Longtime Virginia Beach tourism director announces retirement

Longtime Virginia Beach tourism director Jim Ricketts has announced his retirement after more than 40 years on the job.



How to break your income addiction before retirement

Why do lottery winners go broke? They have resources but not resourcefulness. And whats better than having a bunch of money? Not needing a bunch of money. Thats a key to retirement.



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  • Date of Publication: 09.11.15.
  • Time of Publication: 10:30 am.
Get Ready to Entrust Your Retirement to a Bot
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Companies looking to offer retirement plans will soon have a new alternative. Automated investment adviser Betterment said today that it will soon offer a 401(k) platform for employers. In other words, your retirement fund may one day be run by code.

The wealth management startup has made a name for itself in the past few years for its so-called robo-adviser services. Investors hoping to do more with their money, but who might not be able to afford the hefty fees that come with financial advice from a human, have turned to companies like Betterment, Wealthfront, and FutureAdvisor for help. The startups pride themselves in providing a clean mobile experience paired with automated investing for the more tech-savvy millennial investors gravitating to their services.

Betterment is hoping to accomplish the same thing with its latest venture: Betterment for Business, which is set to be available early next year. The new service will provide companies with a robo-driven alternative to other 401(k) providers, including a similar clean interface for both employers and employees. If it works, Betterment’s 401(k) bot may help add financial adviser to the list of human jobs soon to be co-opted by smarter machines.

Clean, Custom, Cheap

For Betterment, the idea for the new service came from the company's own challenging search process to find a 401(k) provider for its employees, says founder and CEO Jon Stein. After combing through a number of options, Betterment settled on what they believed was the best option they could find. And, even so, Stein says it was a disaster.

It was a terrible process," Stein explains. "And even once you get it set up, there's little tooling and little information for benefit providers. It's a bad user experience, there's no advice, it's a paper-based process for them to sign up—and the lowest plan out there was still incredibly expensive."

Betterment believes that its emphasis on tech and user experience will make it a desirable choice for employers and employees. On the employer side, companies will be able to see a dashboard that allows them to check in on the company's accounts; enroll new employees; and offer any assistance—all online. Stein says that it is also offering its service with lower fees than its older competitors.

Getting Personal

For participating employees, Betterment says that, unlike its competitors, users will be able to get personalized advice thanks to its automated system. If a user has a company-sponsored 401(k) on Betterment as well as other individual accounts with the company, the automated service will make decisions based on all of the assets combined.

You can tell us more about yourself so we can further customize a plan for you, Stein says, meaning that the plan can also take into account social security benefits, other investments, as well as your personal goals.

While the success of Betterment for Business remains to be seen, the company is intent on pushing its expansion into a space traditionally dominated by financial services institutions like Fidelity, Vanguard, and Charles Schwab.

But businesses tasked with choosing company-sponsored 401(k)s will still have to reckon with how willing they are to put their employees’ retirements in the hands of a robot. Even if Betterment offers a cheaper alternative or snazzy interface, companies will have to decide if they really want to put their long-term stake in something new.

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  • Betterment
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What do you dream about doing in your retirement? If youre like many people, youll say travel. That answer is by far the most commonly reported retirement dream (42 percent of respondents) in the 16th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey. Indeed, its a good answer.

Now lets suppose youre able to travel for four weeks a year during retirement. What will you do during the other 48 weeks?

The second most commonly reported dream is to spend time with family and friends (21 percent). This is another good answer, but its doubtful that youll spend 48 weeks with them every year. Maybe youll spend another four weeks annually with family and friends. So, what will you do during the other 44 weeks?

The third most commonly reported dream is to pursue hobbies and interests (15 percent). If you really love your hobby or interest, its possibly you could spend a lot of your time pursuing it. But 44 weeks worth?

By now, you get the picture. For many people, the most commonly reported dreams about how youll spend your newfound freedom wont take up even half of it. Focusing on their retirement fantasies and overlooking their ordinary, day-to-day life in retirement is a common mistake for near-retirees.

What will you really do with the rest of your life?

If youre in your 50s or 60s and thinking seriously about retirement, its a good idea to give some thought to how youll spend the typical 16-hour day when youre not sleeping, traveling or hanging out with your family and friends.

Here are some possibilities:

Work or volunteer

Over half (51 percent) of the Transamerica survey respondents reported that they plan to work in their retirement years (39 percent want part-time work and 12 percent want full-time work). Work could indeed fill up a good chunk of your retirement time. A reasonable life plan would be to work part-time and spend the rest of your time following those dreams.

Take care of your health

Exercise and improving your diet are the closest well come to the fountain of youth. You could easily spend an hour or two each day walking, swimming, attending yoga classes, going to the gym -- whatever is your activity of choice. You could spend equal amounts of time learning about healthy nutrition, shopping for the best possible foods to eat and preparing three nutritious meals per day. In the process, you might reduce your medical bills.

Help family members

Most likely, helping family members wasnt what survey respondents had in mind when they reported wanting to spend more time with them, but many new retirees need to take care of frail parents or babysit grandchildren while their parents work. If this is the case for you, taking care of family can indeed fill up a lot of your time. There are many possible ways to think about this time -- some people find it gratifying, others find it frustrating and many simply feel it comes with the territory of being a family member and are glad to help.

Complete postponed projects

Need to clean out the attic/basement/garage/family room thats filled with the junk youve been accumulating? Edit and organize your 20,000 digital photos? Finally get around to the you-name-it project, such as preparing your estate plan, organizing your financial files or learning how to cook more healthily? Many new retirees report theyre busier than ever, and they wonder what they did with their time before they retired. But the honey-do list might take only a year or two to get through -- then what?

Its neither feasible nor realistic to map out your entire life before pulling the retirement trigger. And its good to be open to new possibilities for how youll spend your time. But its also a bad idea to be clueless about what youll do during the first weeks, months and even years after you retire.

When it comes to retirement, many people focus primarily on the financial challenges, and its certainly important to deploy a realistic plan for financial security for the rest of your life. And dreaming about what youll do with your retirement freedom will give you something to look forward to. But planning your daily life in retirement is equally important. Youll find its well worth the effort to give serious thought to the structure of your life during retirement so you can fill that time with the people and activities that give you the most pleasure.



For years, Washington and Wall Street have been co-operating to create a killer retirement solution that could guarantee that millions of worried Americans wont run out of money in old age.

The only problem? Americans just dont seem to be buying in.

These retirement products, known as deferred income or longevity annuities, have long been the retirement industrys equivalent of a critical darling. In 2012, the Obama Administrations Middle Class Task Force gave them a plug. Since then the IRS has tweaked tax rules to make it easier for Americans to hold them in tax-advantage retirement accounts without running afoul of mandatory withdrawal rules.

In some ways, longevity annuities are like the plain-vanilla immediate annuities that have been been around for generations. The basic premise: You hand over a chunk of money to an insurance company and, much like with a pension, you get a check each month for life.

The main difference? With a longevity annuity you dont collect those monthly checks until you reach a predetermined age, say 80 or 85. They are basically an insurance policy that kicks in if you (luckily) live to extreme old age. That makes them far more affordable than other types of annuities.

Buying an immediate annuity may require you to hand over a large portion of your savings. But by putting off payments for decades you can ensure yourself a comfortable dotage for just a fraction of that. For instance, for $20,000 a single 65-year-old man could purchase monthly income of $895 starting in 20 years, according to pricing website ImmediateAnnuities.com. For that level of income starting immediately, youd pay more than $150,000.