Helpful Resources to Get Your Retirement Right

Learning to successfully navigate the retirement jungle is no easy feat. Since none of us has firsthand experience there is no history to apply, no lessons learned to help steer the way. Rarely will things play out 100 percent as you plan and hope.

And yet the journey typically begins with a feeling of excitement, an optimistic view of what can be. Get ready to leave behind the stress of work, bid a find adieu to the kids as they head off to begin their own life adventures, and prepare to spend more time doing what you really want to do. Who wouldn’t be excited about such a future?

When it comes to retirement there is no one size fits all. Each of us has the freedom as well as the responsibility to figure out the best path to realize our individual happiness. But it can help to have some honest accurate advice to get us started. Perhaps a little heads up to avoid common pitfalls survived by those who have gone before us or are in similar straights.

Over the years I have uncovered a number of useful sources that can help prepare for some of retirement’s unexpected twists and turns. Various books and blogs, studies and reports, webinars and impassioned discussions have combined to help me get started down my retirement journey.

There is a group of favorite retirement bloggers who I have had the pleasure of interacting with over the years. Each offers a unique perspective as they share their individual retirement journeys. Bob Lowry authors A Satisfying Retirement where he describes experiences lived and challenges faced as he enjoys the life of a retiree in sunny Arizona. Sydney Lagier writes Retirement: A Full-Time Job sharing her insightful and always upbeat view of retirement which she began at age 44. Ted Carr takes the unique approach of interviewing various retirement pundits and posting the resulting podcasts on his site Retirement Journeys. There are many more sites but these are three of my favorites.

When it comes to books on retirement planning there are lots to choose from. Some focus on preparing for the financial side of retirement – actually a LOT focus on that area. Others address the reverse side of the retirement coin – the non-financial side of things. What can you do to find meaning and enjoyment in the retirement you live? My favorite is “How to Retire Happy, Wild and Free” by Ernie Zelinski. The cover states “Retirement wisdom that you won’t get from your financial advisor” and he is true to his word. Ernie addresses the topics every retiree will have to face at some point in their journey and he does it in a way that is entertaining as well as informative.

A few months ago I was asked to participate in a virtual seminar called Transitioning into Retirement. The three day event airs February 16-18 bringing together 12 experts who share their insights and advice on how to make retirement exciting, fulfilling and fun for the rest of your life. Note the focus is on the non-financial side of retirement (sound familiar?).  I am honored to be among the list of experts which is hosted by Marianne Oehser, Certified Retirement Coach. The event is free of charge so take a listen if you can make time.

Another resource I employ is Google. I have set up a number of simple bots that scour the internet for information pertinent to retirement. A few of my favorites are retirement challenges, retirement planning, and aging. Each day a selection of posts and articles with these key words shows up in my mailbox to review at my leisure.

Talking to friends and family who are retired is yet another source of useful firsthand information on living retirement. Whether listening to stories shared by always busy mom and dad or being enlightened by my favorite Aunt Mary who continues her globetrotting adventures in her seventies or meeting the various neighbors who have retired in our community, it is always informative and generally entertaining to hear their words of wisdom. No one’s journey has been without incident but the overall attitude I find is positive. In the end I think that is what it is all about. Each of us has the freedom and responsibility to make the most of our second act. Advice from others is helpful but it is up to you and me to put it to good use. Here’s to a successful journey for us all. :)

Life Settlements – A Powerful Retirement Tool

Written by Lingke Wang, Co-Founder of Ovid Corp. 

Life settlements are a powerful retirement tool many people don’t know about. It’s the sale of one’s life insurance policy to an investor – usually a large financial institution. Often times, seniors who have purchased life insurance before they were retired find themselves in situations where their policy is no longer serving their financial needs. In these types of situations, life settlements can be a great alternative to cancelling or surrendering the policy. Currently, over 80% of life insurance policies never result in a claim – meaning our dollars are just going towards the insurance companies’ profits.

Life settlements work like this: you receive an upfront cash payment in exchange for transferring ownership of your life insurance policy to a third party investor. The investor then continues to make the annual premium payments for the policy, and when the insured passes away, the investor collects the policy death benefit. The economics are similar to a life annuity – a common financial planning tool.

Life settlements were originally created in the 1980s to help seniors unlock the cash value of their life insurance. Every year, you pay premiums into a life insurance policy. But often times, circumstances will have changed since when you first purchased the policy – you may end up wishing that you no longer had this ongoing premium expense, or that you could get money out of the policy to pay for other expenses, like medical bills. This is where life settlements comes in – helping you monetize an asset that you didn’t know you had.

Learn more about how life settlements work.

When Should I Consider a Life Settlement?

Life settlements can meaningfully alter your household finances, but it isn’t for everyone. There are three general situations where you might consider a life settlement: (1) you can no longer afford your policy’s premiums (2) you need to free up cash – to finance a purchase or to pay for a large upcoming expense, or (3) you no longer need the life insurance coverage.

1. You can no longer afford your life insurance

In this scenario, most people would lapse their life insurance policy – stop paying the premiums and let the policy become void. Unfortunately, this option results in forfeiting all of the policy’s value and losing all of the previously paid premium payments. A life settlement can be a much better option in this scenario because it will help you recover some or all of the money that you’ve paid into the policy.

Premiums can be unaffordable for two reasons. Either your financial situation has changed and you can no longer afford premiums, or the premium cost has escalated as you’ve grown older – a common feature of universal life insurance policies.

2. You need to free up cash for another expenses

Need to pay for an upcoming medical expense? Want a new vacation home in Florida or to live abroad? Want to pay your grandson’s college tuition? Life is expensive – sometimes more expensive than we have anticipated. If you have an old life insurance policy, it could be used to fund something important to you.

3. Your life insurance coverage has outlived its use

Most of us purchase policies to protect our children in case of an unexpected passing. However, after many decades, many seniors find that their coverage is no longer necessary because their dependents are now financially independent. A life settlement can help turn this obsolete policy into cash value.

Life insurance can be complex – and there are often several options when you are presented with one of these life scenarios. If you have built up a large cash value in the policy, in addition to a life settlement, your other alternatives include borrowing against that cash value or surrendering the policy. Start by speaking with your financial advisor and/or your life insurance agent to be informed about all the options and features of your policy.

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Ovid Corp. is the leading life settlement exchange, where consumers can sell their life insurance policies through our auction platform to institutional investors. For more information about Ovid please visit www.ovidlife.com or call 800-311-OVID.