Financial Planning

The Most Important Assumption

If I ask a group of 100 investors, “What is the most important assumption in a financial plan?”, I bet less than 10% would give the correct answer. Many believe it is the rate of return on investments. Others may say the withdrawal rate during retirement or the savings rate pre-retirement. All of these are…

The Worst Asset to Leave Behind

A family member recently told me she was disappointed she had to pay tax on an inheritance last year. Knowing that her state has no estate tax and that the federal estate tax doesn’t kick in until $11.58M, I quipped that she should not have paid any tax. As we continued the conversation, I learned…

Do You Ever Wonder What It’s All About?

Every now and then I read a book that rocks my world. This was the case last week when, while holding my newborn daughter in my arms, I read When Breath Becomes Air, a memoir written by a young man, a neurosurgical resident, who knows he is dying from cancer. Lucky for us readers, he…

Taking Social Security Early

The most common question I get about Social Security is, “Will it really be there when I retire?”. My answer is a resounding yes. Social Security is the most popular US government program. Almost 90% of Americans over age 65 receive Social Security benefits. Social Security benefits replace about 40% of pre-retirement income on average….

Curveball Clarity

We plan, God laughs – old Yiddish proverb I tell every new client that the moment the ink dries on their financial plan, something will change. It is amazing how fast changes happen for some; a new job opportunity arises, an offer is made to sell the business, a parent needs care, or a personal…

How the SECURE Act Could Impact your Retirement Plan

Back in May, the House overwhelmingly passed a bill that would bring sweeping changes to the retirement savings landscape. However, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement (SECURE) Act stalled in the Senate and appeared unlikely to pass in 2019. That is until this week, when the SECURE Act made it in to the government…

Tending to the Garden of Your Financial Plan

Until I bought my house, I never in my adult life had a yard. A yard was never a goal of mine either.  City parks, beaches, and vacations have always been enough nature to satisfy me. I’ve killed a houseplant or two in my day. In the last five years, I have learned a lot…

Universal Life

I received many responses to my diatribe on permanent life insurance. Several pointed out legitimate uses for these products, which I included in the post, albeit near the end. And then a polite reader emailed me an illustration for an indexed universal life insurance policy. Wait until you find out how it works. The proposal…

It’s Too Complicated

Our CFO, Bill Sweet, likes to get down and dirty with the tax code. Last week, he uncovered a new type of tax deferred savings account in the 2017 tax reform bill called the Universal Savings Account (USA). These new accounts allow for annual contributions of $2,500, grow tax deferred, but unlike IRAs and ROTH…

Paying for Healthcare

It’s no secret that healthcare costs are rising faster than wages. Employers have shifted more of the burden of health care premiums to employees. Deductibles are higher, and coinsurance rates are lower. We are paying more for less coverage. This trend is not likely to reverse anytime soon. There is a tax-advantaged method of savings…