Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

Remind clients of home equity when planning their retirement
A report from the Bipartisan Policy Center indicates that many cash-strapped Americans are unaware that their home equity offers them the opportunity to help secure their golden years. According to the center, Americans have an aggregate $12.5 trillion in home equity, almost equal to the $14 trillion they hold collectively in retirement savings. And many of them make the mistake of tapping that home value in the form of loans for immediate consumption, which can deplete the equity they've saved, which could be used in retirement. The report encourages people instead to preserve their home equity to improve their financial security in retirement, particularly for those workers who have little savings. One way to shore up retirement savings using home equity is to take a reverse mortgage. Clients may also sell their property and move to a less costly house, pay off their mortgage and live rent-free in their home, or earn additional income by renting out a portion of the house. They may also consider their home equity as a resource for their long-term care expenses in the future. --CBS Moneywatch

(Andy Dean Photography)
(Andy Dean Photography) Andy Dean Photography

The science behind why clients don’t save (and what to do about it)
While low income limits an individual's ability to save for retirement, many people fail to prepare adequately for their golden years mainly because they tend to their current needs first at the expense of their long-term goals, according to this article on Money. Many people are also too busy to act on issues that do not need immediate attention, such as retirement. Employers and financial service providers can use insights from behavioral psychology to prompt more people to save, such as offering features that make retirement contributions and escalation of contributions automatic. --Money

How to manage clients’ transition to retirement
The transition to retirement poses numerous challenges to retirees, so financial advisers should provide a strategy to help ease this phase, according to an expert. Advisers should develop a more flexible plan, warning their clients that it is impossible to have a perfect plan due to the many unknown factors involved, the expert explains. "An approach to retirement transitioning that’s based on emotional support is how advisers can best serve these clients. And it’s how we can position ourselves as lifelong financial experts to them." --The Wall Street Journal

Tips for maximizing a 401(k) match
Annual contributions to 401(k) plans are limited to $18,000 for workers below the age of 50, and $24,000 for those who reach 50 and above. This cap excludes their employers' matching contributions, according to this article on Morningstar. Total combined contributions are capped at $53,000 (or $59,000 for older participants). To make the most of the company match contribution, 401(k) participants should contribute an amount that is enough to qualify for the full match and avoid reaching the individual contribution limit too early in the year. --Morningstar

6 estate planning tips for those approaching death
Retirees experiencing deteriorating health should engage in estate planning, as death could lead to complicated estate issues for their loved ones, according to this article on Kiplinger. A good estate plan should include durable powers of attorney for financial matters in case estate owners become incapacitated, as well as a revocable trust to avoid probate. Clients can minimize the estate tax bill by transferring assets to get a step up or step down in income tax basis, and by making charitable donations. Retirees should also review their life insurance policies and find ways to avoid income in respect of the decedent. --Kiplinger

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