Retirement Fund Sustainability | Will My Retirement Monies Run Out On Me?

Retirees are savvy individuals who have already put in the time and effort to develop their nest-eggs. Most retirees maintain some type of investment strategy, even after they have amassed what they think will be enough to last them the rest of their lives. That’s the idea, right? We want to retire, and we never want to work another day, and we want for our retirement fund to have plenty in it to last us as long as we live.


Now, of course, if we die earlier than we anticipate (happens all the time), then we would have reserves leftover in the retirement fund that could be handed down to loved ones, donated to a favorite charity, or whatever we have dictated.


Will my retirement fund run dry before I pass on?


Well let’s surely hope not. But is hope enough? Hope? Nope. It takes more. Like all other investors, retirees need to diligently maintain and develop their financial portfolios. If you want to know whether your well is going to run dry, then you need to take control of the entire area that the well sits in. You didn’t make it to retirement by a lack of thought, dedication or discipline. And it’s not time to stop yet. You can find out more about planning your retirement on the Suncorp website at


Developing a retirement blueprint for long-term sustainability:


So ask yourself, what are the 2 main goals you have for your retirement assets? If you’re like almost all other retirees, then you would desire that:


  1. You have enough to last the rest of your life;
  2. You have enough to make you comfortable; not just enough to barely squeak by in life;


Well, here’s the deal about those 2 goals: they are sort of pitted against each other. You want the fund to have longevity so it follows to live on as little each year as you can. However, your more selfish side may be saying something like, “Hey – I want to enjoy my days. I don’t want to just sit watching television and feeling my last days pass by without enjoyment!”


And that is definitely fair. Nobody wants to work their lives away, diligently saving for retirement, only to find when they get there, that they aren’t financially able to enjoy any of what makes life sweet.


If you are already at retirement age, or close to it, then it is what it is, so to speak. The amount of assets you are working with is finite and determined. But there are still a few things you need to be doing to make the most out of what already is. Here they are:


  • Approach withdrawing money or assets from your retirement fund realistically.
  • Diversify your stocks, bonds and cash assets appropriately to maximize safe, long-term gains.
  • Periodically rebalance your asset portfolio to reflect the sustainable strategy you have decided on.


Obviously, the more you start with, the more likely you’ll be to have some left over at the end. So that means that it’s important to maximize your returns and manage your assets meticulously. Just remember to enjoy your days along the way. Retirement’s beauty is depleted completely if you are always stuck in your thoughts of finance.




How to Survive Losing Your Job

Losing your job can be a very difficult and stressful event. Whether you were terminated from your job, your position was deemed redundant, or your company closed down, you will still be affected the same way. It is crucial that you take a look at your finances from the very first day of losing your job. This will prevent you from making any financial mistakes that could make living without an income even more difficult.

It is important that you understand your rights and what benefits you are entitled to until you are able to find another job. This will ensure that you receive all of the payments you deserve and will help you get through this timeframe. Below is a look at some things you need to understand to help you survive losing your job and where to go for financial help.

Re-evaluate Budget

If you lose your job, one of the first things you want to do is to re-evaluate your budget. You want to take a complete look at your finances and your expenses to determine how long you will be able to keep your finances stable. Take into consideration any money you have in your savings account, any disposable assets you may have, and any additional money you will receive from your employer, such as redundancy pay. You may need to make some adjustments to your budget and cut back in some areas until you are able to find another job.

Redundancy Pay

Depending on how long you worked for your employer and the reason for your termination, you may be eligible for redundancy pay. This will provide you with some extra money to help carry you over until you get another job. In addition, your employer may be required to provide you with adequate notice of your job termination. If you think that you have been wrongly terminated or you did not receive all the benefits you deserved from your employer, you have the right to ask for a consultation.

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance will provide you with a weekly payment of up to 71.70 for the weeks that you remain unemployed. You must be able to work and actively looking for a job to qualify. The government will require you to track your job seeking activities to prove you are actively looking for another job.  As long as you remain in compliance, you will be eligible for these payments for at least 52 weeks, at which time your case will be re-evaluated.

Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus is a great place to go for help finding a new job. They provide employment-searching services, such as resume and CV writing, interviewing tips, and referrals to jobs in your area. They can also help to set you up with specialized training to improve your skills and help you find a better job. You may even qualify for help setting up your own business with the New Enterprise Allowance and support from the Jobcentre Plus office.

These tips will help you survive until you are able to find another job. Some of these benefits allow you to obtain a part-time job and still maintain the benefits, so you may want to consider this if you have trouble finding full time employment. Careful budgeting and financial planning is the trick to surviving through this time. Before you know it, you will find a job and get your finances back on track again.

Where exactly IS the Best Place to Retire?

If retirement is approaching for you and you’re planning on making a move to spend your “golden years” in an area of the world where you can stretch your budget, a new report by Natixis Global Asset Management says that you should be taking a good look at Europe.

The recently released survey pointed out eight European countries that, among the 150 countries surveyed, were all placed in the top 10 including Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg and Finland.

At the top of the poll was Switzerland due to its low taxes, excellent health care system and extremely high standard of living. They also have a very strong public and private pension system. Austria, a close neighbor, is seen as a “cheaper alternative” in terms of the cost of living and, as with Switzerland, has a very high standard of living as well as a first-rate healthcare system.

The report encourages all individuals to take personal responsibility for their retirement plans and their prospects for where they want to live. This includes putting plenty of money into savings, of course, and avoiding countries high public debt. The fact is, many countries will struggle to guarantee a comfortable retirement for their own citizens in the future and should probably be avoided by expatriates.

Some of the countries that have been helped by the euro zone’s austerity measures, including Cyprus, Ireland and Spain, rose on the chart up to 24th, 25th and 29th respectively, making them a little bit more of a good choice if retiring in Europe is what you planning to do. Some of the rising stars include Iceland, South Korea and New Zealand and, surprisingly, South Korea was the country that climbed the furthest in the ranking since last year.

The 19th place overall was the United States, behind such countries as the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom and South Korea surprisingly. The report was keen on saying that all individuals must increase the amount of money that they’re putting away in retirement accounts (duh) as governments worldwide are being increasingly “squeezed” with problems like inflation, debt and fiscal policies that negatively affect the financial security of retirees. On top of these negative aspects, most countries have a rapidly aging population, something that will tax healthcare systems worldwide.

Surprisingly, many of the “cheapest” countries in South America were not near the top of the list, mostly due to their lack of infrastructure and healthcare systems. However, many “ of them including Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, are excellent choices with a very low cost of living, decent health care and low housing cost as well.


5 Excellent Home Investments for 500 Bucks or Less

If you’re wondering what to do with your tax refund this year, we have 5 home investment ideas for you that cost less than $500 but will give you a very good return on your money either in increased value to your home or decrease utility costs. If you have enough, you might consider using more than one. Enjoy.

1- A Low-flow Showerhead.

An older showerhead made before 1992 actually uses about over 5 gallons of water every minute and, with the cost of water in most states rising, it’s simply too much to waste. A newer, more efficient showerhead will use nearly half of that amount but still make it seem as if you’re showering in the same amount of water. Some of the best will only run about $250. but can save you up to $150. a year on your water bills. You can also throw in a low-flow toilet and save another $100. every year.

2- Umbrella Homeowners and Flood Insurance.

Most people have homeowners insurance but it’s not as comprehensive as they think and, if someone is hurt while on their property, might not protect them as well as they think. On the other hand, Umbrella insurance will protect you beyond the limits of your homeowners policy and, for coverage that protects your home and your car for an extra $1 million, you’ll only pay about $300 a year.

If that’s already covered, and you live in a state where flooding is a problem, adding flood insurance is typically about $450. When you consider that the average flood claim is over $33,000, it’s well worth it.

3 – Get a Professional Energy Audit.

Did you know that the typical home wastes over $350 a year on heating and cooling leaks? It’s true and, while you might be able to seal up some of them yourself, your best bet if you have between $400 and $500 to spare is to hire a professional energy auditor to figure out where exactly the leaks are in your home and give you the best advice on how to fix them. This will pay itself off in two years and is an excellent investment in the long run.

4- A Whole House Search Protector.

They say that lightning never strikes the same spot twice but, if it strikes your home and destroys thousands of dollars’ worth of appliances, computers and electronic equipment, one time will certainly be more than enough to put a huge dent in your finances. While some of those items might be plugged into a surge protector, most probably aren’t and will get fried instantly if your house gets a lightning strike. On the other hand, a certified electrician can install a whole house surge protector into your breaker box for about $300 and protect everything in your entire home from Zeus’s wrath. (Zeus is that lightning bolt guy. Just fyI.)

5 – Get a Rain Barrel System.

A typical home uses about $150 every year on water for outdoor use. Every time it rains an inch however the average 2000 ft.² house will have about 500 gallons of water runoff and, if you have a rain barrel system in place to catch it, you can use that water for a wide variety of outdoor uses. If you want to get just a simple rain barrel you can spend as little as 50 bucks, but for a more sophisticated system with pumps, spigots and multiple barrels you’re talking about $400-$600. A setup like this can actually save 1300 gallons of water every summer, something that could well save you a few hundred in water bills every year.

Understanding Budgeting Loans


If you are considered low-income and have a financial emergency, you may be able to borrow money from the government. While there used to be several types of loans offered by the government, such as the Crisis Loan and Community Care Grants, the only loan now available is the Budgeting Loan. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to be eligible for this type of loan, but if you meet these requirements, it can provide one of the best ways to obtain the financing you need. Below is some information about the Budgeting Loan, how to determine if you are eligible and how to apply.


Budgeting Loans


A Budgeting Loan is offered to those people who are receiving some type of governmental benefits. A loan must be obtained for at least £100, but the maximum amount you will qualify for depends directly on your specific set of circumstance. They will take various factors into consideration, such as if you are married or single, how many children you have, how much money you make, and your ability to repay the loan.


The money can be used for a wide range of reasons, including to pay your rent, purchase home furnishings or appliances, moving expenses, costs for looking for new work, transportation costs, vehicles repairs, costs associated with having a baby, and costs of a funeral. In addition, these funds can be used to repay any loan or money that was previously borrowed to purchase any of these things.




To be eligible you must have been receiving either Income Support, Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Pension Credit or Employment and Support Allowance for a minimum of 26-weeks. In addition, you cannot already owe more than £1,500 to the government through any other type of loan, such as another Budgeting Loan or a Crisis Loan. Once you pay down the amount of the first loans to under £1,500, you can apply for an additional loan.




One of the best benefits of the Budgeting Loan is that you will be charged zero interest on the amount you borrow. This means that you will only have to pay back the exact amount of money that you borrowed in the first place. You also will have a total of 104 weeks or two-years to repay this loan. A payment plan will be set up with you at the time you take out your loan and adjustments can be made later if necessary.


How to Apply for a Budgeting Loan


To apply for a Budgeting Loan, you should go online and print a copy of Form SF500, or pick up the form at any Jobcentre Plus office. You must complete this form in its entirety and then return it in person or mail it directly to your local Jobcentre Plus office. You will receive a decision about your loan within a few weeks. If you are denied a loan or feel that the amount is too low, you have 28 days after the decision was made to appeal the decision. An independent reviewer will review your application within 21 business days to determine if the decision was correct or not.


If you have any additional questions about the Budgeting Loan or you want to apply for one, you should head to your local Jobcentre Plus office. They will have all of the paperwork you need and be able to answer any additional questions you may have. Keep in mind, that you may be required to show proof of income and assets when you apply for this loan to help determine you eligibility