At the end of 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced inflation-adjusted figures for retirement account savings for 2019, and many changes that will help savers. The technical guidance on the numbers can be found in IRS Notice 2018-83.
As is often said, life insurance is not for those who die, but is for those who live. If you die while you have life insurance in place, the people you have chosen as your beneficiaries will receive a sum of money (the death benefit) from your life insurance policy. The proceeds of life insurance are tax-free to the beneficiary and can be used for anything, but often the main purpose is to help make up for the loss of your income.
Midterm elections are in the books for the most part. After much anticipation, Americans have chosen to shift the balance of power in Washington D.C., giving Democrats control of the House of Representatives. Republicans maintain their control of the Senate, meaning that we can expect legislative gridlock through the remainder of President Trump’s term in office.
If you’re thinking about downsizing your home soon or for retirement, consider a few observations before moving forward. Three out of four Americans say they would downsize their home to reduce ongoing costs and benefit from the equity, according to the 2017 study “Finances in Retirement: New Challenges, New Solutions” released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. A smaller home is not always the ideal solution. You might find unexpected financial and emotional challenges after making the switch. Following are some common misconceptions surrounding downsizing.
If you do not already have one, opening a free “My Social Security” account would be a good idea. This secure account allows you to have convenient online access to information on your record and to manage your benefits once you start receiving them. You do not have to wait until you receive benefits to sign up.
Building credit is important for all ages. We have recently seen a few estate cases where the surviving spouse with many credit cards and car loans through the years find that they do not have their own individual credit. The credit cards they hold were issued as the second card and their name was the co-name on a loan. Suddenly, they need to establish credit in their 70s. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an estimated 45 million Americans may not have their own credit.
A recent Marketwatch article claiming “you should have twice your salary saved by age 35” has angered many across the Internet. The article, which included advice from Fidelity Investments, said you should have the equivalent of a year’s salary saved by age 30, and double that by age 35.
Our New England winter finally appears to be subsiding into some warmer weather. As we shed our heavy winter clothing for lighter gear, we may find that some of our clothes don’t fit due to weight gain. If you are not weighing yourself regularly, this could come as a surprise to you. You were comfortable in your winter gear, but revisiting your warm weather clothing shows you the change.
Now might be your golden opportunity to convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. The Tax Cut and Jobs Act that was signed into law in December lowered the top individual income tax rate to 37% from 39.6% and reduced many other rates as well. That means if you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth and agree to pay taxes on those funds now, you will be paying at a lower rate than in the past.
The Tax Cut and Jobs Act signed into law in December made an important modification to 529 college savings plans, a widely used college savings vehicle. 529 plans can now be used for qualified K-12 educational expenses.