Here we are, already to the end of 2019! The end of a year and the start of a new one is when most people decide to clean up and implement changes in some areas of their lives. Whether it is financial or health-related, starting the New Year off with tasks completed feels good! Here are ten financial tasks that can make a difference to you now, and later:
Increasing or maximizing your pre-tax and after-tax retirement savings contributions helps in two ways; first, it helps to ensure you will have more money in retirement. Second, contributions into pre-tax retirement savings accounts help to lower your taxable income in the year the contributions made.
If you decide to sell losing assets before 2020, you may be able to use those losses to offset your taxable capital gains. Make sure to consult your tax professional to understand if tax-loss harvesting will benefit you or not.
Since contributions and earnings in a Roth IRA grow tax-free, converting your tax-deferred retirement savings into a Roth may make sense for you. Although you are required to pay taxes on the entire contributions and earnings, the conversion in 2019 may be a tax-smart move in the long term.
You don’t need to wait until 2020 to meet with your tax professional. Having an idea of how much you may need to pay in taxes for 2019 can benefit you when you still have time to contribute to tax-sheltered investment accounts opened by December 31st, 2019, to off-set personal income and capital gains. Especially if you’ve made more money in 2019 than in previous years, having an idea of taxes due in the 4th quarter and pre-paying taxes can save you stress later.
HSAs allow pre-tax contributions, much like your pre-tax retirement savings. However, when used at a later date for health-related expenses, including future long-term care expenses, the contributions and accumulation are tax-free upon withdraw. Make sure you are maximizing your contributions to enjoy the benefits of using the account later and lowering your taxable income for 2019!
Many states offer a state income tax credit or deduction up to a certain amount for parents or grandparents that contribute.
Market swings cause portfolio allocations to change over time. The end of the year is a great time to rebalance all of your investment accounts.
Donor-Advised Funds allow you to deduct your contributions to a non-profit. Due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, contributions must be made into a donor-advised fund in 2019 to be itemized and deducted on your 2019 tax return.
Check and update beneficiary information on your employer retirement plan and all life insurance policies. Has there been a marriage, divorce, or name change for any beneficiary? Keeping beneficiary information and your information current is essential to help avoid problems later if there is a death claim.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to schedule an annual investment review, complete or update your financial plan.
If you have questions regarding any of the above financial tasks, contact our office to complete these before we say goodbye to 2019 and welcome 2020!
Additional Disclosure: Diversification and asset allocation strategies do not assure a profit or protect against loss.
Our philosophy is not to simply provide financial services, but to provide partnership and council every step of the way. We seamlessly coordinate the many components of your wealth management plan and are committed to providing financial clarity. This plan allows you to focus on the things you care about most. One of our greatest strengths is the collaborative team of specialists that we have assembled to serve and support each client. We truly enjoy helping people make smart financial decisions and look forward to learning more about you, your priorities, and your goals Contact us today to begin your wealth management journey.
Dreaming and goal setting are interrelated; first, you dream about what you want, then you determine how to obtain it. Our dreams should help guide us to make the right choices at the right time and in the proper manner. But merely dreaming about something is not enough; we must set goals to achieve it. In psychology, goal setting refers to a successful plan of action that we set for ourselves.
Psychologist Frank L. Smoll, a Ph.D. and working psychologist at the University of Washington, emphasized through his studies the three essential features of goal-setting, which he calls the A-B-Cs of goals. Smoll said that effective goals are:
Others in the field of psychology have determined that goal-setting for productivity involves five criteria; it must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive. Whether your dream is buying a larger house, completing a degree, losing weight, or saving a specific amount for retirement, all of these criteria must be included in your planning to achieve success.
If dreaming and ‘goal-setting psychology’ sounds a lot like financial planning, it is. Financial plans develop with all of these productivity criteria in mind. Financial advice is then executed to help make a dream a reality. Achieving more significant goals, such as saving for retirement to live in retirement as one envisions, takes longer. Throughout a client’s life, they may change their retirement dream or adjust their goals to the evolving criteria.
Remember that dreams are like a destination- if you want to go somewhere, you need to visualize where you want to be, recognize where you are at now, and make a plan to get there. You must also stay motivated and keep dreaming! I can help you do all of this; all you need to do is ask.
Additional Disclosure: The newsletter and links are being provided as a service to you. Please note that the information and opinions included are provided by third parties and have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual’s situation. Planning services are generally available at additional cost and can only be offered only by appropriately licensed registered investment advisors.
Our philosophy is not to simply provide financial services, but to provide partnership and council every step of the way. We seamlessly coordinate the many components of your wealth management plan and are committed to providing financial clarity. This plan allows you to focus on the things you care about most. One of our greatest strengths is the collaborative team of specialists that we have assembled to serve and support each client. In addition, we truly enjoy helping people make smart financial decisions and look forward to learning more about you, your priorities, and your goals Contact us today to begin your wealth management journey.
Financial planning with a contingency plan is a requirement for all those who expect to retire at some point. The demographics of retirement and a ‘retired person’ is rapidly changing worldwide. Over the past 200 years, there have been remarkable changes in health and wealth around the globe. Now, there is a converging demographic between countries, thanks to world aid and trade, and technology. Human life expectancy is increasing; in just the United States, thirty years have been added to our life expectancy over the past 100 years.
Retirement is no longer viewed as winding down one’s life like it was in the 1950s. Today’s pre-retirees are making plans for their second phase of life. According to Age Wave, the nation’s foremost thought leader on issues relating to an aging population, today’s pre-retirees view retirement as an ‘Aspirational Life Stage’:
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade on a worldwide scale. It is a place for member countries to settle arguments and negotiate trade deals. But what happens when negotiations between two counties go awry, and tariffs continue to apply for long periods? The WTO can only intervene when its members create undesirable consequences for one another by disputing or blocking economic development and citizen’s well-being.
This is important for all Americans, as the flow of trade domestically and abroad impacts the profitability and returns in our portfolios and personal savings. We continue to invest in global economies, even when world politics and trade disputes have far-reaching effects.
Social Security Retirement benefits are set to increase in 2020- a modest 1.6% increase for the average retired worker that adds an extra $24 per month to their retirement check. Retired couples will see their combined benefits grow to $40 per month. This cost of living (COLA) increase is one of the smallest over the past twenty years and will help offset 2020’s increasing Medicare Part B and Part D premiums.
In addition, the most significant changes happening to Social Security retirement in 2020 will be the increasing social security payroll taxes (FICA) for workers and the increasing age for full retirement benefits. Here’s what you need to know:
In this article we look at the effect lowering interest rates can have on the economy and the markets. Interest rates can have a positive or a negative effect on the U.S. economy, the stock markets, and your investments. When The Fed changes the Federal Funds Rate (the rate at which banks can borrow money to lend to businesses or you), it creates a ripple effect.
The raising and lowering of the Fed Funds Rate is the role the Fed plays in stimulating the economy. In theory, the lowering of interest rates should help boost the U.S. economy by encouraging borrowing and spending. Therefore consumers and businesses are more willing to make big purchases. Whereas higher interest rates slow down borrowing and restrict the flow of money into the economy.
Since 1971, the United States has celebrated Women’s Equality Day on August 26. Although the occasion originally commemorated the passage of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote, today it recognizes and encourages people and organizations to promote the full equality for women in society. We recognize equality spreads the gamut, going beyond voting rights and equal representation in the workforce (although these things are just as important); it also represents the right a woman has to take charge of her own financial future. Tremendous progress has been made in this area, but we still have a way to go.
If you are expecting a child and are considering life insurance, the first thing I have to say is—smart move! But if this is your first time looking for coverage, you may have questions. Here are some typical ones I’ve heard over the years:
1. What type of life insurance coverage is best for new parents—term or permanent? Before figuring out what kind of coverage you need, you first have to understand how much death benefit you need to protect your family. You can do an easy calculation online to get a working idea of how much you may need with this Life Happens Life Insurance Needs Calculator.
In a recent study conducted by the ‘National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights and Analytics’, it was found that the average American family will spend just south of $700 for back-to-school costs in 2019. Is your child soon to be a college student? The same survey reported you should be ready to spend a little less than $1,000 alone for start-up school supplies. While this cost seems large, it’s just a part of your financial portfolio. Back-to-school time is not only a great time to plan a scholastic budget, but also reviewing and reassessing your financial plan. Below is your Official 2019 Back-To-School Financial Guide to make sure your student, and your financial goals, stay on track:
For people that have been diagnosed with a terminal illness or are in poor health, the idea of not having life insurance when needing it can be unsettling. For others who have a chemical dependency or have had one in the past, guaranteed issue life insurance (GI life) ignores the health risk of the dependence and provides the death benefit to their beneficiaries after the two-year waiting period. With other types of life insurance, the health risks the individuals face would be an automatic decline for coverage. Guaranteed issue life insurance may be the only life insurance available to these individuals. What is a guaranteed issue life insurance?