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All Posts By

Crystal Cox, CFP®, CRPC®

advisor designations

Advisor Designations and What They Mean

By Blog
When looking for a financial advisor, you’ve probably noticed the “alphabet soup” of letter combinations that can follow an advisor’s name. There are over 100 different financial advisor certifications, so it can be confusing to determine what these letters mean, and which advisor might be best for you based on these qualifications. So, what is a CFA®? And what’s the difference between a CFP® and a CFA®? Here, we break down some of the most common financial designations and what they mean for you. CFP® - Certified Financial Planner™ A Certified Financial Planner™ certification or CFP® mark is one of…
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inherited IRA

What To Do With an Inherited IRA

By Blog
Losing a loved one can bring not only an emotional burden, but also significant financial responsibilities related to settling the estate. If you are a beneficiary to retirement plan assets, you may inherit control of all or part of a retirement plan account. So, what exactly can one do with an inherited Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a Roth IRA? What responsibilities do you have to the newly inherited account? The answers to these questions may depend on your relationship to the deceased. Here I will discuss several factors that will determine what you can do with inherited retirement assets.…
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planning covid

Ways to Take Financial Action During the Pandemic

By Blog
The sweeping impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have upended all of our lives in different ways. Given the seriousness of the situation and for many, a new work from home reality, there has never been a better time to re-examine you and your family’s financial plan. We have written about the need for financial planning given unexpected situations such as incapacitation before, but given this unique situation and the passage of the CARES Act, we feel it is necessary to return to a few key planning opportunities. Review Estate and Incapacitation Documents Use this opportunity for a complete review of…
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good credit

How to Make A Good Credit Score Better

By Blog
Do you pride yourself on having a good credit score? In the world of credit, there’s good, and then there’s excellent. Even if you are doing most things right when it comes to watching out for your score, there are several lesser known ways to maintain what you have and take your credit to the next level. Understanding how your credit score is calculated is an important place to start. Six basic credit factors go into calculating this score. While all factors matter, some affect your score more than others. From roughly highest impact to lowest, these factors are: Derogatory…
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financial planning for incapacitation

Financial Planning for the Possibility of Incapacitation

By Blog
Planning for the possibility of becoming incapacitated can be daunting. While many may have their estate planning documents squared away and have end-of-life plans carefully laid out, they may not have planned adequately for the possibility of incapacitation. Incapacitation, or the physical or mental inability to make or communicate your decisions, often caused by illnesses like stroke or cognitive disease, is a real threat for retirees. Incapacitation presents a unique challenge, in that your family members, designated POAs (Powers of Attorney), doctors or lawyers will need to make decisions for you – and will need access to your documents and…
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when to collect social security benefits

Weighing Your Options on When to Take Social Security

By Blog
Determining when to start collecting your Social Security benefit is an important financial decision that requires careful consideration of many factors. While many people don’t anticipate taking benefits before full retirement age, certain life events may force them to do so. A Transamerica Center for Retirement Research survey found that more than half of retirees (56 percent) retired sooner than they had planned. When can you take Social Security? “Full retirement age” as specified by the Social Security Agency (SSA) depends on your birth year. A table can be found here. While there’s no universally “correct” age to begin claiming…
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POAs

Designating Powers of Attorney (POAs)

By Guides & Whitepapers
Selection, Documentation, and Communication Best Practices Most of our clients put Powers of Attorney or “POAs” in place as they age. POAs are legal documents that allow you to name an “agent” (also sometimes referred to as an “Attorney-in-fact”) to act on your behalf for financial or health care decisions, and are key components of any estate plan. We believe POAs are increasingly important beyond your estate plan too. Consider the following examples: Parents of college-aged adult children need healthcare POAs to interact with doctors and be involved with their children’s health care decisions. A business associate needs a non-durable…
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account beneficiaries

Naming Account Beneficiaries

By and Guides & Whitepapers
Don’t Overlook this Important Planning Opportunity Before she passed away, Jade was diligent in making sure her will was in order, which left her entire estate to be equally divided between her two sons, Samuel and Benjamin. However, instead of naming them joint account beneficiaries on her brokerage and bank accounts, she named Samuel as sole beneficiary on her large brokerage account and Benjamin as sole beneficiary on her modest savings account. When Jade passed away, nearly all her assets passed to Samuel and Benjamin outside of her will according to her beneficiary designations. However, Samuel received much more than…
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estate plan

Often Overlooked Estate Planning Details

By Blog
Estate Planning is Still Important The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act raised the estate tax exemption to $11.2 million ($22.4 million for couples). While fewer families will now be subject to estate tax, estate planning, the process of preparing instructions for how your personal assets should be administered and distributed after your death, remains a necessary task. More than just the writing of a legal will, estate planning can provide legal clarity to final wishes, name beneficiaries of assets, and outline terms of care in the event of incapacitation. As the process of creating an estate plan can be…
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4 Ways to Instill Good Financial Habits in Your Kids

By Blog
Parents have arguably the most difficult job on the planet. Molding your children into high-functioning, independent beings takes more effort than simply teaching proper manners. The saying “actions speak louder than words” applies to some parenting duties – politeness, for example – but many valuable lessons must be presented to your kids through honest conversation. Unfortunately, financial conversations can often feel quite uncomfortable. In fact, 71% of parents have some degree of reluctance to discuss financial matters with their kids, but failure to have meaningful money conversations with them leaves them to learn from your actions alone, which are not…
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