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VEHICLES

Rollovers 3

Rollovers from Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans In general If you withdraw cash or other assets from an employer-sponsored retirement plan ("employer plan") in an "eligible rollover distribution," (defined below) you can defer paying tax on the distribution by...

Should I be investing more aggressively?

Answer: There's no way to know the answer to that without reviewing your individual circumstances and financial goals. However, if you are investing too conservatively, it can have a profound effect on your long-term financial security. That's particularly true for...

Don’t Let Your Retirement Savings Goal Get You Down

As a retirement savings plan participant, you know that setting an accumulation goal is an important part of your overall strategy. In fact, each year in its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reiterates that goal...

As a servicemember, can I contribute to an IRA?

Answer: You may contribute to an IRA if you're a member of the armed forces. The rules that apply to servicemembers regarding IRA contributions and distributions generally are the same rules that apply to civilians. You're allowed to contribute up to $5,500 to a...

What are catch-up contributions?

What are catch-up contributions? Answer: If you are 50 or older, or you will reach age 50 by the end of the year, you may be able to make contributions to your IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan above the normal contribution limit. Catch-up contributions are...

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...

Indexed Annuities

 Indexed Annuities If you want to limit potential losses while participating in the potentially attractive returns of a market-driven investment but would also like a guaranteed return, an indexed annuity might be worth checking out. The performance of indexed...

Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k)

Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k) Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in...

Roth Rollover Guide

Required distributions and non-spousal death benefits can't be rolled over. Required distributions, certain periodic payments, hardship distributions, corrective distributions, and certain other payments can't be rolled over. Spouse beneficiaries generally have the...

Diverification

When investing, particularly for long-term goals, there is one concept you will likely hear about over and over again — diversification. Why is diversification so important? The simple reason is that it helps ensure that your risk of loss is spread among a number...

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...

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....

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...

Balancing a Retirement Portfolio with Asset Allocation

Balancing a Retirement Portfolio with Asset Allocation The combination of investments you choose is as important as the individual investments themselves. In fact, many experts argue that it's even more important, since the mix of various types of investments...

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,...

ESTATE PLANNING

Protection Planning

Eligible long-term care premium deduction limits: LTC premium deduction limits 2016 2017 Age 40 or under $390 $410 Age 41-50 $730 $770 Age 51-60 $1,460 $1,530 Age 61-70 $3,900 $4,090 Over age 70 $4,870 $5,110 Per diem limit: LTC periodic payments 2016 2017 Periodic...

Life Insurance Basics

Life Insurance Basics Life insurance is an agreement between you (the policy owner) and an insurer. Under the terms of a life insurance policy, the insurer promises to pay a certain sum to a person you choose (your beneficiary) upon your death, in exchange for your...

Caring for an Aging Parent Checklist

Caring for an Aging Parent Checklist General information Yes No N/A 1. Has relevant personal information been gathered? Name, phone number, and address of parent Parent's date of birth Parent's Social Security number Name, phone number, and address of attorney,...

Table of Federal Transfer Tax Rates and Exemption Limits

Federal Gift and Estate Tax Year Applicable Exclusion Amount Highest Tax Rate 2009 $1 million for gift tax purposes $3.5 million for estate tax purposes 45% 2010* $1 million for gift tax purposes $5 million or $0 for estate tax purposes 35% or 0% 2011 $5 million plus...

Investment Planning

Tax on long-term capital gains Generally long-term capital gains taxed at maximum rate of: 2016 2017 Taxpayers in top (39.6%) tax bracket 20% 20% Taxpayers in 25%, 28%, 33%, and 35% tax rate brackets 15% 15% Taxpayers in tax rate bracket 15% or less 0% 0% Tax on...

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...

Investing for Major Financial Goals

Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don't take any money out until you're ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn't it? But that's what investing without setting clear-cut...

Lifetime (Noncharitable) Gifting

What is lifetime (noncharitable) gifting? Gifting can be a powerful estate planning tool, allowing you to transfer your wealth to others during your lifetime. Lifetime gifts have many advantages over gifts you might leave in your will (these are called bequests,...

My spouse passed away this year. When I file my taxes, what filing status should I claim?

Answer: As the surviving spouse, you have several filing choices that may be appropriate. You may be able to choose married filing jointly, married filing separately, qualifying widow(er), or head of household. Married filing jointly: You can usually file a joint...

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...

Life Insurance: Estate Planning

What is life insurance? A contract Technically, life insurance is a contract between the policyowner (which can be you, "the insured," or a separate party) and an insurer. The policyowner agrees to make premium payments, and the insurer agrees to provide a specified...

Evaluating Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Policies Discussion

In some ways, comparing long-term care insurance (LTCI) policies from different insurance companies is like comparing apples with oranges. LTCI can be expensive, especially if you decide to purchase a policy particularly late in life. In addition, because LTCI...

Inheriting an IRA or Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

What is it? When the account owner of a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan dies, the remaining funds in the account pass to the named beneficiary (or beneficiaries). Unlike many other inherited assets, these IRA or...

Investment Planning throughout Retirement

Investment Planning throughout Retirement Introduction Investment planning during retirement is not the same as investing for retirement and, in many ways, is more complicated. Your working years are your saving years. With luck, your income increases from year to...

How can I minimize taxes on my estate?

Answer: This question may seem simple, but the answer is not so easy. In fact, there are experts who make their living answering just this question. Estate tax liability depends on the year in which you die and the value of your estate when you die (see the following...

RETIREMENT

What is Medigap?

What is Medigap? Answer: Medigap is health insurance that supplements the benefits covered under Medicare. It also fills in some of the gaps left by Medicare, such as your deductible and coinsurance contributions. Medigap policies are sold by private insurance...

Social Security Claiming Strategies for Married Couples

Social Security Claiming Strategies for Married Couples Deciding when to begin receiving Social Security benefits is a major financial issue for anyone approaching retirement because the age at which you apply for benefits will affect the amount you'll receive. If...

In-Service Withdrawals from 401(k) Plans

You may be familiar with the rules for putting money into a 401(k) plan. But are you familiar with the rules for taking your money out? Federal law limits the withdrawal options that a 401(k) plan can offer. But a 401(k) plan may offer fewer withdrawal options than...

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,...

4 Questions about Social Security

https://youtu.be/s1Yv6KbiWgs Four Common Questions about Social Security As you near retirement, it's likely you'll have many questions about Social Security. Here are a few of the most common questions and answers about Social Security benefits. Will Social Security...

Medicaid Planning Basics

The best time to plan for the possibility of nursing home care is when you're still healthy. By doing so, you may be able to pay for your long-term care and preserve assets for your loved ones. How? Through Medicaid planning. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program...

What is dollar cost averaging and how do I know if it’s right for me?

Dollar cost averaging is a method of accumulating assets by purchasing a fixed dollar amount of securities, at regularly scheduled intervals, over a period of time (for example, $100 per month over the next five years). When the price of the securities is high, your...

Medicaid and Long-Term Care Insurance

What is long-term care insurance? Long-term care insurance (LTCI) pays a certain dollar amount per day, for a set period, for skilled, intermediate, or custodial care in nursing homes and, sometimes, in alternative care settings, such as home health care. Because...

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid

Medicare, Medigap, and Medicaid Medicare Medigap Medicaid What is it? Federal health insurance program for Social Security recipients. Parts A and B comprise the original Medicare program.Medicare Advantage (also referred to as Part C) plans are also available. They...

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...

Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning Employee/individual contribution limits Elective deferral limits 2016 2017 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans, 457(b) plans, and SAR-SEPs 1 (Includes Roth 401(k) and Roth 403(b) contributions) Lesser of $18,000 or 100% of participant's compensation Lesser...

Social Security Retirement Benefit Basics

Social Security Retirement Benefit Basics Social Security benefits are a major source of retirement income for most people. Your Social Security retirement benefit is based on the number of years you've been working and the amount you've earned. When you begin taking...

Tax-Advantages Savings Vehicles

The Benefits of Tax-Advantaged Savings Vehicles Taxes can take a big bite out of your total investment returns, so it's helpful to look for tax-advantaged strategies when building a portfolio. But keep in mind that investment decisions shouldn't be driven solely by...

How Secure Is Social Security?

How Secure Is Social Security? If you're retired or close to retiring, then you've probably got nothing to worry about--your Social Security benefits will likely be paid to you in the amount you've planned on (at least that's what most of the politicians say). But...

Does my 16-year-old have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings?

Does my 16-year-old have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings? Answer: Like most wage-earning employees, your 16-year-old will most likely have to pay Social Security tax on her earnings. Of course, every rule has its exceptions. In this case, there are three....

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