What Fantasy Football Can Teach You About Diversification (or Your Financial Plan)

The football season is upon us again here as the fall rolls around and neighborhoods and workplaces are buzzing with Fantasy Football fever.  The Fantasy Trade Sports Association commented that the Fantasy Football market is more than a 70 billion dollar industry today and growing.   With so many people joining multiple leagues, what can this popular game teach us about how we manage our portfolios and diversify our assets. Do Your Homework? It’s shocking how many people don’t know what they own in their 401(k), IRA, or their brokerage accounts.  You may have purchased a target fund or some growth and income fund, but you don’t actually know what you own.   Moreover, you may not understand the risks on how much you could gain in one year or how much you could potentially lose in one year.  It’s important to read the prospectus before you invest, look at the track record of the investment you will be making, and learn ...

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The Rules For Retirement Are Changing And You Better Be Listening

I am sure you have heard that phrase from many financial professionals over the years.  This time I want you to really hear it THE RULES FOR RETIREMENT ARE CHANGING!!  Hopefully I have your attention now because what I am about to tell you will scare the hell out of you.  Whether you are in your 40s or 50s you have been hearing that you need to save for retirement in traditional vehicles such as 401ks, IRAs, and sometimes someone mentions Roth IRA.  The reason you are told this is because of the tax deferral and the amount of money you can grow your nest egg for retirement. If you are a business owner or an employee of a company what I am about to say is a very bold statement and I will take heat for it.  Your investment guy, your Certified Financial Planner™, your insurance representative, your CPA, your estate planning attorney and anyone in between I believe ...

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My Roth IRA turned Five

Why is age 5 so important for your Roth IRA.  Well, there is a little discussed rule around Roth IRAs.  We know that they grow tax free.  We know that we can take contributions out at any time without penalty.  We also, know that at age 59 ½ we can start taking from either our IRA or our Roth accounts. But what most people miss is the 5 year clock on Roths.  The Roth rules say that to take distributions tax-free and penalty-free, your Roth account has to have been open for at least 5 years.  That means when you turn 59 ½ your account also has to be at least 5 years old.  I’ve been asked by clients if the clock resets each time they make a contribution; or does each contribution have its own 5 year clock.  The answer is no.  The clock starts when the account is first opened. In 99% of cases, the clock is a ...

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Can You Buy A Rental Property In Your IRA?

The U.S. homeownership rate, which was over 69 percent at the height of the housing bubble, had fallen by the beginning of 2015 all the way to 63.7 percent. That means over the last 10 years that the U.S. has lost all of the homeownership gains of the previous 20 years. It means that the 2010 decade is on pace to be the strongest decade for renter growth in history (source: www.chicagotribune.com). That steep drop has put the national homeownership rate back where it last was in 1993. Effectively, 1.7 million fewer households owned their homes by 2015 than they did at the bubble’s peak.   Many people are now thinking about buying a rental property, but may be short the cash to do it.  One of the questions that we are often asked is “Can I use my IRA to buy a rental property?” The short answer is yes, but let me first give a little ‘buyer beware’ that Real ...

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Did You Just Get A Raise In November

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people truly still don’t understand our payroll tax system.  When you work as a W-2 for an employer, both you and your employer are going to pay certain payroll taxes.  The two main types of taxes are the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax and the Medicare tax.   Both you and your employer pay 6.2% into FICA up to $117,000 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  In 2014, when wages, compensation, etc. get above $200,000 for an individual and $250,000 for a married couple, you will incur an additional .9% Medicare tax this year.   When your w-2 gets above $200,000, your payroll provider should be deducting that amount from your paycheck now, but it is important you double check at work. Since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $117,000 in a particular calendar year, unfortunately your HR department won’t ...

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Don’t Forget To Protect The Golden Goose

I have delivered insurance checks in my career and nobody has ever told me they have too much life insurance after a loved one dies. It’s really ironic because there are many media pundits who beat up on having unnecessary life insurance, but those writers don’t have to pick up the pieces after a major breadwinner dies in a family. Recent studies still say that the odds of dying are 1 out of 1. LOL. Even though I think that most families are woefully underinsured when it comes to life insurance, the greatest gap I see amongst Generation X and Generation Y is an apathetic amount of disability insurance. Most people who work for companies believe that the amount of disability insurance they get through work will be adequate to cover their situation should they sustain a long term disability. The stark reality is that most Gen X’ers an Gen Y’ers don’t even read the benefits manual to understand the ...

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The Roth 401(k) Conversion: Pros and Cons

Since the Pension Protection Act, Roth 401(k)’s are becoming more popular amongst investors through their employer sponsored retirement plan.   If you have been investing in a 401(k) for some period of time, it’s likely you’ve chosen the pre-tax option and maybe it is time to consider whether or not a Roth 401(k) conversion makes sense for your individual situation. PROS: If you believe you’ll be in a higher tax bracket in the future when you distribute these funds, then converting your existing 401(k) to a Roth 401(k) could make sense. Roth 401(k)’s are subject to Required Minimum Distributions, but you can easily roll your Roth 401(k) into a Roth IRA and this can continue to allow you to defer dollars within your retirement accounts if you don’t need to distribute the money. If the market has another depressed year like it has twice in the past fifteen years, that particular year could be a really good time to convert your ...

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