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October 30th, 2013 by

Half of Americans with children do not have a legal will to protect their families.¹

The most common excuses people give for not having a will are procrastination and the feeling that it is unnecessary.² If you have children, it is important to have a will, regardless of your how much you have in your nest-egg. A will can serve a variety of purposes. One of the most important is to designate a guardian for minor-age children if you should die or become incapacitated. Otherwise, the probate court may need to select a guardian, and your child’s financial matters might be managed through the court. A legal guardian can provide daily care as well as financial oversight; you can always name a different person as custodian for specific accounts.

It’s generally not a good idea to name a minor child as the primary beneficiary of a retirement account or insurance policy, although you could name children as contingent beneficiaries as long as you also specify a guardian or custodian. Beneficiary designations on these types of accounts typically supercede instructions in a will, so be sure that the guardian/custodian you name on the beneficiary form corresponds with your will, unless you want the money controlled by a different individual.

Reasons To Create a Will

Special Trusts for Special Needs

If you have a child with special needs, you might consider setting up a special-needs trust and referencing the trust in your will. A properly executed special-needs trust can help provide for an individual’s lifetime care and other needs while maintaining eligibility for government programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security Disability Insurance. Because the use of trusts involves a complex web of tax rules and regulations, you should consider the counsel of an experienced estate planning professional and your legal and tax advisors before implementing such strategies.

Getting a Little Help

I motivate my clients, friends and family about “being prepared”. This goes for creating a will as well as for retirement planning. I have an extensive network of experts that can help you prepare better for family financial matters. And, retirement planning is my speciality. Call 1-833-313-7233 and let’s get better prepared together!

Source:
1) Yahoo! Finance, March 28, 2012
2) AARP, May 1, 2012

October 28th, 2013 by

If you expect retirement income from a pension and Social Security, congratulations! These two income streams, along with your retirement nest-egg, could put you on a comfortable position during retirement. However, you might not be aware that your pension could affect your Social Security benefits.

Private-sector workers who earn a pension typically pay Social Security payroll taxes, in which case the pension should not affect their Social Security benefits. However, an issue arises when someone receives a pension based on earnings in which Social Security taxes were not paid — typically from a federal, state, or local government, a nonprofit organization, or an employer in a foreign country — and the individual is also eligible for Social Security benefits based on employment from other jobs. In these situations the Social Security benefit may be reduced by the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP).

WEP Reductions

Congress enacted the WEP in 1983 to address an unfair advantage in the way Social Security benefits were calculated for people who worked mainly in a job not covered by Social Security. Because federal workers who were first hired after December 31, 1983, do pay Social Security payroll taxes, they are generally not subject to the WEP. However, public-sector employees in certain states and workers in foreign countries could be subject to the WEP, regardless of hire date.

The benefit reduction depends on the year in which the worker turns 62 (the eligibility year) and the number of years in which the individual had “substantial earnings” and paid into Social Security (see chart). The reduction cannot be more than one-half of the individual’s pension from non-covered employment.

Although the WEP does not apply to survivor benefits, another factor — the Government Pension Offset (GPO) — could reduce Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by two-thirds of the amount of a government pension.

Source: www.ssa.gov/retire2/wep.htm and www.ssa.gov/retire2/gpo.htm

Rely On A Retirement Planning Expert

Navigating retirement planning can be difficult if you try to do it alone. So, call me for a no-obligation consultation as we review your portfolio and determine your retirement readiness. If you’re in DC, VA or MD, call me at 1-833-313-7233

October 25th, 2013 by

What Costs More in Retirement

A 2012 survey finds that many of today’s middle-income retirees are nonetheless caught off guard by health care expenses once they stop working.
The study, conducted by Bankers Life and Casualty Company Center for a Secure Retirement, involved 300 retirees between the ages of 55 and 75. Their household incomes ranged between $25,000 and $75,000.

What Costs More in Retirement than You Think It Should?

The most frequent answer was health care.

The list of the top six expenses that are higher than what retirees expect are:

  • Health care costs – 55%
  • Groceries – 41%
  • Auto costs – 38%
  • Prescription drug costs – 33%
  • Utility costs – 22%
  • Entertainment – 20%
  • Housing, gas, and taxes were also among the list of expenses that took retirees by surprise.
    Source: WebMD, July 19, 2012

Planning For Long-Term Care Needs

Planning for long-term care needs can help offset very high medical costs when more extensive care, such as that provided in nursing homes, is necessary. Most people don’t realize that Medicare does not pay for the cost of long-term nursing care. Planning for retirement is an essential component to your retirement success. Let me help you do that! Call me toll-free 1-833-313-7233

October 21st, 2013 by

Phased Retirement Plan - Would You Choose It?

The phased retirement idea was born in Sweden in the 1970s and gained a foothold in the U.S. soon after. Sarah Rix, a policy adviser at AARP who worked on the issue in its early years, said it has been hard to quantify how many people have taken part in such programs because most are informal. A 2010 study by AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management found that 20 percent of employers had phased retirement programs in place or planned to start them.

A phased retirement plan is when a company allows an aging employee to “officially retire”, but keeps the employee on payroll with the ability to scale back their number of work hours or become more selective on which projects they take on. In other words, it gives retirees a gentler way to ease into retirement without the company losing experienced employees and long-standing business ties. Also, businesses that support phased retirement plans see it as a way for employees to transfer knowledge to their replacements and to mentor younger workers. More importantly, the phased retirement plan allows the company to let its boomer-aged employees take unpaid leaves of absence to give retirement a test run, switch to part-time status ahead of a full retirement, and gives retirees a chance to return to part-time work.

Phased retirement has been most widespread on university campuses and, to a lesser degree, among government and health care workers. It has been far less common among blue-collar workers. This is because some jobs are easier to compartmentalize that others. For example, a professor who was teaching 2 classes a week can opt to reduce their schedule to only 1 class per week. The salary savings might go toward hiring a less experienced, less expensive instructor. Also, many formal phased retirement programs let employees maintain health insurance, vacation and other perks, and continue building up their retirement benefit. Others are more like consulting agreements, with retirees returning to work as independent contractors without benefits.

Retirement Planning?

Avoiding the stress of financial worries is what all retirees want. I can help you secure your financial future so that you can never outlive your retirement resources. Call me for a free consultation if you live in Maryland, DC or Virginia. Toll free: 833-313-7233.

Source: AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, May 2013

http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/aging-america-seeking-softer-retirement-landing.aspx

October 17th, 2013 by

The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has released the results of a major new survey exploring the views of older Americans about their plans for work and retirement.

With funding provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research conducted a national survey of 1,024 adults ages 50 and over. It is a segment of the population that is not only growing rapidly in numbers, but is also becoming substantially healthier. Projections show that the U.S. population age 65 and over will increase to 19 percent of the population by 2030, up from 13 percent in 2010, an estimated 72 million people. By 2020, approximately one fourth of American workers will be 55 or older.

Key findings of the survey include:

• The Great Recession has had a marked impact on retirement planning. The average age of those who report retiring before the recession was 57 while the average for those who retired afterward is 62.

• The line between working and retirement is shifting, with 82 percent of Americans age 50 and older who are working but not yet retired saying it is likely or very likely that they will do some work for pay during their retirement.

• Of those who are currently working, 47 percent now plan to retire at a later age than they expected when they were 40. Financial need, health and the need for benefits were cited as the most important factors in the retirement decision.

• Thirty-nine percent of workers age 50 and older report having $100,000 or less saved for retirement, not including pensions or homes; and 24 percent have less than $10,000.

Source: The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research-
http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/working-longer-older-americans-attitudes-on-work-and-retirement.aspx

What are your plans for retirement?

Let me help you in all phases of your retirement planning. I can help you prepare for a retirement free from financial worries, so that you can enjoy your retirement years. Schedule a free consultation, with no obligations 833-313-7233.

October 14th, 2013 by

Professional Progress For Women as Doctors and Lawyers

Gone are the days when women were expected to stay at home and raise the children. Since the 1970’s, there has been a substantial increase in professional careers for women. Women have opted to compete with men in the fields of science and law and have proven to be worthy competitors. In fact, about one third of all doctors and lawyers today are women according to the Wall Street Journal, 2010.

Women Take The Lead In Asking For Professional Help

I admire how women are able to take on the role of a professional in her career as well as a home-maker. After all, she is the still the primary caregiver to her children and she has a strong desire to maintain her household. Because she is juggling so much in a year, she recognizes her limits and is quick to seek out professional advice. During my 30 years of consulting with families about money strategies, women are the ones who are most likely to take heed of the advice of a professional. And, as a result, yes, they are the ones with bigger 401(k) accounts and long-term savings.

Let Me Help You In Your Retirement Planning

As with all things in a home, money must be maintained and managed correctly. Women have a natural ability to manage finances well. So, I encourage women, professionals, home-makers, single moms, and divorcees to visit with me so I can help you map out a retirement strategy that is right for you. My consultation is FREE and without any obligation. Call 833-313-7233 to setup an appointment today!

October 10th, 2013 by

The Rising Costs of College

Americans are finding it more and more costly to get a college degree. And, within the next 15 years, the costs will be almost double. If you have a child or grandchild that will be going to college, planning now is essential to his/her success. Moreover, it will prevent you from dipping into that retirement nest egg you have been working on. So, download my free tool, “Paying For College” Life Guide, and be better prepared for future college expenses.

Long Term Planning Is My Specialty

For all your retirement planning and long term money strategy needs, call me for a free consultation to keep your money SAFE. Toll free: 833-313-7233