Senior Expo held

People over 50 had the opportunity to learn a variety of information at the Active Living Senior Expo Tuesday.

Presented by The Messenger, the expo featured vendors discussing the services they offer as well as two speakers who discussed different topics.

One of those speakers was John Nielsen, a certified financial planner and certified retirement planning counselor with Nielsen Financial Management, of Fort Dodge.

Nielsen spoke to about 25 people at the Crossroads Mall about how they can make sure they are prepared financially for their retirement and be secure with their money.

According to Nielsen, there are six key areas of financial planning; retirement planning, education planning, protection planning, income tax planning, estate planning and asset management.

“It’s different for everybody, it’s unique for everybody,” Nielsen said about retirement. “It’s both a journey and a destination.”

Nielsen said one of the most important aspects of retirement planning is saving money early.

“Start as soon as you can,” he said. “You can’t put off planning. Playing catch-up can be difficult later on.”

He showed a chart that demonstrated how saving $3,000 annually can lead to a large accumulation of money once retirement is reached.

Nielsen said if someone starts saving $3,000 annually starting at 20 years old, they’ll have saved $679,000 by the time they’re retired. For a 35-year-old, it would be $254,400 and for a 45-year-old, it would be $120,000.

He also said, on average, people who retire at 65 will spend almost 20 years in retirement. That number, according to Nielsen, is expected to increase with advancements in health care and treatment.

Nielsen also stressed the importance of budgeting when it comes to retirement.

“Preparing a budget is a good thing to do,” he said. “I encourage my clients to do it. We have a budget, my wife and I. It keeps you accountable to yourself.”

Other highlights of Nielsen’s presentation included different types of IRAs and estate planning, which he described as important.

“It’s not just for the wealthy,” he said. “You can control what happens. It makes your wishes clear.”

In addition to Nielsen, the Expo also featured Rick Lamoureux, of Smitty’s Lawn & Landscape and Smitty’s Garden Center, who talked about lawn care.