Social Security and Medicare: Navigating Retirement Benefit Programs

Hopefully, you aren’t learning about emergency funds for the first time when you’re within years of retirement. But if you have somehow gotten this far without a financial security blanket, now’s the time to create one. It will cover you in the event of a personal catastrophe, and it can also make up for delays in the start date of your pension or Social Security. Employees can contribute up to $13,500 per year ($16,500 for those 50 or older) in 2021.

What investments accounts should you use?

Retirement planning

The maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth 401(k) for 2022 is $20,500 if you’re younger than age 50. If you’re age 50 and older, you can add an extra $6,500 per year in “catch-up” contributions, bringing the total amount to $27,000. Contributions generally need to be made by the end of the calendar year. Having a separate emergency account — usually with about three to six months of salary saved up — will allow you to cover any unexpected costs without throwing your retirement plans out of whack.

Financial advisor

If you don’t receive health insurance from your former employer or through your spouse’s employer and don’t yet qualify for Medicare, you’ll have to get health insurance on your own. Whatever your situation, just make sure your insurance doesn’t lapse when you need it most. Know the terms and conditions of your coverage as well as how much you can expect to pay in premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and out-of-pocket costs.

Our retirement system is way too confusing, and committing to saving money today that you won’t use for decades is not exactly easy either. I specialize in explaining the how and why of retirement planning so consumers can make confident choices and get on with their lives. My work has appeared in Money magazine, Consumer Reports,,, and The New York Times.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, especially when it comes to the stock market. While that’s a normal reaction, selling out may be the worst thing you can do since you can miss out on recouping those losses if there is an upswing. Decreasing debt increases your net worth, so, over time, do what you can to pay down your mortgage, pay off your car loan and reduce any credit card debt. At the same time, consider cutting back on some of your expenses. The lower your expenses the more you’re worth — and the more you can save. There are a variety of funds types to consider when saving for retirement.

Other Aspects of Retirement Planning

Retiring at ages 66–67 will glean a full Social Security benefit, depending on when you were born and age 70 is the latest age to start receiving Social Security benefits. It’s a question that depends on your personal needs and circumstances. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that “retirement improves both health and life satisfaction” but the age at which you retire impacts the quality of your retirement. Ensure all documents are properly notarized and stored somewhere safe.

Credit repair

Map it on a calendar, track your progress and ask a friend or family member to keep you accountable. Any time you successfully pay off a debt, give yourself a small reward to stay motivated. Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs have income restrictions limiting who is eligible to have an account.

Three Ways Financial Automation Can Help You Reach Your Goals

But now that you have to deal with retirement math and estate planning, it’s time to lean on others. Sequence of returns risk is a fancy term that financial advisors have been throwing around for years—well since 1994, thanks to a seminal paper by William Bengen. In 2022, the total employer and employee contributions combined cannot exceed $61,000 or 100% of your salary (that’s $67,500 for those under 50 and older). Another key feature is that money gets automatically removed from your check and put into the 401(k), so you don’t have to worry about moving those dollars into the account yourself.

What are the key aspects of retirement planning?

For many older adults, this is the most important decision they’ll make about their retirement finances. About 1 in 3 Americans age 65 and older rely on Social Security for at least 75 percent of their income, according to a 2021 Social Security Administration study. Schedule your checkups and preventive exams now, from an annual physical to teeth cleaning.

How Do I Start Planning for Retirement?

Remember that retirement planning starts long before you retire. Your magic number, which is the amount you need to retire comfortably, is highly personalized. But there are numerous rules of thumb that can give you an idea of how much to save. In the simplest sense, retirement planning is what one does to be prepared for life after paid work ends.

Wealth management

The key with all of this is to not panic and stick to your plan. You can split contributions between a regular 401(k) — using pre-tax dollars — and a Roth 401(k), but your combined investments can’t exceed the maximum contribution amount. This account is ideal for those who think they may be in a high tax bracket in retirement, where they would then have to pay a potentially hefty tax bill to Uncle Sam. However, you don’t want to wait much beyond that because you’ll need time to put money into a retirement account for that money to grow. The longer you wait the more you’ll have to sock away yearly making the challenge a lot more difficult.

Also, the funds within the account are not subject to income tax until you withdraw them. Since your contributions are taken off your gross income, you will get an immediate income tax break. Those who are on the cusp of a higher tax bracket might consider contributing enough to lower their tax liability. It’s risk-free — money inside of a federally-insured savings account does not get invested in stocks or bonds — but you’ll make next to nothing on the funds in the account. Currently, the highest-yielding savings accounts are under 1% on the dollars saved, and have been trending down with current Federal Reserve policy to keep its benchmark rate lower for longer.

Estate Planning for Retirement: Ensuring a Legacy for Loved Ones

To the lender, it means that consumers will continue to receive better products and better service. As for your savings, they don’t appear on your credit report, so you can spend as much money as you have without worrying about your credit score. If you take steps to close one of your bank accounts, make sure you do it the right way. The key thing to remember is to clear the balance before closing the account, as unpaid balances will reflect badly on your credit report in the future. Savings accounts aren’t included on your credit report because borrowing money isn’t involved in the transaction, and the same is true of most current accounts.

Which credit score is most important?

FICO® Scores are used by 90% of top lenders, but even so, there's no single credit score or scoring system that's most important. In a very real way, the score that matters most is the one used by the lender willing to offer you the best lending terms.

finance Credit score

“If your personal information has been compromised and used to open credit accounts in your name, this can have a major impact on your credit score,” says Gallagher. “It’s important to regularly check your credit report and be vigilant about protecting your personal information to prevent this type of issue.” You may not be eligible for loans at affordable interest rates if you have a credit score of 550. You may not also get the desired credit limit on your credit card with a score of 550. Based on your score, potential lenders will put you into a certain category of borrower ranging from Bad to Excellent. Most credit scores operate within the range of 300 to 850, and, depending on what you’re applying for, the ranges for each category may vary or shift slightly between lenders.

What are the 5 C’s of credit?

They help provide an educational experience and may help you start and maintain a budget and identify potential areas where you can save or invest money or tackle your debt head-on. Some companies will have a 90-day money-back guarantee but will have many restrictions and requirements that make it almost impossible to get your money back. You can also check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Better Business Bureau for complaints about companies that don’t meet their obligations or pay out a guarantee. The Fair Credit Reporting Act puts the onus on creditors to supply accurate information and gives you the ability to dispute incorrect entries. If the creditor can’t or won’t prove the accuracy of its information, the credit bureau will remove that item from your credit record. The company also offers a family discount, where if two members of the household sign up within 72 hours of each other, each receives 50% off the once-off first work fee.

Evidence on inaccurate directories piles up. It’s time to act.

While FICO scores issued by Fair Isaac Corp. and VantageScores both range from 300 to 850, their “good” ranges differ slightly. At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed. Ellen writes on environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and sustainability.

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Having a mix of loan types—such as credit cards, student or auto loans and mortgages—is good for your score. It shows lenders you can handle multiple payments at the same time. The credit scoring system awards points based on information in the credit report. The resulting score is compared to that of other consumers with similar profiles. With this information, lenders assess how likely someone is to repay a loan and make payments on time. A high credit score makes it possible to get instant credit at places like electronics stores and department stores.


During this phase, the credit repair company will conduct a free credit score analysis to help identify potential areas of improvement and hone in on the right package for your needs. We also looked at complaints people filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which monitors credit repair companies for consumer protection violations. The most common violations are overbilling or issues with cancelling services, but we found no complaints about lack of service or fraud. Many companies will offer similar products for wildly different prices. Some will offer a money-back guarantee or financial planning tools, while others will offer basic credit repair options and nothing else.

Money-Back Guarantee

If you have a poor credit rating – it is still better to build credit with a credit card. If your credit rating is poor, you will likely find that you have a shorter 0% interest period. Your credit score is a gauge of how likely you are to repay money that you owe. Credit card companies and lenders look at your credit score when assessing things like whether they should let you borrow and how much they should let you borrow.

Credit Monitoring

Borrowers interested in a traditional mortgage will likely want a conventional loan. This loan type offers competitive interest rates and flexible repayment options, among other benefits. Those with a credit score below 620 risk missing out on the lowest possible rate, as well as a conventional mortgage altogether. Consumers are entitled to receive a FREE copy of their credit reports from the three credit reporting companies every year.

Spring Cleaning: How to Freshen Up Your Financial Situation

The only way to know whether you’re getting the best auto loan rates for your credit score is to source loan offers from several lenders and compare them. We recommend myAutoloan and Auto Credit Express as good places to start your search. The best way to make a big impact on your credit score in a hurry is to decrease your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of available credit you’re using. You can do this by paying down your credit card balances and by increasing your credit card limits, either by opening a new card, asking for higher limits on the cards you already own, or both.

The takeaway here is that the credit score scale is a direct reflection of your payment history and financial habits. It helps lenders decide whether they can trust you with their money. One of the most common questions we hear from new members at Addition Financial is “What does my credit score mean? Sometimes, people who have never had a credit card don’t know how the credit score scale works, what it means and how it can impact them now and in the future.

Lower your debt and increase earnings

The process starts with a free consultation to figure out the best plan for your needs. The company then conducts a credit report analysis and identifies potentially misleading entries or negative items on your report. Almost all reputable credit repair companies have listings in the Better Business Bureau and have Trustpilot pages. These are excellent starting points when looking for warning signs and red flags for a particular credit repair agency.

New and used vehicle loans, title loans, personal loans, credit cards, and more – RVA Financial has a loan to meet your needs. BMW Financial Services exists to help get you into the Ultimate Driving Machine® of your dreams with clear pricing, tailored lease and finance options, and personal service. You’ll be guided to the right products and services by the people who know BMW best – and get access to exclusive benefits, offers, and events that take your BMW experience even further. Debt settlement is another strategy where you pay a lump sum to your creditor in exchange for having a portion of your debt forgiven. While the strategy has some risks and pitfalls, it can help reduce your debt dramatically, leading to faster repayments and a better credit score. Credit repair is a service that focuses on improving your credit score by disputing incorrect items on your credit report.