November 27, 2015

Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have increased very little. The latest Consumer Price Index (September) shows 0.0% yearly inflation and only 1.9% core yearly inflation. That means no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, and very few IRS adjustments to retirement plan contribution limits.1

    

Roth IRA & traditional IRA contribution limits stay the same for 2016. Those 49 and younger in 2016 can contribute up to $5,500 to their IRAs, while those 50 and older will be able to contribute $6,500.2

 

401(k), 403(b), 457 & TSP annual contribution limits are also unchanged. Savers will be able to defer up to $18,000 into the...

October 20, 2015

Statistics point out the need to save early, save consistently & stay invested. 

 

Will you live to be 100? If you’re a woman, your odds of becoming a centenarian are seemingly better than those of men. In the 2010 U.S. Census, over 80% of Americans aged 100 or older were women.1

 

Will you eventually live alone? According to the Administration on Aging (a division of the federal government’s Department of Health & Human Services), about 47% of women aged 75 or older lived alone in 2010. If that prospect seems troubling, there is another statistic that also may: while 6.7% of men age 65 and older lived in poverty in 2010, 10.7% of women in that a...

August 14, 2015

Six signs that you are in good shape. 

 

How well off do you think you are financially? If your career or life takes an unexpected turn, would your finances hold up? What do you think will become of the money you’ve made and saved when you are gone?  

 

These are major questions, and most people can’t answer them as quickly as they would like. It might help to think about six factors in your financial life. Here is a six-point test you can take togauge your financial well-being.  

 

Are you saving about 15% of your salary for retirement? That’s a nice target. If you’re earning good money, that will probably amount to $10-20,000 per year. You ar...

July 6, 2015

How do you claim them?  How much do you receive?  

 

About 5 million widowed Americans get Social Security survivor benefits. If your spouse has passed, you may be eligible to collect them. This means that you could receive as much as 100% of your late spouse’s Social Security income.(1,2)

 

Some widows and widowers aren’t aware of these additional retirement benefits. That’s a shame, because they can provide significant financial help during a period of uncertainty.

 

You can file for survivor benefits at age 60. In fact, you can claim them as early as age 50 if you are disabled (per Social Security’s definition of disability) and if the cond...

June 29, 2015

A financial checklist for the most difficult of times. 

 

The passing of a loved one irrevocably alters family life. After a death, there is so much to attend to that addressing financial matters related to a family member’s passing may be put on hold. This should be done, though, and it is better to do it sooner rather than later. Here, then, is a list of what commonly needs to be looked after.

 

Request copies of the death certificate. Depending on where you live, you have two or three places to turn to for this document. You can phone, email or personally visit the office of the county recorder (or county clerk, as the term may be). You can al...

June 16, 2015

 

Who should inherit your IRA or 401(k)? See that they do.

 

Here’s a simple financial question: who is the beneficiary of your IRA? How about your 401(k), life insurance policy, or savings account? You may be able to answer such a question quickly and easily. Or you may be saying, “You know… I’m not totally sure.” Whatever your answer, it is smart to periodically review your beneficiary designations.

 

Your choices may need to change with the times. When did you open your first IRA? When did you buy your life insurance policy? Was it back in the Eighties? Are you still living in the same home and working at the same job as you did back then? Have...

April 1, 2015

It isn’t always top of mind, but it should be.

 

How many of us save and invest with an eye on tax implications? Not that many of us, according to a recent survey from Russell Investments (the global asset manager overseeing the Russell 2000). In the opening quarter of 2014, Russell polled financial services professionals and asked them how many of their clients had inquired about tax-sensitive investment strategies. Just 35% of the polled financial professionals reported clients wanting information about them, and just 18% said their clients proactively wanted to discuss the matter.1

   

Good financial professionals aren’t shy about br...

March 19, 2015

 

Do you have a strategy to follow? 

 

Have you created a company that someone will want to buy? Your children won’t necessarily want to take over your business, so an exit strategy is essential to getting the outcome you want. You must prepare your firm for the transition – and you must be prepared as well.

  

When should the planning begin? Think five years away from the date of sale – at least. You could even start ten years before.

    

Readying yourself. Have you thought about what your life will be like after selling the business? If you have what amounts to a lifestyle company, to what degree has it paid your personal expenses?...

March 3, 2015

 

What you need to know.

 

When you reach age 70½, the IRS instructs you to start making withdrawals from your Traditional IRA(s). These IRA withdrawals are also called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). You will make them annually from now on.1

    

If you fail to take your annual RMD or take out less than what is required, the IRS will notice. You will not only owe income taxes on the amount not withdrawn, you will owe 50% more. (The 50% penalty can be waived if you can show the IRS that the shortfall resulted from a “reasonable error” instead of negligence.)1

    

Many IRA owners have questions about the options and rules...

February 10, 2015

Roth & traditional IRAs won’t get 2015 COLAs, but other plans will.

 

A little inflation means a little adjustment. As the Consumer Price Index is up 1.7% over the last 12 months, the federal government is giving Social Security benefits a 1.7% boost for 2015 and lifting annual contribution limits on key pension plans as well.(1)

    

401(k), 403(b), 457 & TSP annual contribution limits increase by $500. You will be able to defer up to $18,000 into these plans in 2015. The catch-up contribution limit will also rise by $500 to $6,000 next year, so if you are 50 or older in 2015 you are eligible to contribute up to $24,000 to these retire...

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