April 23

Fun Friday Links: Financial Spring Cleaning, Innovation and Easter Eggs, and What Successful People Do on the Weekend

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Fun Friday Links: Financial Spring Cleaning, Innovation and Easter Eggs, and What Successful People Do on the Weekend (via blog.mindjet.com)

Welcome to Conspire’s Super Happy Fun Friday Link Time, a weekly collection of cool discoveries from around the Web. Most times the goal is to get you thinking differently about communication, collaboration, culture, and life in general. Other times…


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April 20

Test Your Financial Literacy with These 5 Financial Aid Myths and Facts

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Test Your Financial Literacy with These 5 Financial Aid Myths and Facts (via PRWeb)

In honor of April as Financial Literacy Month, NASFAA dispels award letter misconceptions. Students are not required to take all of the loans offered them. Calculate your true cost of college, rather than the school estimate in your aid award, and then…

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April 19

Contentment In Christ

Jaime and Kids

Contentment in Christ

This is a re-blog from Bible Money Matters. I hope that you enjoy it.

Best regards,
Felix A. Montelara
Author; Potencial Millonario

Last week, I laid the foundation for how I studied personal finance in the Bible. I gave you a light introduction to what I call God’s Provident Plan and promised we’d look at each aspect in more depth. This is the first part of a series in which I’ll share what I’ve discovered about personal finance in the Bible. Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of contentment in Christ.

 

Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He becomes everything to us. He must become everything to us. We are in a continual struggle against Satan to keep other things (especially money) from taking the place of Christ. The World sends us a message that says more wealth and more stuff will make us happy. But God warns us in Revelation 3:17-18 that worldly wealth cannot offer us true satisfaction and security.

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. Revelation 3:17-18 (NIV)

Only God can provide us with true wealth and open our eyes so we can see the truth. God has a higher purpose for us than riches far beyond our needs and 6,000 square foot homes. God wants more meaning in our lives than a brand new luxury car in the driveway and a shiny yacht next to the dock. God has a higher calling for our retirement years than fruitless day after fruitless day spent on the golf course, beach, or back porch. The World’s message contradicts God’s message so much that we must choose between the two. Luke 16:13-15 says:

13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” 14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.” Luke 16:13-15 (NIV)

We must choose between serving God or Money. There is no middle ground. Devotion to Money is completely and absolutely opposed to devotion to God. Greed and generosity cannot exist together. Consumerism and contentment demand different paths. Choosing to love and serve Money means that you are choosing to turn your back on God. But if you want to serve God, you must give your heart completely to Him. In Mark 7:21-23, Jesus tells us that greed and envy come from our hearts:

21 “For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’” Mark 7:21-23 (NIV)

Once God has the commitment of our hearts, He can begin to transform our minds – change our thinking. The New Living Translation renders Romans 12:2 this way:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

The solution to serving God and rejecting the World’s message is not to start trying to do what we think are all the right things. The solution is to give ourselves completely to God – to offer our entire lives as a sacrifice to Him in thankfulness and love for what He’s done for us. Then as we focus on Him we’ll learn what His will is for us and how we can glorify Him.

This step of getting God’s view takes time. It is a gradual transformation in our thinking that God effects as we grow in Him. We have to see that our focus on the things of this world keeps us from seeing the importance of love and relationships. That misplaced focus keeps us from fully serving God. We must focus on storing up treasures in heaven rather than on Earth because that will show whether our hearts belong to God or Money. If we let the concerns of this life take priority over the concerns of eternal life, we will be unfruitful. Jesus warns of this danger in Mark 4:18-19:

18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. Mark 4:18-19 (NIV)

We must learn that everything belongs to God and everything comes from God. We must learn to be thankful in all circumstances. We must find satisfaction in our daily bread. We must learn that life is more than pursuing wealth, buying everything our culture tells us to want, and retiring early. And even though these ideas go against our human nature, we must understand that it’s not worth gaining the whole world if we end up losing our souls.

The transformation that happens as we let God renew our minds and thinking has huge repercussions in our lives. We gain understanding of what it means to be content in Christ. We see that our faith in Jesus gives us eternal life. We see the utter worthlessness of everything on earth when compared to our salvation and the riches of eternal life with God. We put our hope in Christ and the life He gives. Christ then gives us true contentment that conquers any circumstance we may face, but we must continue to focus on our hope in Him and weigh everything against the surpassing value of our eternal life with God.

When we find contentment in Christ and Christ alone, the importance of money in our lives diminishes and pales to the value we place on Jesus. We learn the secret to being happy in all situations – whether we’re full or starving, rich or poor, employed or jobless, single or married – nothing in this life matters at all when compared to the glorious gift of Jesus and the fact that no one and no circumstance can take that away from us. As Paul says in Philippians 4:11-13:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV)

When we see everything in light of eternity, we find that nothing on earth is of more value than our faith in Christ. We learn that while we may never be rich by the world’s standards, we have riches that can’t be measured in dollars, gold, houses, cars, or anything else in this life. We understand that contentment in Christ is true wealth.

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV)

Once we have this conviction of always finding our contentment in Christ, the Spirit will teach us to place much less importance on material things. We will no longer be focused solely on our own needs and wants – an early retirement, a bigger house, a nicer car, and so on. Instead, we’ll be consumed with a desire to focus on the needs of others – to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and show God’s love to the world through our faith and deeds. This is the essence of contentment in Christ. We’ll spend less and less on ourselves and our desires as we seek to give more and more to others and fulfill God’s desires.

http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/gods-provident-plan-contentment-in-christ/?awt_l=6_YgE&awt_m=LTLO.iYltTUH7V

April 14

Do You Have What it Takes To Become a Financial Literacy Award Winner? Here Are The 2014 Education In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards Winners

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The Institute for Financial Literacy® 2014 Excellence In Financial Literacy Education (EIFLE) Awards winners are honored for their distinguished accomplishments in developing, implementing and promoting successful financial literacy education worldwide.

The EIFLE Awards were established in 2007 and have since become one of the most prestigious and sought after awards in the industry. Each year, the Institute for Financial Literacy presents EIFLE Awards to individuals and organizations that have shown exceptional innovation, dedication and commitment to the field of financial literacy education.

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The work of these authors, educators, organizations and researchers inspires others to strive toward excellence as well, increasing the availability and effectiveness of financial literacy education in communities across the country.

I had the pleasure attending the Annual Conference on Financial Education. I met and interviewed some of the award winning individuals (see below) and I will make the interviews available in future blog posts and podcasts of The Potential Millionaire / Potencial Millonario – www.potentialmillionaire.net. In my conversations with the award winners it was made very clear that helping the underprivileged was a staple of their commitment to producing, teaching, and funding financial literacy programs. I learned that it was the core of their individual beliefs and corporate visions.  On behalf of The Potential Millionaire, I congratulate and commend all of the EIFLE winners.

The Institute for Financial Literacy website can be reached at www.Financiallit.org for detailed information on the EIFLE awards. If you know any of the award winners or just wan to say congrats,  please  leave a comment below. 

EIFLE logoHere are the 2014 EIFLE award winners:

For Profit Organization of the Year:

ING Bank Turkey

Organization of the Year, Corporate Leadership:

Discover

 Instructional Game of the Year:Tabletop

MoneyWorks

Goodwill Industries of West Michigan, Inc.

Nonprofit Organization of the Year:

Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada)

 Education Program of the Year:Children, General

Hartford Stage Financial Literacy Program

Hartford Stage

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Financial Responsibility & Decision Making

TrueWealth-KIDS

TrueWealth Ventures, Inc.

 Education Program of the Year:Children, Income & Careers

CU 4 Reality™ Financial Education Program

America’s Credit Union Museum

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Saving & Investing

Delaware BANK AT SCHOOL

Delaware Financial Literacy Institute

 Education Program of the Year:Adult, General

Adelante con tu future, Educacion Financiera

BBVA Bancomer

Education Program of the Year:

Children, Planning & Money Management

Youth Financial Camp

A+ Federal Credit Union

 Book of the Year:Adult, General

Pocket Change: Using the Science of Personal Change to Improve Financial Habits

by Heidi T. Beckman, PH.D.

Book of the Year:

Children, General

The Money Tree

by LaDonna Smith

Legacy:

Hon. John C. Nifo II

Credit Abuse Resistance Education (CARE)

Book of the Year:

Adult, Money Management

The $1,000 Challenge: How One Family Slashed Its Budget Without Moving Under a Bridge or Living on Government Cheese

by Brian O’Connor

Educator(s) of the Year:

William Daniel

William R. Boone High School

Educator(s) of the Year:

Ingrid Adade

Leominster Credit Union

April 12

Boxing Legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad Brought To His Knees By A 68 Million Investment Loss

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Posted By Felix A. Montelara

Author: Potencial Millonario

Boxing  legend Felix “Tito” Trinidad is brought to his knees by a 68 million investment loss.  However, the knockout blow may be the reported debt of approximately nine million dollars.

Felix Trinidad, in an attempt to be responsible with his assets obtained a brokerage firm, “Popular Securities,” to manage his well-earned fortune. Now I’m going to explain how it is possible to lose an estimated 68 million dollars even if it is invested by a third party and you (or in this case Trinidad) are not monitoring the account. According to reports, José ‘Pepe’ Ramos was assigned by Popular Securities to handle Trinidad’s account. Ramos invested most if not all the money in bonds, according to news reports in Puerto Rico.  The truth is that until September 2013, this type of investment was not risky on face value. The problem began in September 2013 when the markets (Moody’s and the S&P 500) downgraded Puerto Rico’s bonds to junk bond status, hence reducing Trinidad’s wealth (fortune). It is said that Trinidad began to see losses in his statement. Really? Red flag, anyone?

The second problem is that if it is true that Ramos invested 100% of Trinidad’s money in bonds only, we can all see an issue with assets allocation. In lay man words, Ramos placed all the eggs in one basket (Puerto Rico bonds). The right thing to do was to diversify into many assets across the market and invest in several different market sectors, as I would say, “A little of this and a little of that.” Truth be said it is unknown at this time if Trinidad asked to be conservative with his investments, or even if Ramos was authorized to invest without Trinidad’s consent.   No one knows why Ramos decided to place everything into bonds. It is true that before September 2013, Puerto Rico bonds had good ratings in the market and benefited from a triple tax exemption and could be enticing- or as I would say it would have been “sexy” to invest in them for any portfolio at that time; however, never at 100% of any portfolio.

One must understand that Trinidad is a former professional athlete and a marvelous boxing World Champion. He is not a finance expert. He took prudent steps to preserve his fortune but that was not enough.  The last blow brings Trinidad to his knees by a man without gloves in a suit. The lack of basic personal finance education hurt Trinidad as much as it hurts everyone else. Trinidad would have most likely have avoided this type of situation if he was well trained in personals finances. Its like training for a championship bout and not knowing the opponent.  It is alleged that Trinidad noticed losses on his statement.  In the boxing world that is like telegraphing a cross punch. With personal finance training Trinidad may have seen the knee dropping blow coming his way.   When Trinidad

Amonzon Book cover

received his earning statement reports with some personal finance training he could have determined that all the eggs were in one basket and we all know in personal finances that is not a good thing.

Also with a good personal financial education a millionaire worth 68 plus may have not carried with an estimated nine million in debts. Why would Trinidad? Anyone trained or educated in the basics of personal finance knows that the debt is the most powerful opponent, who most likely provides the knock out blow when you are already down on your knees. But as they say in my neighborhood: “to late,” the money was invested and lost. The only controversy is whether Ramos was authorized by Trinidad to place the eggs in one basket.  Ramos, along with Popular Securities, will defend themselves as if they were in a championship bout and the truth will be known in court.

If you were in Trinidad’s shoes, would you have the know-how to foresee that ultimately it is your responsibility to watch over your money?

Finally, we are celebrating Financial Literacy month in April.  Wise up!   Get educated in personal finance and do not allow yourself to be victimized due to financial ignorance. Remember, we all have “The Potential Millionaire.”

April 11

8 secrets of success – (TED Talk)

Why do people succeed? Is it because they’re smart? Or are they just lucky? Neither. Analyst Richard St. John condenses years of interviews into an unmissable 3-minute slideshow on the real secrets of success.

Richard St. John, Marketer, success analyst
A self-described average guy who found success doing what he loved, Richard St. John spent more than a decade researching the lessons of success — and distilling them into 8 words, 3 minutes and one successful book

0:11This is really a two-hour presentation I give to high school students, cut down to three minutes. And it all started one day on a plane, on my way to TED, seven years ago. And in the seat next to me was a high school student, a teenager, and she came from a really poor family. And she wanted to make something of her life, and she asked me a simple little question. She said, “What leads to success?”And I felt really badly, because I couldn’t give her a good answer. So I get off the plane, and I come to TED. And I think, jeez, I’m in the middle of a room of successful people! So why don’t I ask them what helped them succeed, and pass it on to kids?

0:47So here we are, seven years, 500 interviews later, and I’m gonna tell you what really leads to successand makes TEDsters tick. And the first thing is passion. Freeman Thomas says, “I’m driven by my passion.” TEDsters do it for love; they don’t do it for money.

1:04Carol Coletta says, “I would pay someone to do what I do.” And the interesting thing is: if you do it for love, the money comes anyway.

1:11Work! Rupert Murdoch said to me, “It’s all hard work. Nothing comes easily. But I have a lot of fun.” Did he say fun? Rupert? Yes!

1:21TEDsters do have fun working. And they work hard. I figured, they’re not workaholics. They’re workafrolics.

1:29Good! Alex Garden says, “To be successful put your nose down in something and get damn good at it.”There’s no magic; it’s practice, practice, practice.

1:39And it’s focus. Norman Jewison said to me, “I think it all has to do with focusing yourself on one thing.”

1:45And push! David Gallo says, “Push yourself. Physically, mentally, you’ve gotta push, push, push.” You gotta push through shyness and self-doubt.

1:54Goldie Hawn says, “I always had self-doubts. I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t smart enough. I didn’t think I’d make it.”

2:01Now it’s not always easy to push yourself, and that’s why they invented mothers. (Laughter) Frank Gehry — Frank Gehry said to me, “My mother pushed me.”

2:13Serve! Sherwin Nuland says, “It was a privilege to serve as a doctor.”

2:18Now a lot of kids tell me they want to be millionaires. And the first thing I say to them is: “OK, well you can’t serve yourself; you gotta serve others something of value. Because that’s the way people really get rich.”

2:30Ideas! TEDster Bill Gates says, “I had an idea: founding the first micro-computer software company.”I’d say it was a pretty good idea. And there’s no magic to creativity in coming up with ideas – it’s just doing some very simple things. And I give lots of evidence.

2:46Persist! Joe Kraus says, “Persistence is the number one reason for our success.” You gotta persist through failure. You gotta persist through crap! Which of course means “Criticism, Rejection, Assholes and Pressure.” (Laughter)

3:01So, the big — the answer to this question is simple: Pay 4,000 bucks and come to TED. Or failing that, do the eight things — and trust me, these are the big eight things that lead to success. Thank you TEDsters for all your interviews!

April 6

How to get your financial house in order by age 30 (USA Today- Money)

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Author: Anne Godlasky, @annieisi, USA TODAY5:38 p.m. EDT May 16, 2013

New wrinkles. Pressure to procreate. And what have you checked off your bucket list lately? Turning 30 can be stressful, even before thinking about personal financial goals and how to achieve them.

Adults 34 and younger grade themselves worse than any other age group in their personal finance knowledge, with 48% giving themselves a C or lower, according to a survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. Financial planners say that needs to change. Millennials have a lot to do to get their house in order.

“I think every birthday you check your credit score and your weight, and one should be going up, and one should be coming down,” says Jean Chatzky, 48, a personal finance expert whose Money School webinars launched last month. “People around 30 are under more pressures than any prior generation,” she says, citing “tremendous” student loan debt, “stagnant” wages, the burst housing bubble and the burden of retirement and health care costs moving increasingly from employers to individuals.

In fact, the average net worth of those under 40 in 2010 was 7% below that of people in the same age range in 1983, the Urban Institute reported in March.

“Thirty today isn’t what 30 was a few decades ago. It could mean single and 30, or married with children,” says Megan Rindskopf, 26, a certified financial planner with ClearView Wealth Management in Charlotte. “I think the biggest issue for people in this age range is knowing how best to deal with competing priorities. A lot of people are living paycheck to paycheck. This is kind of the age where you feel you need to grow up.”

WHAT FINANCIAL GOALS SHOULD MILLENNIALS SET?

A good benchmark is to have one year’s salary saved in retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), by age 30, says David Weliver, 32, who created the financial advice websiteMoney Under 30 after recovering from his own problems with debt. Weliver calls the goal “income-based, so it’s not comparing a kindergarten teacher and a Wall Street banker.”

Financial experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of every paycheck to retirement and savings accounts.

However, saving newbies shouldn’t start with 10%, some advise.

“It’s like going on a crash diet — if you go too high, it’s too painful and too likely to fail,” Chatzky says. “Once you manage to set aside 2% for three to six months, then notch it up another 2%. … I’ve never seen a budget where I can’t find some wiggle room.”

As you save money, here are steps to take:

1. Meet obligations. Pay your rent and minimum loan amounts on time to avoid charges and fees.

2. Build an emergency fund. If you have nothing, start with $500-$1,500 to avoid overdrafting your checking account, says Weliver, then grow that buffer into a savings worth three to six months’ salary, to support you in case you lose your job.

3. Pay into 401(k) up to company match. If you don’t do this, “you’re missing out on free money,” Rindskopf says. If your company doesn’t match your 401(k) contributions, Weliver still recommends donating 3- to 5%.

4. Pay off credit card debt. “The biggest payoff is going to come from two things — capturing any matching [401(k)] dollars and paying back credit card debt,” because it is high interest, says Chatzky.

5. Increase savings. Once you’ve paid off debt, built an emergency fund and started saving for retirement, “look at shorter term goals and figure out how much you’ll need in two to five years,” such as paying for a wedding, car or down payment on a house, Weliver says. “You don’t want to put everything in retirement if you don’t have enough to pay for the things you’ll need.”

6. Buy life insurance. “I absolutely recommend it if you’re starting a family or if you have a spouse who depends on you to pay the bills,” says Rindskopf. “Do a little research before you jump in and buy a policy.”

7. Increase 401(k) contributions to 10%, even if it’s beyond company match, Weliver says.

8. Pay off student loans on schedule. Student loans are “tax-deductible and the interest rate is generally low,” says Chatzky.

9. Open tax-advantaged accounts. “If you’ve maxed out [other savings], but you still have money to put aside, look at other tax advantaged accounts you can open. If you have a child, look at the 529″ to save for their college education, Chatzky says.

10. Invest. If you’ve done all of this, increased your retirement and your savings and still have money to spare, you may consider investing in taxable brokerage accounts.

THE GENERATION OF ADJUSTED EXPECTATIONS

Chatzky, a mother of two teens, 18 and 16, says many young adults will need to “choose a smaller lifestyle than earlier generations.”

“It’s very demoralizing to think that the next generation won’t have a shot at doing as well as their parents did,” she says.

Weliver agrees that his generation has a different standard of living.

“We need to lower our expectations,” he says. “Retirement age may be 70. … That just may be the reality of our generation.”

With 32% of those 18-34 saying they put nothing toward retirement, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, even a later retirement date requires getting serious about personal finances as soon as possible.

“When you turn 30, it’s a really good time to make a five-year plan for your finances. Your 20s are notoriously uncertain — you may be moving, in and out of relationships and different jobs — so it’s hard to stick to a five-year plan because things change so quickly,” Weliver says. “By the time you’re 30, things may slow down a bit and there may be a natural progression in terms of savings and salary.”

Follow Anne Godlasky on Twitter @annieisi

April 4

Six (6) Tough Questions To Ask Before Retiring

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Here is a great article from Moneyrates.com. It provides food for thought. Are you ready?

Remember we all have “Potencial Millonario”

Enjoy,

Felix A. Montelara

Author: Potencial Millonario 

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Felix A. Montelara – Author Potencial Millonario (Army Photo 1985)

By Naomi Mannino | Money Rates Columnist

While the biggest factor in deciding when to retire is whether you still need or want to work, there are many other variables to consider to ensure a comfortable and secure life after work.

“There is an upward trend in Americans working beyond age 60,” says Gary Burtless, Ph.D, research associate at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. “And we’ve seen an increasing number of people staying in the workforce until age 72.”

Burtless says that the incentives within the Social Security system and employer-matched 401(k) plan contributions can make working later in life more financially attractive.

In addition, American’s confidence in their ability to retire comfortably is at an all time-low. According to the 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), 60 percent of workers report having less than $25,000 in savings or retirement assets.

In “Women Still at Work: Professionals Over Sixty and On the Job” and a forthcoming book on aging men in the workforce, found that a main reason would-be retirees choose to keep working beyond age 60 is that they enjoy the work and the feeling they are contributing and making a difference.

How can you know whether you’re ready for retirement? Asking yourself these six questions may help. Any “no” answers may mean it’s worth waiting a little longer to retire.

1. Is your credit in order?

“High interest debt on credit cards should be paid off,” says John Ulzheimer, president of SmartCredit.com. “Otherwise it simply doesn’t make sense to retire.”

Ulzheimer notes that carrying debt with interest rates higher than your investment yields can lead to losing money every month.

“It’s not uncommon to have some small vacation rental or remaining mortgage debt upon retirement,” Ulzheimer says. “But this interest is tax-deductible and low-priced, with an end in sight in comparison to credit card debt.”

Ulzheimer also recommends not applying for any new credit and cleaning up any default or collection accounts remaining on your credit report. “Once you’ve stopped working, you will have less capacity to pay off debts and you certainly don’t want collections phone calls,” he says.

2. Have you maxed out your retirement benefits?

“The more money you can put in your monthly retirement income bucket by maximizing the income from all different sources, the better off you will be” says Steve Repak, CFP, author of “Dollars and Uncommon Sense.” “And, currently, a lot of it depends on delaying retirement.”

Repak notes that your Social Security benefits increase until you reach age 70, and that if your employer provides a pension or matches any investment contributions you make, such as those made to a 401(k), it may pay to keep working and let your accounts continue growing.

3. Is your health declining?

Good health is another reason Americans may choose to work longer, according to Fideler.

As a healthy worker, you may find it beneficial to keep your job — and health insurance — until age 65 when Medicare can cover some of your health care expenses. If you retire before age 65, you may pay significantly more to keep health coverage through the COBRA program or your spouse’s employee health plan, says Repak.

“Maintain as active a lifestyle as possible to save money on health care costs now and later,” advises Dr. Paul Terpeluk, D.O., medical director of employee health services at the Cleveland Clinic. “You will avoid spending on prescription and over-the-counter medications, procedures and co-pays for the major sedentary-lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and heart disease.”

4. Are you working out of choice?

In the EBRI survey, retirees who worked gave some of these financial reasons:

  • To buy extras
  • Decreased value of their savings or investments
  • Needing money to make ends meet
  • Needing money to keep health insurance or other benefits

“Obviously, if you have more income than expenses, then you have the choice to work at something you enjoy or are passionate about,” Repak says.

“Well-educated, career workers over 60 are more likely to love what they do, find meaning in their work and enjoy their patients, clients and/or students,” says Fideler, who notes that many gradually cut back to part-time work or become consultants or self-employed. “The decision is not irrevocable — if they find themselves bored, they return to work.”

5. Have you minimized your income needs?

“The many retirement calculators and savings and spending formulas don’t work for everyone,” says Repak. “A simple list of monthly retirement expenses and monthly retirement income can show you whether you have enough to retire or not. Try living that budget for a few months to see if it’s realistic,” advises Repak.

If you still have college expenses, dependent family members or other costly obligations, waiting longer to retire may help decrease these expenses, according to the EBRI study.

6. Do you have enough cash?

Repak advises having at least two years of retirement expenses available in liquid, insured savings accounts with the best savings rates you can find. This way, if you need money for a large household repair, car mishap or health emergency, you will not have to raid your retirement accounts or turn to credit cards.

But Repak says you shouldn’t keep more in liquid assets than you need to.

“Liquid, safe money is not currently earning interest ahead of inflation,” says Repak