RESOURCES

VEHICLES

RETIREMENT

SERVICES DEFINED

LIFE INSURANCE

VEHICLES

Understanding Annuity Expenses

Most annuity issuers impose various fees and charges for the insurance benefits and administration of an annuity. These fees may seem small, but they can add up over time. Indeed, if two different companies offer similar products, the fees being charged should be one...

Five Keys to Investing For Retirement

Making decisions about your retirement account can seem overwhelming, especially if you feel unsure about your knowledge of investments. However, the following basic rules can help you make smarter choices regardless of whether you have some investing experience or...

Changing Jobs? Take Your 401(k) and Roll It

If you've lost your job, or are changing jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your 401(k) plan account. It's important to understand your options. What will I be entitled to? If you leave your job (voluntarily or involuntarily), you'll be entitled to a...

Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities

Immediate annuities Deferred annuities Payout begins shortly after the premium is paid. Payout begins at some specified future date, allowing time for accumulation. Purchase with a single premium. Purchase with either a single premium or periodic premiums. Contract...

Retirement Plan Considerations at Different Stages of Life

Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to...

Why Save for Retirement?

When you envision retirement, you probably see yourself living comfortably, doing what makes you happy. Your dreams could be as lofty as traveling the world or as simple as spending more time with your friends and family. Everyone's vision is unique. Fortunately,...

Active vs. Passive Portfolio Management

Active vs. Passive Portfolio Management One of the longest-standing debates in investing is over the relative merits of active portfolio management versus passive management. With an actively managed portfolio, a manager tries to beat the performance of a given...

401(k) Withdrawals: Beware the Penalty Tax

You've probably heard that if you withdraw taxable amounts from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan before age 59½, you may be socked with a 10% early distribution penalty tax on top of the federal income taxes you'll be required to pay. But did you know that the Internal...

Deciding When to Retire: When Timing Becomes Critical

Deciding when to retire may not be one decision but a series of decisions and calculations. For example, you'll need to estimate not only your anticipated expenses, but also what sources of retirement income you'll have and how long you'll need your retirement...

Retirement Plans: The Employee Perspective

Qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans can provide a number of tax and nontax benefits to employees. The employee perspective on these plans should certainly consider the obvious tax deferral and retirement savings benefits. Additionally, however, employees...

Staying on Track with Your Retirement Investments

Investing for your retirement isn't about getting rich quick. More often, it's about having a game plan that you can live with over a long time. You wouldn't expect to be able to play the piano without learning the basics and practicing. Investing for your retirement...

Risk Tolerance Worksheet

The following worksheet may help you assess your ability to take on investment risk in pursuit of long-term goals. Answer each question, then tally your results at the end. Score Investor Type Description 6-12 Conservative In general, a conservative portfolio will...

Distributions from Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Introduction A withdrawal of money from an employer-sponsored retirement plan is generally referred to as a distribution. When you have money in a plan maintained by your current or former employer, you need to be aware of your distribution options for several...

What does the term “qualified plan” mean?

Answer: A qualified plan is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that qualifies for special tax treatment under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. There are many different types of qualified plans, but they all fall into two categories. A defined benefit...

Have You Checked Your Retirement Plan Lately?

It's generally a good idea to review your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan at least once each year and when major life changes occur. If you haven't given your plan a thorough review within the last 12 months, now may be a good time to do so. Have you...

ESTATE PLANNING

Types of Long-Term Care

In general, long-term care refers to a broad range of medical and personal services designed to assist individuals who have lost their ability to function independently. The need for this ongoing care arises when you have a chronic disability or when physical/mental...

How can I tell if a nursing home provides high-quality care?

Answer: You may have heard horror stories about the quality of nursing home care. However, there are good nursing homes as well as bad ones. Here are some points to consider when evaluating nursing home care: The quality of health care: Make sure that the nursing...

Financial Stress

  Five Steps to Tame Financial Stress Do you sometimes lie awake at night thinking about bills that need to be paid? Does it feel as though you're drowning in debt? If this describes you, you might take solace in the fact that you're not alone. A recent report...

Can I be buried in a national cemetery even though I got out of the Army years ago?

Answer: The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (http://www.va.gov), formerly known as the Veterans Administration, sets the rules and guidelines for military burials. In general, you can choose a national cemetery as your final resting place if you were honorably...

Organizing Your Finances After Your Spouse Has Died

What is it? Even if you've always handled your family's finances, you may be overwhelmed by the number of financial matters you have to settle in the weeks or months following your spouse's death. While you can put off some of these tasks, others require immediate...

Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies

Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies Why is Medicaid planning important? Aging is inevitable, and a gradual (or not so gradual) inability to function independently is a great concern for many people. While the prospect of entering a nursing home is a daunting one,...

Conducting a Periodic Review of Your Estate Plan

Conducting a Periodic Review of Your Estate Plan What is conducting a periodic review of your estate plan? With your estate plan successfully implemented, one final but critical step remains: carrying out a periodic review and update. Imagine this: since you...

Facing the Possibility of Incapacity

Incapacity means that you are either mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself or your day-to-day affairs. Incapacity can result from serious physical injury, mental or physical illness, advancing age, and alcohol or drug abuse. Incapacity can strike...

Selecting an Executor

An executor is a personal representative who acts for you after your death. You nominate or designate an executor in your will to settle your estate. The person chosen will act in your place to make decisions you would have made if you were still alive. The probate...

Retained Income Trusts

Introduction A retained income trust is a type of irrevocable trust, whereby an individual (called the grantor) transfers assets to a trust and then retains an interest for a period of time or for life. The retained interest may be the right to receive payments, or...

Gift and Estate Tax Schedules

Estate Tax For 2011 and later years, the credit shelter amount is portable, that is, any exemption that is unused by the first spouse to die may be used by the surviving spouse for gift and estate tax purposes. 2016 and 2017 Gift and Estate Tax Rate Schedule Taxable...

Funeral Check List

    Death of a Family Member Checklist Losing a loved one can be a difficult experience. Yet, during this time, you must complete a variety of tasks and make important financial decisions. You may need to make final arrangements, notify various businesses and...

Minimizing Estate Taxes

The act of giving away your property, either during life or at death, will probably be subject to one or more of several types of taxes (collectively referred to here as estate taxes), either on the federal level, state level, or both. These tax liabilities may be...

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes. In the financial world, women often find themselves in very different...

How to Pay for Nursing Home Care

What is it? Paying for nursing home care is a burden that most Americans bear, whether directly or indirectly. Even if you never need nursing home care yourself, you are already paying for the nursing home care of others by paying income taxes that, in part, finance...

RETIREMENT

Paying the Bills: Potential Sources of Retirement Income

Planning your retirement income is like putting together a puzzle with many different pieces. One of the first steps in the process is to identify all potential income sources and estimate how much you can expect each one to provide. Social Security According to the...

How can you get an estimate of your future Social Security benefits?

How can you get an estimate of your future Social Security benefits? Knowing how much retirement income you might receive from Social Security may help you decide when to begin claiming benefits, and how Social Security might fit into your overall retirement income...

Earned Income in Retirement

Planning for Earned Income in Retirement If you're like a lot of people, retirement won't be the world of gardening, golfing, traveling, and tennis you once envisioned. Rather, retirement will mean relaxing and working. Maybe you've retired from your "regular" job...

Net Unrealized Appreciation: The Untold Story

If you participate in a 401(k), ESOP, or other qualified retirement plan that lets you invest in your employer's stock, you need to know about net unrealized appreciation--a simple tax deferral opportunity with an unfortunately complicated name. When you receive a...

Government Benefits

Social Security Social Security Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) 2016 2017 For Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries 0.00% 0.30% Tax rate--employee 2016 2017 FICA tax -- Employee 7.65% 7.65% Social Security (OASDI) portion of tax 6.20%...

Claiming Survivor’s and Death Benefits

What is it? After the death of your spouse, you may be eligible to receive survivor's benefits and death benefits from government sources, from your spouse's employer, and from retirement plans. Social Security benefits Social Security survivor's benefits If your...

Individual Income Tax Planning

Adoption credit Adoption credit 2016 2017 Maximum credit $13,460 $13,570 Phaseout threshold amount $201,920 $203,540 Completed phaseout amount after $241,920 $243,540 Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Maximum AMT exemption amount 2016 2017 Married filing jointly or...

How can I gauge my risk tolerance?

Answer: Risk tolerance is an investment term that refers to your ability to endure market volatility. All investments come with some level of risk, and if you're planning to invest your money, it's important to be aware of how much volatility you can endure. Your...

Social Security Gap

Sources of Retirement Income: Filling the Social Security Gap According to the Social Security Administration, more than nine out of ten individuals age 65 and older receive Social Security benefits. But most retirees also rely on other sources of retirement income,...

Risk Tolerance Worksheet

The following worksheet may help you assess your ability to take on investment risk in pursuit of long-term goals. Answer each question, then tally your results at the end. Score Investor Type Description 6-12 Conservative In general, a conservative portfolio will...

Retirement Savings Goal

Estimate Your Retirement Savings Goal How much might you need to retire? Use this worksheet to help target a total accumulation goal. Example You 1. How much is your current income? $50,000 2. Multiply this amount by .80. This is an estimated annual income in...

Social Security: What Should You Do at Age 62?

Is 62 your lucky number? If you're eligible, that's the earliest age you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits. If you decide to start collecting benefits before your full retirement age, you'll have company. According to the Social Security...

Retirement Plans: The Employee Perspective

Qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans can provide a number of tax and nontax benefits to employees. The employee perspective on these plans should certainly consider the obvious tax deferral and retirement savings benefits. Additionally, however, employees...

What to Do after You’ve Been Automatically Enrolled in Your Company’s Retirement Plan

What to Do after You've Been Automatically Enrolled in Your Company's Retirement Plan At one time, the only way you could join your company's 401(k) plan, 403(b) plan, or 457(b) plan was to put pen to paper and sign yourself up by filling out the appropriate forms....

Will Social Security retire before you do?

Will Social Security retire before you do? People have traditionally seen Social Security benefits as the foundation of their retirement planning programs. The Social Security contributions deducted from workers' paychecks have, in effect, served as a...

Categories