The most trending tax and financial industry issues.

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Lane Keeter, CPA

Partner: Tax Consulting, Estate Planning, and Heber Springs Managing Partner

Musings for Current & Future Retirees

From time to time I am asked for information and thoughts on issues related to retirement, both for those already enjoying it, as well as for us who still have it in our future.

Along those lines, periodically in this space I plan to offer, as it says above, musings for current and future retirees. At times this will be informational, while occasionally sprinkled in with the humorous, and hopefully always enjoyable and helpful.

What That First Year of Retirement May Teach You

When any plan is followed through, there are lessons to be learned, refinements to be made. That certainly holds true for retirement plans.

The initial year of retirement may prompt you to revise your monthly budget, your investment approach, and your lifestyle expectations. In fact, a shift in the investment markets might lead to revisions in all three areas.

In addition, you will want to track real-world spending and see how it corresponds to your initial estimate. You can start by reviewing your monthly bank statements over the past year.

If taxes on your Social Security income or IRA distributions have surprised you, then perhaps an adjustment to your tax management strategy should be considered. After all, half of Social Security benefits are exposed to income tax when your "combined income" tops $25,000 as a single filer or $32,000 as a joint filer. Your "combined income" for a year = adjusted gross income + non-taxable interest income + 50% of Social Security benefits.

If you have gifted substantial sums to children or grandchildren in the past, you may not want to do that again.

In short, this is why it is advisable to meet with a financial professional each year in retirement. Year to year, your financial situation will change, and your retirement plan must respond.

Do Parts of the Brain Age Differently?

Ever had one of those so-called "senior moments" where you forget a name or where you put the TV remote? Some of those mental glitches may not be related to age. A just-published study in the research journal Neuron, authored by scientists from the University of California, Irvine, hints at this possibility.

In an effort to gauge how the brain recalls information, these researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging on healthy adults aged 18 to 31 and 64 to 89. The two groups were asked to distinguish everyday objects from new ones in a collection and to report if objects had changed location within a set. The older subjects mentally outperformed the younger ones on the location test, but were not as sharp on the other test.

The study authors found an association between spatial memory and the posteromedial entorhinal cortex, a region of the brain that may be less affected by aging than other areas. In the words of the researchers, this suggested that "not all memory changes equally with aging."1


Conducting its third annual survey on U.S. retirement readiness, GoBankingRates discovered that 16.5% of pre-retirees have more than $300,000 in retirement savings. That compares to 14% in 2017 and 13% in 2016.2

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