Financial Matters

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

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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…)

The Cross-Purchase Buy-Sell Agreement

Posted by on Feb 7, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on The Cross-Purchase Buy-Sell Agreement

A plan for sustaining the business you have built after your death.

Business owners are builders. They spend their lives building firms to provide goods and services to their clients, and those firms provide them with a living. But nothing can tear down that lifetime of work faster than the death of a business owner, or the death of a business partner. Often, much of the value of a business dies with the owner.

Small business owners face two major succession questions. First, can the business heirs keep the company afloat when the owner dies, or at least avoid surrendering it at a “fire sale” price? (more…)

A Portrait of Gen X Retirement Saving

Posted by on Jan 27, 2017 in blog page | Comments Off on A Portrait of Gen X Retirement Saving

Is this age group preparing adequately for the future?

How would you guess Gen X is faring when it comes to retirement saving? Americans born between 1965 and 1980 are approaching what should be their peak income years, and many of them have actively contributed to workplace retirement plans, IRAs, and investment accounts. At the same time, Gen X is becoming the new “sandwich generation” – spending time and money to care for kids and aging parents at once.

Here is what we know about Gen X’s degree and pattern of retirement saving, and its progress toward its goals. (more…)

Your Annual Financial To-Do List

Posted by on Dec 28, 2016 in blog page | Comments Off on Your Annual Financial To-Do List

Things you can do before & for 2017.

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for 2017? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives. Some year-end financial moves may help you pursue those goals as well.

What can you do to lower your 2017 taxes? Before the year fades away, you have plenty of options. Here are a few that may prove convenient:

*Make a charitable gift before New Year’s Day. You can claim the deduction on your 2016 return, provided you itemize your 2016 deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail is important here.1 (more…)