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Four Financial Planning Essentials to Ease Your Retirement Fears

When it comes to planning for retirement, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Putting together a financial strategy can be complicated at any time of life, what with changing regulations, ups and downs in the market, and disagreements – even among the better-known investment advisers – about the best ways to save and spend money. But the closer you get to actually stopping that regular paycheck, the scarier things can get.
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Alternatives for College Funding

A Primer Although we all know that “time flies,” it seems to move particularly fast as we watch our children grow. Yet, in considering a college future for a newborn, it is understandable that parents might procrastinate, since seventeen years seems so far in the future. However, when it comes to planning for college, children progress all too quickly from the cradle to the college classroom.
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The Advantages & Disadvantages of 401(k) Loans

Sometimes a 401(k) loan makes sense, but there are a lot of considerations     Tapping your tax-advantaged retirement savings seems like a desperate financial move (because it is), yet also a sound one in specific circumstances. Best know what you get into with 401(k) loans in terms of time, payback and risk.   Many holders of 401(k)s do in fact tap their accounts.
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Some Key Uses of Life Insurance

Have you ever thought about the important role life insurance can play in helping you manage a variety of important financial objectives? Let’s look at some “slice of life” hypothetical examples and you’ll see how life insurance can have broad applications.
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Inheritance Planning Can Help Avoid Headaches

Your financial professional can help ensure you leave your estate in the best possible way. Families inherit money and sometimes make the right moves investing and spending. Inheritances can also ignite disruption, divorce and a host of bad behavior far from the hopes and plans of the benefactor. What happens when you leave what's probably one of your biggest investments: your individual retirement plan?
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Changes to Student Loans and Payments in 2021

The student loan landscape has changed dramatically since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. From the suspension of interest payments on federal student loans to tax incentives for employers who pay their employees' student loans, there are a number of new programs available to help make student loan repayment cheaper and simpler. Below, learn more about some changes to student loans and the repayment process in 2021.
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Workers Want to Stay Put in Home Office

In a survey by job listings site Flexjobs, an astonishing 65 percent of pandemic remote workers said they wanted to keep working from home and 58 percent even said they would look for a new job if they would have to return to the office. Only 2 percent said they would prefer to return, while 11 percent said that remote work was not essential for them. At a third of respondents naming it as their preferred mode of working, the hybrid model that combines office and remote work was also popular.
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Retirement Confidence Remains Strong, Despite Pandemic

Despite the economic shock of the coronavirus pandemic, American workers and retirees remain largely optimistic about their financial prospects for retirement.In its annual Retirement Confidence Survey conducted in January 2021, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found that 80% of retirees and 72% of workers were either very or somewhat confident in their ability to afford a comfortable retirement.
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American Families Plan Would Provide Benefits for Some, More Taxes for Others

On April 28, 2021, the White House released a fact sheet for President Biden's American Families Plan (AFP), which proposes about $1 trillion in investments and $800 billion in tax cuts. There would also be tax increases for those making more than $400,000 per year. Major provisions proposed in the plan are summarized here, including some tax provisions. Education The AFP proposes the following: Free universal pre-school for all three- and four-year olds. Two years of free community college
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The Backdoor Roth IRA in a Nutshell

If you are wondering what in the world a “backdoor Roth IRA” is, you're not alone! In short, if you've been frustrated by the contribution limits associated with Roth IRAs, then read on. this article describes a strategy designed to help.
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The Different Stages of Financial Freedom

If you're living paycheck-to-paycheck or stuck in a job you don't love just to pay the bills, it can be easy to feel as though you're financially trapped. But financial freedom doesn't need to be elusive-with some focused and consistent effort, you may be able to achieve financial freedom sooner than you expected. Below, we'll discuss the different stages of the financial freedom journey.
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High Net-Worth Individuals: Are You Missing Opportunities in Your Financial Plan

High Net-Worth executives and those that have been self-employed, can experience common problems in their financial planning journey. Often, they have missed opportunities in their financial planning because they haven’t planned adequately for their retirement even though they make a high income.It’s easy to think that everything will work out with their retirement plan, and it can, but a high-income often masks the reality of having a deficit once a career ends. Just like average in
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Donor-Advised Funds: A Solution to Gifting with Tax Benefits

Gifting, for many investors, is about the philanthropic support they want to give charities. Gifting to help make the world better by benefitting society is one reason many families choose to donate. The charitable giving tax deduction they received in the past was a bonus. The above-the-line deduction for charitable giving is $300 per calendar year per individual under the CARES Act.
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The Great Wealth Transfer: Is Your Family Prepared?

Over the next twenty years, a wealth transfer will occur that exceeds $30 trillion as the Baby Boomer generation passes the remainder of their wealth to the Millennials and subsequent generations. The Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are considered the wealthiest generation, currently controlling 70% of the disposable income in the United States. It is imperative families develop a plan to transfer assets since the transfer of wealth is inevitable.
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HENRYs with Limited Wealth-Building Potential – Are You One of Them?

The term HENRY (High Earners Not Rich Yet) refers to individuals who have the potential to become wealthy in the future because of their income. These individuals or families earn between $250,000 and $500,000 per year and are between 25 and 45 years of age (Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X). Despite their income, after paying their living costs, taxes, and other expenditures, HENRYs have little left over to save and invest for their retirement.
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High Net-Worth Individuals: Are You Missing Opportunities in Your Financial Plan

High Net-Worth executives and those that have been self-employed, can experience common problems in their financial planning journey. Often, they have missed opportunities in their financial planning because they haven’t planned adequately for their retirement even though they make a high income.It’s easy to think that everything will work out with their retirement plan, and it can, but a high-income often masks the reality of having a deficit once a career ends. Just like average in
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Donor-Advised Funds: A Solution to Gifting with Tax Benefits

Gifting, for many investors, is about the philanthropic support they want to give charities. Gifting to help make the world better by benefitting society is one reason many families choose to donate. The charitable giving tax deduction they received in the past was a bonus. The above-the-line deduction for charitable giving is $300 per calendar year per individual under the CARES Act. For some investors, a $300 per year deduction doesn’t reflect in tax savings of their substantial donation
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The Great Wealth Transfer: Is Your Family Prepared?

Over the next twenty years, a wealth transfer will occur that exceeds $30 trillion as the Baby Boomer generation passes the remainder of their wealth to the Millennials and subsequent generations. The Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are considered the wealthiest generation, currently controlling 70% of the disposable income in the United States.It is imperative families develop a plan to transfer assets since the transfer of wealth is inevitable. For most families, their wealth was acquired during
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HENRYs with Limited Wealth-Building Potential – Are You One of Them?

The term HENRY (High Earners Not Rich Yet) refers to individuals who have the potential to become wealthy in the future because of their income. These individuals or families earn between $250,000 and $500,000 per year and are between 25 and 45 years of age (Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X). Despite their income, after paying their living costs, taxes, and other expenditures, HENRYs have little left over to save and invest for their retirement.HENRYs are a demographic that many consider to be &lsq
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What Should Grandparents Know About 529 Savings Accounts?

Grandparents can often find themselves in a better financial position to save for their grandchildren's education than their own children are. The parents of prospective students may still be contending with competing priorities like their own student loans, high-interest credit card debt, or a hefty mortgage.One way to help save for a grandchild's college education is by contributing money to a 529 savings account, an account where funds can be saved or invested and are withdrawn to be
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Preserving Your Wealth through a Chronic Disease

If you've been diagnosed with a chronic disease, you're not alone. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, while 4 in 10 live with two or more.1 With such a large percentage of the population affected by major health concerns, online advice about preserving wealth through chronic conditions remains surprisingly hard to find.This may stem from the nearly infinite variety of financial situations that can result from varying ages of onset, impacts of differe
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Maximizing Military Retirement Benefits

Retiring from the military is a profound accomplishment. For many, this retirement will provide you with positive things, including the time and geographic stability you need to start a new career or simply enjoy leisure activities with your loved ones.But if you're worried about your post-retirement income or just aren't quite sure what your finances will look like once you're no longer an active member of the military, you are not alone. Speaking with a financial professional befor
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5 Investment Considerations for Small Business Owners

If you're a small business owner, many of the best practices employed by individual investors are also available to you (of course!), but you also have some additional options and factors to weigh while creating your investment plans. We've outlined five key differences for your consideration:1. Diversifying outside your own industrySmall business owners often develop a tendency to invest within their own industry, and why not? It's one you know inside and out, where you recognize va
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The 3 Components of Social Security

Many have heard Social Security retirement benefits referred to as part of the "three-legged stool" of retirement: Social Security, a pension or defined benefit plan, and personal savings.1 The idea is that with these three sources of income, a retiree can ensure several steady streams of income without relying too heavily on just one "leg."But the Social Security program itself also has three important components: retirement, disability benefits, and survivors' benefits.
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How to Increase Your Financial Literacy

Unlike verbal literacy, financial literacy isn't often taught in schools—which means that many people may enter adulthood without having all the tools they need to make informed and effective financial decisions.1 Fortunately, gaining financial literacy doesn't need to be a long or complicated process. Read on for three simple things you can do to work toward increasing your financial literacy. Subscribe to Reputable Financial Publications and Newsletters As with just about any to
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Retirement Planning: To Roth or Not to Roth?

When saving for retirement, it often makes sense to contribute to employer-sponsored retirement plans to take advantage of any available employer match opportunities. However, not everyone has access to an employer-sponsored plan. Even if you do, there are reasons you may want to consider using Traditional and/or Roth IRAs to supplement your retirement savings. There are important differences between the two types of accounts.[i] Understanding the potential benefits and drawbacks of each type of
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Key Considerations as You Start Receiving Social Security Benefits

As your retirement draws closer, you will probably start to have lots of questions such as: How much Social Security will I receive?When should I retire?How will I know when to retire?Do I have enough saved?What will I need to do to maintain health insurance after I retire? The answers to these questions can vary widely depending on your income, your job duties, and your assets. However, there are a few factors that everyone should keep in mind when you begin making your retirement decisions.
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All online, all the time? Technology brings new benefits to hiring a property ma

Once upon a time, investing in the stock market involved ticker tape and a lot of phone calls. Today, most investors reach no further than their pocket for up-to-the-minute market updates, portfolio valuations, trading capabilities, and analytics. The property management industry is only now beginning to complete a similar transition, and many real estate investors are likely still unaware of the new online possibilities available to them.Imagine logging into your own safe and secure property ma
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How Much Do You Know About Credit?

In 2020, the average FICO score in the U.S. rose to 711, an eight-point increase from 2019.1 When it comes to having healthy credit, your score is the result of many factors. But what specifically goes into someone's credit report, and what steps can you take to improve your credit?1 Test your credit knowledge with our quiz below.Question 1: If you have three credit cards with a total credit limit of $50,000, what's the maximum balance you can carry before it begins to negatively impact
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How Financial Asset Management May Help Investors Stay the Course

Most people who decide to purchase stocks, bonds, mutual funds, or other investment vehicles do so understanding that there are risks associated with investing, but believing that the potential growth they may realize over time outweighs such risks. However, because there are no guarantees, investing assets can be a nerve-wracking experience – especially during periods of market turbulence.[i]Taking a deliberate approach to financial asset management and working with a financial profession
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Re-thinking Your Bucket List

When approaching the latter part of life, it is easy to get caught up in achieving every goal on your bucket list. Individual lists vary widely, but often are filled with wild adventures like skydiving and scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef. Bucket list items are the things one plans to do their entire life once they have the time and money to do it.Unfortunately, accomplishing all the items on a bucket list often does not go as planned. Whether it is an illness that gets in the way, a lack
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Assessing Your Retirement Resources

How resourceful can you be during your retirement? Determining where your retirement money will come from is an integral part of planning for retirement. Most people draw on three main sources of income: Social Security, employer-sponsored plans, and personal retirement savings. Each offers important resources that can help you fund the lifestyle you seek in retirement. Social Security Social Security offers a retirement benefit to workers and their spouses. You can start receiving benefits as
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Optimizing Required Minimum Distributions

Seventy-two is an important age milestone for those in or near retirement, as it marks the time when required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin to be withdrawn annually from IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans (previously, the threshold was 70 ½). The milestone carries with it tax consequences that are not fixed. Rather, there are a few rules to consider that can help you optimize the impact on your bottom-line. IRAsYou must begin withdrawing from a traditional IRA (Individ
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Your Retirement Planning: “Too Big to Fail”

Five common retirement planning misperceptions and how to avoid  
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Key Tax Deadlines for 2021

While the 2020 tax year saw some significant changes to filing deadlines due to the effects of the global pandemic, the 2021 tax season seems to be set to be on track with normal filing deadlines. With the pandemic still in sight, it is important to consider that these dates may be subject to change. Below is a list of the filing deadlines for the upcoming 2021 tax year that you will want to be sure to put into your calendar. Individual Income Tax Returns Individual tax returns are slated to re
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Tax Identity Theft Awareness - Protecting Yourself from Tax Identity Theft

Tax identity theft is when someone steals your Social Security Number, files a tax return with your number, and directs a refund to their own bank account. In other cases, this type of identity theft may involve a scam artist calling on the phone, pretending to be a rep from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and demanding payment over the phone. To protect yourself, keep these tips in mind. 1. Remember the IRS Doesn't Make Surprise Phone Calls The IRS does call taxpayers, but these calls
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Capital Gains for the 2020 Season Could be Huge

This year looks to be a record year for capital gain distributions  
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New Year's Resolutions to Get Your Finances in Order

New Year's is traditionally the time to review your life and make resolutions for change. In addition to thinking about working out, eating healthy, and meeting personal and professional goals, you should also think about your finances. To make the most of the New Year, keep the following tips in mind. 1. Outline New Goals To ensure you're moving in the right direction, take some time to outline your goals. Think about long-term goals such as buying a home, sending the kids to college,
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Tips for Organizing Your Financial Documents

In an increasingly paper-free society, organizing your financial documents can still be a challenge. No matter how simple or complex your financial picture might be, it takes some thought-out organization to keep your tax documents, service records, and paid bills in a format that will allow you to easily access information when you need it. What steps can you take now to organize your financial documents for 2021 and beyond? Clean and Evaluate If your financial files look more like a pile of l
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How to Structure Charitable Giving Throughout Your Lifetime

Charitable giving is a way for affluent individuals spread their money around and to benefit causes that are near and dear to their hearts. Yet, for those who fall into the high net worth category, it is critical to structure charitable giving correctly so that you will reap the tax benefits while making the greatest impact. Below are just a few possibilities on how structuring your charitable giving will provide you with the most benefit. Donor-Advised Funds With a donor-advised fund, you will
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How to Evaluate a Charity and Whether to Donate

Responsible giving doesn't only involve making sure to help those in need, but also ensuring that you perform your proper research by evaluating the charity. Proper evaluation will help you to make sure that your funds are being used in the way you wish them to be and can help you leave the impact you desire. There are many ways to vet charities, such as performing online research to help you identify charities that focus on your desired causes. But if you want some tips on where to start, b
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Charitable Giving and Donating Toys

As the holidays approach, many children start to make wish lists, but unfortunately, not all children have someone to give them gifts. Luckily, there are many charities that help get holiday gifts and joy to children. If you're thinking about donating toys this holiday season, here is what you need to know. Charities That Accept ToysVarious charities around the country accept used toys all year long. These include Goodwill, Salvation Army, and local thrift stores. Typically, these organ
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End of Year Planning: Set Goals and Reduce Taxes

By the last third of the calendar year, you're likely to have a pretty good idea of what your annual income will be and whether any major expenses or big life changes await you. This can allow you to engage in more robust tax planning, creating the first draft of your federal and state income tax returns to see what factors you can tweak and what goals you can set to reduce your overall tax burden. Read on for some points to consider as you close out 2020.Maximize Your Retirement SavingsBy k
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Military Families and Financial Planning

As a military family, you often have to deal with the stress of moving relatively frequently or potentially getting deployed. Managing your finances through these situations takes some finesse. To help ensure you're moving in the right direction, keep these tips in mind.   1. Set Aside Cash Reserves Whether you are military or not, you should ideally always have enough cash on hand to cover a few months of expenses. Then, if you ever face an interruption in your earning potential,
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