Check Your Beneficiaries

Another quick note this week – but important!

Whatever, whoever you want to call them: Beneficiaries, “Bennys”, Heirs… make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Loved ones pass away or important loved ones, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). On the positive side, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy-ness of life, often the accuracy of beneficiaries goes unchecked.

angelic statue and sunset scenery
NO ONE enjoys talking about their death, but bottom line, after your death, it is too late to change beneficiaries.

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What Comes Next? – Part 1

In these times of knowing virtually NOTHING for sure… there are a handful of possible “What Comes Next” topics that can be covered:

  • What Comes Immediately Next with Coronavirus Closures & Re-openings?
  • What Comes Next in the World Markets?
  • What Comes Next in the US & World Economy?
  • What Comes Next Further Down the Line in General?
  • …When do we all get to go back to work, sports and Life?
hands with latex gloves holding a globe with a face mask
Let’s simply digest that fact for now: there will be immediate, serious change to the way we literally wake up, work, and conduct our lives. 

Continue reading “What Comes Next? – Part 1”

Brexit, Impeachment, Coronavirus: Preparing for Exogenous Threats is Key to Minimizing Risk

Exogenous Threats. These types of threats or risk factors come from an external place and affect markets – unexpectedly. Already in 2020, only 38 days into the year, the US and global markets have been presented with at least three major exogenous threats:

  1. Brexit becoming abruptly final
  2. A US Impeachment trial
  3. A viral epidemic, the unnamed Coronavirus in China (and now spreading to other countries too)
  4. (Bonus 4th threat) US-China and US-World trade policy
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Photo Credit: NBC News

Continue reading “Brexit, Impeachment, Coronavirus: Preparing for Exogenous Threats is Key to Minimizing Risk”

Tax Law Changes That Matter For You

As the year turned from 2019 to 2020, there stealthily rolled in several of the most sweeping reforms to retirement and tax legislation in a decade or so (outside of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA). The recent changes apply to IRA, 401k and other retirement savings accounts. If any of these apply to you then please read on:

  • Inherited IRA
  • Turning 70½ this or next year
  • Own a business with or proposing a 401k plan
  • Working for a small company and do not have access to a 401k plan
  • Need an early distribution for reasons of qualified birth or adoption
US Capitol
The SECURE Act is the most sweeping reform to retirement and tax legislation in a decade. As with most pieces of Congressional legislation there are positives and negatives.

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2020 Contribution and Gift Limits

A handful of updates for 2020 IRA & 401k contribution and gift limits:

  • For Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs the 2020 contribution maximum remains the SAME in 2020 as in 2019: $6,000 (plus $1,000 to total $7,000 for those age 50 and over).
  • REMEMBER!! IRA account contributions can be made all the way up until April 15th for the previous tax year.
  • That means that you have until April 15, 2020 to make an IRA contribution for 2019.
cash dollars hands money
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Time is Running Out

There are just twelve business days remaining in December. If you are realistic about the number of days remaining to transact actual business, it is more like eight days. Use these eight days wisely!

shallow focus of clear hourglass
Make the most of the last eight to twelve days of December.

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Let the Good Times Roll

Excerpts from the February 2018 Archives of TGIF 2 Minutes…

“Let the good times roll.” I am partial to this expression because my Dad used to say it a lot either as a toast or statement when things were going well.  Looking overall at the last few years’ markets, current economy and lives and businesses of clients, the expression definitely applies. 

design desk display eyewear
During good times, how extensively you plan and from whom you get your advice can greatly lessen overall worry.

But of course, there will always be something to worry about. Always. 

  • How long will these positive markets last?
  • Will my portfolio continue to gain in value? How can I best preserve all this wealth I have created?
  • How long will these economic and business conditions continue to contribute to my personal and business success?
  • Will the risks I have taken in the past few years (that have paid off) continue to yield positive results?

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Year-End Tax Planning Tips

Excerpts from the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives:

The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end. The following are excerpts from the Year-End Tax Planning Checklist.* Several of these items, if addressed now, could make a big difference to your 2019 tax filing AND add to your savings.

variety of pumpkins
The beginning of October means we are in the 4th Quarter… and the countdown begins to year-end.

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The Cost of College

College is expensive.  As with all expensive things, planning and talking through plans – even hopes and dreams – can make the situation more affordable in the long run.

Case in point: paying for college. Back in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s when a lot of the people reading this note went to college, college was mostly affordable depending on the choice of schools. The most expensive colleges and universities cost less than $15,000 or $20,000 per year (definitely, in the 1960’s and 1970’s). Although families still struggled to pay the cost for college in lots of cases.

person writing debt on paper
Talk with your kids about debt and its implications well before they start college.

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Minimizing Danger to Your IRA

Last week’s topic was potential danger to IRAs contained in new legislation lingering in the Senate. Those affected would be most IRA beneficiaries including you or your kids or grand kids. The scenario would affect the lives of more than just the wealthy. Therefore, it makes sense to present a handful of ways to minimize the possible negative consequences.  Although, if the SECURE Act legislation is passed in its current form, these strategies will be even harder to come by.

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Several current solutions have been discussed in prior editions of TGIF 2 Minutes, namely using the Roth IRA, Roth 401k or 403b, or Roth IRA conversions (see the link below for quick details of various Roth strategies). Most important is to have this issue on your radar – to create a balance by using both traditional and Roth strategies TODAY side by side for diversification. Continue reading “Minimizing Danger to Your IRA”