Finances, financial services and planning

Includes articles on finances, financial planning and organizations or agencies that provide financial services.

Free Financial Planning Tools from

Guidance and investment tools to help you make decisions and plan wisely. Tools include: a RMD calculator, a compound interest and savings goal calculator, social security retirement estimator, a mutual fund analyzer, and a 529 Expense analyzer.

What to Do if Your Wallet is Lost or Stolen

7 steps to prevent identity theft and money loss — plus how to replace what’s missing.

You reach for your wallet to settle up a bill and find … nothing. Panic sets in as you frantically pat down your pockets or fumble around the contents of your purse. It’s gone. Losing whatever cash you may have on hand is bad enough, but the other contents in your wallet can be a treasure trove for criminals, who can go on to perpetrate credit card fraud and identity theft.

The silver lining: Act fast and you can minimize much of the potential damage. Here’s where to start.

An AARP article from June 20th, 2023 by Barbara Stepko . . .

How to Retire on a Cruise Ship.

Retirement on a cruise ship is a major lifestyle shift, so consider these factors before committing to life at sea.

"If you enjoyed cruises during your vacation time, it may be appealing to think about moving onboard permanently in retirement. Cruising has become increasingly accessible during the last decade and continues to provide a somewhat leisurely mode to explore the world. While the idea of setting sail and enjoying a plethora of amenities can be attractive, there are logistics to consider before signing up for long-term cruising.

To investigate retirement on a cruise ship, you’ll want to:

  • Understand what’s involved with the lifestyle.
  • Look at your finances and set a budget.
  • Review options for the services you need.
  • Consider how your social life will be impacted.
  • Outline your priorities and talk to family.

Use the following information as a starting point to help you decide if you should spend your retirement years on a cruise ship."

Check out this US News and World Report article from June 2022 to acquire some insight regarding the steps that should be considered before embarking on such an adventure!

Vanguard: Planning for Retirement Health Care Costs

Chances are you already know about the kinds of health care costs you'll face in retirement—they're not too different from your preretirement costs. So how much really changes when you hit age 65? We took a look at your health care cost breakdown.

The article initially focuses on Medicare and Medicare plans, but if you venture into the available links, you will learn a lot more about important planning considerations. I recommend following the provided links to learn more.

Vanguard is a very traditional and reliable source of information. Keep in mind that they are also providers of financial investment products and service.

The Costs of Spending Retirement Living on a Cruise Ship - SmartAsset

"The first step in planning for retirement involves forming a clear vision of the lifestyle you want to enjoy. Often that means pulling up stakes and moving to another location in the United States or abroad – choosing your new home based on tax-friendliness, cost, livability, and other factors. But other retirees choose a very different lifestyle: traveling around the world permanently aboard a cruise ship. If you’re considering this option for retirement, there are some important financial implications to keep in mind. Before setting out you may want to discuss your full retirement plan with a financial advisor who can help you prepare."

What Is the Cost of Retiring on a Cruise Ship?

"Living on a cruise ship in retirement could be a cost-saving measure for seniors who may be working with a smaller financial nest egg.

“A cruise ship retirement has the potential to be more affordable than a standard retirement if you were comparing it to living in a retirement home or assisted living community,” says Tricia Tetreault, a financial analyst for Fit Small Business."

There are a number of important tips, including some that are totally unique to this type of adventure.

Check out this May 2023 article from SmartAsset that addresses the cost of retiring on a cruise ship.

AARP - Money Map

Navigating your finances just got easier.

Whether you're managing debt today or saving for tomorrow, let AARP Money Map™ guide you to better financial health and peace of mind.

Take Control of Your Money.

Our free online money management tools help you slash your debt, build up savings, and more.

Features focused on your finances.


Get personalized plans that fit your goals. Your plan includes tips and monthly activities that help you stay on track.


Track your financial goal progress against your action plans for reducing expenses, paying off debt, saving for emergencies, and more.


Estimate the costs of using a credit card or borrowing money via a personal loan, home equity loan, or retirement plan.


See your road ahead clearly with a central view of your tools and progress.


Find your best route for paying off debts with estimates for payoff dates and possible ways to save.


We’ll help you navigate the pros, cons, and true costs of payment options for unplanned expenses.


Create a savings plan complete with milestones to help keep you on track.


Use Budget Builder to help prioritize expenses, pay down debt, and reach your savings goals faster.

Use the following link to access the AARP Money Map tools.

5 Steps to Retirement Planning in 2023: An Introduction and How-to Guide

NOTE: The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

Why is retirement planning important?

Planning for retirement is a way to help you maintain the same quality of life in the future. You might not want to work forever, or be able to fully rely on Social Security.

Retirement planning has five steps: knowing when to start, calculating how much money you'll need, setting priorities, choosing accounts and choosing investments. Generally, financial advisors suggest you invest more aggressively when you’re younger, then slowly dial back to a more conservative mix of investments as you approach retirement age.

How to Plan for Healthcare Costs in Retirement

How do you account for health care costs in your retirement planning? If you're like most people, you're underestimating these expenses.

This is another sponsored site. Many of the available online resources will be sponsored sites. You always need to vet any professionals or services that you might actually engage in advance, but to engage you they often offer many valuable resources to help introduce you to the topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Many retirees and people getting ready to transition out of the workforce forget to budget for healthcare when they estimate their expenses in retirement.
  • There are five types of health care premiums you are likely to have in retirement: Medicare Part B, Medigap, Medicare Part C, Medicare Part D, and long-term care.
  • Annual out-of-pocket expenses are growing along with the rising cost of medical care.
  • If you plan on retiring early (before 65) make sure you understand the cost of carrying your own health insurance premiums until you reach Medicare age.

In addition, there are many on point supporting articles for your consideration.

20 Steps to Take When Preparing for Retirement

Making money-related changes now can reduce financial stress during retirement.

By Rachel Hartman| Reviewed by Katy Marquardt| May 10, 2023, at 3:40 p.m.

Preparing for retirement doesn't have to be difficult or complex. Even if you don't have a detailed plan for retirement in place, taking small steps can make a big difference as you approach retirement.

Here are 20 steps to take now to prepare for retirement . . .

AARP Retirement Calculator

AARP Retirement Calculator: Are You Saving Enough?

Find out when — and how — to retire the way you want.

Are you financially prepared for retirement?

Thinking about retirement can be overwhelming. You may ask:

  • Am I saving enough?
  • When can I afford to stop working?
  • How long will my money last?

Use the AARP Retirement Calculator to help plan your financial future so you can retire when - and how - you want. You've got options. This calculator will help you discover what they are.

Use the following link to access the AARP Retirement Calculator.

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors in Arizona in 2023

NOTE: This information is provided by is a private company providing Arizona residents with support navigating the ALTCS program.

What is ALTCS?

ALTCS (pronounced ALTECS) is an acronym for the Arizona Long Term Care System. ALTCS is an Arizona Medicaid program that is designed to help fixed income seniors and other disabled individuals afford the care that they need. ALTCS pays for the care that you need after savings are exhausted. The program requires an application and typically takes between 60 and 90 days for approval.

We are not the governmental ALTCS Medicaid office, but Senior Planning is happy to assist you through the application process along with finding care.


ALTCS Eligibility:

The Arizona Long Term Care program is for seniors and disabled individuals that need long term care.

There are two components to the application. The first is a financial assessment, determining whether or not the applicant can afford to pay for necessary care on their own. We are happy to go over your specific financial situation to determine whether or not you qualify.

The second component is the functional and medical assessment, which determines whether a person is truly in need of long-term care. Total need is determined by points with a successful application scoring 60 points or higher.


NOTE: Senior Planning is based in Phoenix and serves the entire state of Arizona. We are happy to meet with you at home or provide a consultation by phone.

Senior Planning is paid commission for the care services that we find. We do not charge our clients for consultations about the ALTCS application or finding care for you. We are paid a commission by the communities so finding care is free to you. We also offer more robust services for benefits assistance at extremely affordable rates.


Be Prepared to Meet with a Financial Advisor

Be confident, informed and prepared to meet with a financial advisor.

AARP Interview an AdvisorTM helps you understand the advisor’s credentials, compensation and how to get the conversation started.

This is a great tool prepared by AARP to help you to be prepared to meet with prospective financial advisors.

Investment professionals generally come in two varieties; registered investment adviser representatives and broker-dealer agents. As is explained in more detail below, registered investment advisers typically offer a greater depth of services and advice than broker-dealer agents, and are an appropriate choice for someone looking for substantial investment advice and account monitoring. On the other hand, if you are simply looking to buy or sell stocks, for example, you can readily find a broker-dealer to execute your transaction. Read on, and apply the “gold standard” if you are looking for advice and guidance from a personal financial professional.

NCOA: Money for Older Adults

As we live longer, our savings need to last longer, too. Get tips for money management, avoiding scams, and reducing debt to help make the most of your money as you age.

Check out the numerous financial planning resources available from the National Council on Aging (NCOA) A great, reliable resource.

AARP - 5 Things You Need to Know About Finances When Turning 65

"It’s a pivotal age for retirement planning — even if you aren’t ready to retire yet."

"Gone are the days when most people retired at 65, received a gold watch, then lived off their pension and full Social Security benefits. But 65 is still an important age financially for retirees and near retirees, in terms of both what you get and what you don’t."

Check out this article from AARP for some hints and tips on actions you need to be considering when approaching. 65.

Mutual of Omaha Reverse Mortgage

"Mutual of Omaha has been helping customers since 1909. Inspired by hometown values and committed to being responsible and caring for each other, we exist for the benefit of our customers.

And, like our customers, we thrive on relationships and building genuine, enduring connections. As a mutual company, our focus isn't on increasing share prices. It's helping customers reach their financial goals.

What that means is if you're considering a reverse mortgage loan, you can feel secure knowing Mutual of Omaha Mortgage exists solely to do right by our customers, every time.

We understand that for some companies a loan is transactional. That's not us, and it never will be. A reverse mortgage is more than a financial decision. It’s the promise of a life you want to build and the memories you want to make. And that’s why before we talk reverse mortgage loan, we focus on you and your needs."

Check their website for more information.

AARP - Links to Financial Planning Tools and Concepts for Retirement

A collection of excellent articles for those planning for retirement as well as those already in retirement.

AARP - 10 Financial Moves to Make in Your 60s

Time to make big decisions on where to live and what to spend

by Patricia Amend, AARP, November 2, 2021

It’s getting close . . . very close! For most of your adult life you’ve planned for retirement, and now that you’re in your 60s, it’s very close indeed. Are you getting ready? Will your transition be as smooth as possible? Will you start this new chapter in your life with a sense of optimism?

Like most people, you may not be so sure. A 2019 economic well-being study published by the Federal Reserve indicated that just 45 percent of nonretired adults over the age of 60 believe that their retirement planning is on track. What’s more, 60 percent of nonretirees who hold a 401(k), IRA or other self-directed retirement savings accounts aren’t comfortable managing their own investments.

If you haven’t already done so, financial advisers recommend taking an inventory to think things through. Consider making two checklists — one for your lifestyle, and another for financial matters — to assess your situation and determine the steps you need to take as the countdown continues. Be sure to enlist the help of an adviser whenever needed, and use the following as a guide.

AARP - Financial News & Investment Advice


"Get the latest financial news and expert advice on money management to budget effectively, spend wisely, build a nest egg and live well in retirement."

AARP does a good job of defining the basic financial concepts that relate to successful retirement and senior living. Check their website for some valuable resources.

Medicaid Planning - Protecting You Against Life's Risks

NOTE: This information has been provided by Stronghold Financial, a private company providing support navigating the Arizona Medicaid (ALTCS) program.

The Problem:

Simply put, long-term care (LTC) is the largest financial risk you will face as you age.

4-out-of-5 people over the age of 65 will need LTC in their lifetime
The average cost for LTC is $8,000/month but can exceed $20,000/month in certain cases.

The cost of LTC has historically increased 3-5% per year.

The Solution:

Most families tell us they can’t afford to pay the high costs of LTC without risking their life savings. The good news is Medicaid LTC can drastically reduce the share of LTC costs you and your family will have to pay should the need arise for LTC – for people who are found medically and financially eligible for the program.

In general, Medicaid LTC will pay the difference between your income and your cost of care. Medicaid will also allow you to retain some of your income for personal needs, and shift some of your income to your spouse if you're married.

While Medicaid LTC has strict rules about the amount of income and assets applicants can have in order to be eligible, there are effective and legal strategies we can use for both single and married individuals to get you or your loved one qualified – fast!

Stronghold Financial specializes in re-positioning assets and income to preserve 100% of these resources for the healthy spouse or 50-75% for the estate’s beneficiaries (children, grandchildren, etc.). Our financial strategies are federally approved and 100% safe and legal. Best of all, our hands-on expertise can provide Medicaid LTC financial qualification in an average of three weeks versus the industry average of five months!

14350 North Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Suite 9, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
Monday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday7:00 AM - 5:00 PM

How Is Stronghold Different?

. We average three week approval times on Medicaid LTC applications.
. We preserve and protect your family’s assets and income using a variety of safe and legal strategies.
. We take the entire process of Medicaid planning and application preparation off your plate – removing the stress and overwhelm from getting the care you or your loved one needs.

. After you’re approved, we provide you with the ultimate in peace-of-mind as we are the first firm in the industry to manage your Medicaid status on an ongoing basis. This means we work to keep you compliant year-after-year so you won’t lose your benefits.


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