Don’t Let Your Retirement Savings Goal Get You Down

As a retirement savings plan participant, you know that setting an accumulation goal is an important part of your overall strategy. In fact, over decades of conducting its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has found that goal setting is a key factor influencing overall retirement confidence. But for many, a retirement savings goal that could reach as high as $1 million or more may seem like a daunting, even impossible mountain to climb. What if you’re contributing as much as you can to your retirement savings plan, and investing as aggressively as possible within your risk comfort zone, but still feel that you’ll never reach the summit?

 

As with many of life’s toughest challenges, it may help to focus a little less on the end result and more on the details that help refine your plan.1 Continue reading “Don’t Let Your Retirement Savings Goal Get You Down”

Planning for Retirement

I think it’s time to start planning for retirement. Where do I begin?

 

Answer:

 

Although most of us recognize the importance of sound retirement planning, few of us embrace the nitty-gritty work involved. With thousands of investment possibilities, complex rules governing retirement plans, and so on, most people don’t even know where to begin. Here are some suggestions to help you get started.

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What to Keep, What to Shred

We often are asked the question of how long old paperwork, taxes and documents must be kept.   We are posting this just in time for our local clients and friends to take advantage of our annual shred week!

Permanent Records:

Personal papers such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, military documents, passports, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, insurance policies, veteran’s discharge papers, will, living wills, deeds and property titles and important contracts are PERMANENT records that should be kept indefinitely, preferably in a fire proof box. You will need them to re-establish your financial life in the event of fire, theft, or other disasters. Continue reading “What to Keep, What to Shred”

Message from Christine & Royal

Happy Spring!  Yes, it is here, and despite our ever-changing weather, we can be assured more sunny days are on the way. “Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.”  What wonderful advice from Helen Keller, as we enter into the spring season. So, although we will still see some snow (shadows), we must keep our thoughts and faces pointed to the sun.

I don’t know about you, but our spring will be packed full.  Later this month, Christine has two business trips, one to St. Louis and the other to Chicago, where she will be meeting with other IPI advisors and sharing Best Practices.  Then in May, we have concerts, rugby games, recitals and finally, a High School Graduation!  In early June, our family will travel again to St. Louis, for the IPI Summer Conference.  In between that, we will host 25-50 ladies in our office during Downtown Neenah’s Ultimate Ladies day, which is always a fun event.

We will also be having our annual Shred Day, which for your benefit, we have extended into Shred Weeks, and we will have the shred bin here in the office from April 15 through the 26th, so feel free to stop by with your bags or boxes of old documents, and we will have the papers shredded on site, on the final day.

This first quarter has been a busy one for us, with tax preparation needs along with market research and planning.  Although the market has recovered well from its December correction, we still have a lot of data and economic signs to look to.  Many of the pundits are watching a global slowdown, with tariffs and China weighing on the market.  Then there is the Fed decision to not raise rates again, for now.  And yet, housing has gotten a boost with interest rates falling and house sales once again taking off.  What all this tells us is there are still good things among the noise. We will remember that we are long-term investors, set to weather the ups and downs, but as your advisory team, we will be watchful and recommended any changes, as we continue through the year.  Until then, keep your face to the sun, and come and see us anytime.

How can we save for retirement and our child’s college education at the same time?

 

Answer:  It’s seldom easy to achieve a balance between saving for your retirement and saving for the ever-increasing cost of a college education within your present income. Yet it’s imperative that you save for both at the same time. To postpone saving for your retirement means missing out on years of tax-deferred growth and playing a near-impossible game of catch-up. To postpone saving for college means possibly significant borrowing and years of student loan payments. In a perfect world, you want to contribute to each. But to accomplish both goals, you may need to compromise.

Continue reading “How can we save for retirement and our child’s college education at the same time?”

Retirement Planning – Work with a Professional

Retirement Planning: The Basics

You may have a very idealistic vision of retirement — doing all of the things that you never seem to have time to do now. But how do you pursue that vision? Social Security may be around when you retire, but the benefit that you get from Uncle Sam may not provide enough income for your retirement years. To make matters worse, few employers today offer a traditional company pension plan that guarantees you a specific income at retirement. On top of that, people are living longer and must find ways to fund those additional years of retirement. Such eye-opening facts mean that today, sound retirement planning is critical.

But there’s good news: Retirement planning is easier than it used to be, thanks to the many tools and resources available. Here are some basic steps to get you started.

Continue reading “Retirement Planning – Work with a Professional”

Understanding Probate

Paying income tax on most retirement distributions

When you die, you leave behind your estate. Your estate consists of your assets — all of your money, real estate, and worldly belongings. Your estate also includes your debts, expenses, and unpaid taxes. After you die, somebody must take charge of your estate and settle your affairs. This person will take your estate through probate, a court-supervised process that winds up your financial affairs after your death. The proceedings take place in the state where you were living at the time of your death. Owning property in more than one state can result in multiple probate proceedings. This is known as ancillary probate.

How does probate start?

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Choosing a Beneficiary for your IRA or 401(k)

Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries.  Although taxes shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in naming your beneficiaries, ignoring the impact of taxes could lead you to make an incorrect choice.

In addition, if you’re married, beneficiary designations may affect the size of minimum required distributions to you from your IRAs and retirement plans while you’re alive. Continue reading “Choosing a Beneficiary for your IRA or 401(k)”

There’s Still Time to Contribute to an IRA for 2018

 

Even though tax filing season is well under way, there’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2018. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2018 ($6,500 if you were age 50 or older on December 31, 2018). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2018 is April 15, 2019 (April 17 for taxpayers who live in Maine or Massachusetts).

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You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don’t exceed the annual limit (or, if less, 100% of your earned income). You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2018, even if your spouse didn’t have any 2018 income.

Traditional IRA

You can contribute to a traditional IRA for 2018 if you had taxable compensation and you were not age 70½ by December 31, 2018. However, if you or your spouse was covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan in 2018, then your ability to deduct your contributions may be limited or eliminated, depending on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). (See table below.) Even if you can’t make a deductible contribution to a traditional IRA, you can always make a nondeductible (after-tax) contribution, regardless of your income level. However, if you’re eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, in most cases you’ll be better off making nondeductible contributions to a Roth, rather than making them to a traditional IRA.

 

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Financial Basics for Millennials

Financial Basics for Millennials

 

With age comes responsibility, so if you’re a young adult in your 20s or 30s, chances are you’ve been introduced to the realities of adulthood. While you’re excited by all the opportunities life has to offer, you’re also aware of your emerging financial responsibility.  In the financial realm, the millennial generation (young adults born between 1981 and 1997) faces a unique set of challenges, including a competitive job market and significant student loan debt that can make it difficult to obtain financial stability.

 

Poor money management can lead to debt, stress, and dependency on others. Fortunately, good money management skills can make it easier for you to accomplish your personal goals. Become familiar with the basics of planning now, and your future self will thank you for being responsible. Continue reading “Financial Basics for Millennials”