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Funding Retirement: Opportunities vs. Challenges

The choices for retirement savings are extensive and can be overwhelming. And when it comes to retirement planning, inaction can be as bad as making a bad investment decision. One of the most common fears, public speaking, may now be eclipsed for many with the fear of outliving their money. According to the Internal Revenue Service, there is a litany of retirement plan options; however, for each option there are rules and regulations that may appear to be onerous, complicated and confusing. Unfortunately, if a plan is selected and then implemented incorrectly, fines or other negative effects may be assessed to the plan or even the individual investor.

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Higher Education Planning: 529 Plans, Funding Options and Career Paths

Going to college is a goal for many students graduating high school.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “In October 2017, 66.7 percent of 2017 high school graduates age 16 to 24 were enrolled in colleges or universities. Among persons age 20 to 29 who received a bachelor's degree in 2017, 77.6 percent were employed.” The full realization of how much college costs may only be fully grasped after receiving an acceptance letter. Unfortunately, unless financial planning starts years earlier, many students’ dreams may be dashed, or cumbersome borrowing could become a burden that follows them for years to come.

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Social Security: Understand Your Options, Plan Properly to Access Benefits

Social Security was enacted in 1935. The program is officially known as the Old Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance program (OASDI). After earning 40 quarters, an individual at retirement age is eligible to begin collecting a benefit. Retirement benefits depend on your age at retirement. If you begin receiving benefits before your normal or full retirement age (FRA), you'll receive a reduced benefit. Four out of five future retirees agree that the Social Security system needs change. Many are fearful that benefits will be reduced and are unaware of the basics regarding their eligibility, participation and the monetary benefits of their Social Security profile. Sadly, 55 percent believe that Social Security will be their primary source of income in retirement.

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Lulled Into a False Sense of Security

Finding and Communicating Effectively with Financial Advisors

Less than 50 percent of the U.S. population consult and hire a financial consultant. There is a myriad of answers for why this may be. Those who do work with a financial professional have an expectation of certain results. If the goals are realistic and not achieved within a given time period, a client should obtain a clear explanation as to why discussed benchmarks were not reached. Additionally, a planner should convey concise and easily understood explanations of any suggested changes going forward. There are times where nothing should be done. Open communication is an essential part of the financial planning process.

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Cooking Techniques and Financial Management

Whether baking a cake or preparing unique dishes, both require the necessary and assorted ingredients: time, expertise, finesse and the ability to tweak the recipe to obtain the desired results. Guess what? Portfolio construction and financial management may not be all that different. In effect, a financial professional is expected to build an investor’s portfolio after carefully ascertaining precisely what is the individual’s risk tolerance, challenges, goals, timeline for investing and end-point needs. Yet how does an investor go about locating a financial professional in the universe of available services and the multitude of different titles?

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Taxes, Football and Conflicting Rules

When you play in a sport and follow the rules there is an expectation of a fair game with a winner and loser. If you watched the recent Super Bowl you may have seen two touchdowns by the Philadelphia Eagles that were scored and upheld. The National Football League (NFL) "catch rule" has garnered much consternation as being interpreted differently by officials. Confusing may be an understatement. This rule seems to vex coaches, players, fans and media announcers, causing much head scratching. Whether your team won or lost, this rule is maddening. Those who love the game agree that this rule needs to be carefully reviewed and changed. So, what does this have to do with taxes?

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Wills, Trusts and Other Estate Planning Options

Estate planning is one of the most common topics of discussion between financial planners and their clients. The first step toward ensuring that the wealth you build and enjoy during your lifetime will enhance the lives of your children or other recipients for decades to come is having a basic understanding of the options available to you for distributing your assets after death. 

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Maximize This Year While Looking Toward the New Year and New Opportunities

As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, this may be a great time to reevaluate your financial health. For many, 2017 proved to be a financial market bonanza, depending on whether you participated in the financial arena and how your investments were allocated. Prior to year end, there may be time to review profits and losses with the tax implications of selling and netting, or keeping and carrying over into 2018. 

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Year End Tax Time Is Here…With New Challenges

Every year, articles are written about tactics to employ and take advantage of before year-end to save on taxes. However, the year 2017 is unique in that tax reform is being proposed right now…and will possibly be passed before the end of the year. The proposed tax plan recently released has a host of changes that, of course, makes some happy and others irate. As characteristic of proposed legislation, the initial release is just that: a starting point for discussion and debate. The final law, if it were to pass, will undergo changes both overtly and covertly via horse-trading in backroom deals and compromise.

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You’ve Saved It; Now It’s Time to Spend It Wisely

Consider Your Options for Accessing Retirement Funds and Minimizing the Tax Impact

Time can be your nemesis or friend, depending on when you start your journey. The journey is saving for retirement, and research clearly shows the earlier you start the better your chances of having enough money when you need it most. Conservative estimates have shown that a couple, with their anticipated life expectancies, will require more than $260,000 from age 65 on to cover their medical and healthcare-related expenses. Retirement may be a lauded goal, but getting there, keeping and enjoying what you saved, and leaving a legacy involves some effort!
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