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Posts by ashea

HOW TO MAKE CHARITABLE GIVING SUSTAINABLE

Overview Charitable giving is one of the oldest traditions practiced by mankind. The ancient Greeks believed philanthropy was fundamental to democracy. Hindu scriptures asserted it was an imperative duty, and charity is considered a sacred foundation for the religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In more modern times, charitable giving has been incentivized by the tax deductibility of donations. However, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), which went into effect Jan. 1, 2018, brought an increase in the standard deduction. That means fewer taxpayers are claiming itemized deductions — including charitable deductions. As of May 2018, 31 million taxpayers had deducted more than $147 billion in donations. By May 2019, only 11 million taxpayers had deducted just under…

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Weathering the Storm

Remember the adage, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”? It certainly held true for the market this year; we gently entered the second quarter following the first quarter’s relatively mild volatility and strong performance. But in late April, the lion roared again — and volatility returned in full force. Mid-quarter, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed down four weeks in a row, while the Dow saw six straight weeks of losses. The market’s sudden negative outlook seemed to be driven by the on-again, offagain news of the trade deal with China. More than once, hopes rose on reports we were on the brink of a deal, only to be dashed by another postponement.…

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RETIREMENT REFORM: WILL THE PROPOSED CHANGES AFFECT YOU?

Overview In May, the House of Representatives passed the Setting Every CommunityUp for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) with a remarkable bipartisan majority (417-3). One of the primary goals of the SECURE Act is to help current retirement plan owners maximize their savings efforts for long-term retirement income. Some of the features of the SECURE Act include: • Eliminating the maximum contribution age (currently 70 ½) for various retirement plans • Delaying the age when participants must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from tax-advantaged retirement accounts from70 ½ to 72 • Enabling more annuity options for retirement accounts • Requiring employer plans to provide participants an annual calculation of how much income their account’s lump-sum balance could…

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STUDENT LOAN DEBT NOW A FAMILY AFFAIR

Overview A college degree is widely considered the necessary foundation for an upwardly mobile career and ensuing lifestyle. But to pay the considerable tuition, dorm rental, meal plan and campus fees, students, parents, grandparents and even other relatives are applying for loans to help cover the full cost. Unfortunately, this has resulted in student loan debt becoming an increasingly onerous burden for people of all ages. Graduating with this type of financial burden can seriously impede a young adult’s ability to save and invest money, which leaves less time to take advantage of the power of compound interest. For middleaged parents and retirees, tapping into investments or having to pay off large loans can threaten long-term financial security. The financial…

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SANDWICH GENERATION: STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU

Overview More than 40 million Americans serve as the primary caregiver for their aging parents, and this phenomenon isn’t just a moment in time; it’s a growing trend. The number of family caregivers is expected to continue growing as more baby boomers transition into retirement years. Projections show that by 2040, more than 80 million Americans will be age 65 or older. The Sandwich Generation, which mostly consists of older Generation Xers and younger baby boomers, experiences both emotional stress and financial challenges as over-wrought caregivers. Their time and attention are divided; their finances strewn across checks, cash and credit card charges. All the while, they are trying to save and plan for their own retirement. Older Parents On average,…

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What Could Tariffs Mean For The Economy — And Your Investments?

Overview On May 30, President Trump threatened new tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico. Effective June 10, the U.S. would levy a 5% tariff, increasing the rate by an additional 5% each month until reaching a permanent rate of 25% by October. The president stated that tariffs would only be lifted “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.” On June 7, after several days of negotiating with Mexican officials andjust three days before the tariffs were set to go into effect, PresidentTrump announced the tariffs would be “indefinitely suspended.” These announcements came in the middle of the trade war with China, which has been brewing since mid-2018. The U.S. and China have yet…

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ADVICE FOR YOUR RECENT COLLEGE GRADUATE

During the economic decline of the recession, many households struggled as one or both breadwinners lost jobs. Even workers who managed to survive corporate layoffs suffered through years with little to no salary increases. Unfortunately, these circumstances resulted in reduced savings and many households stopped investing for retirement and college. This means many children of that era eventually paid their own way through college, racking up loads of debt along the way. Now, upon graduating, they’re starting out adult life “underwater” in terms of their debt-to-income ratio. Among recent college grads (age 21 to 24), 79% have student loans they have to pay back. The average debt burden is $33,000. That’s a heavy load to carry when trying to climb…

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The Increasing Success of Women as Investors

More and more we hear the same stories of women living longer, being sicker and with less money to work with into retirement. Women are 80% more likely to be impoverished in late life.[i] We know why this happens: women live longer than men, women often make less and save less, and women often aren’t in control of their investments. The harsh truth is that women need a bigger nest egg than men because they will most likely live longer and need more extended and expensive care.  Instead of another article focusing on the grim details of women and retirement, let us change gears and talk more about women and investing. How can a new generation of soon to be retiring women break the cycle and come out on top? In this article, we will explore qualities that may make women better investors and hopefully encourage more women to take the plunge into investing for their retirement.

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Four Tips for Keeping an Active Lifestyle in Retirement

You worked, you saved, you planned. Now, after all that, it’s time to retire. This big change is both exciting and a little scary. If you’ve defined yourself by your career, you may experience the transition as something of a loss. As exciting as the opportunity to make your own schedule and do whatever you want, it may also be a little disorienting. Not since we were kids on summer vacations from school did we ever have such open schedules to fill however we want, and even then, we had to be home before dark. Retirement is a big, exciting event in your life, whether you are excited or filled with trepidation. In this article, we will go over some lifestyle changes and tips to help ease the transition and get you the best retirement, for you.

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Finding Beauty in Change: A Lesson from Lao Tzu

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like. –Lao Tzu

Life, whether we realize it or not, is a series of transitions. We were born and had to learn to crawl and walk, to talk and read. We grow up, passing through school onto careers and relationships. For some, we raise children. As we grow older and head toward retirement all this change and dramatic transition, can start to feel harder. Experiencing a loss, leaving a job, downsizing, adjusting to changing health, children growing up, the end of a marriage. These major life transitions, some of which we cannot control, are challenging for even the heartiest of people. We try to create order in our lives and we try to plan, but there are some things you just can’t anticipate.

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