Put it in a Letter

Posted by on Jul 28, 2019 in 401k, 403b, atuos, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, cars, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, sales, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Express your wishes.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Actor Lee Marvin once said, “As soon as people see my face on a movie screen, they [know] two things: first, I’m not going to get the girl, and second, I’ll get a cheap funeral before the picture is over.”1 Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about their own funeral, and yet, many of us have a vision about our memorial service or the handling of our remains. A letter of instruction can help you accomplish that goal. A letter of instruction is not a legal document; it’s a letter written by you that provides additional, more personal information regarding your estate. It can be addressed to whomever you choose, but typically, letters of instruction are directed to the executor, family members, or beneficiaries.  Make a Cheat Sheet. Think of a letter of instruction as a “cheat sheet” to your estate. Here are a few ideas and concepts that may be included: *The location of important legal documents, such as your will, insurance policies, titles to automobiles, deeds to property, etc. *A list of financial assets, including savings and checking accounts, stocks, bonds, and retirement accounts. Be sure to include account numbers, PINs, and passwords where applicable. *A list of pensions or profit-sharing plans, including the location of their explanatory booklets. *The location of your latest tax return and Social Security statements. *The location of any safe deposit boxes and their keys. *Information on your social media accounts and how they can be accessed.  Identify Funeral Wishes. A letter of instruction is also a good place to leave burial or cremation wishes. You should consider giving the location of your cemetery plot deed, if you have one. You may even wish to specify which hymns or speakers you would like included in your memorial service. Although a letter of instruction is not legally binding, your heirs will probably be glad to know how you would like to be remembered. It also may be helpful to leave a list of contact information for people who should be notified in the event of your death. There is no “best way” to write a letter of instruction. It can be written in your style and reflect your personality, or it can be written to simply convey information. You should decide what type of letter best fits your estate strategy. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us www.wealthensure.com and www.moneymattersusa.net This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk,...

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How Medigap Choices are Changing

Posted by on Jul 15, 2019 in 401k, 403b, atuos, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, social security | 0 comments

Plan F is fading away, and Plan G may gain more popularity.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Soon, two types of Medigap policies will no longer be sold. Seniors who enroll in Medicare in 2020 or later will be unable to buy Medigap Plan F or Plan C. These are the two Medicare Supplement policies that cover Medicare’s Part B deductible (currently $185).1,2 This change impacts new Medicare enrollees. If you already receive Medicare and you already have Plan F or Plan C coverage, you can keep that coverage after 2019.1 What if you are eligible for Medicare before January 1, 2020, but not yet enrolled? If that is the case, then “you may be able to buy one of these plans,” according to Medicare.gov.1 Some journalists and health care industry analysts are speculating that a high-deductible Plan G could appear in 2020, in response to the unavailability of the high-deductible Plan F.3 Why do people like Plan F? Plan F is basically a “Cadillac plan”: it is not cheap, but it lets you see any doctor or hospital that accepts Medicare patients, and the upfront cost is the total cost. With Plan F, you are not surprised by subsequent requests to pay a deductible, a copayment, or coinsurance.4 How does Plan G differ from Plan F? While both plans provide similar coverage, the major differences are about dollars and cents. Plan G asks you for the $185 Part B deductible; Plan F does not. Premiums also differ notably. According to Weiss Ratings Medigap, which tracks the cost of Medigap policies, the average 2018 premium for a Plan F policy was $2,204. The average 2018 premium for a Plan G policy? Just $1,786.5 What will happen to Plan F and Plan G premiums in the 2020s is hard to say. Plan F premiums may jump because the supply of 65-year-olds buying Plan F will be abruptly cut, leaving an older and less healthy population to cover. Plan G premiums could rise also because a Medigap plan must accept new enrollees by the terms of Medicare regardless of how healthy or ill they may be. The current Plan G deductible might significantly increase as well.4 Do you think you might switch out of one Medigap policy to another? That move may be harder to make once 2020 rolls around. If it has been more than six months since you enrolled in Medicare Part B and you want to switch Medigap plans or supplement traditional Medicare with one, some Medigap insurers in certain states may exercise their right to charge you more in view of pre-existing health conditions and even turn you down. As Kiplinger notes, some states may...

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Tax Efficiency

Posted by on Jun 23, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, IRS, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes, TSA | 0 comments

What it means; why it counts.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   The after-tax return vs. the pretax return. Everyone wants their investments to perform well. But for many investors it’s their after-tax return that may make all the difference. After all, even if your portfolio is earning double-digit returns, it may not matter if you’re also losing a percent of those earnings to taxes.1 Holding onto assets. One method that may increase tax efficiency is to simply minimize buying and selling in order to manage your capital gains taxes. The idea is to pursue long-term gains, instead of seeking short-term gains through a series of steady transactions. In the words of Warren Buffett, “Only buy something that you’d be perfectly happy to hold if the market shut down for 10 years.”2 Remember, before making any financial decision speaking with a financial or tax professional is a great idea. A financial professional can help you formulate a strategy that incorporates your long-term goals and risk tolerance. Tax-loss harvesting. Many savvy investors engage in selling certain securities at a loss to counterbalance capital gains. This means the capital losses they incur are applied against their capital gains, which lowers personal tax liability. But remember, you can take up to $3,000 in capital loss each year and can carry losses forward into subsequent ones.3 Assigning investments selectively to tax-deferred and taxable accounts. Another common tactic some investors use over the long run is placing tax-efficient investments into taxable accounts, while also placing less-tax-efficient investments in tax-advantaged accounts. This also depends heavily on how you have your investments allocated.  Consulting a financial professional may help you decide if this is a smart move for your particular situation.4 Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us www.wealthensure.com and www.moneymattersusa.net   This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.   Disclosure:  MoneyMattersUSA®, Advisory LLC and Foundation Insurance Services,...

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Is Your Company’s 401(k) Plan as Good as it Could Be?

Posted by on Jun 21, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, college planning, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, tax returns, taxes | 0 comments

Two recent court rulings may make you want to double-check.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   How often do retirement plan sponsors check up on 401(k)s? Some small businesses may not be prepared to benchmark processes and continuously look for and reject unacceptable investments. Do you have high-quality investment choices in your plan? While larger plan sponsors have more “pull” with plan providers, this does not relegate a small company sponsoring a 401(k) to a substandard investment selection. Employees are smart and will ask questions sooner or later. “Why does this 401(k) have only one bond fund?” “Where are the target-date funds?” “I went to Morningstar, and some of these funds have so-so ratings.” Questions and comments like these are reasonable and surface when a plan’s roster of investments is too short. Are your plan’s investment fees reasonable? Employees can deduce this without checking up on the Form 5500 you file – there are websites that offer some general information as to what is and what is not acceptable. Most retirement savers read up on this with time, and most know (or will know) that a plan with administrative fees pushing 1% is less than ideal. Are you using institutional share classes in your 401(k)? This was the key issue brought to light by the plan participants in Tibble v. Edison International. The Supreme Court noted that while Edison International’s investment committee and third-party advisors had offered a variety of mutual funds, the plans offered higher-priced options and didn’t offer plans that were similar, yet of a lower cost.  The court ruled that “a trustee has a continuing duty—separate and apart from the duty to exercise prudence in selecting investments at the outset—to monitor, and remove imprudent, trust investments. So long as a plaintiff’s claim alleging breach of the continuing duty of prudence occurred within six years of suit, the claim is timely.”1 Institutional share classes commonly have lower fees than retail share classes. To some observers, the difference in fees may seem trivial – but the impact on retirement savings over time may be significant.1 When was the last time you reviewed your 401(k)-fund selection & share class? Was it a few years ago? Has it been longer than that? Why not review this today? Call in a financial professional to help you review your plan’s investment offering and investment fees. We provide these services. Fred Saide may be reached at 908-791-3831 or Frederick2@gmx.us www.wealthensure.com and www.moneymattersusa.net   This material was prepared by a third party, and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk,...

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Retiring Single

Posted by on Jun 2, 2019 in 401k, 403b, bank statements, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security | 0 comments

You will want to replace your income; you will also want to stay socially engaged.   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   About 6% of Americans 65 and older have never married. That statistic comes from a 2018 Census Bureau report, which also found that 22% of Americans aged 65-74 live alone.1 If you think you will retire alone and unmarried, you will want to pay special attention to both your financial and social qualities of life. Whether you perceive a solo retirement as liberating or challenging, it helps to be aware of how your future might differ from your present.1 Be aware that your retirement income needs may change. They can be affected by unplanned events and changes in your outlook or goals. Perhaps, a new dream or ambition emerges; you decide you want to start a business, or maybe, see more of the world. You could also end up retiring sooner than you anticipated. Developments like these could alter the “big picture” of your retirement distributions.  You may need to reinvent your social circle. Once retired, you may lose touch with the people who were a big part of your day-to-day life – the people that your business or career connected you with, including your co-workers. If you happen to retire to another community, the connections between you and your best friends or relatives might also weaken, even with social media on your side.  Ask yourself what you can do to try and strengthen your existing relationships and friendships – not just through the Internet, but in real life. Also, keep yourself open to new experiences through which you can build new friendships. Returning to a past hobby or pursuing a new one could also connect you to a new community.  An estate strategy should be a priority. Even if you have no heirs, you still have an estate, and you should have a say in how you are treated as an elder. Consider having powers of attorney in place. These are the legal forms that let you appoint another individual to act on your behalf, in case you cannot make short- or long-term financial or health care decisions. There are four kinds of power of attorney. A general power of attorney can be written to give another person legal authority to handle a range of financial affairs for you. A special power of attorney puts limits on that legal authority. A durable power of attorney is not revocable; it stays in effect if you become incapacitated or mentally incompetent. Lastly, a health care power of attorney (which is usually durable) authorizes another person to make medical treatment decisions for you.2 In addition to powers of attorney,...

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Three Key Questions to Answer Before Taking Social Security

Posted by on Apr 29, 2019 in 401k, 403b, Boomers. Millenials, Budgeting, Consumer Tools, Credit & Debt, credit card statements, Deflation, Elder Care, estate planning, family finances, financial advice, financial planning, Fixed Income Investing, Inflation, insurance, Investing, IRA, Life Stages, Medicaid Planning, Medicaid Recovery, Medicare Planning, Persoanl Financial tips, Retire Happy, Retire Happy Now, Retirement, retirement, retirement calculator, retirement planning, Saving Money, social security, taxes | 0 comments

When to start? Should I continue to work? How can I maximize my benefit?   Provided by Frederick Saide, Ph.D.   Social Security will be a critical component of your financial strategy in retirement, so before you begin taking it, you should consider three important questions. The answers may affect whether you make the most of this retirement income source. When to Start? The Social Security Administration gives citizens a choice on when they decide to start to receive their Social Security benefit. You can: * Start benefits at age 62. * Claim them at your full retirement age. * Delay payments until age 70. If you claim early, you can expect to receive a monthly benefit that will be lower than what you would have earned at full retirement. If you wait until age 70, you can expect to receive an even higher monthly benefit than you would have received if you had begun taking payments at your full retirement age. When researching what timing is best for you, it’s important to remember that many of the calculations the Social Security Administration uses are based on average life expectancy. If you live to the average life expectancy, you’ll eventually receive your full lifetime benefits. In actual practice, it’s not quite that straightforward. If you happen to live beyond the average life expectancy, and you delay taking benefits, you could end up receiving more money. The decision of when to begin taking benefits may hinge on whether you need the income now or if you can wait, and additionally, whether you think your lifespan will be shorter or longer than the average American.1,2 Should I Continue to Work? Besides providing you with income and personal satisfaction, spending a few more years in the workforce may help you to increase your retirement benefits. How? Social Security calculates your benefits using a formula based on your 35 highest-earning years. As your highest-earning years may come later in life, spending a few more years at the apex of your career might be a plus in the calculation. If you begin taking benefits prior to your full retirement age and continue to work, however, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $2 in earnings above the prevailing annual limit ($17,640 in 2018). If you work during the year in which you attain full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by $1 for every $3 in earnings over a different annual limit ($45,360 in 2018) until the month you reach full retirement age. After you attain your full retirement age, earned income no longer reduces benefit payments.2,3 How Can I Maximize My Benefit? The easiest way to maximize your monthly Social...

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