Review Category : Retirement

What Now? Assessing Investment Philosophy During a Down Market

They say volatility is the price you pay for higher returns in the market. After a very nice run in the market over the last decade, investors were reminded of this quote recently as the last week of February saw U.S. stocks have their worst week since the financial crisis. The losses were everywhere: The Dow Jones fell 12.4%, capping off its worst month since 2009. All 11 of the S&P 500’s sectors fell into the red for 2020. According to Dow Jones Market Data, about 95% of stocks in the S&P were down more than 10% from their highs. It reminded me that despite most of us having lived through the Dot.com bubble in the early 2000s and the financial crisis of 2008, we get very short memory when things are going well and throw caution to the wind with our investments. This begs the question: how should you be constructing your portfolio to dampen the effect of these ...

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

Steven B. Goldstein, CFP®, CRPC®, RICP® Vice President, Private CFO® What do you want to be when you grow up? You were probably asked that question many times when you were a kid.  I always dreaded that question because I wasn’t one of those kids who had a special talent or somehow knew they wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, or whatever.  Sure, I dreamed about being a baseball player when I was little but, as I grew up, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.  Later I dreamed about becoming a rock star (what teenage boy didn’t?) but it was obvious a musical career was never going to be in my future.  So, I was like many kids and went through school racking my brain to choose a career I would enjoy, be proud of, and most importantly, would enable me to support myself as an adult.  I ultimately chose business, economics, and finance, and here I am many ...

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Congress Just Passed the Biggest Bill in a Decade – The SECURE Act: 7 Things You Need to Know

On December 19th, the Senate passed the most sweeping retirement bill since the Pension Protection Act of 2006. The SECURE Act, whose progress had stalled until lawmakers tacked it onto a spending bill to keep the country running, aims to make saving easier amongst a bevy of changing rules. The House already passed the legislation, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law. So, how does that impact you, your money, and how you will be able to save money for the future?  Does it mean you will pay more taxes?  Here are seven things you need to know about the Secure Act. (some excerpts are from Yahoo Finance) SECURE Act #1:  RMD’s Are Changing Starting January 1, 2020, the new bill pushes the age at which you need to start withdrawing money from your traditional retirement accounts from age 70½ to age 72. These required minimum distributions, as they’re called, are Uncle Sam’s way of ...

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Should More Companies Offer a Holiday Bonus?

We know that the holiday season is coming down the home stretch, but there have been some amazing stories of companies whose generosity has gone above and beyond the call of duty.  Two out of three companies say they will give some sort of holiday bonus, but St. John Properties in Maryland surprised their employees beyond belief with handing out $10,000,000 in holiday bonuses https://bit.ly/36B7pfL. The bonuses were handed out based upon your length of service with the company. So, even though the average employee bonus was $50,000, the lowest bonus was $100 and one employee who worked for the company for 44 years received a $270,000 bonus?  anta, do you hear us calling you? The news continued over the past week with a giant insurance company called the Integrity Marketing Group who paid out a $50,000,000 bonus to its some 7,500 employees, but their bonuses were skewed to the overall performance of the individuals rather than tenure or the ...

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Are Your Elderly Parents Being Financially Exploited?

Picture this scenario at the bank: A woman walks into her branch with her 25-year-old grandson and they’re ready to transfer $4,000 or so out of Grandma’s account into his. Is the grandson running a scam? And, if so, can the bank do anything to stop it?  Maybe, yes, on both counts.  “People are literally being robbed every day through scams or financial exploitation from members of their own family,” said Debra Whitman, executive vice president and chief public policy officer at AARP.   The average victim can lose $120,000 to financial exploitation, according to AARP research. Repeated, out-of-the-ordinary cash withdrawals are a big clue to exploitation and scams.  (source: Detroit Free Press) In fact, every year it is estimated that 2.6 billion dollars are lost by elder financial abuse and the problem only seems to be getting worse and worse.  The initial threat for most of our elderly parents were the dreaded robocallers.  The imposters that would pose as the Social Security department or the ...

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Why Your Parents Financial Advice Might Be Wrong (Sort Of……..)

A recent study that came out on CNBC showed that when it comes to debt, Gen Xers are now at the top of the class.  Especially in the category of personal debt where the average Generation X individual (ages 39 to 54) has racked up $36,000 of personal debt.  This is on top of the student debt that is still lagging in the background and potentially taking on new college debt for their children. I think about the advice I got from my parents and the advice that I am giving today.  We all need to consider that as life evolves, so may some of the traditional financial advice that we give when it comes to money decisions.  Here are four areas where parents’ financial advice may be (kind of) wrong: Go To College And Get A Degree:  Let me say up front, I’m not advocating that a college degree is a bad idea.  But we need to consider what’s ...

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The October 1st Deadline For Small Businesses

After an owner makes heads or tails at the end of the year, they will usually determine whether or not money is left behind for setting up some sort of long-term retirement plan within their business.   Since there are so many people setting up individual LLC’s or home-based side businesses, you need to keep a close eye out this time of year for setting up one kind of retirement plan, a SIMPLE IRA.   The deadlines are just around the corner in the next few weeks, so could this be the right type of retirement plan for you? A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan For Employees) was first available to small business owners in 2001. A SIMPLE IRA plan is an IRA-based plan that gives small employers a simplified method to make contributions toward their employees’ retirement and their own retirement. Under a SIMPLE IRA plan, employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions and the employer makes matching or ...

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Here’s The #1 Reason People Cheat On Their Taxes

Cheating.  It’s a morality question we talk about with our kids, our work colleagues, and even with ourselves.  It is OK to cheat.  In a recent poll, 10% of Americans say it’s OK to cheat here and there on your taxes and the number of people that say it’s OK to cheat is up 3.5% versus one year ago.  In fact, in a Credit Karma survey that interviewed 2,000 people, only 6% of the people actually confessed to the fact that they have cheated on their taxes in the past.  So, what’s the number one reason that people cheat on their taxes? Let’s talk first about what cheating really means.  There is a big difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion.  Tax avoidance is perfectly legal.  These are strategies such as using your 401(k), tax deductible IRA’s, pension plans, health savings accounts, and many other legitimate legal tax strategies that you can use under the current tax code.  Tax evasion ...

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How I Kicked My Post College Kid Out Of The House- And You Can Too!!

It’s official – apparently you can to home again. A recent TD Ameritrade survey found that 50% of “young millennials” plan to move back home with their parents after college. The survey polled 1,027 members of Generation Z (which the survey defines as ages 15-21), 1,026 millennials (which the survey defines as ages 22-28) and 1,001 parents. This issue is actually very personal for me. With my oldest child Olivia having recently graduated college and two others at home closely following in her footsteps, I made a strategic decision. I needed to kick Olivia out of the house and get her living on her own as soon as possible.  You know I love my kids more than life itself.  You know I only want the best for them.  But I remember the struggles I experienced when I started living on my own with less than $100 in my bank account. I lived on a waterbed and ate a steady diet ...

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Did You Just Get A 6.2% Raise At Work?

It’s pretty amazing to me how many people 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 $132,900 this year and Medicare is a perpetuity tax at 1.45%.  Depending on your pay grade and what bonuses you have earned, you may have already received a raise in your paycheck and don’t even know it. The reason is, once you hit the $132,900 limit, you will no longer be paying into Social Security. Unfortunately, since there are many individuals who pay their full amount into social security and their income exceeds $132,900 in a particular calendar year, your HR department won’t send you a notice that you now have an extra 6.2% in ...

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