Australia is not only the home of the koala, the kangaroo, and the duck-billed platypus, but may also be home to that other rare and exotic animal: the secure retirement.
By Catherine Baab-Muguira
What does Australia have that America lacks? For starters, its retirees enjoy more financial security, better tax laws, and a generally higher standard of living than we do on this side of the globe. That's thanks to a few key differences in government policy -- and some twists and turns the country has taken in the course of history.
As an American who has just moved to Australia for a long assignment -- and, maybe decades hence, a comfortable place to retire -- I've had a chance to look into what's behind the great retirement divide.
So you want to be a real estate investor? Well, it's important where you're buying. You want to be in a market where you stand the best chance to get good bang for your buck. So where should you look? Not even in the United States. Try Panama. Buying homes overseas can be a cash cow for many people. And Panama's economy is one of the few in the world that was virtually untouched during and after the economic crisis. There are other markets, too, that are good to look at overseas. To learn where you should be investing in real estate overseas, check out the video above.
By Dan Caplinger
Investors are getting more excited about the stock market now that it has fully recovered from the financial crisis and started to set new record highs. But if you're looking to invest now, you have to protect yourself from the possibility that the long bull market could reverse itself.
It's always tough both financially and psychologically to recover from immediate losses on investments you just bought, so taking steps to avoid big losses is well worth the effort.
With that goal in mind, here are five exchange-traded funds that can strengthen your portfolio against the threat of a possible stock-market decline while still giving you exposure to further gains if the bull market continues.
By Molly McCluskey
Between the growing number of adult children moving back in with their parents, and a growing population of senior citizens becoming financially dependent on their children, the Sandwich Generation can't seem to catch a break.
Nearly half of all adults between the ages of 40-59 are giving financial support either to a parent over the age of 65 or to their offspring. Nearly one in seven adults are supporting both. So says a new study by Pew on the rising financial burdens of those adults -- the generation that overlaps both the Baby Boomers and Generation X.
"People haven't saved enough for retirement."
There's a lot of research talking about Canadians' lack of retirement savings. It looks like people are buying into those messages too.
Unfortunately though, the information appears to be affecting the would-be retiree's psyche, with troubling results: Half believe they'll exhaust their retirement savings in less than 10 years, but a significant number don't know for sure, and a large number of people won't even consider certain income options.
"This all suggests to me that people are trying to avoid thinking about it," says Investor Education Fund (IEF) president, Tom Hamza.
Do you know someone who is downsizing, specifically to finance their retirement? Perhaps they're renting out part of their home, or selling their home altogether to become renters themselves?
Be kind. It's an emotional, and difficult decision they've made - one that probably wasn't arrived upon lightly, and one they were probably driven to by real need.
When my parents downsized, they sold their house and bought a condominium. That was in the seventies. Condo and apartment living was the way to go for retirees of the time and it was expected that, when baby boomers retired, there would be an oversupply of single-family homes on the market.
Fast forward three decades and things have really changed. Downsizing baby boomers are shunning condo living. A report by Royal LePage finds that boomers like their garages and backyards too much.
Since immigrating to Canada, Vasudha, a trained lawyer, has had difficulties finding steady full-time work in the legal profession. This has meant that her family has endured some financial hardships on their way to achieving their Canadian dream. "It's been demoralizing as well as financially challenging," she adds.
With two children aged 11 and 16, like many parents, both Selva and Vasudha want to provide them with a secure future. In 2012, after many years of searching and praying, Vashuda finally landed a full-time job as a legal assistant at a downtown law firm.
Over the years the Pereras have toiled away and saved enough money to purchase a townhouse for their family of four. The Pereras were laser-focused on their quest of buying their first home, so much so, that they cashed in the entire value of the RESPs they had set aside for their children's post secondary education. Now that Selva and Vasudha both have reliable full-time jobs, Canadian citizenship and a home that they can call their own, they are at a loss as to what their financial priorities should be. Should they be more aggressive with saving for their children's education or should they focus more on their retirement savings?
The Motley Fool
In tough times, people of all ages are struggling to make the most of their money. All week long, we've been looking at the distinct challenges that people in various age groups face and how they can overcome them to achieve financial security.
After having given tips for retirees and near-retirees earlier in the week, today we're turning to the particular issues that most affect people in their 40s and early 50s. As you'll see, the balancing act that middle-agers have to manage requires a different set of financial skills than what you'll use later in your career.
1. What are the pros and cons to taking from your RRSP?
Determining whether or not to take from a retirement savings account is an individual decision that requires an analysis of where you're at financially, especially when it comes to your income level. You have to consider the pros and cons of taking from an RRSP, says Hatice Pakdil, a vice president and investment advisor at TD Waterhouse. You have to weigh cost benefit, says Pakdil, since you will be taxed at your tax bracket and if you're in a high bracket you will still owe taxes on that money.