Articles Posted in Retirement Planning

Creating a Houston estate plan and preparing for retirement can often be an extremely stressful process, especially with the passage of new laws and regulations that impact a person’s plans. One such law that affected many people’s retirement savings was the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act came into effect on January 1, 2020, and created new requirements for defined contribution plans, such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Below are some of the retirement and estate planning aspects most impacted by the passage of the SECURE Act.

Individual Retirement Accounts

Prior to the SECURE Act, an individual had to start withdrawing funds from their IRA, called required minimum distributions (RMDs), after they turned 70 ½ years old. Now, individuals are not required to withdraw from their IRA until they reach 72 years old. As there are income tax payments associated with RMDs, the SECURE Act can help reduce a person’s overall taxation rate. The SECURE Act also removed the age limit for IRA contributions; now, people can contribute to their IRA at any age, as long as they are still working. Before the passage of the SECURE Act, where removing funds from an IRA before turning 60 years old would make the withdrawal subject to income tax, people can now draw up to $5,000 from an IRA penalty-free after the birth or adoption of a child.

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Managing your finances likely isn’t the most exciting task on your to-do list, but it’s crucial if you want to reach all your financial goals and set yourself up for long-term success.”

You may be saving for retirement, paying down debt or simply budgeting for your everyday expenses. Whatever your goal is, it’s critical to have a plan in place. Some planning now can go a long way in making sure your finances are as healthy as possible. Without any type of plan, you’re just blindly throwing your money around and hoping for the best.

Motley Fool’s recent article entitled “A Whopping Number of Older Adults May Be Headed Toward a Financial Disaster” says that millions of older adults are making a critical mistake as they plan for the future. If they don’t make any changes soon, it could be extremely expensive.

2.13.20Admit it: Whether you're 35 or 65, the prospect of retiring without a mortgage is an attractive one. No more monthly mortgage payments to your home lender means extra money to spend on having fun in retirement. After years of punctual principal-and-interest mortgage payments, it's the least you deserve, right?

An increasing number of Americans are still carrying a mortgage when they hit retirement. According to a 2019 report from Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, 46% of homeowners ages 65 to 79 have yet to pay off their home mortgages. Back in 1990, that number was just 24%.

Kiplinger’s November article “7 Ways to Retire Without a Mortgage” says that there are a few wise ways to retire without a mortgage. Let’s review these seven ways to retire sans (without) a mortgage.

1.13.20Check out some often-overlooked retirement planning facts of life that everyone should be aware of.

It’s crucial to have a plan for your retirement, so let’s get educated. There are some facts you might not know about retirement, like the way in which your Social Security benefit can be taxed and how to factor in travel expenses.

Kiplinger’s recent article entitled “5 Surprising Facts to Know About Retirement” gives us five important facts to learn about retirement.

5.10.19“If you're between 55 and 64, you still have time to boost your retirement savings. Whether you plan to retire early, late, or never ever, having an adequate amount of money saved can make all the difference, both financially and psychologically. Your focus should be on building out—or catching up, if necessary.”

It’s never too soon to begin saving. However, the last decade prior to retirement can be crucial. By then you’ll probably have a pretty good idea of when (or if) you want to retire and, even more important, still have some time to make changes, if need be.

If you discover that you need to put more money away, Investopedia’s article “Top Retirement Savings Tips for 55-to-64-Year-Olds” gives you several time-honored retirement savings tips to consider.

12.23.19There are many rules about reverse mortgages, including what happens at the end of the mortgage. What if the children decide they want to undo the reverse mortgage and buy out their parents, so the home can be kept in the family?

Let’s start by understanding what a reverse mortgage is, and how it works. This is a way for seniors to tap the equity in their homes. It’s usually done to generate cash, sometimes to pay for care and other times to supplement retirement accounts. However, the rules are a bit complex, says nj.com’s recent article, “Can we undo a reverse mortgage to keep the home?”

One of many common misconceptions about reverse mortgages is that the bank owns the home.

11.14.19The succession plan works for your business in the same way an estate plan works for your personal life. It protects the business, outlining your wishes and plans for it to continue, or sets up a means of passing it to the next owners, whether they are family members or buyers.

Business owners who plan to use the proceeds from the sale of the business to fund their retirement have the right idea. However, with only 25% of private business owners actually having a succession plan in place, those retirement plans may not work the way they thought. Without a plan in place, the owners, their businesses and their families are at risk.

The Houston Business Journal’s recent article, “Three tips to employing establishing a strong succession plan,” takes up this matter for discussion.

11.6.19Leaving the workplace behind and heading into retirement can be as much an emotional transition, as it is financial. The prospect of fulfilling dreams long deferred, while recognizing a milestone of aging can take time to work through. At the same time, there are time-sensitive tasks that need doing.

During this process, which is easier for some than others, it’s very important to tend to financial and legal matters in estate planning, reports Forbes in a recent article, “Retirement, Estate Planning: Documents You Should Have.”

Putting together a well thought out financial plan and creating an estate plan lets you be certain that personal, financial, and health wishes will be carried out the way you want. Managing your estate, regardless of the size, starts with working with an experienced estate planning attorney who will help give you greater control, privacy and security of your legacy. Here are the documents you need to get started:

10.25.19A generation seems to be waking up to the concept that they are likely to need to care for a spouse or a family member, and they’re taking it seriously.

A study from Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement reported that 90% of baby boomers surveyed understand that they will need to make significant lifestyle changes as part of caring for a loved one. Not only are they aware of this as a new role, but according to Think Advisor’s article, “Long-Term Caregiving Realities Hit Home for Boomers” they are willing to take a number of steps, including:

  • Cut spending: 66%
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