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January 3, 2023 | Article | 5 min Personal insights


Knowledge is Retirement Power

Although everyone has experienced a few tough years of higher inflation, it’s important to keep things in perspective. According to the Bureau of Labor, inflation has averaged just 2.41% from 2000 to 2023. Conventional wisdom says you should consider keeping an appropriate amount of your retirement savings allocated to stock and bond mutual funds to help offset inflation risk. Although past performance is no guarantee of future results, historical average stock and bond returns have stayed ahead of inflation over the long term.


Q: Do I have to wait until retirement to open an online Social Security account?

A: No matter what stage you are at in the retirement planning process, everyone should open an online Social Security account as soon as possible. Creating an account gives you the control to check your annual online Social Security statement for accuracy, change your address, verify your reported earnings, estimate your future benefits, and much more. You can visit to open your account. In fact, the Social Security Administration has recently unveiled a brand-new homepage and a new design to help users find what they need more easily.

Quarterly Reminder

Are you expecting a tax refund this year? If so, consider creating an emergency fund with some or all of it. It’s important to have this money available for when something unexpected comes up, such as a car, refrigerator or dishwasher breaking down. Here are the key features of an emergency fund:

  • Aim to have 3-6 months of living expenses saved
  • Keep separate from your checking account
  • No (or low) transaction fees; no penalties for withdrawals
  • Interest earnings on the balance (a little something is better than nothing)

Tools & Techniques

You may feel a lot differently about the money you earn from your job versus money that was gifted to you through a will, trust or other circumstances. And you may have a different feeling toward the money you save through your retirement account — especially when the account is growing versus experiencing losses. You might say everyone has a “money personality” that affects how we think about and manage our money. Take a few minutes to answer a few questions in Fidelity’s money personality quizsm to find out which type you are, how that affects your financial decisions, and some common pitfalls to avoid.

Corner on the Market

Basic financial terms to know

Leading Economic Indicator. Typically, investors and economists pay attention to leading economic indicators, because they can help predict or forecast economic growth, corporate earnings and stock prices. Some types of leading indicators include unemployment claims, consumer confidence, building permits, inventory changes and stock prices. Changes in these numbers can potentially signal what short-term changes are likely to occur in the broader economy.

Heartland Retirement Plan Services are offered through Dubuque Bank and Trust Company. The information provided herein is general in nature and is not intended to be nor should be construed as specific investment, legal or tax advice. The factual information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Heartland Retirement Plan Services makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, it. Products offered through Heartland Retirement Plan Services are not FDIC insured, are not bank guaranteed and may lose value, unless otherwise noted.