Articles Tagged with Planning for the Future

4.26.18A survey found that Gen Xers are less concerned about retirement planning than they are about other financial challenges.

Don’t forget that group that’s between the headline grabbing millennials and boomers: Generation Xers, Americans between ages 36-55. A survey from the IRA (Insured Retirement Institute) appears to have uncovered a significant knowledge gap in this group when it comes to personal finance.

Think Advisor’s recent article, “These 3 Threats Scare Gen Xers More Than Basic Retirement Costs: IRI” explains that the survey aimed to find out how Gen Xers are handling retirement planning. The analysts who summarized Gen Xers’ approach to retirement planning said “They’re (mostly) doing it wrong.”

1.24.18Many things change when you retire, including tax strategies. Steps that you took when you were working, may now work against you. Knowing what has changed and what you need to do can help avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

Tax planning is different after retirement. You might think that a lower income level and fewer deductions are the only changes, but it’s not that easy. You have to understand how retirement benefits and investment returns are impacted by federal and state laws, according to a recent article in Kiplinger, “3 Tax-Planning Mistakes Retirees Too Often Make.” Here are the three most commonly made mistakes:

Tax Loss Harvesting. Tax loss selling means selling a capital asset, like a stock, for a loss to offset a gain realized by the sale of other investments. The result is that the investor avoids paying capital gains on recently sold investments. Retirees with stock holdings should review their holdings every year to determine their market exposure and any tax consequences of selling stocks with substantial capital gains.

8.19.16While the number of people making New Year’s financial resolutions are on the rise, we would do well to make a midyear financial check a regular part of the summer season.

The good news is more than 30% of Americans did give some thought to making financial resolutions this past New Year, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments. The goals were nothing out of the ordinary. They were simply the things we should all be doing with our money: saving more, spending less and getting rid of debt.

If you were one of these go-getter and goal-setters, this summer is a perfect time to look at your progress, says US News in “Keep Your Money Goals on Track with a Midyear Financial Checkup.

8.17.16Moving a lifetime of possessions in or out of the country is one thing, but moving money from country to country without losing it takes a new kind of financial planner.

Whether you are retiring to a small cottage in the Cotswolds or coming home after a career that kept you in Asia’s booming manufacturing markets, there is a new type of professional who can help with one of the most potentially costly parts of the move: moving money across borders.

Nasdaq’s recent article, “Money Crossing Borders Requires Special Planning,” says the good news is that a new kind of financial planning is emerging to help people navigate the potential pitfalls of such moves.

7.25.16Whether or not an aging parent should live with their adult children raises issues for the parent and the children. There is no single or easy answer.

It usually starts when one spouse dies and an aging parent suddenly seems alone and vulnerable. The parent may bring it up first, referencing a long ago conversation when the adult children said they would never put their parent into a nursing home or similar facility. As described in Forbes’ “Aging Parents and The Rise of the Multi-Generation Household,” this promise is usually made when the parents are well and the natural response “of course not” is an easy answer. But situations change, and the answer is not always so simple.

The Dickensian concept of “being put in a home” is based on largely outdated ideas of poorhouses and debtors’ prisons. While perhaps a bit drastic, it may not be that far off for Depression-era kids who saw the treatment of seniors before Medicare and Medicaid provided some care. Some nursing homes are still found to violate government regulations, but most are decent, well managed and comfortable places to care for seniors who need a lot of attention for a multitude of medical needs. Licensed board and care homes may be another option for long-term care, usually at a lower cost than nursing homes. They don’t offer skilled nursing, but they do have a more intimate environment with a less institutional atmosphere.

7.14.16Consider the amount of time you spend on planning a one-week vacation. You’ll want to spend more time on planning your eternal resting place.

A local television station in Sarasota, Florida aired a news story about a cemetery where the grass and weeds were so overgrown they sparked complaints from local residents walking their dog near the property. As a result, according to a WTSP 10 News report, “Protecting your loved ones last resting place,” Sarasota Memorial Park was told by county code officials to bring the grounds up to code or be fined. Not long after the news report aired, workers were seen doing maintenance on the grounds.

The people who had called to complain even called on volunteers to mow Sarasota Memorial Park. They mowed a section one morning until they were told to leave. However, their complaint to the County Code Enforcement Department resulted in a warning to the cemetery property owners. They were ordered to clean up the cemetery or face a notice of violation and fines.

6.20.2016The defined-benefit pension is a rare bird today. But if you are lucky enough to have one, don't assume that your distribution will go smoothly. Here's how to protect yourself.

For millennials, the idea of a pension plan that pays benefits from the time you retire to the day you die is an unheard of concept. Fewer and fewer American companies offer this benefit, so if you are among those who have a defined-benefit pension, congratulations. But don't assume that the check is in the mail. A recent investigation by the Department of Labor into some of these large plans shows that more than $500 million is owed to retirees.

Kiplinger's article, "Missing Pensions Costly to Retirees," reports that since last summer the Labor Department has investigated more than four dozen large pension plans and has found staggering results: some of them are not doing a very good job of monitoring retired participants and paying benefits when they're owed. Some plans don't even have the names or ages of many of their participants.

6.2.16The entire US is up for grabs for retirees who are moving to a wide variety of location—from the mountains of Montana to the moderate temperatures of South Carolina. Is Houston a hot spot?

Once upon a time, if you lived in the north, your default retirement destination was either Arizona or Florida. Today, retirees are looking for low taxes, nice weather and an active lifestyle. They are finding it in many different locations.

The New York Daily News explains this and more in its article, "Forget Florida and Arizona — today's retirees are branching out all over the U.S." Women continue to live longer than men, but the difference has narrowed as the lifespan of males has grown consistently within recent decades. This means that the chances are better now that a married woman will spend additional time in retirement together with her partner than as a widow. Retirees are taking advantage of this additional time together by heading to new territories.

5.16.16The numbers are still small, but as Boomers age, the reverse mortgage may grow in popularity to maintain a certain quality of life.

Reviled for years for high costs, today the reverse mortgage—sometimes referred to as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECMs)—is a government-insurance loan that allows qualified seniors to turn illiquid home equity into tax free cash that they can use in a variety of ways. Many older adults in Houston use the reverse mortgage to make it possible to stay in their homes during retirement.

The Fifty-Plus Advocate says in "Top ways to use a reverse mortgage" that when used properly, a reverse mortgage may be the solution to living an independent, fulfilling life. A reverse mortgage lets you retain full control and ownership of your home. You are still obligated to maintain the property and to pay real estate taxes and homeowner's insurance, but you can stay in your home for the rest of your life. You also can sell your home at any time without a penalty, and any profit from the sale after paying off the reverse mortgage belongs to you. In many instances, properties held in a trust or life estates are eligible.

B&w couple pic 5.5.2016People think that Medicaid will solve all financial problems if they or a spouse will need expensive medical care late in life. It's not that simple.

Concerns about outliving assets or having all their wealth spent on nursing home care has led many Houstonians in different economic brackets to take steps to qualify for Medicaid as part of their estate planning. But Medicaid was not designed to be the first source for health care costs.

Remember that your income and assets have to be at a very low level to qualify for Medicaid. This program isn't a right or an entitlement—even if your tax dollars paid for it. Medicaid provides assistance for ongoing living needs and services provided by home care or, in advanced cases, at a nursing facility.

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