Are You Ready For Early Retirement?

Are You Ready For Early Retirement?

Within the last century, retirement age for most U.S. adults was extended to about 65 years of age. With recent Medicare changes and improved senior health and longevity, more people are working even longer. However, others are finding ways to make early retirement a reality, perhaps in their mid- to late fifties. If early retirement is your goal, it might be a good idea to give the following questions some thought before turning in your resignation.

How is your Health?

Although you may be 50 and feel great, consider what may lay ahead. For example, if your family has a history of heart disease or cancer, consider getting tested before making early retirement plans. If you are battling a chronic illness like diabetes, get your doctor’s opinion about the future prognosis of this illness so you can plan ahead. In addition to factors like the ability to work and monthly income adjustments when you retire, you should also think about health care coverage before and during retirement.

What Are Your Early Retirement Lifestyle Plans?

Do you want to travel when you stop working? Maybe you plan to downsize your home to a condo. Are there other life goals you hope to accomplish during your golden years? Consider how lifestyle changes may impact your monthly budget and whether or not you might get bored of all that free time. Would you prefer to work part-time or volunteer for a charity? As you envision the ways your life will change after retirement, make sure that you are ready mentally, physically, and financially to make the transition.

How Are Your Finances Holding Up?

Everyone with a stock portfolio or savings plans as well as a retirement fund should meet with a financial adviser at least yearly to keep tabs on their investments. If the economy takes a sharp downturn just when you’re about to retire, will your finances be enough to sustain the new life you have planned? Do you have a backup plan in case of an emergency or unexpected economic shift? Remember that expenses will change in retirement. If you have paid off your home and have no credit card debt to manage, you will be in better financial standing than someone who is loaded down with debt and possibly drawing less income each month than when they were employed.

What Role Will Your Family Play?

Middle-age people often breathe a sigh of relief when the last child graduates from college. But financial and familial obligations don’t necessarily stop there. Wedding expenses may pop up later, along with grandchildren to babysit and aging parents to care for. Give some thought to the time and money that you will need during your retirement years to help family members. When relatives know that you are no longer working full-time, they may expect you to help more often.

Most of us dream of a stress-free, financially secure retirement during which we can fulfill all our dreams. However, as in every stage of life, unexpected financial crises and new responsibility can replace long-sought dreams. Before rushing into early retirement, be sure you’re ready on all fronts so that you avoid disappointment and financial hardship.

3 Ways To Get A Start As A Financial Analyst

There are plenty of opportunities for financial analysts with a few years of experience, but getting that experience can be a struggle. Many young people worry whether they will like working in a financial career, and are unsure about entering a field they don’t know much about. However, there are plenty of opportunities for people who want to become financial analysts to test drive these responsibilities without locking themselves into a long-term career. If you’re considering a career as a financial analyst, try building your experience and knowledge base in these three ways.

Get an Internship

Internships are becoming one of the most popular choices for students to strengthen their work experience. Many companies create tailored internship plans where the student shadows multiple employees, works on projects that require all aspects of the business, and takes on responsibilities of their own. It’s a great way to learn more about the industry over three to nine months.

Many experts recommend treating your internship like a job. If you put as much work into it every day as you would an actual full-time position and still enjoy the field, then a career as a financial analyst is right for you. This is also a great way to get your foot in the door, as many companies hire the top interns full-time after their classes are completed.

Work for a Consulting Firm or Agency

It’s entirely possible that you would enjoy a career as a financial analyst; you just need to find the right industry. Instead of moving from the nonprofit sector to sports to retail, try working for an agency or consulting firm where you will have multiple clients at once. This will expose you to the unique challenges and opportunities that every industry provides, while changing up what you work on day-to-day. You may find that you like agency work itself, or you can move to an in-house analyst position in a field that you’re interested in.

Volunteer With a Nonprofit

Many nonprofits need an extra set of hands handling the marketing, accounting, and operations of the organization. While the local volunteers might be well-meaning, it’s possible that they lack the specialized skill set of a financial analyst. When volunteering for the nonprofit, you will make sure their 501(c)3 status is maintained, make sure donations are allotted to the proper sources, and create budgets and return goals for fundraising events.

Not only does volunteering help you give back to the community, it also boosts your resume and gives you experience working in finance. Furthermore, small nonprofits tend to have volunteers cross over multiple fields, so you may gain experience in volunteer coordination and event promotions – adding leadership, management, and project planning to your resume. These added skill sets can help you find a job you enjoy while making you a more valuable asset to employers.

Even if you don’t pursue a career as a financial analyst, the organizational and management skills that you will pick up during your studies will make you an asset to most companies and industries. People are always looking for someone who they can trust with money.

Top 5 Teams Vying for March Madness 2017

March means the start of the most exciting part of the sports calendar has arrived: March Madness. Brackets will be released soon and everyone will get the chance to take a shot at picking the next national champion in men’s and women’s college basketball.

The excitement of filling out multiple brackets to increase the chances of winning and the sheer amount of money that’s exchanged between thousands of people across the country is mind numbing. There are also plenty of free tournaments for people who would rather save the money, though, including the popular ESPN bracket challenge where entrants are eligible for cash winnings.

Wondering where to start when you fill out your brackets? Take a look at the top picks for to be crowned the NCAA March Madness winner in 2017.


By the time the tournament starts, the Bulldogs may have completed the first undefeated season in school history. If the Zags end up making it out of the West Coast Conference tournament unscathed – meaning the team remains undefeated – the NCAA tournament gets even more interesting. But even if there’s a loss before the tournament starts, Gonzaga is still one of the favorites to make it to the Final Four.

North Carolina

The Tar Heels are barreling towards a number one seed. After last year’s disappointing finish (North Carolina lost on a last second three-pointer in the title game), North Carolina has seemed to shake off the bad vibes to rise to the top of the game again this season. North Carolina is a bullish pick as they’ve only lost 5 games this season.


Another team that’s always around at the end of the season is Kansas. The last time the Jayhawks won the title was nearly 10 years ago in 2008. It’s about time for Bill Self, the team’s head coach, and the Kansas Jayhawks to make another run. The team’s last Final Four appearance happened in 2012, which in this environment may not allow for Self to remain much longer without a deep run into the tournament. Self’s team is looking good, though — Kansas has over 25 wins so far this season.


A last second three-pointer in last year’s title game to win is how many will remember Villanova. Even watching the clip of the buzzer beater gets the heart racing. Villanova is just as good this year, if not better, and has a great shot at making it back to the title game. The last time the tournament had back-to-back champions was when Florida doubled up in 2006 and 2007.


Duke started the season as the nation’s top team. Then the team fell-off, Coach Mike Krzyzewski had back surgery and all seemed lost. Once Coach K eventually returned the Blue Devils stabilized. The team still has too many loses in the ACC to make it as the overall number 1 seed, but there’s enough firepower for Duke to make a serious run at another national title.   

Are any of your favorites on this list? Where will you place your March Madness bets?

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