Categories for Financial Planning

  • Pre-Retirement Planning Guide

    Posted Date June 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    Step 1: Develop a Budget Once you are truly good and retired – no phase-out, no gig jobs, no income-earning hobbies – most people end up living on a “fixed income.” While that income may fluctuate somewhat based on cost-of-living increases and investment gains, those increases may be few and far between. What you really need to work on before you retire is a “fixed budget.” A fixed budget is a line-item record of your living expenses, from housing and insurance to food and utilities to transportation and healthcare. Bear in mind that those are not exactly “fixed expenses” either.... View Article

  • Part 2: Pre-Retirement Planning Guide

    Posted Date May 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    There are many steps to planning for retirement. Some are legal and financial, some are about communication, and some involve introspection – thinking about your life now and how you want to live the rest of it. By the time most people start thinking about a retirement plan, they have a pretty decent foundation. Perhaps its assets – a house, savings, a retirement portfolio. Perhaps a strong social network comprised of family, friends, and colleagues. Furthermore, most folks have a sense of who they are, what they like, and what they don’t like. Some people may have all three of... View Article

  • Part 1: Pre-Retirement Planning Guide

    Posted Date April 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    One of the more insightful quotes of baseball great Yogi Berra was, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” When you’re young, first starting out in life and career, the path to professional success and personal fulfillment isn’t always clear. Most people start out on a track and then adjust as they go along — based on what they learn, who they meet, and cultivate their choices given their opportunities. Fortunately, the path to retirement need not be so nebulous. By the time you start thinking about retirement, most people have quite a few certainties... View Article

  • What to Know About the Art Donation Deduction

    Posted Date March 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    If you would like to donate artwork to an eligible charitable organization, you might be able to take a deduction on your tax return. However, the rules are complex. There are different requirements for different values, and there are scams you want to avoid that could lead to severe consequences for taxpayers who abuse this deduction. Generally, the deduction for donated art is based on the fair market value of the property. This refers to the price the artwork could reasonably be expected to sell for on the open market. To qualify for the deduction, note that the value of... View Article

  • Municipal Bond Outlook for 2024

    Posted Date February 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    One of the positive aspects of sustained high-interest rates is higher yields on bonds, particularly high-quality municipal bonds. It is possible that 2024 will present a different scenario as the Federal Reserve begins a schedule of monetary easing by reducing interest rates over time. The potential for this strategy, combined with a slowdown in inflation and economic growth – and exacerbated by the potential volatility of a U.S. presidential election – offers a hazy but ultimately positive outlook for municipal bonds. For now, investors with a long-term outlook (up to 10 years) can take advantage of current high-interest rates before... View Article

  • Considerations For Paying Off a Mortgage Early

    Posted Date January 1, 2024 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    For many, buying a home is the biggest asset they will ever own. However, you aren’t able to fully benefit from that asset until you pay off the mortgage; until then it is technically a liability. The most common length of a mortgage loan is 30 years, but most people either sell their home, refinance their mortgage – or even pay it off before the end of that term. What are the pros and cons of paying off a mortgage early? Obviously, you no longer have to make monthly payments, so money can be directed elsewhere. It is advisable to... View Article

  • How to Manage Taxes in Retirement

    Posted Date December 1, 2023 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    The biggest difference between managing taxes throughout your career versus during retirement is that when you are retired, you are responsible for calculating how much you owe and paying it on a timely basis. Retirees normally have several different income sources, and not all automatically withhold taxes from distributions. Retirement Income Sources Having multiple sources of income during retirement is a good strategy, as it helps protect you from market declines, tax legislation changes and potential defaults or cutbacks in pensions or entitlement programs. However, be aware that the more income sources you have, the more effort it takes to... View Article

  • 2024 Cost of Living Adjustments

    Posted Date November 1, 2023 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    In one year’s time, the U.S. inflation rate dropped by more than half, from 8.2 percent in September 2022 to 3.7 percent in September of 2023. If there is a downside to lower inflation, it’s a lower cost of living adjustment (COLA). This year, the inflation rate plummeted from 6.4 percent in January to the current 3.7 percent. While food prices, both grocery and dining out, continue to increase. Between February 2020 and September 2023, grocery store prices rose 25%. That was slightly above the 23% increase in menu prices during the same period. But a number of consumer goods... View Article

  • Work and Social Security Benefits

    Posted Date October 1, 2023 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    You can work and still receive Social Security benefits, but how much you receive depends on a number of factors. First, if you do plan to continue working after becoming eligible to receive benefits, you might consider delaying filing for benefits for as long as possible. That’s because the earlier you begin drawing benefits, the lower the amount you will receive. In fact, your monthly payout will be permanently reduced from what you’ll receive if you wait until full retirement age (FRA). Your FRA depends on the year you were born (note that for people born on Jan. 1 of... View Article

  • Widow/er Social Security Benefits

    Posted Date September 1, 2023 Posted Time 12:00 pm Published in

    A widow or widower is eligible for a survivor’s benefit from Social Security even if they never worked – as long as the deceased spouse qualified for benefits based on his or her own income record. Also, note that surviving spouses must have been married to their most current spouse for at least the nine months prior to their passing or for 10 years if the couple was divorced. When Can You Claim? A widow/er may apply for benefits once she turns age 60, age 50 if she qualifies as disabled or if she is responsible for the care of... View Article

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