Articles tagged with: retirement

A Retirement Plan…or a College Plan?

Some parents feel they should pay for all or part of their children’s college education. They make it a financial priority and put saving for retirement further down on their to-do list. If their kids can graduate without any student loan debt, the thinking goes, they will be better positioned to provide financial support to mom and dad one day.

This assumption may be hazardous to retiree financial health. One, the kids may not be inclined to provide such support in the future. Cultural or familial expectations may not be realized. Two, students can receive financial aid; retirees cannot. Three, consider these numbers: a couple retiring today may have to pay $275,000 or more in future medical costs, the current average annual Social Security benefit is less than $16,000, and according to a recent PWC survey, half of baby boomers have less than $100,000 saved for retirement.

The takeaway here? Unless you are impressively wealthy, you should be regularly funding retirement accounts first, without interruptions, reductions to contributions, or drawdowns to pay for college. Your young adult children should recognize that their college years mark the start of their financial lives, with attendant financial responsibilities.1,2

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph#641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com    

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.    

Citations.

1 – forbes.com/sites/andrewjosuweit/2017/10/08/where-to-invest-your-retirement-account-or-your-childs-529/ [10/8/17]

2 – fool.com/retirement/2016/12/17/baby-boomers-average-savings-for-retirement.aspx [12/17/16]

Will Debt Spoil Too Many Retirements?

What pre-retirees owe could compromise their future quality of life. 

The key points of retirement planning are easily stated. Start saving and investing early in life. Save and invest consistently. Avoid drawing down your savings along the way. Another possible point for that list: pay off as much debt as you can before your “second act” begins.

Some baby boomers risk paying themselves last. Thanks to lingering mortgage, credit card, and student loan debt, they are challenged to make financial progress in the years before and after retiring.

More than 40% of households headed by people 65-74 shoulder home loan debt. That figure comes from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances; the 2013 edition is the latest available. In 1992, less than 20% of Americans in this age group owed money on a mortgage. Some seniors see no real disadvantage in assuming and retiring with a mortgage; tax breaks are available, interest rates are low, and rather than pay cash for a home, they can arrange a loan and use their savings on other things. Money owed is still money owed, though, and owning a home free and clear in retirement is a great feeling.1

Paying with plastic too often can also exert a drag on retirement. Personal finance website ValuePenguin notes that the average U.S. household headed by 55- to 64-year-olds now carries $8,158 in credit card debt. As for households headed by those aged 65-69, they owe an average of $6,876 on credit cards.2

According to the latest Weekly Rate Report at CreditCards.com, the average APR on a credit card right now is 16.15%. How many investments regularly return 16% a year? What bank account earns that kind of interest? If a retiree’s consumer debt is increasing at a rate that his or her investments and deposit accounts cannot match, financial pain could be in the cards.3

Education debt is increasing. Older Americans are dealing with student loans – their own and those of their adult children – to alarming degree. In all 50 states, the population of people 60 and older with student debt has grown by at least 20% since 2012. That finding from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau may be understating the depth of the crisis, which may have its roots in the Great Recession. Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) says that between 2006-16, the number of Americans aged 65 and older with outstanding education loans has tripled.4,5

Just what kind of financial burden are these loans imposing? According to FICO, the average 65-or-older student loan borrower is dealing with a balance of $28,268. That is up 40% from the average balance in 2006.5 

How can pre-retirees and retirees address such debts? One way might be to reduce household expenses and apply the money not spent to debt. Financial assistance for adult children may need to end. Retiring later could also be a good move – income is the primary resource for fighting debt, and the more income earned, the more financial power a senior has to pay debts off.

Servicing debt in retirement can become very difficult. Large recurring debts can drain off a retiree’s cash flow and increase overall household financial risk. Retiring without major debt is a comparative relief.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email: rsmlbyer@mchsi.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.    

Citations.

1 – nytimes.com/2017/06/02/business/retirement/mortgages-for-older-people-retirement.html [6/2/17]

2 – valuepenguin.com/average-credit-card-debt [9/28/17]

3 – creditcards.com/credit-card-news/interest-rate-report-92717-unchanged-2121.php [9/27/17]

4 – consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/nationwide-look-how-student-debt-impacts-older-adults/ [8/18/17]

5 – newsday.com/business/65-plus-crowd-facing-growing-burden-from-student-loan-debt-1.14124052 [9/10/17]

When Baby Boomers Become Elders, Will Their Kids Provide Care?

Right now, millions of baby boomers provide informal, unpaid eldercare to parents in their eighties and nineties. This obligation has led some boomers to retire earlier. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College says that men who play these caregiving roles are 2.4% less likely to stay in the workforce than their peers. Women are more likely to leave the office under such stress, and the CRR estimates that those who do balance a career and eldercare work 3-10 hours less a week and earn an average of 3% less than other working women.

Fewer middle-aged adults may be available to care for baby boomers who become elders. Divorce and geographic separation of families may worsen this dilemma. Additionally, nearly all baby boomers will be age 70 or older by 2033 – the date when the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to run dry, and a 20% reduction in Social Security benefits has been mentioned as a possible consequence. Rising nursing home costs and the financial strain of caregiving may eventually lead federal agencies and the private sector to a collaborative response to meet a pressing need for economical eldercare.1

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website: www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Citations.

1 – cbsnews.com/news/boomers-elder-care-financial-burden-on-children/ [6/6/17]

Should the Self-Employed Plan to Work Past Age 65?

Some solopreneurs think they will “work forever,” but that perception may be flawed.

About 20% of Americans aged 65-74 are still working. A 2016 Pew Research Center study put the precise figure at 18.8%, and Pew estimates that it will reach 31.9% in 2022. That estimate seems reasonable: people are living longer, and the labor force participation rate for Americans aged 65-74 has been rising since the early 1990s.1,2

It may be unreasonable, though, for a pre-retiree to blindly assume he or she will be working at that age. Census Bureau data indicates that the average retirement age in this country is 63.3

When do the self-employed anticipate retiring? A 2017 Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies survey finds that 56% of U.S. solopreneurs think they will retire after 65 or not at all.4  

Are financial uncertainties promoting this view? Not necessarily. Yes, the survey respondents had definite money concerns – 28% felt Social Security benefits might be reduced in the future; 22% were unsure that their retirement income and accumulated savings would prove sufficient; and 26% suspected they were not saving enough for their tomorrows. On the other hand, 54% of these self-employed people said that they wanted to work in retirement because they enjoyed their job or profession, and 67% felt working would help them remain active.4

Is their retirement assumption realistic? Time will tell. The baby boom generation may rewrite the book on retirement. Social Security’s Life Expectancy Calculator tells us that today’s average 60-year-old woman will live to age 86. Today’s average 60-year-old man will live to age 83. Leaving work at 65 could mean a 20-year retirement for either of them, and they might live past 90 if their health holds up. Even if these Americans quit working at age 70, they could still need more than a dozen years of retirement money.5

You could argue that an affluent, self-employed individual is hardly the “average” American retiree. Many solopreneurs own businesses; doctors and lawyers may fully or partly own professional practices; real estate investors and developers may have passive income streams. These groups do not represent the entirety of the self-employed, however – and even these individuals can face the challenge of having to sell a business, a practice, or real property to boost their retirement savings.

Successful, self-employed people over 50 need to approach the critical years of retirement planning with the same scrutiny and concerted effort of other pre-retirees.

Look at the years after 50 as a time to intensify your retirement planning. This is the right time to determine how much retirement income you will need and how much more you need to save to generate it. This is the time to evaluate your level of investment risk and to think about when to collect Social Security. This is the time to examine your assumptions.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com.

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com     

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.   

Citations.

1 – nytimes.com/2017/03/02/business/retirement/workers-are-working-longer-and-better.html [3/2/17]

2 – pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/07/number-of-older-americans-in-the-workforce-is-on-the-rise/ [1/7/14]

3 – thebalance.com/average-retirement-age-in-the-united-states-2388864 [12/24/16]

4 – transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/global-survey-2016/tcrs2017_pr_retirement_preparations_of_self-employed.pdf [1/31/17]

5 – ssa.gov/OACT/population/longevity.html [3/9/17]

 

 

Team Work Counts for Couples Close to Retirement

A joint approach could pay off.

Talking about a few lifestyle and financial matters in the years immediately before your retirement transition may help you and your spouse find more happiness in your “second act.”

How close are you to receiving Medicare? Should one or both of you strive to work until age 65? HealthPocket (a tech firm that evaluates health plans) estimates that the average non-smoking, 60-year-old couple would pay nearly $18,000 for a silver plan at one of the health care exchanges (assuming no subsidies). Can you delay filing for Social Security, and time your claims to position yourselves for greater lifetime benefits? If either of you are in line for a pension from your employer, this is the time to weigh the merits of a lump-sum payout that could be invested versus a lifelong income stream.

Are you both going to retire at roughly the same time, or years apart? Have someone run the numbers to show you how those different scenarios might unfold for you in terms of retirement income and retirement spending. Finally, talk to each other about your typical day in retirement – how you want to spend your time, and what you want to spend the most time doing.1

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

1 – time.com/money/4570200/couples-near-retirement-plan/ [11/16/16]

 

 

Can You Work Your Way into Retirement?

Provided by Mike Moffitt

As 2016 ended, the 17th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey appeared and noted a preference for a phased retirement among a majority (53%) of workers polled by the insurance and investment company’s Center for Retirement Studies. In fact, 48% of the pre-retirees surveyed felt that their current employer would allow them to continue working in some capacity after age 65.

How many employers are okay with workers staying on the job past 65? Perhaps more than many of us may assume: 72% of the workers Transamerica talked with said that their employer supported the idea, and 48% felt the company culture where they worked was “aging friendly.”

On the downside, just 20% of employees surveyed said that their employers would let them ease into retirement through shorter workweeks or flextime, and 26% said that the company where they worked was doing “nothing” to help its employees make retirement transitions. Regarding aging in the workplace, one other statistic from the survey stands out: only 42% of respondents said that they were keeping their job skills up to date, which might be a necessity if they want to stay in the workforce into their sixties.1

Mike Moffitt may be reached at 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC.  Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor.  Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

CITATIONS.

1 – transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/retirement-survey-of-workers/tcrs2016_sr_retirement_survey_of_workers_compendium.pdf [12/16]

]

How Much Will You Spend When You Retire?

Will you have enough money to make ends meet? 

You may have heard that people spend less once they are retired. Statistically, that is true. The question is whether a retiree has enough income to meet his or her expenses.

Ideally, retirees should be able to live comfortably on 70-85% of their end salaries and draw their retirement fund down no more than 4-5% per year during a 30-year retirement. Are these two objectives realistic for the average retiree household?1,2

According to the most recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data, a household maintained by someone 65 or older had a mean income of $46,627 in 2015 and a disposable income of $42,959 after taxes. That average retiree household spent an average of $44,664 in 2015. So, on average, seniors spent more than they had on hand.2,3

Basic math tells us that 46,627 is roughly 70% of 66,500 and roughly 85% of 55,000. So, a retirement income of $46,627 would correspond to about 70-85% of a typical middle-class salary in 2015. In other words, it appears all too easy for the middle-class worker to transform into the financially challenged retiree.

Why is the average retiree household spending more than its net income? Three possible reasons come to mind. One, the cost of living may be rising faster for retirees than some assume. Social Security bases its cost-of-living adjustments to retiree benefits on changes in the CPI-W (Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers). Some economists think Social Security should use a different yardstick. Two, annual health care costs may suddenly jump for some seniors. Three, it is not unusual for new retirees to spend more than they anticipate as they travel and enjoy life.4

How do average retiree expenses break down? Housing costs accounted for $15,529 of that aforementioned $44,664 in 2015 household expenses. Transportation costs took another $6,846. Health care costs made up $5,756 of the total ($3,900 of that went to health insurance, $672 for medicines). Another $1,298 went for mortgage costs.2,3

When you spend more than you make in retirement, you dip into your savings. That fact takes us straight toward a larger problem.

Most baby boomers are approaching retirement with a savings shortfall. The 2016 Employee Financial Wellness Survey from PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) found that 50% of baby boomers had less than $100,000 in a workplace retirement plan. So, drawing down that amount by 4% a year would bring them less than $4,000 in annual retirement income. Of course, some of these employees will be able to tap IRAs, brokerage accounts, or income streams from other sources – but when your workplace retirement plan savings are that scant after age 50, other sources must compensate mightily. For many retirees, Social Security will not take up the slack. The average projected monthly Social Security benefit for 2017 is just $1,360.2

From the numbers in this article, you can glean that the average American retiree faces more than a little financial pressure. If you are a baby boomer who has saved and invested for decades and wants to work longer to give your invested assets a few more years of growth and compounding, you may have above-average prospects for a comfortable retirement.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com.

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com    

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial. 

Citations.

1 – cbsnews.com/news/how-much-retirement-income-do-you-really-need/ [3/3/16]

2 – fool.com/retirement/2016/12/18/how-much-money-does-the-average-baby-boomer-need-i.aspx [12/18/16]

3 – bls.gov/cex/2015/combined/sage.pdf [8/16]

4 – fool.com/retirement/2016/09/24/heres-why-your-social-security-check-is-hardly-goi.aspx [9/24/16]

 

 

 

Saving $1 Million for Retirement

How can you plan to do it? What kind of financial commitment will it take?

How many of us will retire with $1 million or more in savings? More of us ought to – in fact, more of us may need to, given inflation and the rising cost of health care.

Sadly, few pre-retirees have accumulated that much. A 2015 Government Accountability Office analysis found that the average American aged 55-64 had just $104,000 in retirement money. A 2016 GoBankingRates survey determined that only 13% of Americans had retirement savings of $300,000 or more.1,2

A $100,000 or $300,000 retirement fund might be acceptable if our retirements lasted less than a decade, as was the case for some of our parents. As many of us may live into our eighties and nineties, we may need $1 million or more in savings to avoid financial despair in our old age.

The earlier you begin saving, the more you can take advantage of compound interest. A 25-year-old who directs $405 a month into a tax-advantaged retirement account yielding an average of 7% annually will wind up with $1 million at age 65. Perhaps $405 a month sounds like a lot to devote to this objective, but it only gets harder if you wait. At the same rate of return, a 30-year-old would need to contribute $585 per month to the same retirement account to generate $1 million by age 65.3

The Census Bureau says that the median household income in this country is $53,657. A 45-year-old couple earning that much annually would need to hoard every cent they made for 19 years (and pay no income tax) to end up with $1 million at age 64, absent of investments. So, investing may come to be an important part of your retirement plan.4

What if you are over 40, what then? You still have a chance to retire with $1 million or more, but you must make a bigger present-day financial commitment to that goal than someone younger.

At age 45, you will need to save around $1,317 per month in a tax-advantaged retirement account yielding 10% annually to have $1 million in 20 years. If the account returns just 6% annually, then you would need to direct approximately $2,164 a month into it.4

What if you start trying to build that $1 million retirement fund at age 50? If your retirement account earns a solid 10% per year, you would still need to put around $2,413 a month into it; at a 6% yearly return, the target contribution becomes about $3,439 a month.4

This math may be startling, but it is also hard to argue with. If you are between age 55-65 and have about $100,000 in retirement savings, you may be hard-pressed to adequately finance your future. There are three basic ways to respond to this dilemma. You can choose to live on Social Security, plus the principal and yield from your retirement fund, and risk running out of money within several years (or sooner). Alternately, you can cut your expenses way down – share housing, share or forgo a car, etc., which could preserve more of your money. Or, you could try to work longer, giving your invested retirement savings a chance for additional growth, and explore ways to create new income streams.

How long will a million-dollar retirement fund last? If it is completely uninvested, you could draw down about $35,000 a year from it for 28 years. The upside here is that your invested retirement assets could grow and compound notably during your “second act” to help offset the ongoing withdrawals. The downside is that you will have to contend with inflation and, potentially, major healthcare expenses, which could reduce your savings faster than you anticipate.

So, while $1 million may sound like a huge amount of money to amass for retirement, it really is not – certainly not for a retirement beginning twenty or thirty years from now. Having $2 million or $3 million on hand would be preferable.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com.

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Citations.

1 – investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/011216/average-retirement-savings-age-2016.asp [12/8/16]

2 – time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/ [3/14/16]

3 – interest.com/retirement-planning/news/how-to-save-1-million-for-retirement/ [12/12/16]

4 – reviewjournal.com/business/money/how-realistically-save-1-million-retirement [5/20/16]

 

 

 

Your Year-End Financial Checklist

checklistSeven aspects of your financial life to review as the year draws to a close.

The end of a year makes us think about last-minute things we need to address and good habits we want to start keeping. To that end, here are seven aspects of your financial life to think about as this year leads into the next…

Your investments. Review your approach to investing and make sure it suits your objectives. Look over your portfolio positions and revisit your asset allocation.

Your retirement planning strategy. Does it seem as practical as it did a few years ago? Are you able to max out contributions to IRAs and workplace retirement plans like 401(k)s? Is it time to make catch-up contributions? Finally, consider Roth IRA conversion scenarios, and whether the potential tax-free retirement distributions tomorrow seem worth the taxes you may incur today. If you are at the age when a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) is required from your traditional IRA(s), be sure to take your RMD by December 31. If you don’t, the IRS will assess a penalty of 50% of the RMD amount on top of the taxes you will already pay on that income. (While you can postpone your very first IRA RMD until April 1, 2017, that forces you into taking two RMDs next year, both taxable events.)1

Your tax situation. How many potential credits and/or deductions can you and your accountant find before the year ends? Have your CPA craft a year-end projection including Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). In years past, some business owners and executives didn’t really look into deductions and credits because they just assumed they would be hit by the AMT. The recent rise in the top marginal tax bracket (to 39.6%) made fewer high-earning executives and business owners subject to the AMT – their ordinary income tax liabilities grew. That calls for a closer look at accelerated depreciation, R&D credits, the Work Opportunity Tax Credit, incentive stock options, and certain types of tax-advantaged investments.2

Review any sales of appreciated property and both realized and unrealized losses and gains. Take a look back at last year’s loss carry-forwards. If you’ve sold securities, gather up cost-basis information. Look for any transactions that could potentially enhance your circumstances.

Your charitable gifting goals. Plan charitable contributions or contributions to education accounts, and make any desired cash gifts to family members. The annual federal gift tax exclusion is $14,000 per individual for 2016, meaning you can gift as much as $14,000 to as many individuals as you like this year tax-free. A married couple can gift up to $28,000 tax-free to as many individuals as they like. The gifts do count against the lifetime estate tax exemption amount, which is $5.45 million per individual and $10.9 million per married couple for 2016.3

You could also gift appreciated securities to a charity. If you have owned them for more than a year, you can deduct 100% of their fair market value and legally avoid capital gains tax you would normally incur from selling them.4

Besides outright gifts, you can plan other financial moves on behalf of your family – you can create and fund trusts, for example. The end of the year is a good time to review any trusts you have in place.

Your life insurance coverage. Are your policies and beneficiaries up-to-date? Review premium costs, beneficiaries, and any and all life events that may have altered your coverage needs.

Speaking of life events…did you happen to get married or divorced in 2016? Did you move or change jobs? Buy a home or business? Did you lose a family member, or see a severe illness or ailment affect a loved one? Did you reach the point at which Mom or Dad needed assisted living? Was there a new addition to your family this year? Did you receive an inheritance or a gift? All of these circumstances can have a financial impact on your life, the way you invest and plan for retirement, and how you wind down your career or business. They are worth discussing with the financial or tax professional you know and trust.

Lastly, did you reach any of these financially important ages in 2016? If so, act accordingly.

Did you turn 70½ this year? If so, you must now take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from your IRA(s).

Did you turn 65 this year? If so, you are likely now eligible to apply for Medicare.

Did you turn 62 this year? If so, you can choose to apply for Social Security benefits.

Did you turn 59½ this year? If so, you may take IRA distributions without a 10% penalty.

Did you turn 55 this year? If so, you may be allowed to take distributions from your 401(k) account without penalty, provided you no longer work for that employer.

Did you turn 50 this year? If so, you can make “catch-up” contributions to IRAs (and certain qualified retirement plans).1,5

The end of the year is a key time to review your financial “health” & well-being. If you feel you need to address any of the items above, please feel free to give me a call.

Mike Moffitt may be reached at ph# 641-782-5577 or email:  mikem@cfgiowa.com.

Website:  www.cfgiowa.com    

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.  

Citations.

1 – fool.com/retirement/general/2016/04/11/required-minimum-distributions-common-questions-ab.aspx [4/11/16]

2 – nerdwallet.com/blog/taxes/income-taxes/federal-income-tax-brackets/ [9/8/16]

3 – turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Tax-Planning-and-Checklists/The-Gift-Tax-Made-Simple/INF12127.html [11/7/16]

4 – marketwatch.com/story/what-to-know-when-deducting-charitable-donations-2016-02-23 [2/23/16]

5 – merrilledge.com/Publish/Content/application/pdf/GWMOL/retirement-deadlines-checklist.pdf [11/7/16]

 

Filial Responsibility Laws

Could you be required to provide financial support to your parents?

Imagine your parents outliving their money. A terrible thought, right? Should this occur, there will be one of two outcomes. Either your parents will move in with you (or someone else), or your parents will become indigent.

Hopefully, your parents have saved, invested, and managed their money well enough to avoid such a plight, whether they live together or separately. If either or both of your parents do end up in such dire financial straits, the burden of rescuing them could fall on your shoulders. That is because 29 states have filial responsibility laws.1,2

Imagine drawing down your retirement savings to pay for nursing home care. Thanks to these obscure, but enforceable, state laws, this scenario is not unimaginable.

Nursing homes may turn to these statutes to demand payment of eldercare bills. These laws can be challenged in court, but sons and daughters may have little recourse. In 2012, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania upheld a lower court ruling requiring a man to pay off a $93,000 long-term care bill owed by his mother to a nursing home. In August 2015, the same state court upheld a ruling that a man had to pay his mother $400 a month in filial support.1,2

In the future, will assisted living facilities and nursing homes cleverly exploit such laws (and legal precedents) to file claims or lawsuits against the children of patients? Baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials may face that risk.

Some filial laws do offer loopholes. In Pennsylvania, for example, children cannot be held legally responsible under the state filial law if their parent abandoned them for a decade or longer during their childhood or if the parent’s immediate family is incapable of paying the debt.2

How easily can a nursing home saddle you with your mom or dad’s eldercare bill? Not that easily. In order to cite filial responsibility laws, the nursing home or assisted living facility usually has to provide proof that the resident cannot pay the cost of care.3

That hurdle may not deter eldercare providers as baby boomers enter their sixties, seventies, and eighties. Providers may be forced to explore every possible avenue to collect the payments that will keep them in business.

Will Medicaid pay for eldercare if a parent runs out of money? It often will. If the applicant is already eligible for Medicaid prior to requesting coverage, that coverage can be retroactive up to three months from its starting date.3

Medicaid does have its potential downside. By law, state Medicaid programs must try to collect reimbursement for coverage of eldercare costs after a Medicaid recipient passes away. While the value of a car and a home have no effect on someone’s eligibility for Medicaid, that home and car can be claimed by the state as it seeks to recoup its costs. An estate is usually spared from this effort if the deceased person leaves behind a surviving spouse, children under 21, or disabled or blind children of any age. Property held in a trust should also be exempt.3

If you & your parent(s) jointly own assets or accounts, that could be a problem. As an example, say you and your parent jointly own a townhome. If you attempt to sell it after your parent’s death while the state is trying to recoup Medicaid costs, the state may place a lien on it. You will have to give up some of the sale proceeds to settle the lien.3

Here is a “what if” worth considering: if your parents become destitute, how much financial responsibility will you be willing to assume on their behalf? Given the presence of filial laws and the possibility of Medicaid liens, you may end up more involved in their financial affairs or estate than you expect.

For the record, filial laws remain in place in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico.3

Mike Moffitt may be reached at 641-782-5577 or email: mikem@cfgiowa.com
Website: www.cfgiowa.com

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Michael Moffitt is a Registered Representative with and Securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investments advice offered through Advantage Investment Management (AIM), a registered investment advisor. Cornerstone Financial Group and AIM are separate entities from LPL Financial.

Citations.
1 – tinyurl.com/zmg9w5d [6/5/16]
2 – triblive.com/news/valleynewsdispatch/9757033-74/law-nursing-support [3/19/16]
3 – nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/broke-parents-medical-debts/ [7/2/15]