What is the greatest expense you and I will have over the course of our lifetimes? For most of us, it’s our income taxes. Tax planning is a critical component of a successful financial plan, especially in retirement. As we all know, it’s not how much you make, it’s how much you get to keep. As we move through 2021 and beyond, the ability to effectively plan amidst what is likely to be a changing tax environment will become more critical than ever.
About 65 million Americans received a total of over one trillion dollars in Social Security payments in 2020.1 Many Americans rely primarily on Social Security in retirement, and even if you don’t, you still want to know how to claim your maximum benefit. Although you will most likely not be able to maintain your current lifestyle on a Social Security benefit alone, it can make up a significant portion of your income and is guaranteed for as long as you live.
Here come the holidays and everything that goes with them – traveling, cooking, buying gifts, and of course, spending time with the people we love. Your holidays might look a bit different this year and so might your financial situation. Even though it’s a busy time of year when finances can end up taking a back seat to decorating and wrapping presents, it’s important to take the time to make an end of year financial checklist.
The 2020 presidential election has sparked much debate among investors. How might the outcome of this election affect investments? What does that mean for your financial plan? The environment in Washington has been as supercharged as it has been in a long time, maybe ever. Layered on top of the political gridlock is the COVID pandemic, unrest across the country, and rising tension around the globe.
After a long period of social distancing, Americans are slowly emerging from their homes. There’s no telling when the country will be fully back to normal, or what the new normal will look like, but the country looks forward to an economy that is fully up and running again. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted many Americans, there’s no reason why you can’t make a plan to help get your finances on track and ready for the future.
Planning for retirement is never a “set it and forget it” activity: There are unexpected disasters, market drops, and changing laws that invariably cause retirees to reevaluate their plans of action. There’s no way to predict everything that will cause market downturns, but you can prepare yourself by having a solid financial plan in place.
In late December 2019, President Trump signed into law the SECURE Act, the most sweeping retirement account legislation passed in close to 20 years. The most significant changes that affect retirees include raising the age for Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) for retirement accounts, and changing how retirement accounts are inherited by your heirs. The SECURE Act also intends to make retirement plans more accessible for younger workers.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act provided numerous changes to the tax code, including reducing tax rates for businesses and individuals, simplifying personal taxes, eliminating personal exemptions, limiting deductions for state and local income taxes, and much more.
Are your beneficiary designations for your retirement accounts up-to-date? You should periodically review your designations to protect the ones you love and ensure your intentions upon death are clear.
Settling the affairs of a loved one who dies is an important responsibility that requires time, patience, and a certain amount of organizational skill. An executor is charged with sorting out the finances, paying debts, and dividing what remains among beneficiaries.
Women investors face special challenges that make financial literacy and advanced planning especially important. Women are more likely to outlive their husbands, or be disproportionately affected by a divorce, making long-term financial strategies especially critical.
Our lives, in many ways, can be recounted through aspects of our personal records and other important legal documents. Yet, when the time comes, can these critical papers be easily found? With a little preparation and planning, this information can be readily available at your fingertips.
A great financial plan is one that aligns your priorities with your money. But what happens when your priorities change? While every life transition poses its own unique set of challenges, a few guidelines can be applied to successfully navigate a course change life throws your way.
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