A little bit of insight to share

Here are some bullet points that came across my desk today.  I hope they help make some senses out of the passage of the recent Acts.

Highlights of the SECURE Act include:

Age restrictions on contributions to a Traditional IRA have been eliminated

  • For clients born on or after July 1, 1949, the age for starting required minimum distributions
  • (RMDs) has been increased to 72
  • Beneficiary distribution choices for deaths that occur starting in 2020 have been changed/updated
  • Distributions for qualified birth or adoption expenses are penalty-free up to $5,000

Highlights of the CARES Act include:

  • RMDs, including those from Beneficiary IRAs, have been waived for 2020
  • Coronavirus-related distributions (CRDs) are penalty-free up to $100,000 through December 30,
  • 2020
  • CRDs can be repaid over three years, or taxes can be spread over three years

7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now

By Lori Deschene

“Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.” ~Unknown

Even though I couldn’t possibly care less about oil-based raincoats, I listened to him talk for about fifteen minutes one rainy morning last week.

This little guy, with his colorful button-down shirt and funny-looking hat makes my day most mornings. He works at the 7-11 where I get my coffee. And he always seems happy.

At first I thought he was just putting on a good face, making the best of a tough situation. After all, he couldn’t possibly enjoy working at a convenience store, right? Continue reading “7 Reasons to Be Happy Even if Things Aren’t Perfect Now”

Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go

The longest bull market in history lasted almost 11 years before coronavirus fears and the realities of a seriously disrupted U.S. economy brought it to an end.1

Bear markets are typically defined as declines of 20% or more from the most recent high, and bull markets are sustained increases of 20% or more from the bear market low. But there is no official declaration, so often there are different interpretations and a fair amount of debate regarding when these cycles begin and end.  Continue reading “Turbulent Times: Bear Markets Come and Go”

Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1

This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill on time. For this reason, people may use a debit card for regular expenses and a credit card for “extras.” However, when deciding which card to use, you should be aware of other differences.  Continue reading “Debit or Credit? Pick a Card”

How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking

Women today have never been in a better position to achieve financial security for themselves and their families. What financial course will you chart?

We all know men and women are different in some fundamental ways. But is this true when it comes to financial planning? In a word, yes.

Everyone wants financial security. But women often face unique obstacles that can affect their ability to achieve it. Let’s look at some of these potential headwinds. Continue reading “How Women Are Different from Men, Financially Speaking”

The ABCs of Finance: Teaching Kids About Money

It’s never too soon to start teaching children about money. A few simple lessons will provide a solid foundation for a lifetime of financial decisions.

Whether they’re tagging along with you to the grocery store or watching you make purchases online, children quickly realize that we use money to buy the things we want. You can teach some simple lessons today that will give them a solid foundation for making a lifetime of sound financial decisions. Continue reading “The ABCs of Finance: Teaching Kids About Money”

Four Questions on the Roth Five-Year Rule

 

The Roth “five-year rule” typically refers to when you can take tax-free distributions of earnings from your Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or other work-based Roth account. The rule states that you must wait five years after making your first contribution, and the distribution must take place after age 591⁄2, when you become disabled, or when your beneficiaries inherit the assets after your death. Roth IRAs (but not workplace plans) also permit up to a $10,000 tax-free withdrawal of earnings after five years for a first-time home purchase.

While this seems straightforward, several nuances may affect your distribution’s tax status. Here are four questions that examine some of them. Continue reading “Four Questions on the Roth Five-Year Rule”