May is About Moms

by Judith A. McGee


As we celebrate mothers this month, I have to stop and reflect on how fortunate I’ve been as a mother, and as a grandparent.  When I started my career in 1975 I never imagined that it would one day evolve into McGee Wealth Management (MWM), an award-winning firm where three generations of women in my family all work as a team.  It’s pretty exciting to be working with my Gen Y grandchildren, and my daughter, Linette Dobbins who is the President and CCO of MWM and Co-Branch Manager of RJFS.

Experiencing and witnessing this unfolding legacy has been both a pleasure and an education! I’ve seen first hand how the different generations view finances, philanthropy, and life in general through their own individual lenses. Each generation teaches us something new. Attitudes and lifestyles have been molded and affected by politics, the economy, family environments, and concepts of the world.

Never in recorded history have we beheld so much change, so quickly. My grandmother was born in 1899—in the horse and buggy days — and passed away in 1994—at the dawning of the Internet. And now, with the high technology revolution, change is accelerating exponentially.

For those businessmen and women from the boomer generation who are struggling to keep up with technological changes, take it from me—having savvy grandkids sitting in an office next to you is a saving grace!  It turns out that mentoring is a two-way street. And if you are fortunate enough to have a daughter who is not only insightful and highly motivated, but also committed to the same high vision and business ideals as your own, consider yourself fortunate.

A big advantage of having all three generations in one firm is that we can all share our own individualized perspectives.  This gives us a broader view and understanding of the needs and challenges facing our clients, whose lives also span multiple generations from Baby Boomers I & II to Gen X and Gen Y— (the Millennials).

While everyone evolves in their own way, we have observed how past life experiences affect opinions about money and security.  For instance Depression-era kids grew up watching their parents pinching pennies, which instilled the need to be thrifty and save for retirement. But their children—many of the Baby Boomers—as hard as they have worked, today find they may be underfunded and ill-prepared for retirement.

 

Gen X (the MTV generation) was told early on that they would be the first American generation to do worse than their parents. As if a self-fulfilling prophecy, the market and global forces seemed to conspire to bring that about.

Generation Y struggles with starting careers and paying debt, but they also view jobs and money a little differently than other generations.  Being less materialistic, they seek satisfying work experiences, are socially conscious, and pursue opportunities to volunteer and support non-profits.

Our team at McGee Wealth Management places a lot of emphasis on giving back to the community through philanthropic and volunteer work.  We frequently speak to women’s groups about how we can both do well and do good.  Sometimes we join forces; it’s a group of us working together for a special cause.

We grandmothers and grandfathers have a lot of history to share.  And we have an opportunity to use everything we have attained to influence and support the next generations.  Many of us want to make sure we aren’t spoiling our kids, but we still try to give them whatever they need to be their best so they can help make the world a better place.

This “Happy Mother’s Day!” greeting goes out to all the moms and grandmothers who share their values, dreams, and talents with the next generations.


Aging: Longevity Risk in Retirement Planning

by Judith A. McGee


A wise man once said, “Do not regret growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many.”

While that may be sage advice, aging is a fact of life, one which we will regret denying if we don’t take steps to prepare for it.

Our first wake up call might be the day that AARP membership application arrives in the mailbox! That’s when seniors start asking, “When is the best time to take Social Security; should I wait until I’m 70 and have a bigger paycheck, or take it early?   How much do I need to retire?  Will it be enough to last for the rest of my life?” 

The financial planning industry wants advisors to emphasize longevity risk when counseling retirees and pre-retirees. People are living longer and 100 year-old birthdays are not unusual. However, the Social Security Administration actuarial estimates show that only around 3% of people age 65 today will live to age 100, and that 29% of males and 39% of females will live past age 90.

 

Longevity Risk

As you plan for the future, be sure to consider the risk that you will outlive your retirement resources. This is the most overlooked and potentially the most impactful aspect of retirement.

If you’ve put money into a 401(k) plan or other investments on a regular basis, you weredollar-cost-averaging.  Example: purchasing shares of an investment fund in different time periods at different prices averages the price over time, which is intended to reduce market risk.  But in retirement, you practice reverse averaging, or selling investments in different time periods to fund distributions.

 

Cash Flow Reserve Ladder

Plan to have a portion of your investment funds held in cash and short-term, highly liquid investments. These funds can help prevent having to sell growth investments during a market correction.  Keep enough cash reserves and short-term liquid investments to fund your living expenses for at least one year.

 

Develop a Growing Income Stream  

You may use dividend-paying stocks for the equity portion of your portfolio to provide a growing income stream.  Did you know that over the past eighty-seven years, dividends have accounted for over 40% of the total return for the S&P 500 Index? 

 

Long Term Solutions

Here are three words to remember when saving for retirement, or distributing assets for income: Under-live Your Income.  

In the early years of retirement, you should limit the amount you withdraw to 4% or less.  If your investment returns are not outpacing inflation, taxes, and the withdrawal factor, your money may run out.  Review your investments.  Make sure you’re managing for risk and return, as well as income and growth.

Taxes of all kinds eat away at your cash flow.  Ask your financial and tax advisor to explain your tax returns. Can you benefit from a Roth IRA, or a Roth IRA conversion of a traditional IRA?  Roth distributions will be income tax free in retirement.  

Are dividends qualified or non-qualified?  Qualified dividends are taxed at capital gains rates; non-qualified dividends are taxed at ordinary income tax rates.  Your financial advisor can help you review your portfolio’s tax considerations.

Make sure your legal documents are in order.  Who can pay your bills, sign on your IRA accounts, manage other assets and speak with your health care providers?  Where are the powers of attorney and other legal documents kept?  Who has copies or knows how to locate them?

At some point, adult children will have growing concerns about their elders. That’s when family members need to sit down and “have the talk.”  Working together and taking steps to make sure all affairs are in order is one of the most loving things you can do for each other.

 

This material is being provided for information purposes onlye and is not a complete description, nor is it a reccomendation. Any opinions are those of Judith McGee and necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarentee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Dividends are not guaranteed and must be authorized by the company’s board of directors. Investing involves rish and investors may incur a profit or loss. Like Traditional IRAs, contribution limits apply to Roth IRAs. Unless certain criteria are met, Roth IRA owners must be 59 1/2 or older and have held the IRA for five years before tax-free withdrawals are permitted. Additionally, each converted amount may be subject to its own five-year holding period. Convertin to a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA has tax implications. Investors should consult a tax advisor before deciding to do a conversion.


Living from Paycheck to Paycheck

by Judith A. McGee


Surveys show that many people today are living paycheck to paycheck, and most are just one unfortunate incident away from poverty. It’s becoming such a pervasive socioeconomic problem Maria Shiver is hoping to raise public awareness with an HBO documentary, “Paycheck to Paycheck.” A Town Hall-style meeting with Oprah followed soon after the broadcast of this television special.

What causes poverty?

The subject of poverty is complex. Does being born into the wrong zip code lock you into poverty?   Is it a cultural situation that may span generations? Is plain laziness at the root? Is it caused by low minimum wages or not enough work hours to earn a full paycheck with benefits? Or is it due to a flawed government policy that supports the unemployed until they earn that first paycheck—no matter how small—then abruptly pulls the plug on benefits like medical care, housing, and food stamps?

According to Allen Hunt, Executive Director of William Temple House, good hardworking people can fall into poverty, become homeless and hopeless because life happens to them; a job loss, illness, death in the family, etc. 

These people need a helping hand—at least for the first few steps so they can climb the rest of the way themselves. The first basic requirement is money for rent and utilities, emergency food and clothing, childcare, or car repair. Sometimes the greatest need is for someone who’ll just understand, listen, and offer guidance and resources.  Counseling is often the greatest gift that restores hope. 

While no single solution will fit all situations, I believe there are ways in which people can rebound from the precarious edge of poverty.  If someone came to me seeking counsel, I’d begin by asking questions that might shed light into their thought process and their own concepts about the situation. I’d also try to understand their family dynamics and cultural morays, as these could affect their support systems.  

Multiply your opportunities

Many people today think there is only so much “stuff” out there to go around. And it can appear that everybody else has already gotten most of it—jobs, money, opportunity, or whatever else they need but don’t have. They may ask,  “If all the good stuff is already divvied up and taken, what hope is there for me?” This is the subtle “victim mentality” trap that many fall into. 

Well, guess what. The natural law of things is NOT division. It’s multiplication! The first thing I would do is guide them toward changing their thought process. New creative ideas are continually presenting themselves to those who are open and willing to hear. It helps to turn off the TV, put those digital devices down for a couple of hours each day, and clear the mind. 

Be willing to change course

Maybe someone is looking for a job just like the one they lost because it feels familiar. Familiar is good, right?  Yes, but change can often be better!  If Henry Ford had asked people what they really needed most, they would have probably answered, “stronger and faster horses.” Where would we be today if Ford had listened to them and stuck to the familiar? 

Education and Free Support Sources 

Formal education is important, but it isn’t the only answer.  Experience and job/skill training can be just as important.   If you need help getting started in a new direction, a practical place to start is your local library with its vast reservoir of practical information and services: free Internet, community resources, and classes in everything from literacy to computer competency.  And don’t forget to inquire at religious and social service non-profit organizations.

For one of Oregon’s most beneficial resources, go to www.211info.org. 

You’ll find plenty of free information with 3,000 agencies providing over 50,000 programs to people throughout the state.  

So, get ready! It’s time to start multiplying your opportunities!

This material is being provided for information purposes only and is not a complete description, nor is it a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Judith McGee and necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but Raymond James does not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listen websites or their respective sponsor. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website’s users and/or members.


Modern Day Golden Girls: Boomers Becoming Roomies

by Judith A. McGee


It’s no secret that women tend to outlive men. By some estimates, one in three people over 50 is single, and in that group there are three times as many women as men.  That means a lot of women are left to go it alone.  But it doesn’t mean they have to go it alone.  

Remember Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, those famous original Golden Girls? They’ve become the models for a new era. In the June, 2013 issue of the AARP Bulletin, an article entitled “Home Sweet Home” described how four million women over the age of 50 currently are house sharing with at least one other woman in the same age group. And when AARP analyzed census data they found that approximately 132,000 households and 490,000 people live in a “Golden Girls” situation!

The roommate advantage

Some of these women are divorced, widowed, or never married, are struggling with finances, or they are simply tired of living alone.  Many want to maintain some privacy, but they also want companionship and colleagues nearby, so are content with a private room in the house. 

Roommates share expenses, experiences, and interests.  They expand social connections, increase safety and security, and build support systems for the future. And of course they can enjoy some good old-fashioned fun and friendship.

Finding the right match

Much like the original online dating services, house-sharing services are starting to crop up.  One enterprising woman right here in Portland, Oregon noticed this growing trend, and is helping single senior women, as well as others, find suitable housemates with the Let’s Share Housing website. There are numerous services including The Golden Girls Network and Roomates4Boomers, among others.  

A simple online search can help you can find the right fit for your needs. Since this is not about returning to yesteryear and the old college roommate scenario with all night pizza parties and sharing lip gloss, be sure to check out those all-important guidelines for screening potential housemates, written agreements, division of chores, lifestyle expectations, and legal issues. 

Traveling companions

Maybe you’re not ready for the whole house-sharing scene.  Maybe you just want to travel and are looking for more of a short-term Golden Girl adventure. You don’t like those big tour groups, but would prefer to not go alone—and in many situations, it’s simply not advisable to travel alone. But you’ve asked your friends and family members and nobody is up for a trip. Where do you begin?

Locally, you might start with the Portland Travel Meetup Group or the Portland International Travel Meetup Group

There are currently hundreds signed up, so just join to start receiving the latest meeting news. If you don’t see any upcoming trips posted that appeal to you, be proactive. Post something yourself and see if you generate any interest.  If so, you’d get a chance to meet the people ahead of time and judge whether they are a good fit for your interests.

Choosing a travel companion

Maybe this is your first trip; you’re apprehensive, or unfamiliar with your destination. Having the right person to share the experience can help ease the situation.

But before you commit to the trip, it goes without saying that you’ve established that your potential traveling companion can be flexible, agrees to a budget, and has similar interests and travel styles. If you’re into backpacking, roughing it, and sleeping out under the stars, then a high-maintenance spa lover is definitely not a good match.

Before you plan a long journey, consider taking a short trip together, like sightseeing in a nearby city for an overnighter. If you’re still speaking when you return, this is a good sign!

The bottom line is, there is no reason to stop enjoying your life just because you do not have a “significant other.”  There are plenty of others in your situation.  It’s simply a matter of putting yourself out there and letting them find you.