Financial Matters

Refrain from Tapping Your Retirement Funds

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Refrain from Tapping Your Retirement Funds

Resist the temptation. Your future self will thank you.  

Retirement accounts are not bank accounts. Nor should they be treated as such. When retirement funds are drawn down, they impede the progress of retirement planning, even if the money is later restored.

In a financial crush, a retirement account may seem like a great source of funds. It is often much larger than a savings account; it is technically not a liquid asset, but it can easily be mistaken for one.

The central problem is this: when you take a loan or an early distribution from an IRA or a workplace retirement plan, you are borrowing from your future self. In fact, you may effectively be borrowing more money from your future than you think. Even if you put every dollar you take out back into the account, you are robbing those dollars you removed of the tax-deferred growth and compounding they could have realized while invested. (more…)

Avoiding the Cybercrooks

Posted by on Oct 9, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Avoiding the Cybercrooks

How can you protect yourself against ransomware, phishing, and other tactics? 

Imagine finding out that your computer has been hacked. The hackers leave you a message: if you want your data back, you must pay them $300 in bitcoin. This was what happened to hundreds of thousands of PC users in May 2017 when they were attacked by the WannaCry malware, which exploited security flaws in Windows.

How can you plan to avoid cyberattacks and other attempts to take your money over the Internet? Be wary, and if attacked, respond quickly. (more…)

Life Insurance Products with Long Term Care Riders

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on Life Insurance Products with Long Term Care Riders

Are they worthwhile alternatives to traditional LTC policies?

 

The price of long-term care insurance has really gone up. If you are a baby boomer and you have kept your eye on it for a few years, chances are you have noticed this. Last year, the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) noted that married 60-year-olds would pay between $2,000-3,500 annually in premiums for a standalone LTC policy.1

Changing demographics and low interest rates have prompted major insurers to stop offering LTC coverage. As the AALTCI notes, the number of LTC policies sold in this country fell from 750,000 in 2000 to 105,000 in 2015. Not all insurers offer these policies. The demand for the coverage remains, however – and in response, insurance providers have introduced new options.1,2 (more…)

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…)