Critical Estate Planning Tips for Same-Sex Couples

If there’s been one silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that it has motivated many people to prioritize estate planning.    That’s important because if you die without an estate plan in place, your assets may not end up where you want.  The taxman may also take a much bigger bite than needed.  These issues potentially impact everyone.  However, with fewer children and sometimes contentious family issues, estate planning is even more critical for same-sex couples.  Marriage Isn’t a Magical Panacea The recent recognition of same-sex unions has, of course, helped couples realize tax savings and other legal benefits.  While it […]

The Trouble with ESG Investing

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing has become increasingly popular.  According to Morningstar, over $51 billion flowed into this investment strategy in 2020.[i]  That’s not a surprise, given the prospect of no longer having to choose between our values and making money.  Unfortunately, while developments are promising, there’s still much work to be done to consider ESG a viable investment strategy.  In fact, ESG seems to have more gray areas than green ones, so it’s critical that you know exactly what you’re buying. If you’re interested in ESG investing, here are some issues to consider. Lack of a universal definition […]

With the Stock Market Near All-Time Highs, What’s Your Next Move?

Despite the pandemic and its severe financial shockwaves, the US stock market is up significantly over the last 18 months; however, the economy is still technically in a recession. The Business Cycle Dating Committee, a panel that acts as the official referee on the US economy, has not yet named an end date for the 2020 recession. These contradictory messages, combined with rising inflation and increased government debt, lead many to think that we may be on the brink of a major downturn. As wealth managers for decades, we’ve learned that no matter how strange the market may seem at […]

Talking to Your Heirs About Money

One issue for people as they age is communicating with their heirs about the inheritance they could receive.  Some people are uncomfortable talking to their heirs about money while others are concerned that their heirs could become lazy while they wait on a windfall.  Talking with your children early about money in general and later about the money they might inherit can help your heirs become more responsible with the money they’ll receive. Here are some resources to get you started: This article from Kiplinger does a good job of outlining the importance of these conversations and some steps to […]

Are You Ready to Retire?

We’ve seen an increase in clients asking us if they can afford to retire.  While some could have retired years ago, many are clients who are looking to move up their retirement date.  This sudden interest in retirement is likely due to the pandemic; clients have experienced growth in their net worth from reduced spending combined with a strong stock market and are feeling COVID fatigue.   If you’re also considering retirement in the near future, know the answer to these questions before taking the leap:   What do you want to do in retirement?  The first step that I […]

Social Security Income

When considering Social Security income, most people think it best to take the income as soon as possible.  In most cases, this would be starting their income at age 62.  While this strategy works for some, there are some other options to consider. You can begin receiving individual Social Security benefits anytime between ages 62 and 70. Your benefit amount will differ, however, based on your full retirement age. This is based on your year of birth and ranges from age 66 for those born 1948-1954 to age 67 for those born in 1960+. The maximum benefit depends on the […]

Will this Game Stop?

Summary Smaller investors are making a big impact on Wall Street by joining together to buy companies such as GameStop, AMC, BlackBerry, and Nokia. The targeted buying is hurting Hedge Funds shorting these stocks, creating a short squeeze. The “short squeeze” is helping drive up these companies’ stock prices to astronomical heights. Currently, Hedge Funds are the biggest losers, but if stock prices reverse, there could be a ripple effect. If you’ve been monitoring the news recently, you’re likely to have heard something about a company called GameStop. While there have been further developments this past week, this article will […]

Hopeful and Optimistic

I first wrote about what it was like to work in Human Resources at a hospital during COVID last Spring.  I never thought I would be writing about again six months later.  I think we’ve all learned about ourselves and each other since then.  Hearing daily stories of COVID-related deaths and how many bodies in the morgue has taken its toll.  I had done my best to compartmentalize the horrific tragedies happening in the hospital, and to remain focused on my work.   My ability to do this has eroded over time. I find myself becoming irritable, defensive, and short with […]

Identity Theft

‘Tis the season for identity theft.  According to a recent survey conducted by Experian, 24% of people reported being a victim of identity theft or fraud during the holidays.1  During the holidays, we’re often so distracted while out shopping or searching for bargains online that we let our guard down.  Before you go shopping, take some steps to help protect your identity. Online Data– Be smart when you’re online.  Social media is a great way for thieves to learn more about you.  Take steps to limit the amount of personal information you share (employer, where you’ve lived, family members, etc) […]

Long-Term Care Options

November is long-term care awareness month, so we’re revisiting this challenging subject.  The national average cost for a private room in a nursing care facility costs over $102,000 per year. Depending on the level of your assets and income, you may elect to self-insure, spend down your assets and rely on Medicaid, or purchase long-term care insurance.  Traditional long-term care insurance benefits seem to be decreasing while the cost of coverage increases. Often people with more limited assets and income may rely on Medicaid to cover their long-term care expenses. Whether you are single or in a committed relationship, it […]