Fed Chair Powell gave some interesting remarks at yesterdays (3/16/21) meeting. Taking a deep dive into his comments we can glean some pretty important thoughts on monetary policy and the market conditions looking forward.
Eligibility for the $1,400 (per person) stimulus check will be based on your reported income from either your 2019 or 2020 (if filed) tax return. Individuals will be eligible if they have an AGI of $75,000 or less and Married couples with an AGI of $150,000 or less. The income cap is $80,000 and $160,000 respectively. Many people have already received their stimulus payment or will within the coming weeks. You may still use the “Get my payment” tool on IRS.gov to find out specific details regarding your payment.
Reverse Mortgages: How to Use Reverse Mortgages to Secure Your Retirement
By Wade D. Pfau, Ph.D., CFA
Reverse Mortgages are a financing tool that have largely been ignored by retirement and financial planning professionals because of the negative connotation from years past. Dr. Pfau was interested in exploring this untapped resource and how it may fit into a retirement plan in a beneficial way and aren’t inherently a bad idea. The countless hours he spent researching reverse mortgages is apparent.
If you have reached age 70½ and are evaluating charitable giving options, you may consider making a charitable donation directly from your IRA.
Contributions made directly from your IRA to a charity reduce the taxable portion of your IRA distributions and count toward your annual required minimum distribution (RMD).
Under the CARES Act, individuals were eligible to take $100,000 of coronavirus-related distributions from retirement plans. In addition to the distributions being free of penalty there are also accommodations with the IRS for claiming the income as well as repayment of the distributions.
Talking about money with your children does not have to be complicated. The best way to accomplish this is to use day-to-day activities and turn them into learning opportunities.
Younger children often do not understand money and its’ value. This is most apparent when you are giving your child coins. For example, if you give your child the choice between a penny, a dime and a nickel they will almost certainly choose the nickel simply because of the larger size. It is highly important to teach your child value at a young age.
Any conversation about planning for incapacitation or death is uncomfortable for many people, especially if you are having the discussion with your parents. It is important to remember however, that this discussion while uncomfortable will spare you additional stress and pain when you and your family are going through a crisis.
It’s Graduation time!
We all recognize the difficult and unprecedented time that we are in and how that is affecting all our graduates. Whether your loved one is graduating high school or college or finishing up their master’s degree, they are somehow being shortchanged in this rite of passage. We see huge window displays and yard signs and drive by parade’s hoping to honor the work and accomplishments our graduates have achieved.
Starting a family is not a life event that should be taken lightly, especially financially. The price tag for a baby born in 2015 is about $233,000+ from birth to age 17. That is NOT including college! So the questions becomes, how can you manage those costs and still prepare for your own future. Here are a few ideas to help manage your money as you raise your family.
Gray Divorce refers to an increasing divorce group that involves older couples who have been married 20-30+ years. This is becoming a common occurrence as boomers age and their offspring settle out on their own. Because the stigma of divorce has greatly diminished and older couples no longer have an obligation to young children, many couples are choosing to separate. Since 1990, the rate of divorce after age 50 has doubled. This causes some often-tricky circumstances especially when it concerns finances and assets.
The Secure Act (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) was signed into law on Friday, December 20 2019. Below please find some of the more important highlights of the new law. TD Ameritrade is working on accommodating the new rules with systems and internal process updates as they become effective January 1, 2020.
As we wind down 2019, so to do we close the decade. We have shared many wonderful successes and milestones with each other over the years. Mike and Miriam built a strong customer-service centered tax service and following investment firm who’s primary goal was to facilitate the needs of their clientele. In the years that followed, clients became friends and the firms that were built became a close-knit group and a family.
Divorce is not only a strain on your emotional well-being but also your financial well-being. Many times we only focus on the emotional aspect of the split however, it is important to consider the long-term implications. Additionally, your financial rights are dictated by the state you live in. California is a community property state therefore assets will legally be split 50/50 unless a prenuptial agreement exists.
In today’s world relationships are complicated – with second marriages or children from previous relationships things can get even more complicated. In either situation, a legal agreement can assist you as a couple in clearly outlining your wishes and which assets are considered separate property.
Marriage is not just roses, chocolates and diamonds. Marriage is a business relationship that needs thorough discussion and often times compromises. When couples plan for possible scenarios in the future, everyone involved is protected and feels secure. There are several ways that couples can ensure healthy financial decisions pre and post nuptial.
New couples are busy enjoying learning about each other and sharing parts of their lives with one another. Very often an important aspect of sharing a life that gets ignored is discussing your values surrounding financial matters. Things such as financial goals to credit card debt can bring a host of challenges to the relationship. Having open conversations about navigating each partner’s financial situation as well as their feelings on various financial matters is key to helping you build a strong financial foundation in your relationship.
Retirement is just over the horizon and while most people have making ends meet during that period on their minds there is another extremely important part of aging that should be explored. Medicare! There is a 7-month initial enrollment period that begins 3 months before you turn 65, the month you turn 65 and 3 months after you turn 65. If you do not sign up during that window of time you will be penalized for late enrollment, which comes in the form of higher premiums (typically a 10% increase premiums).
Many believe that their money is locked in when you are a participant in a 401(k) or profit sharing plan through an employer where you are a participating and current employee. However, certain qualifying events allow employees to access their vested balance to either withdraw and/or roll over money from those accounts and still continue to contribute.
Earlier this month, we discussed dollar-cost averaging as a strategy for investing which can offer you a higher average rate of return over the long-term and a seamless means of investing each month without too much pain for your wallet. Today, we will discuss the best way that you can achieve this strategy through the concept called “Pay Yourself First”.
The fires burning in California and the recent hurricanes on the East Coast have begged the question: how can one disaster-proof their financial house? Often times when a disaster strikes, the last thing on our mind is to snag those important papers—our primary concern is always our life and the lives of our loved ones. But when the dust settles and the rebuild begins, those important papers are going to form the foundation of how quickly you can get your life back on track.
What happens to your Retirement account if you pass away? Retirement accounts offer an advantage in the way they can be passed to your beneficiaries without a costly Trust or extensive Probate of your estate. A beneficiary designation allows you to allocate your hard earned savings to your loved ones in any manner you choose. But, there are pitfalls that should be avoided when designating beneficiaries.
What happens to all of the wealth you have accumulated after you pass away? That is Estate Planning—making a plan ahead of time to decide who will benefit from all you accumulated during your life. This concept has recently been highlighted by the passing of a music icon. Ms. Aretha Franklin passed away without having a will or a trust in place, meaning her estate and its beneficiaries will be decided through the public probate process. This can be lengthy and costly to an estate.
Everyone likes spring cleaning – dusting off the cobwebs, cleaning the windows and letting the light shine through the windows, the freshness of spring and the renewal of the spirits. I’m a bit of an odd bird, though, I like to have that feeling of renewal at the start of every season and winter is no exception. Winter offers us a unique opportunity – like the dawn of a new day – the New Year offers us a fresh start, one that can be even more impactful than dusting off cob webs or even that new gym membership. Ultimately, you are pretty stuck inside anyhow.
The period between Thanksgiving and the end-of-year holiday season would seem like a sleepy time for financial planners, but in fact it is anything but. You might be surprised at how much activity takes place on behalf of you and your investments in the final month of the year.
For instance? Even though this has been a good year in the markets, not all investments will have gained value. This is the last opportunity to harvest any losses we find in taxable accounts, by selling investments that have gone down and “booking” the loss. Then we can look for investments that have gained value, sell some of those to offset the losses, and thereby save capital gains taxes in the future. Up to $3,000 of ordinary income can be offset by investment losses as well.
This is also the time of year when mutual fund companies post, in advance, the amount of ordinary income and capital gain distributions they will make to their shareholders. Since the value of the shares drops by the amount that is distributed, this would seem like a non-event performance-wise. But in fact some mutual funds are poised to make 20% or even 30% distributions, and this cash is immediately taxable, unlike gains in the share values, which are only realized when you decide to sell. By selling funds before the distributions, and buying them back later, we can reduce your tax bill this year.
If you receive a settlement check in the coming days ranging from $10-$40 from FEF Settlement Fund you were identified as a shareholder of a First Eagle Fund during the time which administrative investigations were conducted and proceedings founded by the SEC. You have two options with these checks.
You may have read that hackers broke into the Equifax database and stole personal information tied to 143 million people. The hackers accessed people's names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver's license numbers. They also stole credit card numbers for about 209,000 people and dispute documents with personal identifying information for about 182,000 people. There is no reason to think that data is not for sale to criminals who can use it to open new lines of credit or file phony tax refund requests in peoples' names.
Everybody should have a power of attorney, but not everybody knows exactly what it is or why it's so important.
A power of attorney is a legal document that empowers a person you trust to handle your financial affairs if and when you become incapacitated. While you're up and around, the document just sits in a file. But if you're in an accident and suddenly can't act on your own behalf, the document allows somebody else to make decisions on your behalf—usually temporarily, until you can start handling your own affairs again. At that point, the document goes back in the file, and you're back in charge.
Kids have a unique way of blowing any parent's budget. The endless requests of "Can I get ….?" give us a clear indication as parents that children do not understand the value of money, and teaching them important values about spending and saving can be a difficult task.
Spare your budget and your patience by teaching your children the value of money early on and help them become super saving smart adults! We recommend these books to help YOU teach your children about managing money and saving.
Many people say that their #1 retirement concern is now not outliving their money but the cost of health care in retirement. There is much debate over Medicare and health care costs overall. The important idea to take from this overall concern is that financial planners can be of assistance and bridging this gap can be addressed relatively simply.
Credit is an arbitrary idea that affects us all and has a huge impact on our overall financial life. According to the US Debt Clock, the average personal debt per citizen in the US is $56,322. Whether you have good credit or are struggling to take control of your credit, here are some tips to help you navigate this difficult concept.
1. Pay Yourself First
The utilization of company retirement plans (401-k's and Simple IRA's) are the easiest way to build up tax advantaged assets for your retirement goals. Verify that you are contributing the amount required in order to maximize the employer's match. Above that amount it would usually be prudent to try to contribute the maximum amount possible in order to minimize your income tax liability.
What is your Risk Tolerance? Identifying and analyzing your preferred level of potential loss is essential in Financial Planning. Once you have saved toward any given goal, the idea is to leverage it so that you can gain more. Risk Management involves the trade off – how much you are willing to risk on the downside to potential gain on the upside.
There are many ways to implement plans for your retirement. The two sides of the spectrum of possibilities are to develop a plan and stick to it no matter what, or just go with the flow and see how things play out. Outlining these two options seems almost ridiculous as they represent extreme polar opposites of one another. The reality is that the best plans are those that are well thought out but also allow for flexibility.
Assets, Liabilities, Income and expenses – analyzing what we have financially effectively and honestly can be a confusing task but integral in order to assess where a person is financially and their ability to accomplish their financial goals. Planning properly requires more than black and white numbers on a page – understanding how these numbers relate to and impact your Financial Plan. This is an often overlooked portion of building a sound Financial Plan by many people but is a huge part of the data gathering process done by Financial Planning Professionals and an insightful financial advisor can utilize details found in both to assist them in helping you reach your goals.
Defining one's goals in the Financial Planning process is an integral part of creating a basis for analysis of current financial conditions and how they relate to future plans of action to be developed and implemented. It is critical for goals to be realistic, but more importantly specific and measurable. A Financial Planner can assist you in asking the central questions and guiding you toward how to think about and accomplish your goals. One would develop and recommend actionable steps that can allow you to both prioritize and achieve your goals. Goals can be either short-term or long-term in nature but understanding their role in the overall planning process is important so that you don't mismanage your assets along the way.
If you're starting to plan for retirement, Social Security may be an important source of retirement income. Millions of Americans depend on Social Security today. For some, it is their primary source of retirement income, and for others, it is supplemental income.
Benefits of Social Security
Financial Planning is the comprehensive analysis and evaluation of an individual's current financial state and needs used in the development of a strategy to successfully meet your financial goals in the future. Professionals, like Mike, utilize their knowledge of client's future life goals, transfer plans (in life and death) and future expense needs to develop comprehensive Financial Plans.
Starting off the New Year on a good foot is always preferable but sometimes it takes a little planning and preparation to get you on track, especially when it comes to debt. Facing debt issues can be intimidating but pretending it isn't there makes matters much worse. There is no better time than the present to begin working on your finances and becoming debt free.