All Posts By

Crystal Cox, CFP®, CRPC®

inherited IRA

What to Do If You Inherit an IRA Post SECURE-Act

By Blog
Introduction If you inherited all or part of an individual retirement account (IRA) or a qualified retirement plan, you may be wondering what you should do with the assets or the account. But the first question might be, what can you do. The rules governing inherited IRAs are complex – all the more so since the passage of the SECURE Act of 2019. The options available to you will depend on several factors, including the type of account you inherited, when you inherited it, your relationship to the deceased, and at what age the death occurred. In the following paper,…
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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 if You Inherited an IRA in 2019 or Before

By Blog
Note: Unless otherwise specifically stated, this article applies to beneficiaries of account owners who passed away in 2019 or before. If you inherited an IRA from an account owner who passed away after January 1, 2020, please reference the article What to Do if you Inherit an IRA Post SECURE-Act. 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…
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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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Often Overlooked Estate Planning Details

By Blog
Even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 resulted in fewer families being subjected to estate tax, estate planning, or the process of preparing instructions for how your personal assets should be administered and distributed after your death, remains a necessary task for all. 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 complex, there are some basic but important details that one should consider…
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