If you're thinking about working as long as possible to increase your retirement savings, you may be wondering whether you can receive Social Security retirement benefits while you're still employed. The answer is yes. But depending on your age, earnings from work may affect the amount of your Social Security benefit. If you're younger than full retirement age and make more than the annual earnings limit ($17,040 in 2018), part of your benefits will be withheld, reducing the amount you … [Read more...]
College Saving: How Does a 529 Plan Compare to a Roth IRA?
529 plans were created 22 years ago, in 1996, to give people a tax-advantaged way to save for college. Roth IRAs were created a year later, in 1997, to give people a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement. But a funny thing happened along the way — some parents adapted the Roth IRA as a college savings tool. Tax benefits and use of funds Roth IRAs and 529 plans have a similar tax modus operandi. Both are funded with after-tax dollars, contributions accumulate tax deferred, and qualified … [Read more...]
Is a nursing home the only option for long-term care?
If you or a loved one needs long-term care, other choices besides nursing home care may be available. Here are some of the other options. Home care Most people would prefer to stay in their homes as long as possible. Depending on your needs, you may only need help with some common daily living activities such as laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning. First, talk to your family to see if they can help with your needs. There are probably home health-care agencies that can assist you with … [Read more...]
Why is it important to factor inflation into retirement planning?
Inflation is one of the key factors you will need to consider when planning for retirement. Not only will the cost of living rise while you're accumulating assets for retirement, but it will continue to rise during your retirement, which could last 25 years or longer. This, combined with the fact that you will not likely earn a paycheck during retirement, is the main reason your portfolio needs to maintain at least some growth potential for the duration of your retirement. Consider this: If … [Read more...]
Weathering the Storm: Are You Prepared?
Severe weather can test even the most seasoned homeowners. And while storm hazards such as power outages, downed trees, and flooding can result in costly damage to your home, they can also put your family's safety at risk. The key to making it through a storm safely is to be prepared. Protect your home Before a storm arrives, you'll want to take proactive steps to prevent damage to your home, such as: Cleaning your gutters and downspouts so that water can flow freely away from your home … [Read more...]
Don’t Delay: The Potential Benefits of Starting to Save Now
For long-term investment goals such as retirement, time can be one of your biggest advantages. That's because time allows your investment dollars to do some of the hard work for you through a mathematical principle known as compounding. The snowball effect The premise behind compounding is fairly simple. You invest to earn money, and if those returns are then reinvested, that money can also earn returns. For example, say you invest $1,000 and earn an annual return of 7% — which, of course, … [Read more...]
Don’t Wait to Ask Aging Parents These Important Questions
It's human nature to put off complicated or emotionally heavy tasks. Talking with aging parents about their finances, health, and overall well-being might fall in this category. Many adult children would rather avoid this task, as it can create feelings of fear and loss on both sides. But this conversation — what could be the first of many — is too important to put off for long. The best time to start is when your parents are relatively healthy. Otherwise, you may find yourself making critical … [Read more...]
“Why do all my friends get bigger tax refunds than I do?”
We hear this question often, and our answer is always the same: “It depends”. There are many factors that go into determining what refund a taxpayer receives after the tax return is filed. Change one of those factors even slightly, and the results can shift a lot. Here are just some of the factors: Are your friends/co-workers/neighbors having a lot of tax withheld from their paychecks all year? And are you have much less withheld? The biggest factor in determining a refund amount is … [Read more...]
What’s Your Money Script?
Money is power. A fool and his money are soon parted. A penny saved is a penny earned. Money is the root of all evil. Do any of these expressions ring true for you? As it turns out, the money beliefs our families espoused while we were growing up may have a profound effect on how we behave financially today — and may even influence our financial success. Beliefs drive behaviors In 2011, The Journal of Financial Therapy published a study by financial … [Read more...]
2017 Year End Tax Alert
Open/Read 2017 YEAR END TAX ALERT (PDF document) … [Read more...]