End of an Era?

Just as this week’s TGIF 2 Minutes goes to press, the news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, is hitting the airwaves. God bless the royal family in their mourning of an amazing woman!

The “end of an era” closer to home is the end of 3% 30-year mortgage rates. Does this mean it is time to put off a home purchase? The simple answer is NO. The longer answer is, NO, IF. The “if” stands for:

Today’s 5%+ mortgage rates are more normal and reasonable in the longer-term picture than the media is making them out to be.

Continue reading “End of an Era?”

Murphy’s Law & YOLO Can Be Expensive

One of the most critical factors of long-term personal financial success is… guess:

  • The markets
  • Spending
  • Interest rates
  • Stock selection
  • Income level

And the answer is…. SPENDING. This fact is why a truly competent financial planner will spend the most time on discussing spending, both today and future projected, along with GOALS. (Goals are what people spend money on.)

Holding an amount of cash – un-invested cash savings – is key to surviving Murphy’s Law events.

Continue reading “Murphy’s Law & YOLO Can Be Expensive”

A Little More on Caring For Mom (or Dad)

A short one today, and “Semper Fi” to a very special group of friends.

Last week’s edition of TGIF 2 Minutes titled, “Alexa, Remind Mom to…” led to a number of real-life responses and more resources regarding finding care for a parent or loved one. So here goes:

  • Good morning. FYI, I had a terrible experience with “A Place for Mom.” It was an aggressive marketing machine and I felt like I was buying a time share.

Continue reading “A Little More on Caring For Mom (or Dad)”

Alexa, Remind Mom to…

Thanks to a couple of smart and very caring friends of mine for today’s quick post. Everyone with a mother, mother-in-law (MIL) or even a grandmother will want to read on.

We cannot ever have enough resources when a parent or grandparent needs care or help getting around. Women tend to live longer than men, so Mom and Grandma are the ones who need the most help in their later years. Family members provide the highest percentage of help but often get in over their heads. The next step becomes researching in-home care giving – which has become exorbitantly expensive while still necessary.

Planning for care ­– and the cost of care – now will make it more manageable down the line.

Continue reading “Alexa, Remind Mom to…”

It Takes More Than Financial Goals

As the country and our world emerge from the battering of the pandemic, the Russian aggression in the Ukraine has now added a different, far-away, uncontrollable stress on our minds. Not to mention the markets’ reaction and inflation, although markets naturally experience up & down cycles. In light of all this, one of my best – and as it turns out most insightful – clients sounded in on the following:

  • Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care. (I would add that self-care includes having personal finances somewhere near “in order”.)
  • Realize, though, the financial stability part can only come about after the self-care part is addressed.

Before deleting this message, please read on… to Part One of this edition of TGIF 2 Minutes.

Now more than ever, our health and survival in the short- and long-term depend on Self-Care, including having personal finances somewhere near “in order.”

Continue reading “It Takes More Than Financial Goals”

IMPORTANT Cyber-Security Message

In light of the recent Russian aggression in Ukraine and surrounding areas, here is a quick and important message regarding vigilance around security of personal information, including:

  • Bank accounts – including in-person, online, PayPal, Venmo, etc.
  • Credit card accounts
  • Email & Texts
  • Tax time information
  • Social media
  • Even Crypto accounts!

It should not come as a surprise to read or hear this message. Hopefully, the major news outlets are broadcasting this warning as well:

The SEC has sent notices that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a “Shields Up” notification.

Continue reading “IMPORTANT Cyber-Security Message”

Double-Edged Sword of Aging

Clearly another topic with multiple sequels, aging has its positives and not-so-positives. Recently a slight positive – from the IRS.

Its Life Expectancy Tables, otherwise known as the “IRS Uniform Life Tables I, II and III”, have adjusted the American life expectancy UP by approximately two more years. That means that RMD amounts, or required minimum distributions, from IRA, 401k and other retirement accounts will be slightly lower when calculated. These RMDs count as taxable income so even a small break will be welcome!

Increasing longevity is a compelling reason to develop or maintain a well-laid out long-term savings plan.

Continue reading “Double-Edged Sword of Aging”

Important Early-Year Reminder

The following is an important reminder for every other year or so – more often if there are new people in your life:

Whoever, whatever 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, trusts or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Sadly, loved ones pass away; important loved ones may, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). Happily, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy nature of life, often the beneficiaries currently on record are not accurate or have not been updated in years.

Make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs, trusts or in your Will.

Continue reading “Important Early-Year Reminder”

2021 What A Year So Far

Wow… year-end 2021 is fast approaching. As if 2020 was the year we all wanted to turn the page… it is deja vu all over again in 2021. BUT a positive spin can still be put on year-to-date 2021, especially with respect to market returns.

It may be too early to say that stock market gains, to date, have been better than decent in 2021. From the US small-cap index up 12%, to large-cap S&P 500 up 22%, to Nasdaq up 19%, to the Dow Jones up 13%, these are all solid year-to-date returns.

Take the time before year-end to evaluate portfolio gains and asset allocation.

Continue reading “2021 What A Year So Far”

Year-End Tax Planning Tips 2021

Tax planning is important stuff. Perhaps not as exciting as the markets but saving money on taxes can still be exciting! Mid-November begins the countdown to year-end. The following is a handy Tax Planning Checklist.*  Some of these items, if done now, could make a big difference to the 2021 tax year AND add to savings.

1. How close are you to maxing out your 401k? The max is $19,500 for those under age 50 and an extra $6,500 for those age 50 and above. The deadline is December 31st and lots of 401k and 403b plans allow contributions of as much as 25-30% or even 100% of pay. Contribution rates can be lowered again in the new year.

There is still time remaining in 2021 to accomplish tax-deductions and/or create new savings vehicles!

Continue reading “Year-End Tax Planning Tips 2021”