Financial Matters

Tips and news from the financial experts at Attentive Investment Managers.
Jun
20

Understanding Medicare

medicare-sign

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).

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Apr
02

In-Service Withdrawals

withdrawal

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.

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Mar
11

Pay Yourself First

woman-saving-money

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”.

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Nov
12

How to Disaster-Proof Your Finances

disaster-proof-finances

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.

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Aug
28

Designating Beneficiaries & Owning an Inherited Retirement Account

retirement-beneficiary

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.

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Aug
27

Estate Planning

estate-planning

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.

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Dec
28

Seasonal Cleaning and the New Year

financial-goals

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.

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Dec
04

’Tis the Season

busy-season

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.

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Nov
20

What to do with your First Eagle Fund settlement check

settlement-money

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.

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Recent Comments
Athena Stone, MS, MPAS, CRPC, AIF®
Hi Ms. Westbrook; Thank you for commenting on our blog. We wrote it in hopes to lessen some of the confusion regarding these chec... Read More
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:31
Athena Stone, MS, MPAS, CRPC, AIF®
Hi Ms. Weaver; I'm glad you found our little blog - although a little late I suppose. You could try to cash it, you might get luc... Read More
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:28
Athena Stone, MS, MPAS, CRPC, AIF®
Visit FEF Settlement website for more details! https://www.fefsettlementfund.com/contact.cfm... Read More
Monday, 12 November 2018 17:07
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Sep
11

How to Respond to a Data Breach

data-breach

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.

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Sep
05

Facts About Powers of Attorney

power-of-attorney

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.

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Aug
16

Teach Kids About Money: Recommended Books

kids-money

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.

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Aug
07

Managing Health Care Costs in Retirement

health-care-retirement

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.

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Jul
05

Getting a Grip on Your Credit & Financial Health

checking-credit-score

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.

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Jun
12

Tax Reduction Strategies

tax-cut

​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.

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Jun
06

Risk Management / Long-Term Investments

risk-management

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.

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May
30

Retirement Strategies

retired-couple

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.

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Apr
20

Net Worth / Cash Flow

Net Worth / Cash Flow

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.

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Mar
29

Financial Planning Goals

Financial Planning 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.

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Mar
24

A Brief Guide to Social Security

A Brief Guide to Social Security

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

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Mar
21

Financial Planning is...

Financial Planning is...

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.

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Jan
25

Becoming Debt Free

Becoming Debt Free

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. 

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Jan
03

The Role of Bonds

The Role of Bonds
Bond prices go down when rates go up, and rates are beginning to do just that. Preceding the current environment, we had nearly 30 years of declining interest rates and about 8 years of nearly zero rates. U.S. equities are up, and we are all holding our breath in anticipation of the all-time high 20,000 mark on the DOW so why would someone want to buy bonds? The purpose of bonds in a portfolio is not to generate massive returns.Bonds are an agent of protection against the most dreaded market risk – a crash in equities.In 2008, the last time the markets crashed a allocation that included bonds could have achieved a positive return while at that time stocks were losing 37%, meaning bonds were outperforming stocks. This is not to say that we are going to have a market downturn however, over time, investors holding bonds in their portfolio often experience a less bumpy market ride and fewer losses during downturns. In the bond markets, it's possible that the decades-long bull market—which ...
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Oct
18

IRA vs. 401(k): Which is the better option?

IRA vs. 401(k): Which is the better option?
We can all agree that saving for retirement is a must. The next question is where. Both an IRA and 401(k) can be excellent options for retirement savings. Both offer you tax-advantages, as you don't pay any taxes on the growth of your investments. Typically, costs associated with 401(k) management are higher than those of an IRA plan. However, with many new regulations in the financial industry today, participants are given protection from exorbitant fees. Within an IRA account your investment options can be almost never-ending but many times 401(k)'s limit your investment capabilities to a select offering or have restrictions on investment types. With 401(k)'s most employers offer an "employer match", usually ranging dollar for dollar anywhere from 2%-5% of your salary deferral (depending on the plan). If you elect to not participate you are essentially "leaving money on the table" and forgoing additional monies that are employment incentives – ...
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May
13

Long-term Care Insurance

Long-term Care Insurance
Understanding the risks of needing long-term care and the possibility of incurring substantial expenses is a huge part of financial planning. Proper planning can allow a person to avoid not being prepared for the need for care as you age. Over the last century medical science has been able to greatly increase life expectancy. Individuals are living on average 20-30 years longer and sometimes need assistance with day to day needs. Long-term care is now offered in a variety of settings, such as; nursing homes, assisted living residences, life care communities, adult day-care or even in person's home. A person's health status affects the likelihood of incurring a long stay with catastrophic expenses. It is imperative that you weigh all the risks involved with purchasing or not purchasing insurance. Likewise, understanding what you may need in terms of coverage is prudent. A few tips when shopping for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy are: Buy a policy with a ...
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Apr
28

Your Financial Pyramid

Your Financial Pyramid
When you develop your Financial Pyramid there are numerous factors that you need to be mindful of. One of the most important is the concepts of managing your risk versus reward and diversification. With this in mind it is of critical importance that you start off with a good financial base which mitigates your risks. Insurance needs, including medical, home & car insurance (just to name a few) are imperative for protecting your assets from unforeseen loss. As an example of how this can affect your Financial Pyramid and your overall budget, we once had a client whom had drastically cut their annual budget expenditures. After further inspection, we discovered they had cancelled their medical insurance – thinking that they were young and healthy; they didn't need to be concerned with that "unneeded" expense. At that point, we advised them to immediately reinstate their insurance. They had saved up a large nest egg which they intended to invest in the stock mar...
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Apr
26

What is Compound Interest?

What is Compound Interest?
Compounding can seem like a complex concept however, it is quite simple – the longer amount of time you give your money to accumulate the more they have the potential to accrue. Compounding can be thought of interest paid on interest, in other words, deposits can grow at a faster rate. As an example, Investor A saves $2,000 per year for the first 10 years of a 20 year time period. Assuming a 6% annual return her investment would be worth $50,042. Likewise, Investor B saved $3,000 per year during the second 10 year period of a 20 year time period. Assuming the same annual rate of return Investor B would have only accumulated $41,915. Even though Investor B saved more principal than Investor A the earnings of Investor A had longer to grow and therefore they ended up with a larger nest egg. Albert Einstein called the power of compounding the 'eighth wonder of the world'. The bottom line here is to make your money work for you, start saving early and often.
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