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Navigating through the “sandwich years” (Hometown Perspective: Warsaw, Mo.)

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My husband and I are very proud of our three children who are currently in various stages of college. We’re also blessed to have some of our parents still with us. We’re in the midst of the “sandwich years.” Our children are transitioning into adulthood and our parents are dealing with the prospect of additional – and often much higher – health care costs.

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The situation certainly isn’t new, but the financial challenges of this particular age group have recently changed. In addition to your retirement fund(s) likely taking significant losses during the financial crisis, those of us currently in the sandwich years also face the financial challenges of our children and parents. Our kids are graduating into an extremely difficult job market, while our parents are dealing with the rising costs of health care on a fixed income. With these challenges, sometimes our parents and kids may need our help financially.

Don’t wait until you and your family are faced with these issues to begin dealing with them. Usually if a financial emergency occurs, you won’t have much time before you have to act. In my thirty plus years at UMB, I have seen customers in the middle of these transition years who haven’t had important discussions with their kids or their parents soon enough. Living in an area with a high concentration of retirees, I’ve seen countless children of senior parents who have waited too long to talk to them about their financial plans.

So what can you do to plan for the sandwich years?

Prepare your children for financial independence by:

  • Opening a college fund as soon as possible (your kids don’t have to be burdened with student loan repayments while they work to become financially stable).
  • Teaching them the foundation of financial responsibility at an early age.
  • Encouraging them to hold part-time jobs as teenagers to develop a strong work ethic early on, and learn the benefit of saving and budgeting.

Prepare your parents for the issues they will face by:

  • Having an open dialogue about their overall financial situation, while being respectful of their privacy and wishes.
  • Approaching the sensitive subjects of having a will, power of attorney and health care directive. They are difficult conversations, but it’s better to have them early. It is much harder to discuss finances when failing health and/or mental incapacity have occurred.

Prepare yourself for the sandwich years by:

  • Talking regularly with your financial advisor about what you need to do to prepare for your own retirement.
  • Creating an emergency fund. You don’t want to dip into your retirement fund if something should happen and your kids or parents need financial help.

The sandwich years can be very stressful but that stress can be greatly reduced if you plan ahead. Prepare your children to become financially independent young adults and ensure your parents have a financial plan for their senior years. And don’t forget to make your own financial preparations. Your children will thank you for it when they reach their sandwich years.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Ms. Porter is senior vice president and financial center manager for the Eastgate location in Warsaw, Mo. She joined UMB in 1981. Ms. Porter is responsible for managing the consumer sales and functions of that location and has been involved in many other areas of the bank in her thirty-two years with UMB. Actively involved in the community, she has worked closely with the Warsaw High School vocal and instrumental departments for many years. She is a trustee of the Mary Lay Scholarship Fund, currently serves on the Harbor Village Fund fundraising committee and is a board member of the Warsaw Area Chamber of Commerce.



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A smooth road to retirement

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Are you ready to begin the next stage of your life? Retirement is still an option despite the current slow-growth economy. If you’re considering or approaching retirement, there are several items to keep in mind when nearing this important milestone. If you are planning to leave the working world in the next 18 to 24 months, here are a few considerations in the current economy:

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  • Understand your actual timeline.

    Your “time horizon” may be longer than you realize. Life expectancy is also a big factor. A retirement date is an initial benchmark, but you need to keep in mind that your money can still “work for you” while you are enjoying your newly discovered free time.

  • Make sure to have a cash reserve.

    You should build up a reserve large enough to carry you through six to 12 months of retirement expenses. This can provide a cushion in case of an unexpected downturn or a major unplanned expense.

As markets can vary year to year, those with more than two years until retirement can plan for either situation in the following ways:

  • Increase contributions.

    Invest extra cash. Consistent dollar-cost averaging can help reduce the worry of when and how much to invest. You may also want to direct some of those extra contributions into a cash reserve, just in case of unexpected declines.

  • Diversify, diversify, diversify.

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Throughout market cycles, different classes, styles and assets with diverse market capitalizations perform differently. Actively managing your portfolio diversification can have a greater impact on performance than individual investments.

Most of all, flexibility and patience are virtues in the world of portfolio management.  Don’t fall in love with a retirement date, and don’t be frustrated with market activity. If you have questions or concerns, it may be advantageous to seek the advice of an experienced professional.

Professional advisors can offer objective, educated and customized guidance. They are also an objective and knowledgeable resource that can provide a valuable perspective. While an advisor may not be able to provide every person with the news they want to hear, a good financial advisor can help maximize and leverage the assets individuals have against their personal timelines, risk tolerance and goals.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


Mr. Diederich serves as managing director of portfolio management. He is responsible for managing the portfolios of high net worth clients and select institutional relationships. He joined UMB in 2003. Mr. Diederich earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Missouri State University in Springfield, Mo., and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is a Certified Financial Planner®, a member of the Financial Planning Association and has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry.



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How to generate income during retirement

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Senior Couple WalkingWith the baby boomer generation already in or quickly approaching retirement age, it is important for current and soon-to-be retirees to determine the best approach to collecting the money from their 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, pension plan, 403(b)  or social security.

You don’t want to spend your retirement years worrying about money. You should spend the time enjoying your family and hobbies or traveling! Planning ahead and working with a professional can help alleviate your anxiety.

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Here are some important things to remember about saving and spending during retirement:

  • Generate income using assets and investments

    Discuss with your financial planner how to generate income during retirement with the money you’ve set aside for this time in your life. Your planner can help you separate your assets into three groups: taxable, tax-favored and tax-free. If you take a blended approach to meeting your required minimum distributions, your money can last significantly longer.

  • Diversify your portfolio

    It is always recommended to have a portfolio of assorted investments. You don’t necessarily have to rely completely on safe, income-producing investments. Adjust your rate to your needs when necessary and don’t be afraid to spend capital from your retirement portfolio. Traditional IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and self-employed plans are structured for you to withdraw from it over your lifetime. You might be nervous spending down these accounts, but a financial advisor can help you distribute these funds appropriately over the course of your retirement so that you can live comfortably.

  • Remember: taxes, timing, spending

    These three items are the most important factors to creating income during your retirement. You should understand your tax obligations because tax rates could help determine acceptable savings withdrawals.It’s also important to carefully time your retirement. The point at which you begin taking money from your retirement accounts can make a significant difference in the amount that is available several years into your retirement. Remember that some retirement funds charge a penalty if you withdraw before a certain age.Finally, it’s vital to spend wisely during this time in your life to ensure that you will have enough funds to last throughout your retirement. Do you want to splurge on a Hawaiian vacation during your retirement? If so, this is something you should plan for in advance. Talk to your advisor about any major spending you would like to do in your retirement. You might not be on a completely fixed income, but you need to be mindful of how much money you have to spend.

  • Educate

    Take the time to educate yourself before and during your retirement. Start planning early so you can enjoy this time in your life. Do your best to educate your children about saving for retirement and encourage them to start saving at an early age.

 

When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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