What’s your exit strategy?

What’s your exit strategy?

How are you setting yourself up for the win?

As we enter the 11th year of the current bull market, it’s key to remember that what goes up, can come down – rather rapidly. The 9.2% drop in the S&P500 in December 2018, is a stark warning that when the winds shift it can be too rapidly to properly protect yourself. That is why it is key to have a time-proven plan – one that can withstand financial storms. You don’t want to discover you’ve built your fiscal health with straw, as most people did during the Great Recession, when over 10 million homes were lost and the Dow dropped 55%. (more…)

The New Retirement Solution

The New Retirement Solution

 “The Secret to Successful Retirement is to Retire TO Something Not FROM Something.”– Katana Abbott 

With over 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every day, the dream of having enough money saved up to support you through the second half of your life can be daunting. According to a study by the National Institute on Retirement Security, “The average working household has virtually no retirement savings. When all households are included— not just households with retirement accounts—the median retirement account balance is $3,000 and $12,000.”

Randall Hansen, Ph.D., states that, “For many, retirement will indeed no longer signal the end of working, but more so a career and lifestyle transition, where the retiree has multiple options — such as continuing to work (though perhaps at a different pace), returning to school for additional training or education, changing careers, venturing into entrepreneurship, becoming more involved in volunteer work, or simply enjoying leisure and travel possibilities — a mix of working, learning, relaxing, and trying new things.”

This is exactly what I did at age 48 when I sold my financial planning practice of 20 years to venture out to create a non-profit — Smart Women’s Empowerment — where I could teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship. I also run my financial planning business where I coach, write, and speak about retirement, caregiving, and legacy.

I remember when I first got this idea after reading a book by Ernie Zelinski called, Retire Happy Wild and Free. His concept was to retire as young as possible, to downsize one’s lifestyle, and then to retire to a life of leisure. Although this may sound appealing to many, as a financial advisor, I did not find it very realistic.

Instead, I thought, “What if you could follow your passion doing something you love in retirement, make a difference, and get paid, would it even be considered work anymore?” For most, the answer is no!

Let me give you an example of three women I have worked with who shared their reinvention stories on Smart Women Talk Radio:

  • Retired marketing expert, Peggy Tabor, thought joining the Peace Corps at age 60 would allow her to experience adventure, make a huge difference, and allow her retirement portfolio to grow. When she returned to the U.S., she was so moved by her experience, that she told me her social security disbursement was now a “Millionaire Lifestyle.” As we were having lunch, she mentioned that after three years of having to get her water from a dirty river, she was still in awe of the beautiful salad with roasted salmon and fresh water with ice cubes that she was about to consume. When Peggy returned from her mission with the Peace Corps, she pulled money from her retirement to build a well for her village. Wow!
  • Retired teacher and Andrea Doria Survivor, Pierette Simpson, took early retirement and went on to become an international author, speaker, screenwriter, and documentary filmmaker.
  • Harvard-trained OBGYN, Dr. Susan Sklar, retired from her medical practice after healing herself through holistic and functional medicine to become an anti-aging physician, author, speaker, and retreat leader.

The key is to have a plan, to follow a process, and to have a mentor to take you through the steps of:

  • identifying your passions, your vision, your values;
  • understanding your unique abilities and challenges;
  • and analyzing your finances so you can create wealth while living a life you love.

If you are ready to explore your Retirement Reinvention and would like to talk about your dreams and challenges, visit TalkwithKatana.com to schedule a complimentary 30-minute breakthrough coaching session with me. I’ll ask you to complete an online assessment so we both can have a very productive meeting!

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

It’s Never Too Early to Plan

It’s Never Too Early to Plan

My husband and I are currently updating our financial plan with a focus on our Retirement Reinvention. If you don’t have a financial advisor, I highly recommend that you find a person you can trust and someone willing to do a financial plan, so you can see where you stand, and to help you identify and explore your vision, values and goals. Finding the right person is a big job.

Having a trusted adviser is one of the very best gifts you can give to yourself. You will want assistance with not only the big picture, what I call your Vision or Dream, but to help you though the Discovery Process which is where I spend 80% of my time. This is where you get clear about not only your goals (which is what you want) but your values (which is WHY your goals are even important ant to you).

The financial planning six areas of your life:

Financial Position:
• Create a cash flow statement which breaks down income and expenses.
• Determine your net worth by listing assets and liabilities.
Income Taxes:
• Review tax situation for capital gains/losses with real estate or stocks.
• Discuss inherited IRA status vs. pension /profit sharing plans.
Investments:
• Analyze investments for quality, safety, income needs, tax situation, etc.
• Are investments manageable, properly diversified, or all over the place?
Retirement:
• Establish amount of assets necessary to meet your lifetime income needs.
• Project retirement income needs in several situations (i.e. home care/assisted living, utilizing long-term care insurance benefits if applicable.
Estate:
• Review documents and analyze current estate plan.
• Verify beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, & 401K
• Decide what you need and desire for financial independence. How much will you leave for a family legacy? How will you allocate your social legacy regarding gift and tax?
Protection:
• Assess cash flow projections and alternate scenarios regarding disability, long-term care, and premature death.

A great financial planner will ask you to create a detailed budget, asking when certain expenses end, decrease or increase — like college expenses, health insurance and medical out-of-pocket costs, home improvements and maintenance, and even downsizing. They will use these numbers throughout your analysis, and will calculate how taking your Social Security and pensions at different times can affect your nest egg. You will also discover how much you need to be saving TODAY to meet your goals and then track your progress along the way!
.
My husband is eligible for his pension at 55 and wants to compare retiring at age 55 to age 65, as well as taking Social Security early at 62 instead of 70. I think he will find it eye-opening at the least. There is magic in knowing these numbers. With this knowledge, you can make smart choices.

When you look at your retirement plan, do any of these apply to you?
• You plan to work forever, either because you need to or want to.
• You left or lost your job, dipped into your 401K, and may have even paid taxes and penalties on it.
• You aren’t saving anymore or don’t even have a retirement plan.
• You have never seen your Social Security estimate.
• You don’t understand your pension and benefit statements or even know what or where they are.
• You’re paying so much for your children’s college that there is nothing left for you to save for retirement.
• Your kids have moved back home after college — enough said.
• You have run up credit card debt and/or college loans and are trying to pay them off first.
• You lost a big chunk of your savings in the 2008 market crash, never jumped back in, and are afraid it’s too late.
• You are hearing that the stock market is too risky and that bonds are even worse right now.
• You are putting all your money into real estate.
• Your best investment is your business, so you have everything tied up in that and just pray you don’t get disabled.
• You have no idea where to start or how much you will need anyway.

If you answer yes to any or all of these, then you are not alone. According to a recent GoBankingRates survey, one-third of Americans report having absolutely NOTHING saved for retirement. As if that isn’t scary enough, 56% have saved $10,000 or less. Women have an even higher rate of not saving for retirement. A whopping 63% if women say they have no savings or less than $10,000 in retirement savings.

I believe that work is the New Retirement Solution and so do more and more Baby Boomers who are exploring their options. In a Gallop Poll, 80% of Baby Boomers approaching retirement expect to continue working after ‘retiring’ to supplement their pensions, Social Security, and savings.

The silver lining, according to research, is that people who continue to work during retirement often experience better health than those who don’t work. So long as the work remains low stress, retirees who continue working are less likely to suffer from major diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. They are also less likely to become depressed.

This is great news because I see many of us continuing to work by doing something we absolutely love. I call this Retirement Reinvention, and I believe that this new retirement for most of us will consist of a simpler lifestyle with less consumerism and working at something we are passionate about. If my husband does want to retire early, we will have the numbers, and it will include going through this process … and I am sure it will include Costa Rica, Panama, golf, and biking!

This certainly is a different retirement than our parents – things have changed dramatically over the last two decades. Most of the clients I work with are interested in working in retirement not only for financial reasons, but to continue doing something meaningful where they are utilizing their unique abilities, life experiences, and making a difference in the world.

I see many of us working into our 70s. Look around you, and you will see many vibrant 70 year olds doing amazing things and having fun. Remember, we will probably end up living into our late 80s and 90s. The secret is creating your plan now and then taking action. In fact, check out my article this month on The New Retirement Solution for three women I’ve interviewed on Smart Women Talk Radio about their Retirement Reinventions. I know you will get inspired. Two of the three ladies are currently working to this day and are making a difference in the lives of others while loving their lives!

It’s never too early to plan, whereas waiting too long can sabotage opportunities and make your planning much more difficult with less choices. I always say that retirement is when working is OPTIONAL and retirement is affordable. Doing a financial plan will help you see these numbers!

If you are ready to explore your Retirement Reinvention, feel free to schedule a complimentary 30-minute retirement Discovery Coaching Session with me now at www.talkwithkatana.com.

 

Katana Abbott, CFP® practitioner, is a Wealth Coach™, host of the Smart Women Talk Radio™, founder of the Smart Women Companies with over 1 million subscribers globally, inspirational speaker and author of several books. She began her financial planning career in 1987 and became a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner. In 2003, Katana created Smart Women’s Coaching® to offer financial coaching and educational workshops for women in transition who are dealing with caregiving, death of a loved one, divorce, retirement or looking to create or grow a business.  She founded Smart Women’s Empowerment in 2008 to bring free financial empowerment resources and programs to women around the world through her team of Contributing Experts. To learn more about Katana Abbott visit www.katanaabbott.com.

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Europe

The 10 Best Places to Retire in Europe

Not everyone is cut out for life in the developing world or the tropics. If your retirement dream is all about Old World living on the Continent, here are your 10 best options in 2019:

Algarve, Portugal

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: A-
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: A
Taxes: B

Portugal’s Algarve region is a land of superlatives. These 100 miles of coast offer 3,300 hours of sunshine each year and more sunny days than anywhere else in Europe, as well as some of the best beaches in Europe and best golf courses in the world. Portugal is the 17th safest country in the world, and the Algarve region is perhaps the most crime-free in the country. English is widely spoken, thanks to a decades-long connection with Britain, and the cost of living in the Algarve is one of the most undervalued in Europe. In 2012, Portugal introduced its Golden Visa program, one of the best in the EU. Retirees can also establish residency in this country simply by showing a minimum monthly income of just 1,200 euros.

Annecy, France

Cost of Living: C
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A-
English Spoken: B+
Expat Community: C
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: B+
Affordability of Real Estate: C
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

The big attraction of lakeside Annecy, the Pearl of the French Alps, are its ski slopes in winter, but this is an appealing place to be year-round. In summer, the lakeshore bustles but not only with tourists. Unlike other top ski destinations in France, fairy-tale Annecy is not a tourist town but a living community that is more cosmopolitan than a typical haunt of Euro-snow bunnies. Annecy has been awarded the titles of City of Art and History and also City in Bloom and can seem like an open-air museum. Every July its streets are given over to Les Noctibules, an annual art festival, and, every August, the much-anticipated Fête du Lac features the biggest fireworks show in Europe.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A-
Entertainment: A-
Recreation: A
English Spoken: B
Expat Community: C
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: C-
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A-
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Slovenia, nestled among Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia in the heart of Central Europe, is a mountainous country with 30 miles of Mediterranean coastline. Old World capital city Ljubljana is the heart of the country, literally and figuratively, with easy access to both beaches and ski resorts. Ljubljana is a modern city with all the amenities of 21st-century living that manages to retain a small-town charm. Local farmers bring their produce to market in wooden carts each day. You could embrace this Old World lifestyle supported by top-notch infrastructure on a budget of as little as 1,400 euros a month.

Cascais, Portugal

Cost of Living: D+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: A-
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: B
Crime: A-
Affordability of Real Estate: C+
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: A
Taxes: B

A miles-long stretch of sheltered coves, sandy dunes, and rocky outcroppings, the coast of Cascais, Portugal, offers some of the best beaches in Europe, as well as a marina, 9 top-tier golf courses, more than 100 parks and gardens, world-class dining, year-round mild climate, proximity to capital city Lisbon, and an overall extraordinary quality of life. The seaside city boasts one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and is home to a large and welcoming community of expats. Cascais began life as a village of fishermen and farmers but has transformed itself into a mini-city of about 200,000 complete with a university campus, 13 international and bilingual schools, 2 hospitals, a shopping mall, and a casino.

Città Sant’Angelo, Italy

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: D
Expat Community: D
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Perched on a hilltop, with views of Gran Sasso Mountain, the Adriatic, and vineyards and olive groves in between, sits ninth-century Città Sant’Angelo, in the heart of Italy’s Abruzzo region, one of the greenest in Europe, with more than a dozen ski resorts in one direction and 80 miles of coastline in the other. Città Sant’Angelo has earned the title “Borgo,” recognizing it as one of Italy’s most beautiful cities. Sant’Angelo has also been designated a “Città Slow”—a town committed to preserving traditional ways of life and resisting development. Not much has changed in Città Sant’Angelo over the centuries, and that’s the way residents like it.

Kotor, Montenegro

Cost of Living: B
Health Care: B-
Entertainment: A-
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: C-
Expat Community: C-
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: C-
Environmental Factors: A-
Crime: B-
Affordability of Real Estate: C+
Real Estate Restrictions: B-
Residency: C
Taxes: B

This tiny seaside country of a half-million people dispersed over an area smaller than the state of Connecticut is nestled between Croatia and Albania in Southern Europe. Bayside Kotor, surrounded by towering mountains on one side and the dazzling Adriatic on the other, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and perhaps the best-preserved medieval town in the Mediterranean. The Old Town square is anchored by the 11th-century Saint Tryphon’s Cathedral, but its cafés and shops are lively and bustling with a youthful energy. This is a little-known but friendly, safe, and welcoming corner of Europe comparable to historic stone villages in Italy but more affordable. Montenegro’s tax climate is favorable, with low capital gains, property, income, and real estate transfer rates, and its new citizenship by investment program should be a foot in the door to the EU when the country becomes a member (expected in 2025).

Carcassonne, France

Cost of Living: B+
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: B+
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: C
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A
Access to North America: C+
Environmental Factors: A+
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

Walt Disney is said to have been inspired by its towers, turrets, and ramparts, and you can understand why when the sun rises up over the medieval city of Carcassonne in southeast France. At the heart of Cathar country, this was, for centuries, an important fortification. Today, the city of Carcassonne, capital of the Aude department in the Occitanie region of France, has much to offer tourists and residents, including a medieval castle, St. Nazarius Basilica, boutiques, artists’ workshops, and Michelin-starred restaurants. Life in the Bastide is centered on the Place Carnot (where a produce market is held three times a week), with its pretty fountain, street-side cafés, and restaurants. Just 10minutes’ drive away is an 18-hole golf course and a park. Within an hour are the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean, and 90 minutes away is skiing in the Pyrenees.

Paris, France

Cost of Living: D
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A+
Recreation: C+
English Spoken: B+
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: B+
Crime: B-
Affordability of Real Estate: B-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: B
Taxes: C

At home in one of Paris’ central, historic neighborhoods, from the 1st arrondissement to the 8th, the best of city living—from bookstores, antique shops, champagne cellars, parks, and gardens to museums, theaters, galleries, five-star restaurants, and luxury shopping—is only a short and pleasant walk away. Central Paris is an open-air museum where little changes yet every day offers the chance for discovery. It’s also one of the world’s best storehouses of wealth. An apartment of charm in a good location in this city will always find a buyer and a renter, and, as Brexit approaches, London wealth is finding its way to the City of Light, causing a spike in Paris property values.

Popoli, Italy

Cost of Living: A-
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: C
Recreation: A+
English Spoken: D
Expat Community: D
Infrastructure: B+
Access to North America: B+
Environmental Factors: A
Crime: A+
Affordability of Real Estate: A-
Real Estate Restrictions: A+
Residency: C
Taxes: C

Nestled in the valley of three Apennine mountains, Popoli, Italy, with a population of 5,000, is a complete escape from the troubles of the modern world and a sought-out healing center. This medieval town is known as the Citta Dell’Acqua (City of Water), thanks to a long-dormant volcano that rumbles beneath it, bubbling up thermal spring water famed for its healing properties since the days of the Romans. The first healing center was built on the site in 1885 but destroyed during World War II. The modern Terme di Popoli opened in 1998 and uses the area’s thermal waters as the basis for the treatment of dozens of ailments. In high season, the facility sees 1,000 or more patients each day.

Valletta, Malta

Cost of Living: B
Health Care: A+
Entertainment: A
Recreation: A
English Spoken: A+
Expat Community: A+
Infrastructure: A-
Access to North America: C
Environmental Factors: C-
Crime: A
Affordability of Real Estate: C-
Real Estate Restrictions: A-
Residency: A+
Taxes: A

From its weather and food to its history and culture, Malta is not only the best of Mediterranean Europe but also one of the most affordable options for embracing this lifestyle. This three-island, 122-square-mile nation has been working hard to raise its profile internationally, and Malta’s capital, Valletta, was named 2018’s European Capital of Culture. The language is English, crime rates are low, and the health care is excellent. Malta does not offer a retiree visa, but its Global Residence Program for non-EU citizens amounts to one of the best residency opportunities in Europe. You can qualify simply by renting a place to live for as little as 800 euros per month.

 

Kathleen Peddicord has covered the live, retire, and do business overseas beat for more than 30 years and is considered the world’s foremost authority on these subjects. She has traveled to more than 75 countries, invested in real estate in 21, established businesses in 7, renovated historic properties in 6, and educated her children in 4.  In addition to her own daily e-letter, the Overseas Opportunity Letter, with a circulation of more than 300,000 readers, Kathleen writes regularly for U.S. News & World Report and Forbes. She is also the Founding Publisher of Live and Invest Overseas and author of innumerable books.

To learn more about Kathleen, go to Live and Invest Overseas.

Should You Buy Tesla Stock at a 2 ½ Year Low?

Should You Buy Tesla Stock at a 2 ½ Year Low?

Recently one of our tribe reached out and said she was thinking of buying tesla stock. Earning gains in any investment is never as simple as clicking the buy button. So I encouraged her to make sure that she had an exit strategy and examined how this investment would fit into her overall financial plan. These are two very common problems in investing. When you have a gut feeling about something and pull the trigger before you aim and before you know what you’re shooting at (what your goal and exit strategies are), then you are going to have a hard time being successful – particularly this late in the business cycle. (more…)

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