The outcome of the presidential election was certainly a surprise to pollsters. For retirement investors, whichever candidate they voted for, it’s a wake-up call. Some changes that the Trump administration may make are likely to put more financial pressure on many retirement savers and retirees. Granted, we have yet to see many specific proposals put forward by President-elect Donald Trump. But an attempt to repeal or cut back Obamacare seems to be at the top of the list. Early retirees should take note, since cutbacks could make it more costly or difficult to purchase individual coverage in the years before Medicare kicks in at age 65. Protections for retirement savers may weaken. On the plus side, there may be tax cuts in the offing. Whether you are elated or dismayed about the coming Trump administration, the best strategy now is to stay the course and avoid making changes in your 401(k) based on the election. And save more if you can. Given our poor powers of prediction, whether about the market or elections, it always helps to have extra cash on hand for the unexpected.
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THIS WEEK’S RETIREMENT NEWS, INSIGHTS AND ADVICE
7 Retirement Moves Couples in Their 50s Should Make Now
By the time most married couples reach their 50s, they’ve been working well as a team for decades. But maybe not so much in their financial planning. Data show that many couples haven’t discussed their retirement goals, and their expectations may be surprisingly different. If you fit this category, better start that conversation with your spouse—these tips can help. MONEY
6 Ways to Keep Your Dream Retirement on Track
Many do-it-yourself retirement investors don’t get a second opinion from an adviser until they’re about to retire, or have already done so. And that may mean you’re missing some key steps. Reporter Andrea Coombes rounds up some of the tough lessons that advisers have had to deliver to clients. MARKETWATCH
Choosing Between an Employer With a 401(k) Match and One Without
It’s a nice problem to have: a choice of two jobs, with one offering higher pay. But it’s crucial to compare the benefits offered as well. If one employer offers a 401(k) match and one doesn’t, that can make a big difference to your retirement security. How big? Check out the financial leverage a 401(k) match can give you. WASHINGTON POST
The Downside of Early Retirement
It may seem counterintuitive to say there are downsides to retiring at an early age. But as contributor and early retiree Darrow Kirkpatrick explains, it can be scary to end a major chapter in your life. The key is to start with a plan, not a blank slate. Here’s how. MONEY
Why Your 401(k) Fees Aren’t Lower
You’ve probably heard a lot about fund and ETF fees being slashed, and also know that 401(k)s overall are getting cheaper. But as writer John Coumarianos points out, many 401(k)s still aren’t as inexpensive as they should be. And the fees can be complex. This info may help you lobby your employer for a cheaper plan. WALL STREET JOURNAL
2017 Medicare Premiums Will Rise 10% for Some
A 10% boost in costs doesn’t sound like good news, but in this case it’s far better than the 20% increase that some Medicare recipients might have faced in January for their Part B premiums. People affected include those 65 and older who do not yet collect Social Security benefits, higher-income retirees subject to a premium surcharge, and those who will be enrolling in Part B for the first time in 2017. MONEY
How to Prevent Fear of Spending from Ruining Your Retirement
Most retirement advice focuses on saving to ensure you have enough money to last a lifetime. That’s all good, but once you’re retired, you have a different challenge—spending enough to enjoy yourself, without jeopardizing your financial security. It’s a trickier problem than you might think, since many retirees could spend a lot more than they do, contributor Walter Updegrave reports. Are you missing out on fun you could be having? MONEY
Housing Bust Still Plagues Retirees
The aftermath of the housing boom and bust still haunts many older Americans. Data show that almost 40% of households age 55 and older still carry housing debt. What’s more, the amount of debt as a percentage of household income has soared. All of which makes it more difficult to save for retirement, says reporter Kimberly Blanton. If you’re a pre-retiree still paying a mortgage, take note. SQUARED AWAY
5 Ways to Maximize Your Medicare
Given that health care costs are the biggest part of many retirees’ budgets, choosing a cost-effective Medicare plan is crucial. Open enrollment for Medicare ends Dec. 7, so if you haven’t already signed up, start shopping. These five tips can help you home in on a plan that works for you. MOTLEY FOOL
I Knew I Had to Plan for My Old Age. So Why Did I Keep Crying?
Retired journalist Jane Gross has begun thinking about where she will live as she ages. So she started her research with a bus trip to a continuing care retirement community. Spoiler: It’s lovely, though there’s a long waiting list. Making a move is a hard decision, Gross admits. But the activities and support in a retirement community can make life easier, and the costs would be far less than the expenses she paid for her aging mother’s care. As one resident told her, she felt she would live a longer and healthier life because of all the things she didn’t have to do for herself. STAT NEWS
YOUR RETIREMENT QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Helping Family Members Who Are Bad With Money—Without Giving Them a Loan
Q: Should I help out a family member who asks for money?
A: I came up with five tips that have helped me navigate choppy financial waters, just in time for the holidays, when many of us spend time with our loved ones. No. 1: Only offer advice if asked. I’ve made the mistake in the past of being too eager to try to help friends and family who are bad with money. READ MORE
WORDS OF WISDOM
“There is a crack, a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”
–Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen