You may have spent the last 30 years (or more) working tirelessly and are now beginning to realize that retirement is staring you right in the face. All those years of saving, putting your kids through college, and delaying traveling with your spouse are now over (oh wait – maybe that’s just me and my spouse? Please don’t tell her). It’s now time when these goals, whatever they may be, start to become a reality.Read More
Savant offers perspective on a variety of topics. Entries range from current events to timeless insights in the world of finance and investments.
Slow Down and Pay Attention
We all have hectic lives. From caring for young children, to helping our aging parents, along with balancing a busy career and community commitments, it seems that there is never enough time. However, when it comes to your financial security, it is important to slow down and think about what is important to you.Read More
Taxes are complicated and so is retirement. When you combine the two, it can get a bit overwhelming. The silver lining is that people who are retired, or are on their way to being retired, have some incredible opportunities to implement tax savings strategies that could benefit them for the rest of their lives. Here are five Tax-Smart Retirement strategies to consider.Read More
In 1954, renowned management consultant Peter Drucker wrote a book called The Practice of Management, in which he introduced a process known as management by objectives (MBO). MBO was a simple yet groundbreaking way for business managers to define and convey specific objectives to the organization’s team members, as well as to prioritize these objectives and achieve them on time.Read More
Did you know there are 47.5 million people around the world living with dementia? Of those, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s dementia. Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging. Over 16 million people in the U.S. care for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia. While the caregiving journey can be rewarding, it is no secret that it can also be overwhelmingly challenging.Read More
Social Security’s rules for collecting are complicated. Benefits for widows are calculated differently than traditional Retirement Benefits, so there are a few key rules and strategies that you need to be aware of. Below are seven things you need to know about Social Security Survivor Benefits.Read More
Do You Have Too Much Coverage?
An important part of my job as a financial planner is to identify and mitigate financial risks through insurance. For example, the sudden death of a family member could derail your family’s goals, making it a serious risk to your family’s financial well-being. This risk can be reduced through life insurance.
Although it’s important to have insurance to protect against these risks, there is a cost (not just in dollars) to being over-insured. Here are aRead More
If you have a son or daughter who is a high school junior or senior, chances are you have been guiding them through quite a bit of paperwork lately. From college applications and scholarship essays to requests for transcripts and recommendation letters, it seems that there is a never-ending stream of forms to be completed in the college application process.Read More
As a financial advisor, it’s easy for me to focus on helping people who I perceive to need it the most. These individuals tend to be close to retirement (1-3 years) or already in retirement. Most know them as the “Baby Boomer” generation (commonly born 1946-1964). At the same time, there’s a huge push in the media to discuss, and sometimes even criticize, the millennial generation (commonly born 1981-1996) for loving to spend $8 on avocado toast (crazy, right?!).Read More
Roth contributions are good, right?
A brand new client walked into a small financial planning office (we’ll call him Jim). Jim unpacked his account paperwork on the conference room table – a few brokerage accounts, a 401(k), a Roth IRA, that sort of stuff.Read More
As summer comes winding to an end, many families are preparing to send their children off to college. For a first year college student this is often a very exciting time in their life with the opportunity and freedom to live on their own for the first time. However, with great freedom comes great financial responsibility.Read More
Family vacation homes often provide a retreat for you and your family to gather and enjoy one another’s company. The home brings not only emotional attachment but also unique planning challenges. Parents or grandparents often desire to have the next generation make their own memories while spending time at the family vacation home.Read More
With the 2018 tax year closed, most taxpayers saw a decrease in their refunds, and some even owed taxes when they usually receive refunds. This was due to the adjusted withholding tables that came into effect in February 2018, lowering the amount of taxes taken out of taxpayers’ paychecks. Since less tax was paid throughout the year, many saw a tax bill larger than they anticipated when filing their tax returns.Read More
What is Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation or NQDC?
Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation, or NQDC, is compensation that has been earned by an employee but has not yet been transferred from the employer to the employee. Because the employer still has ownership of the compensation, it is not included in the employee’s earned income and therefore is not considered taxable income. This allows an employee to postpone or defer compensation and receive it sometime in the future, usually for purposes of retirement income.Read More
Over time, as your individual and family circumstances change, you may find that you own an annuity or cash value life insurance policy that no longer suits your needs.
If you have such holdings within your portfolio, there are attractive ways to repurpose such assets where they again can play a role in your overall financial plan such as for long-term care insurance protection.Read More
One of the major aspects of a business sale is whether the business will be sold as an asset or as stock. An owner might be thinking, “Does it really matter as long as I get the highest sales price?” Well, as you’ll see below, there are plenty of circumstances that can make a lower sales price more attractive.
To highlight some of the key differences between an asset and stock sale, let’s review some important tax, business liability, and complexity considerations.Read More
According to a recent study done by Fidelity, the average total costs of healthcare for a retired couple, aged 65 and living until ages 85/87, will be $285,000!¹ When people think about their retirement goals, they often overlook the expenses associated with keeping up their health. Being aware of your options and how you can fund this goal in retirement can help mitigate the possibility of having to give up your current lifestyle.Read More
As more women work “side hustles” outside of their regular employment (e.g., Uber, Postmates, Task Rabbit, etc.), there is an opportunity for them to establish their own Solo 401(k) plan, defer taxable income, and save for retirement.
A Solo 401(k) plan consists of an employer contribution and an employee contribution.Read More
The yield curve inverted. So what?
What does it mean, and what should you do?
A yield curve is a plot of interest rates on bonds (typically U.S. Treasury bonds) of various maturity lengths. Some bonds mature in thirty days, some in three months, one year, two years, five years, ten years, on up to 30 years.Read More
If you are eligible to claim an education credit on your tax return, it could reduce the amount of tax that you owe by up to $2,500 per tax return. The two education credits that are available are the American Opportunity Credit and the Lifetime Learning Credit.Read More
Since childhood, many of us have set financial goals. Perhaps it was saving for our first bike or an ice cream treat, or simply enjoying our first taste of wealth as it accumulated in the piggy bank. Whether these actions were influenced by our parents attempting to teach responsibility or it turned out to be an innate personality trait, the process of establishing a goal and seeing the fruits of that accomplishment is as important as ever.Read More
It is that time of year again when parents find themselves becoming empty nesters as their kids head off to college. It is a time full of important, and not important, decisions to be made. Picking out the right towels, bedding, computer, books, clothes, and mini-fridge can quickly become overwhelming. However, there is a lot more that you should be considering and doing before you leave them in the rearview mirror.Read More
Do you have a loved one who is disabled or who has special needs? Many times individuals with special needs rely on public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other programs to help with living expenses. In order to retain eligibility for such benefits, the individual’s cash and investment assets may not exceed $2,000. This restriction often makes it difficult for special needs individuals to achieve a greater quality of life and financial independence.Read More
“What did the doctor say?” A diagnosis of a serious illness can be life changing. The need to understand treatment options and to receive medical care is often overwhelming. A new diagnosis can impact not only your day-to-day routine, but also the people who are close to you.
Finances can also be impacted. In fact, one of the areas that a hospital support group asks patients to describe is their level of ‘financial stress.’Read More
We made it through an exciting year of tax reform, and hopefully you did too! The changes to the tax code created many challenges – and opportunities.
This article aims to summarize what we saw after preparing several thousand tax returns, as well as offer opportunities that you may be able to utilize next year.Read More
At one time or another, we all have likely heard someone longing for the “good old days.” It is quite common to look back nostalgically at simpler times when we had less stress and fewer responsibilities.
While there are certainly advantages to growing up and getting older, we can glean some financial wisdom from the things we learned as kindergarteners.Read More
As a Gen Xer myself — one who works in the financial services industry to boot — I feel the pressure of what I call the “Gen X Jam.” How will I support my retirement years and help my aging parents? What about my kids’ college education?Read More
Beginning in 2018, many individuals and families lost the ability to fully deduct charitable donations as an itemized deduction. This is due to the doubling of the standard deduction and the limitation of many itemized deductions as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. For those over age 70½, a qualified charitable distribution can be a great way to make a charitable donation in a tax-efficient manner.Read More
Financial planning revolves around what is in our control. For example, we can’t control stock market returns, tax rates, or unexpected events, but we can plan to mitigate these risks through diversification, tax planning, and insurance. Of all the areas in financial planning, we probably have the highest degree of control over our income, expenses, and savings, making it extremely important to create a workable budget. Let’s review the five keys to creating a budget you can stick to.Read More
For most individuals, income often comes in the form of salary, commission, tips and other job-related earnings. What many do not realize is that there are other, more creative ways one might find themselves with income, and Uncle Sam has made it his mission to attempt to capture all of them within the tax code. One such type of income we tend to forget about is income generated when an individual acquires prize winnings.Read More