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retirement savings

A “How To” Guide to Retirement Savings for the Self-Employed

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Recently, we received a call from a client who had previously retired but had decided to get back into the game and provide consulting services as an independent contractor. Part of the conversation was a discussion of the different approaches to consider in deferring income recognition and investing some of these newly earned funds in a tax efficient manner. Below we review some of the most common retirement savings strategies a self-employed person could utilize, and explore the pros and cons of each: Traditional IRA A traditional IRA is a method to save for retirement with tax benefits. Contributions made…
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Special Needs and Special Education Planning: Intro

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An Introduction It’s hard to believe that the beginning of a new school year will soon be upon us. However, those of us with children who receive special education services may look upon it with more dread than anticipation. For some, the school year evokes thoughts of PPTs and due process complaints, not back-to-school shopping. The personal aspects of advice around special needs and education — the constant feeling that you must fight tooth and nail to protect your child — combine with my professional role as an advisor to parents in a similar position, moving me to do more…
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new family savings

How to Financially Prepare for a New Baby

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A Checklist for Parents-to-Be Becoming a parent for the first or second or third or . . . time is always an exciting phase of life’s journey. You become responsible for another (very tiny) human. There are an infinite number of decisions and items to remember when it is time to get ready for the new adventure. However, as with most things, a little preparation can go a long way towards smoothing some of the inevitable chaos. Both before the baby arrives and, in the weeks, months, and years after, it can be helpful to understand and plan for some…
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healthcare

Approaching Healthcare as an Informed Consumer

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Effectively Seek Medical Care in a Way that Makes Sense for Your Insurance The level of responsibility being imposed on patients is increasing. We must all begin to view obtaining medical services and healthcare through the lens of the informed consumer rather than the dutiful patient. We should seek out doctors who wish to embark on a collaborative approach to care to help us navigate this new medical landscape. The rise in popularity of high deductible health plans has begun to shed light on the way healthcare is typically provided in the United States and the cost associated with that…
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retirement savings

SECURE Act: Changes May Be Coming Soon to Retirement Savings

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Believe it or not, there is something that Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on, and that is the need for all Americans to increase their retirement savings. Although there is not yet consensus on what any final legislation may look like, there are enough similarities between House and Senate proposals to believe that there could be some movement here. The Senate Finance Committee first reported the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act (RESA) in November of 2016, followed by a House version known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Act (SECURE), which passed the House Ways &…
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planning

A Guide to End-of-Life Planning

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Although planning for end-of-life can be emotionally fraught and daunting, organizing affairs well before the need arises helps families and beneficiaries immensely after a loved one’s passing. But where to start? With the abundance of paper and digital resources accompanying the myriad accounts that comprise many years well-lived, it can be hard to know which are essential to have on hand. The most important things to have in place are: An up-to-date financial plan: Consult with your wealth advisor who can assess your current financial situation and update your financial plans to address any end of life concerns. Your advisor…
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when to collect social security benefits

Weighing Your Options on When to Take Social Security

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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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buybacks

Stock Buybacks: The Battle of Perception vs Reality

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Recent years have seen growing popularity in share buybacks, the process whereby a company repurchases outstanding shares of its own stock. The argument is that when lacking better investment opportunities, companies should return capital to shareholders, reduce share count and that will ultimately support the stock price. Buybacks are catching the attention of politicians as well. There are concerns that companies are not spending a sufficient amount on employees or reinvestment in projects that would be beneficial to the broader economy. In this discussion, we take a look at the growth in buybacks, the ramifications for investors and address the…
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estate plan

Should I pay off my mortgage or invest?

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Most of our clients will at some point ask if paying off—or more aggressively paying down—their mortgage is a prudent financial decision. The answer to this question, like most complex financial decisions, is that it depends. Several factors should be considered with the help of a financial advisor to determine if it makes sense to pay off your mortgage or use your financial assets elsewhere. For the purposes of this article, we are seeking to help answer this question for one’s primary residence versus an investment, or rental property. Cash Flow Planning One of the first steps in determining if…
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yield curve

The Yield Curve: An Imperfect Indicator in Evolving Market Conditions

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The U.S. Treasury Yield Curve inverted recently for a few days, which provoked hand-wringing and doomsday predictions from all the usual market commentators in all the usual places. So let's examine this phenomenon, starting with the simple question: What is an inverted yield curve anyway? An inverted yield curve is simply the unusual case of short-term interest rates being higher than long term.  Under normal circumstances, you wouldn't lend money to anyone for a longer period at a lower rate - it just makes no sense. That's why inverted curves don't happen very often. But all yield curves are not…
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