What the SECURE Act Means for You

As of January 1st, 2020, many changes from the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act of 2019 became effective. Some of the more notable changes that could impact your financial future involve the following: Some of the major changes include: 1) Required minimum distributions (RMDs) Start at 72, not 70-and-a-half 2) Traditional IRA Contributions are allowed after 70-and-a-half 3) changes to the rules on inherited retirement accounts 4) new allowence for adoption / birth expenses 5) changes in 529 plans RMDs starting at 72: The new law only applies to the people who turn 70-and-a-half  after December […]

Estate Planning: the Basics

Estate planning in its simplest terms is passing your assets to your heirs as quickly and tax-free as possible. Assets can be transferred via wills, ownership, by contract (beneficiary arrangements), and trusts. The best way to ensure that you have everything covered is to meet with an attorney. Regardless of the complexity of your financial situation, your attorney will most likely start you with a basic estate plan. The basic estate plan typically includes the drafting of your will, powers of attorney for health care and finances, as well as living wills. Wills – I have encountered many excuses for […]

Holidays Don’t Need to be Bank-Breaking

For many of us, autumn is filled with outdoor activities, spending time with extended family, and the start of an expensive holiday season. Before you hit the mall on Black Friday or make your online purchases on Cyber Monday, consider these tips for getting the most out of your holidays while minimizing your expenses. 1) Setting a budget – Before the holidays begin, consider creating a list of everyone for whom you would like to buy a gift and then assign a dollar amount as a target for each person. Make sure that the total value of all of those […]

Retirement Income Rules of Thumb

If you’re casually wondering if you’re on the right track for retirement, you can use some simple math to help determine how you’re doing. Normally, I’m not a fan of rules of thumb because so many variables are at play and retirement is so personalized. That said, this can give you some idea of what you’ll need for retirement income. How to determine your income needs – Take an estimate of your total expenses and modify those for changes you expect in retirement (such as more travel, fewer commuting expenses, greater healthcare costs, etc.). After you get that total, subtract […]

Optimizing Employee Benefit Options

It’s getting to be that time of year. If you haven’t already, you should soon receive your 2020 employee benefit options from your employer. These options typically involve selecting a health insurance plan, dental, and vision coverage. Your employer may also provide for things such as life insurance, disability insurance, and/or a flexible spending account (FSA). Because you have to wait a full year before you can change your mind, it’s important to take care with your elections. Check out our infographic on benefits enrollment for a quick summary Partnershipwm.com/benefits-enrollment. Life insurance – Employers often provide some sort of basic […]

Including Your Pet in Your Estate Plan

Normally when we first discuss the need for clients to include their pets into their estate plan, they think we’re crazy. My wife and I, however, view this as a very serious issue. We feel that our dogs, Fenway and Roxy, are a part of our family. If we pass away while they are alive, we want to make sure they are cared for by someone who is capable and who wants to care for them. Selecting a guardian – The first decision you need to make is finding someone to care for your pet. Not everyone who loves your […]

Planning for Diminished Financial Capacity

According to the SEC, “’Diminished financial capacity’ is a term used to describe a decline in a person’s ability to manage money and financial assets to serve his or her best interests, including the inability to understand the consequences of investment decisions.” (Bit.ly/2Mq4i3y) Of all the things we plan for, it’s likely that we’re least interested in and least likely to plan for diminished capacity. The thought of losing one’s mental capacity is, for some, a fate worse than death, but, it’s something that shouldn’t be ignored. According to the World Health Organization, a new case of dementia is diagnosed […]

Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Although mortgage rates climbed steadily in 2018, they’ve come down since the beginning of the year. According to BankRate.com, current rates for 30-year mortgages are 3.98% nationally (rates posted online as of this May 17th). While you may have a low rate on your current mortgage, you may want to consider evaluating your refinance options to lock in potentially lower rates. How do I know if a refinance makes sense for me? The most common reason to refinance is to reduce your monthly payment. Even with the fees paid to your lender, a large enough decrease in your interest rate […]

Strategies for Investing Cash

The stock markets are at all-time highs and don’t appear to be ready to change course any time soon. If you have a rollover from an old 401k or some saved cash, you may be asking yourself if this is the right time to invest that money. You may want to have your money invested right away so that you don’t miss the potential upside of the market or you may want to wait on some or all of your investing for fear that the market may pull back. When clients come to me with cash to invest, I typically […]

Medicare Basics

My clients often report Medicare as the most confusing aspect of their retirement financial picture. With all of the options available through Medicare, just deciding on which coverage to elect can get someone’s head to spin. Understanding the basics can help you feel more comfortable as you sort through the decision process. In this article, I’ll cover some of the main aspects of Medicare as well as providing some resources where you can learn more. When can you sign up? Most people will become eligible for Medicare at age 65 and can sign up as early as three months prior […]