Financial Matters

A Primer for Estate Planning

Posted by on Jul 3, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on A Primer for Estate Planning

Things to check and double-check.                                                                                                              

Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.

No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning.

Create a will if you don’t have one. Many people never get around to creating a will, not even buying a will-in-a-box at a stationery store or setting one up online. (more…)

General Information on 401(k) Plans for Employees

Posted by on Jun 21, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on General Information on 401(k) Plans for Employees

This may be one of the best things you can do for your financial health.

If you had a chance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time at no great cost to your lifestyle or your monthly budget, would you take it? An easy-to-use retirement savings option that might go a long way to giving your retirement savings a boost? Look at what the standard 401(k) can offer you.

Tax-deferred growth. The money you save and invest in a traditional 401(k) grows without being taxed. You only pay taxes on it when it is withdrawn.1

Compounding. As the years go by, your untaxed, invested savings have the potential to grow exponentially. If you contribute $5,000 to a 401(k) for 35 straight years and your account earns 9% a year, you could wind up with almost $1.1 million at the end of that 35-year period.1 (more…)

The Real Cost of College

Posted by on Jun 9, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The Real Cost of College

It may not be what you think. 

How much will your family end up paying for college? Your household’s income may have less influence than you think – and some private colleges may be cheaper than you assume.

Private schools sometimes extend the best aid offers. Yes – it is true that the more money you earn and the more assets you have in a tax-advantaged college savings plan, the harder it becomes to qualify for financial aid. Merit aid is another matter, however; most private colleges and universities that boast major endowment funds that support healthy merit-based aid packages. (more…)

Keep Calm, Stay Invested

Posted by on Jun 2, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Keep Calm, Stay Invested

Expect more volatility, but avoid letting the headlines alter your plans.

 Recent headlines have disturbed what was an unusually calm stock market. The political uproar in Washington may continue for weeks or months, and it could mean significant, ongoing turbulence for Wall Street.

As an investor, a retirement saver, how much will this turmoil matter to you in the long run? Perhaps, very little. There are many good reasons to remain in the market. (more…)

The Rough Consequences of Not Saving for Retirement

Posted by on May 23, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The Rough Consequences of Not Saving for Retirement

Do you really want to risk facing these potential outcomes?

Saving for retirement may seem a thankless task. But you may be thanking yourself later. Putting away a percentage of one’s income, money that could be used for any number of bills or luxuries, is a sacrifice made in the present in order to avoid a larger trouble down the road.

More than a quarter of seniors have no retirement savings. To be more specific, the Government Accountability Office says 29% of households headed by people 55 or older have no savings in a retirement account and no possibility of receiving an employer pension.1

(more…)

Should You Apply for Social Security Now or Later?

Posted by on May 4, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Should You Apply for Social Security Now or Later?

When should you apply for benefits? Consider a few factors first.  

Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks? 

Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors aren’t as foreseeable. You don’t know exactly how long you will live, so you can’t predict your lifetime Social Security payout. You may even end up returning to work again. (more…)

The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Posted by on Apr 7, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The A, B, C, & D of Medicare

Breaking down the basics & what each part covers.

Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, you should understand the parts of Medicare – what they cover, and where they come from.

Parts A & B: Original Medicare. America’s national health insurance program for seniors has two components. Part A is hospital insurance. It provides coverage for inpatient stays at medical facilities. It can also help cover the costs of hospice care, home health care, and nursing home care – but not for long and only under certain parameters.1 (more…)

Robo-Advisors vs. Human Advisors

Posted by on Mar 9, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Robo-Advisors vs. Human Advisors

If an investor chooses a non-human financial advisor, what price could they end up paying?

Investors have a choice today that they did not have a decade ago. They can seek investing and retirement planning guidance from a human financial advisor or put their invested assets in the hands of a robo-advisor – a software program that maintains their portfolio.

Why would an investor want to leave all that decision making up to a computer? In this era of cybercrime and “flash crashes” on Wall Street, doesn’t that seem a little chancy? (more…)

Cash Balance Plans

Posted by on Feb 22, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Cash Balance Plans

More professional practices (and practice groups) should look into them.

In corporate America, pension plans are fading away: 59% of Fortune 500 companies offered them to new hires in 1998, but by 2015, only 20% did. In contrast, some legal, medical, accounting, and engineering firms are keeping the spirit of the traditional pension plan alive by adopting cash balance plans.1

Owners and partners of these highly profitable businesses sometimes get a late start on retirement planning. Cash balance plans give them a chance to catch up. Contributions to these defined benefit plans are age dependent: the older you are, the more you can potentially sock away each year for retirement. In 2016, a 55-year-old could defer as much as $180,000 a year into a cash balance plan; a 65-year-old, as much as $245,000.2 (more…)

2017 Retirement Account Limits

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on 2017 Retirement Account Limits

How much can you contribute this year? 

In 2017, you have another chance to max out your retirement accounts. Here is a rundown of yearly contribution limits for the popular retirement savings vehicles.

IRAs. The 2017 limits are the same as in 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year, $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs.1 (more…)