Important Birthdays Over 50


Photo by Jorge Ibanez on Unsplash

My family has a lot of summer birthdays. My wife and I, both our kids, my dad, two of our siblings, a few aunts and uncles and several cousins all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other.

When my kids were little, they thought everyone had a summer birthday.

This summer my oldest will reach the first of many milestone birthdays: 16! And you know what that means: Vroom, Vroom and Cha Ching!

When you are older, milestone birthdays continue to roll on and eventually even “and-a-half” birthdays start to make a comeback.

In fact, starting at age 50, several birthdays and “half-birthdays” are critical to understand because they have implications regarding your retirement income.

What’s On Your Summer Bucket List?

Photo taken in Banff, Alberta, Canada by Mike Branch

Financial planning isn’t about maximizing investment returns, minimizing taxes, or developing strategies to pay less for college or beef up your Social Security check.

It’s really about structuring your personal and financial resources so you can get more joy and happiness from life. That means making the most of the next 90 days, even if it’s not always very summerlike outside.

Start a list.

As a planner, I am fond of lists. I love to create them and attach them to walls, refrigerators and computer monitors. Sometimes I even get to experience the sweet satisfaction of crossing things off them.

I find that a good list not only helps me define and prioritize my goals, it helps me remember what I wanted to do in the first place.

Without a good list, I am likely to find myself at the MN State Fair wondering how I managed to let another summer slip through my fingers.

How To “KonMari” Your Finances

Josh Cleveland and The Cedar Street Band

Borrowing from the wildly popular “KonMari method” of getting your life organized, getting your financial affairs in order may start with getting rid of any unnecessary documents that may be cluttering up your life.

While very few financial documents may spark actual joy to your life, I suggest saving only those documents that may have some value in the future. Shred the rest.

Shred It

On May 7th, Focus Financial hosted its 5th annual shredding event in which clients can bring their personal documents to be shredded by a professional shredding company.  Shred-it of MN provides “secure document destruction” services to over 300,000 customers around the world, as well as community Shred-it events like the one we are hosting.

To learn more about hosting a Shred-it event for your business or organization, read this blog post.

Some tips on what documents to keep and what you should destroy.

Keep forever. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but the following documents should be kept in a secure place forever.

  • Birth and death certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Pension plan documents
  • ID cards and passports
  • Marriage license
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills, living wills, power of attorney, and other legal documents
  • Titles to vehicles you own
  • House deed and mortgage documents

Tax returns. Most experts recommend keeping your tax returns for up to seven years. However, once your return is organized and stored in a safe place, I say keep it forever. Odds are your tax returns aren’t taking up that much space. Besides, there are some situations in which the IRS can go back and audit you indefinitely.

For a more detailed list of what documents to keep and for how long, check out this article by Consumer Reports.

Mike Branch with Tom and Carole Griffith, clients since 1993

The Focus Financial Shred-it event has also become a fun opportunity to spend time with clients in a fun and decidedly non-work atmosphere – Able Seedhouse + Brewery, in this case.

Food, beer, good music and the promise of a more organized financial life, is there a better way to spend a nice spring evening?

Feed My Starving Children Mobile Packing Event


Volunteers pray over a box of MannaPacks assembled by members of Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, MN

For the past several years, in lieu of a traditional holiday gift like cookies or popcorn, I have made a financial contribution to Feed My Starving Children (FMSC) in honor of you, my client.

When I can, I also try to attend a packing event so that I can literally have a hand in the process of making this gift possible.

This past week our church, Incarnation Lutheran Church of Shoreview MN, packed over 780,000 meals at our annual FMSC Mobile Packing event. That’s enough to feed over 2,088 starving children around the world for an entire year!

One of the things I love about Feed My Starving Children is that FMSC is a living example of the miracles that can happen when enough people work together, for a common purpose, contributing what they can, over a long period of time.

Since their inception in 1987, FMSC has delivered over 2 billion nutritionally complete meals to starving children around the world. 90% of the financial donations they receive go directly toward feeding children.

To learn more about FMSC mobile packing experience, watch this video.

Whether you provide financial support to FMSC, contribute your time to a packing event, or support businesses and others who do so, you have been a part of this miracle as well.

Thank you so much.