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Case Reveals Flaw in Beneficiary Designation Shortcut

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017

This summary highlights a recent court case which underscores the importance of decisions relating to Beneficiary Designation, and the unfortunate consequences of carelessness. Because the original article was written for the benefit of Financial Advisors, the summarized content has been reworded slightly for you, our valued Clients.

We have written in the …


What You Need to Know About the Fiduciary Rule

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

A quick look at the changes coming for retirement accounts.
  
Rules are changing concerning investment professionals and retirement accounts….


How Will You Spend Your Retirement Savings?

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

Keep an eye on where it goes, as some destinations may be better than others

You can probably envision how most of your retirement money will be spent. Much of it will be used on living expenses, health care expenses, and, perhaps, debt reduction. Beyond the basics, you will unquestionably reserve some …


Have a Plan, Not Just a Stock Portfolio

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Diversification still matters. One day, this bull market will end.
In the first quarter of 2017, the bull market seemed unstoppable. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past 20,000 and closed at all-time highs on …


Combining Your Finances When You Marry

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

How separate (or intertwined) should your financial lives be?
Some spouses share everything with each other – including the smallest details of their personal finances. Other spouses decide to keep some individual financial decisions and details to themselves, and their relationship is just …


Tax Rules on Rental Property

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

The basics on capital gains & deductions.

Buying or selling income property has definite tax consequences. A taxpayer should clearly understand them, whether he or she intends to acquire a property or put one on the market.

A sale of income property incurs either a capital gain or loss. If you profit …


Are Millennial Women Saving Enough for Retirement?

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

The available data is more encouraging than discouraging.
Women 35 and younger are often hard-pressed to save money. Student loans may be outstanding; young …


Building an Emergency Fund

Friday, March 24th, 2017

Everyone should aim to have a cash reserve
We all would love to have a little extra cash on hand for emergencies. Saving up that cash can be a challenge – but with a little effort, that challenge can be met.

Imagine a 30-year-old couple with no real savings. Let’s call …


Tax season is in full swing… and tax scams are everywhere

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

How can you can tell if a crook is claiming to be the I.R.S. in an effort to steal your money or personal information? Watch for these giveaways.
The I.R.S. will never call you to demand immediate payment of income taxes. Anyone owing federal taxes first receives a written notice …


Little Things That May Help Your Retirement Saving

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

Over time, these seemingly small factors could make a major difference.
  
Saving for retirement takes decades and demands the …


The Dow Finally Did It

Monday, February 13th, 2017

The Dow finally did it: it topped 20,000 for the first time. What does this development mean for the equity market and your portfolio?

Ultimately, it may not mean very much.

Does it signal that 2017 will be a great year for equities? Maybe. On the other hand, the Dow Jones Industrial Average includes …


Stretch IRA: Are Its Days Numbered?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

It’s been on the Congressional chopping block for the past five years, and some believe time is about to run out on the stretch IRA, a staple of estate planning for the affluent.

Bolstered by hefty revenue projections ($5.5 billion over 10 years), the Senate Finance Committee voted 26-0 to end …


5 Smart Tax Moves To Make Before Year-End

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

The last thing people want to think about amid the bustle of November and December is taxes. 

The holidays and a presidential transition — needless to say, there are a lot of big events hanging in the balance this time of year. But one thing you can actually prepare for (and …


4 Big Retirement Regrets That You Should Avoid

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Plan ahead carefully to ensure you have enough money to do the things you want after you retire.

The closer you get to retirement, it seems, the more pressure there is to plan ahead. But how do you know if you’re coming up with the right answers when you’re facing life-changing …


Roth IRAs Could Get Excess 529 Savings Under Senate Proposal

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is designed to encourage more American families to save for college by making it easier for them to use Section 529 college savings accounts.

The Boost Savings for College Act (Boost) includes a nonrefundable tax credit that …


More Retirees Heading for Hubs

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

When retirement is on the horizon, many people put their current hometown in the rear-view mirror. As the retiree population continues its upward trajectory, we expect popular retirement destinations to grow right along with it.

A recent study by McKinsey & Company identified 13 U.S. “retirement hubs” — cities that are …


Financial Markets and Presidential Elections

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

There’s a saying that with enough prodding, you can make statistics say whatever you want.

We believe this is especially true for the loads of data surrounding presidential elections. It’s possible to use the data to say two different things about the economy, depending on the point you’re trying to make.

For …


IRS Rules Against Two Social Security Strategies

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Two strategies that have long been recommended to help married couples potentially optimize their Social Security benefits have come to an end. This year, the IRS has clarified rules that no longer allow for two claiming strategies known as:

File and suspend, and
Restricted application

In the past, some couples have taken advantage …


Strides in Pay Equality a Step in Right Direction

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

Lilly Ledbetter was hired in 1979 as a supervisor at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and worked there for the next 20+ years. When she retired in 1998, she sued the company for paying her significantly less than her male counterparts.

Initially, her pay was on par with her male colleagues, …


Do Tax Preparers Know What They’re Doing?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

For several years, researchers have been sending people into tax preparation offices to test the quality of the work. The results have been scary:
• A tax preparer in North Carolina wasn’t sure what to do with one client’s dividend income form. She …


New Year a Good Time for New Approach

Friday, January 29th, 2016

We frequently resolve to reinvent ourselves in the new year — exercise more, eat healthier, read more or save more.

This concept of reinvention carries over to several aspects of the financial world as well, both personally and in businesses.

At a certain age, it’s common for people to put their materialistic …


Top Tax Issues for 2016

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

As 2015 comes to an end, take some time to look over these changes, issues, and other concerns you may have this tax season.

1. Supreme Court ruling on ACA
Millions of people will now continue to have access to affordable health care in the states which did not establish marketplace healthcare …


Don’t Forget Your Required Minimum Distributions!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Here’s a gentle reminder to be sure your required minimum distributions (RMDs) are executed before the end of the calendar year.

WHAT IS A RMD?
RMDs apply to qualified plan accounts that receive a tax deduction for contributions and tax deferral on income within the account. This includes Traditional, SEP, SIMPLE, and …


Tax Loss Harvesting Tips

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Tax Loss Harvesting Tips

Even though taxes may not be due until April, now is the time to decide if you should do any tax loss harvesting.

Although tax loss harvesting cannot restore losses, it can lessen them. In short, you can sell Security A at a loss to offset the capital …


Attention Federal Employees: Thinking about the new Self + 1?

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

Thinking about the new Self + 1 now available during open season?

Blue Cross-Blue Shield’s standard plan will offer three options: Non-postal workers will pay $100.18 biweekly for the self-only option; $238.24 for the family plan and $231.31 for the S+1 option. The government will continue to pay about 70 percent …


Chance of Rate Hike Increases

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

The positive employment report last Friday sent shock waves through the markets that continued reverberating yesterday. Before the jobs number, even though Fed officials had expressed their intent to raise rates in 2015, the constant drip of negative economic numbers made …


It’s (still) All About the Fed

Friday, October 9th, 2015

It’s (still) all about the Fed. Weak Chinese data, the refugee crisis in Europe, and the effect of Iranian oil on the already saturated energy market might be interesting topics, but no one cares. Well, they might care, but only inasmuch as these situations affect the Fed rate decision on …


Embracing Longevity

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Photo Credit: Flickr/sima dimitric

One of the defining characteristics of the Baby Boomer generation is longevity.

Those born between 1946 and 1964 are steadily reaching retirement age feeling confident they have many more years of life ahead of …


Doom and Gloom

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

A recent study by Allianz Life Insurance Co. of North America reported that individuals of Generation X and the Baby Boomer generation both have a majority of negative feelings when it comes to retirement.

Both generations feel strongly that by …


Raise Your Kids Right

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

With all of this talk about starting retirement planning early, we could be asking ourselves how early we should start. Numerous articles on the internet and in important business magazines, even syndicated radio shows, are telling Millenials they need to start …


Transparency and the Federal Reserve

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

As Chair of the Fed, Ben Bernanke promised to run a transparent organization and that he would be more forthcoming than his predecessor, Alan Greenspan. In keeping with that promise, Bernanke began holding press conferences after most regularly scheduled Federal Open …


Spring Cleaning Your Retirement

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The New Year might conjure up visions of resolutions and hopeful beginnings, but springtime can do just the same. As the weather warms, new buds bloom and gardens will soon abound with fruits, vegetables, and flowers alike. But …


A Calculated Approach to Retirement

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

For many people, it is exciting to think about retirement and plan for the days when a nine-to-five grind no longer gets in the way of what you really want to do with the rest of your life. Whether it’s …


How Does the Dissolution of Section 179 Affect Small Businesses in 2015?

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

It’s a new year, maybe even a new you, and definitely a new world when it comes to growing your small business thanks to the retracting of the Tax Extenders Act which raised the Section 179 limits to 100% of …


Why You Don’t Want Robo-Advising for Retirement

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

We’re turning to apps for everything these days: college courses, paying for our lattes, and finding love. And now, “robo-advising” apps are new contenders in the online marketplace, offering financial assessment and advice. On the …


Tail End Boomers, Retirement Plans, and The Upside of Everything

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Countdown to retirement – especially if you’re over 55 – is probably on your mind. But unlike watching the ball drop during the most famous of annual countdowns, there’s more than just cause for celebration when you finish the work day; there is also cause for concern if you’re …


Stocks: Up, Up, and Away in Q4

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Fourth quarters can be nerve racking – they’re a time when it feels like anything can, and does, happen (football fans know this feeling well). But for year’s end, the stock market (traditionally) rockets away in earnings from previous quarters. Tack onto that tradition that since 1925, the S&P …


Tax Tips from The Savvy Investor

Monday, December 15th, 2014

On December 15, 2014 Congress passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014…just in time to avoid shutting down the government! The passage of this act included many provisions that we rely on to reduce and minimize our …


3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Retirement

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

I once asked a 98-year-old retiree what his secret was to living such a long and happy life. He’d retired from the military as a colonel at the age of 55 after serving in China and Turkey, and spent much of those early years wrangling his teenage children and hosting dinner parties …


Is Your Retirement Advisor Overcharging?

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

There’s no such thing as a free lunch (or free steak dinner, as the case may be). And, for good financial advice, you’ll have to pay appropriately. Still, many people are paying too much for the quality of services they receive. Are you one of them?

Financial advisors charge fees in several different …


7 Questions to Ask Your Retirement Adviser

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

You know when you walk in to your first meeting with your retirement adviser that he or she will give you a long list of questions to answer. But what about your list of questions? Do you have one? More importantly, are you asking the right questions?
Too many times, a …


When It’s Okay To Borrow From Your Retirement Funds

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Life is expensive. And, when you want to buy a house, or a car, or pay for your child’s tuition to Sarah Lawrence, it can be very tempting to use the pile of money you’ve been stashing away for your retirement. However, borrowing from your retirement plan is a dangerous …


Millennials’ Mistrust of the Stock Market May Hinder Their Retirement Savings

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Millennials, Americans born during the 1980s and ‘90s, have good reason not to trust the stock market. After all, the economy crashed just as they were graduating college, forcing many to move back in with their parents and nipping their career prospects in the bud. Like the survivors of the Great Depression before …


3 Ways to Boost Yourself Over the Tipping Point of Retirement Readiness

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

You’re almost there! Just a few more years of working until you finally reach that point of never having to enter another office again. Your time will finally be your own to do with as you please. Sleep in, spend the day golfing, spend your summers in Europe, teach your grandchildren how …


Planning for 90

Friday, April 25th, 2014

At no time in the history of mankind has the general populace had a chance of experiencing a 30-year retirement. But, with all of the advantages of the Western world, we now can look forward to spending more time doing less than our forefathers ever dreamed. That means we have …


The Great Escape: Annuity Companies Try to Back Out of Income Guarantees

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Over the last decade, certainly up to the 2008 market crash, one of the hottest-selling investment products was the variable annuity. While there is no silver bullet out there, variable annuities (VAs) were often presented as an investment tool that came with guarantees of income for the investor. After getting …


3 Make-or-Break Retirement Expenses You Haven’t Planned For

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

You’re halfway to the airport, flying off for a business trip, when you feel something missing in your pocket – your wallet. Now, you are a good packer. You make checklists of necessities every time, marking each item as it’s packed. But your wallet is such an automatic “take item” …


The “7 Rules of Retirement Planning” and Other Nonsense

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

I’ve seen countless articles out there that give a nice and neat outline of everything “you” need to know about retirement. They list rules and guidelines “everyone” should follow, tell you what types of investments you, as a retiree, should buy, and really – with all of that information out …


Is it Better to have Bond Yields or Stock Dividends in Today’s Economy?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

It’s a strange time to be in the market; it seems to many investors that nothing is behaving like it should. High risk bonds trade at historically low-yield spreads, the reliable 10 Year U.S. Treasury is yielding around 3 percent (practically nothing, compared to 5 to 6 percent in the …


ObamaCare Concerns?

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Seniors on Medicare don’t need to worry – ObamaCare does not require additonal work on their part.  Medicare is not part of the health insurance exchanges. Seniors will still get health coverage through Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service program or Medicare Advantage plans, private health insurance plans that are approved by Medicare. Those …


Women Might Be Better at Retiring Than They’re Given Credit For

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

This summer, a study by Lincoln Financial Group reported yet more dismaying findings on women retirees, saying that their investment decisions are more affected by emotion than their male counterparts and that they’re less involved in the financial decision-making. The study goes on to report that while 90 percent of …


Maybe the Greatest Wedding Gift?

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

It’s wedding season and many couples (and their parents) are gearing up for the big day and everybody is all smiles. But what is the number #1 issue most married couples face? It is finances. “Fifty percent of marriages end in divorce these days and finances are almost always …


High Net Worth Retirees Don’t Necessarily Know What They’re Doing – Survey Shows

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Here’s a fact many of you probably won’t want to hear: Just because you’re good at making money, doesn’t necessarily mean you know the best ways to keep it. At least, that is one of the findings in the recent U.S. Trust 2013 Insights on Wealth and Worth survey. It …


Retiring Women: How to Overcome Your 2 Biggest Challenges

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Several sets of recent statistics highlight the necessity of Baby Boomer women taking control of their own retirement plans. First of all, nearly 50 percent of women over age 65 are single1 – and for those who are in relationships, the odds are that they will be the surviving spouse …


5 Tips To Retire Better, Sooner, Savvier

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

If 20-somethings spent as much time planning their retirements as they do planning their weddings, vacations, or car purchases – oh what a financially secure world we would live in! Fifty years ago, when Baby-Boomers were in their 20’s, they had more “important” things to do also – like hitching …



Additional Articles from Mike:


The Great Escape: Annuity Companies Try to Back Out of Income Guarantees


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