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We all have a vision of how we would like to spend our years in retirement. Some perhaps more defined than others. Nevertheless, we all certainly dream about finally having the freedom to pursue or dedicate more time, to our other passions in life.  Myself included. But as we all know, without proper planning and the right advice, many of us often settle for a retirement lifestyle, and life, that barely resembles the one we envisioned.  

Having spent the last three decades helping people make smarter retirement planning and investing decisions, I decided to write this blog, along with other members of the AWM team, to share with you what we have learned and continue to learn along the way. 

I hope the ideas, insights and our "professional opinions" on the retirement planning and investing topics we discuss, can help you gain the confidence and clarity needed to create a meaningful, purposeful retirement while enjoying the freedom to live life your way.

- Eric C. Jansen, CHFC

 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Single retirees can sometimes feel left out of the Social Security conversation, since it seems to focus solely on how married couples can make the most of their benefits. But it’s a mistake to assume that there are no Social...

 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Who's better at investing—men or women? If you are like 91% of women asked in a recent Fidelity Investments survey, your initial response is probably to say that men are better investors. Only 9% of women asked in the survey said...

 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

It’s something you do every day without giving it much thought—you go to your favorite coffee shop to get your cup of motivation for the work day ahead. But did you ever stop and think that the Carmel Macchiato you just...

 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

If you save in a 401(k) or IRA, congratulations! You’re taking a great step toward financial success and well being -- and potentially making use of tax advantages through these accounts, or picking up free money in the form of...

 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

When it comes to money decisions, there’s a lot of room for error. That can leave you feeling pressured to make all the right moves now. The good news is that we can learn from other people’s experiences to help us make...

 

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Do you feel knowledgeable about where you invest your money and how you do it? You might be a good investor right now -- but what could your portfolio look like if you were even better?If you want to take your financial performance and...

 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Just because you earn a good income doesn’t mean you’re able to save. In fact, millions of people don’t have enough in their bank accounts to cover an $1,000 emergency should something go wrong. Others barely have any...

 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In today's economy, it is not uncommon for a household to have at least two forms of income. Sometimes this is out of necessity; sometimes it is to get ahead financially. Regardless of why you want the extra income, it's easier than...

 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I have been a proponent of financial education and wellness programs in the workplace for over 20 years. Over that time frame, more and more employers have recognized that financial education can be one of the most valuable employee...

 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Once upon a time, it was totally reasonable for middle class kids to expect that they would work for one, maybe two employers, and retire at 65 with a watch and a pension, the end. But in recent years, the economy has shifted towards...

 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Your credit score is a three-digit number that determines a lot in your financial life. It can make the difference between getting the financing you need for major purchases, like a car or home. It can impact your ability to secure the...

 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Is retirement dead? It’s a scary question, especially if you’re currently working hard with hopes of kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying spending your time anywhere but an office one day. But we think the answer is yes,...

 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Struggling with student loan debt? If so, you’re not alone. Collectively, borrowers in the US hold over $1.45 trillion in student loan balances. No matter how much student loan debt you carry, it likely feels like too much. This...

 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

If your planning on taking your social security benefits before full retirement age and plan on continuing to work you will want to make yourself aware of the earnings test. The earnings test is only applied before full retirement age...

 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

“I do,” - one of the shortest, simplest, most life-changing, sentences you will ever say. Not only do you have to get used to the idiosyncrasies of living with another person who will invariably do things differently than...

 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Being self-employed comes with many advantages, one of which is your ability to choose from a number of retirement plan options. The key is to match the right plan option with your retirement planning objectives and yearly contribution...

 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

If someone offered you extra money right now, would you take it? Of course! We can always find a use for additional funds. The problem is, we tend to assume that we don’t have much control over how much money we make. After all,...

 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Planning for retirement, but worried you’re missing something? There’s so much to think about when it comes to planning out a secure financial future even after you stop earning an income from your job -- and there are a...

 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The financial needs of Millennial women are much different than the financial needs of their mothers and grandmothers. While the basic principles of finance remain the same, the path to reaching financial goals and navigating through a...

 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It’s not often that people talk about debt as something good to have. Most of the time when people mention debt, they refer to credit card balances, student loans that feel stifling, or a car payment that might be eating up too...

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

This may come as a surprise to many, but if you are eligible to collect social security retirement benefits and you still have a dependent child, your child may also qualify for benefits. Including President Trump’s son Barron,...

 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The debate is a long-standing one: Is a Roth or a traditional IRA a better tool to save for retirement? The debate doesn’t end the older you get. In fact, as workers approach retirement age, it’s perhaps even more important...

 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

We hear about the importance of estate planning in avoiding probate, but what does that really mean? What is probate? Why would you want to avoid probate? And how can estate planning help you to avoid probate for your heirs?

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Do you feel like your finances are out of control? Are you charging too much on credit cards each month? Do you feel like you are always strapped for cash? Do you sometimes wonder where you are going to come up with enough money to pay...

 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

As a woman, you are probably aware that you are statistically expected to outlive your husband. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2015 Mortality Report, the average woman in the United States will live to age...

 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

After losing a spouse, especially when it is unexpected, it can be overwhelming to have to deal with so many financial and lifestyle decisions. Many women find themselves in a situation that they may not be familiar with—as many...

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

When Social Security was established in 1935 by President Roosevelt, the benefits represented economic security to many in their retirement. The first monthly check was issued to Ida Mae Fuller of Ludlow, Vt. back in 1940. Her first...

 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

There are many different reasons why people start a business - for some, it's passion for what they do; for others, it’s the feeling of control over their own destiny. Whatever drives people to start a business, one day they will...

 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Most people think that planning for retirement ends on their last day at work. But in reality, all of the planning you did up until that point—figuring out when you want to retire, how much you need to save each year, when to...

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially stressful. While it is important to mentally prepare for some of the raw emotions that will certainly come along with divorce, it is also important to prepare financially for...

 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Typically, when we think of the important factors of marriage, we relate it to a young couple finding compatibility, having children, and reaching life goals together. Finding love later in life, however, has completely different criteria.

 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Planning for retirement starts in your twenties, but what if you are in your sixties and nearing retirement and haven’t planned properly? Is there anything that you can do to make your retirement more comfortable? The answer is...

 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

When you think of your retirement years, you probably imagine a relaxing and peaceful time in life. Enjoying time with your grandchildren and traveling more may be at the top of your list of things to do; however, there are several...

 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

If you’ve ever come into an unexpected windfall—maybe a bigger than expected tax refund or a much-anticipated inheritance—you probably know that feeling of giddiness. It’s an exciting feeling, thinking of all...

 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

When money’s tight and times are tough, it can be difficult for retirement savers to ignore the money they’ve stashed in a 401(k), IRA or other retirement savings account. Still, while it may make sense in some situations...

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Losing a job when you’re in your 50s or 60s can have serious ramifications for your long-term retirement success - on many fronts. Here's how, and what steps you can take to help reduce the impact a late career layoff can have on...

 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Interest rates are finally beginning to rise after decades of historically low rates, a development that if left unchecked can torpedo the investment portfolios and finances of the unprepared. But if you know what steps to take, you...

 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

A recent question I received from a Social Security Planning workshop participant reminded me how many retirees are potentially losing thousands of dollars a year in lost benefits as a result of not seeking out a qualified Social...

 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and you might be surprised by one of the reasons why - unpaid student debt. A recent report, “Snapshot of Older Consumers and Student Loan Debt” by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,...

 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Over 65 million people provide care for an elderly family member on a routine basis. But if you happen to be a woman, the chances of that responsibility falling to you are almost twice as likely. One study estimates 66 percent of...

 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Going through a divorce is a major life change, but it can also be a fresh start that allows you to look forward to new opportunities and to set and plan your own priorities. One of those opportunities is re-defining your future estate...

 

Friday, March 10, 2017

Planning for retirement, well the saving part anyways, seems to be one of those things far too many of us put off doing, or make a half-hearted attempt at setting a meaningful amount of money aside to be able to retire someday. Well...

 

Monday, March 6, 2017

The number of currently married women who will live alone at some point during their retirement years, due to widowhood or a late divorce continues to grow at a steady pace. With 27.5 million married baby boomer women now heading into...

 

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

If you plan to retire soon or are at least considering it, now is a good time to check your retirement readiness by reviewing these ten essential pre-retirement questions and “to-dos.” Getting clarity on each of these will...

 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

You may already be aware of this, but just in case you aren’t, right or wrong not everyone pays the same amount for their Medicare Part B premiums. As a result, while most individuals enrolled in Medicare will see a small...

 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

There’s an all-too-common belief about retirement planning, and it goes like this: “As long as I save as much as I can in my retirement accounts, stick to a reasonable withdrawal rate, and control my spending in retirement,...

 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When it comes to planning for retirement, there is no one-size-fits-all option. While the retirement goal of being able to live comfortably during your golden years may be the same for men and women, the path to reach that goal can be...

 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On Monday, January 9, 2017, the Social Security Administration announced that due to budget constraints it would stop mailing paper Social Security Statements to most American workers for the second time in the last six years....

 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

// As the new U.S. president gets ready to enter office, what changes, if any, should you be making to your portfolio? The answer to that question is varied and dependent in large part on your investment objectives and what stage of...

 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

// In my nearly 30 years helping people with their retirement planning, I haven't met many, maybe none at all actually, that don’t know how important it is to plan ahead and save all they can for their future retirement years....