienced older travelers use to get their long-held travel plans off the ground.

Rent out your home

The slightly romanticized stereotype is to just sell up and set off when you decide to take up a more nomadic lifestyle. But it can actually make more sense to keep your old home and rent it out while you are away. This serves two purposes. One, you always have a base to return to in between adventures, which to many people is a lot more reassuring than just cutting all ties. Two, renting out your home provides a valuable source of income to fund your travels.

Be careful, however – in many countries, you need permission from your mortgage provider to be able to rent out your home. It is likely they will want to switch you to a buy-to-let mortgage, which will prove more expensive, eating up any profit you get from letting out your home. This is therefore an option that works best when you have paid off your mortgage.

Go to a specialist travel insurance provider

What they don’t tell you about traveling in later life is that insurance can start to get expensive. This is because most general providers start to add a premium at around age 60 to cover what they see as the heightened risk of older travelers making claims, especially for medical care. These premiums tend to increase incrementally by age, quickly becoming prohibitively costly.

A bespoke provider which specializes in travel insurance for over 60s will do things differently. They will offer much greater control to include the things in your policy that matter most to you, including cover for specific medical conditions. Not only does this end up providing much better value, it gives more reassurance that you are covered for the things you actually need.

Work as you travel

If you really want to travel long term, you will have to think about how you will fund it. If you have built up enough of a nest egg during your career to finance many years of happy traveling, all well and good. If not, no need to worry. Cinderella can still go to her ball. She might just have to do an odd job here and there on the way.

Working as you travel doesn’t have to take the fun out of things. There are plenty of ways to make money linked to traveling itself – such as taking a job as a tour guide or local travel agent, for example. Or you could have a go at getting into the world of travel blogging, turning your experiences into travel guides and advice, or sharing photos of your adventures. The bottom line is earning that extra bit of cash you need to keep you on the road.

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Preventing Senior Falls – Everything You Need to Know

By Lori Thomas, Associate Editor

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Why Travel Leads to a Healthy Retirement

John Liverstone

Exercise and diet are often thought to be the best way to a long and healthy retirement, and they certainly play an important role. But why not add travelling to the list of things to do to be healthy in retirement. Of course, we all travel for enjoyment and adventure, but along the way there are opportunities to widen our views, release the day to day pressures and generally expand our outlook in life. There is no doubt that travelling at any age can improve our health and therefore can contribute to an extended life and more enjoyable retirement.

Here are three ways that travel improves life, especially for retirees and are great tips for travelling with high blood pressure.

  1. Travelling provides the desire to be more active. As you go through the hustle and bustle of the airport, heave your luggage through the hotels, do lots of walking around the city roads, amble through the many museums, perhaps take a swim in the sea or pool and possibly try hiking through mountain treks. Doing many of these activities means you will be raising your heart rate and perhaps breaking sweat, all of which will help lower the risk of future heart disease and can also help reduce symptoms of existing conditions.
  2. Travelling can provide many social benefits. If you travel with family and friends no doubt these relationships will strengthen and deepen, but you also have the chance to meet new people and cultures. Travelling in groups either with existing friends and family or brought together by such sites as Road scholar, improve mental health and keep your mental faculties sharp. Travelling abroad nearly always introduces you to new people and cultures and it has been proven by research that having such social activities, especially during the later years in retirement, provides excellent benefits for our emotional well being.
  3. You will find cognitive benefits as well. You can venture into different types of holidays than the traditional sitting by the pool ones, perhaps you could try an educational trip, or try attending cultural excursions in places like Chautauqua Institution. Whatever trip you plan, you will meet all kinds of new people, cultures, foods and venturing into new areas all of which provide excellent stimulation for our brain activity, which likewise improves our cognitive function. One study found that travelling regularly has a direct link with lowering the danger of dementia in later life.

One thing is certain, when sorting out your retirement budget make sure you factor in travelling. If you find that your budget is limited, do not abandon travel, but rather look for inventive ways to cut the cost of holidays without infringing on the enjoyment.

Consider that you do not need to travel to popular destinations to get the benefits listed here. Many retirees have reported that some of the best destinations are not to far flung places, but rather to destinations where family and friends are, which substantially cut costs on accommodation and eating out.

So, in conclusion, do not think of travel as an option depending on budget, but rather as an investment for your improved mental health as you get older.

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Travelling in Retirement: What Do You Need to Know?

Alex Smart

People take early retirement for all sorts of reasons. For some, it’s to spend more quality time with their families. For others, it’s to pursue a hobby they are passionate about or invest time in creating their dream home. For a good proportion of early retirees, they just don’t want to be chained to the workaday life any more.

Then for a growing number of people, retirement is the key to unlocking one of their lifelong dreams – travelling the world. Let’s face it, you don’t really get much of an opportunity to explore this wonderful planet of ours by taking just a few weeks’ vacation every year. For those who want to do it properly, they often have to wait until they are in a position to leave working life behind.

There are different ways to travel in retirement. You can approach it as taking a series of extended vacations, picking a destination and then planning to spend a couple of months there rather than a couple of weeks. You could go a step further and become ‘location independent’, taking up the globetrotting lifestyle full time. Or, if there is a particular place you fall in love with, you could upsticks and relocate there permanently, using that as a base from which to explore further.

However you approach it, you will have to do some planning and there is a fair amount to learn. Here are some of the key things to think about when making your retirement travel plans.

Financing your dreams

It’s an obvious place to start, but if you want to spend your retirement enjoying a jetsetter lifestyle, you are going to need the financial means to pay for it. People who plan to retire early usually only do so on the understanding that they have built up enough personal wealth in the form of savings, pension contributions and assets to see them through the rest of their life without working. But that is usually calculated based on following the same lifestyle you always have done at home.

There are two options here. One is to approach travel so that it does not cost you any more than living at home would. This usually means taking the budget options, and can actually be easier to achieve if you move abroad permanently – especially if you head to a country where living costs are lower.

The second is to find a means of additional income to supplement your travel plans. If you are a homeowner, this can be a very useful asset. If you have already cleared the mortgage, you could remortgage to gain additional capital. Alternatively, if you aim to travel for long periods, you could rent out your home while you are away. Other options are to find a way to make extra money while on the road – by starting a travel blog business or writing a travel book, for example.

Protecting yourself

Long-term travel comes with certain risks, especially when it comes to your health. If you fall ill or have an accident on a months-long adventure, you will find yourself a long way from your physician, your local hospital and your support network, not to mention that your health insurance won’t cover you. It makes sense to take some precautions.

Once you reach 50, it is advisable to seek out specialist senior travel insurance rather than go through a general provider. Because people are more likely to experience health issues as they get older, travel insurance providers see seniors as posing a higher risk of making a claim, so they start to hike up the premiums – often incrementally, year by year. This quickly becomes very expensive. A specialist provider will do you a much better deal.

You should also weigh up whether you are best off taking out single trip or multi-trip annual travel insurance. If you plan to do a lot of travelling in any given 12 month period, a multi-trip plan can save you money compared to buying individual policies for each. However, multi-trip plans often have a limit on how long each individual trip can be. If you want to head off for several months, you will probably need a single trip policy, and if you intend to visit multiple locations, you will need a provider who will draw up a bespoke plan for you.

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Is an HSA Your Best Friend for Early Retirement?

Shobin Uralil

Early retirement takes dedication, planning and expert tax-savings. While your personal strategy might be unique, clearly the more you save of your own money, the faster it can grow. Let us show you how to leverage an HSA to get to retirement faster.

Unparalleled Tax-Savings

An HSA offers unparalleled tax-savings. It is the only savings account on the market that allows for tax-deductible contributions, tax-free growth, and tax-free distributions (as long as they are used for qualified out-of-pocket medical expenses).

Low-Cost Healthcare

It’s likely that in early retirement, you will still require healthcare, before Medicare starts. HSA-eligible healthcare plans like high deductible health plans (HDHP) are the most cost-effective health insurance on the market. Their lower monthly premiums ensure you keep your fixed costs low. Their set out-of-pocket yearly maximums set the ceiling for any unexpected health costs, capping your financial exposure.

Coupling an HDHP with an HSA ensures you have pre-tax funds ready for any health expenses that come your way this year or in years to come. Those pre-tax funds limit your tax-liability and effectively reduce the real-dollar costs of medical expenses.

Like a 401(k), but Better

You want options. Savings options. Investing options. Tax options. HSAs enable all three. An HSA is like a 401(k), but better. It provides the dedicated funds you want later in life but doesn’t lock those funds until 59 and 1/2 years of age like a 401(k) (unless you are willing to pay tax penalties).

You can use tax-free HSA funds for qualified medical expenses today or save them for tomorrow. In fact, after the age of 65, those funds can be used for anything, just like a 401(k) – just pay taxes. No penalty.

Additionally, HSAs don’t require mandatory distributions in retirement. You can let your HSA investments grow into your 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Self-Directed Investing

Early retirement requires an independent mindset. HSAs allow you to apply that mentality to self-directed investing. This ensures you can tailor your HSA investments as part of a larger savings strategy. Please check with your current or prospective HSA provider, so you can invest in what you want. Maybe a low-cost ETF?

An HSA ensures you maximize your tax savings and better prepare for future health costs. The result is more tax-free savings and investment options for early retirement. Use an HSA as an effective tax-savings and investment strategy for both healthcare and retirement. Turns out HSAs are great for both!

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