Discover What You Did Right

Now you are going on a TREASURE HUNT–to find the  money that you already have hidden in your name or some institutions. Your job is to  find the Account Statements for each of your accounts, then list the amount of money in each. We will total up all the money in your accounts later to make you feel good after doing all this work.

STEP  1. Find those envelopes or files that hold each of your Account Statements. Or find the information On-line.

Open every envelope or online account that will show you each and every  

  • retirement account you and your partner have
  • at every employer you ever had. And find the statements for
  • every IRA you have in your name and your partner has in her/his name. Same thing with
  • pensions,  deferred compensation, and stock options. And, of course
  • savings accounts
  • CDs, checking accounts
  • and Bonds.
  • and any Investment accounts you hold  individually or jointly.

STEP  2. Find out exactly how much money you have. Fill out a list of all of your accounts, with the dollar amounts in each. You can hand write your own list using 4 columns. Click right here to get our  4 Column Form.

  • Column 1. Account number and name of owner (you, your partner, a child)
  • Column 2. Account type (IRA, etc.) and Institution that holds it. In this column make sure you write down (and distinguish the) Type of account, like Savings Account or Retirement Account. And the institution that holds it (e.g. Fidelity or Merrill Lynch or TD Ameritrade.)
  • Column 3. Space to write in dollar amount in that account.
  • Column 4. Date for the statement you that has the dollar figure . (The dollar figures will change depending on the date of the statement was written) Try to get the most recent statement, on the same date for each account.

 STEP  3. Add up all of the dollar amounts in these accounts. Take out a calculator and get your GRAND TOTAL. Write it down and write down the month, day and year for that total.

 

Ok. Now you know what you have done right so far! You have an amount of money in your name (and/or in your partner’s name, or held jointly)  that you can use to be financially secure.

You can use that money to help provide a source of income  30+ years after your Hot Flashes start, or if you want to work longer, after you are 70, and beyond.

The money in these accounts will become some of your most important assets.

But wait! There is more!

STEP  4.  Add in the (equity) value of your home. And any other real estate that you might have. Write downt eh value you “think” your home is worth today. Then subtract the total that you still owe on your mortgage. Voila! That is what is yours (and not the bank’s). That amount (your sale price minus mortgage amount owed) is called the Equity you have in your home. Add that equity amount to your list and compute it in your Grand Total.

While you can use the money in savings and retirement accounts to pay for everything you need after your last pay check comes in, the equity in your home can not be used immediately. You usually have to sell your home to get at the equity. But, there are ways to get at the equity using a home equity loan or a reverse mortgage.

 STEP  5. Now look through your files  or go On-Line for the information from the Social Security Administration. Find the document or file  called Your Social Security Statement. Find one for yourself (and one for your partner if you can find it).

If you can’t find your personal report, try to look it up online using the government’s tool  Social Security Benefits Estimator

Open your personal paper Social Security Statement to page 2. On the top of the page you will see a Section  with Your Estimated Benefits. Focus on that part.

  • Look below that to the information on *Retirement. You will be amazed at what you will receive—as a kind of base amount for your income.
  • Look across  the top of page 2 to the right where you see Dollar Figures. Begin looking down the page a bit at the 3rd Dollar amount. It says, on the left

if you continue working until……

 age 70, your payment (each month) would be about                   $xxxx

  •  Now that is the largest dollar amount you are likely to receive from Social Security. To get that amount each month, you have to delay starting your Social Security Benefits until after age 70. (So we will have to develop a strategy for your income until then if you are not working.)
  • There is another dollar figure above it. That is your full retirement benefit. It is what you will get if you work until you reach retirement age. For most Boomers that is age 66. That amount $xxx is less than the amount at age 70. But it is still a good base.
  • Of course you can start your social security benefits at age 62. That amount will be even smaller than the amount you would receive if you waited to start your benefits at age 66, and a lot less than the amount you will receive at age 70.
  • And, if you have a partner,  you can coordinate the time you start your social security benefits with your partner, so that you maximize the amounts. There are options, that are legal. We can talk about them another time

You have to make the decision about the age you want to start your Social Security Benefits very carefully. Because this decision will affect the amount of money you receive each month for the rest of your life. No matter what you decide, Social Security provides a firm foundation for your income during your golden years. 

 

OK. Financial Security is not looking so impossible now.

►  You have Social Security income that you can use in your future. You can think of it as the base upon which you can build a larger monthly income, drawing from other accounts.

►  You probably have some Retirement Account Assets you can draw from to add income to the monthly Social Security check.

 

OK. You have done a lot!

You

1. Asked yourself some important questions, got some

2. Answers, and then

3. ACTED!  You found out that you do have a base for financial security.

 

Feel better? Less Stress? Less Worried?

What else can you do to reduce the stress?

Ask yourself the next question.  Oh, and consider telling your best girlfriends to look at this site, so they can reduce their stress too. Show them how to follow this first set of steps- Ask, Answer and ACT!