Skip to main content
Category

Uncategorized

Wise decisions with retirement in mind

By Uncategorized

Some retirees succeed at realizing the life they want; others don’t. Fate aside, it isn’t merely a matter of investment decisions that makes the difference. There are certain dos and don’ts – some less apparent than others – that tend to encourage retirement happiness and comfort.

Retire financially literate. Some retirees don’t know how much they don’t know. They end their careers with inadequate financial knowledge, and yet, feel they can prepare for retirement on their own. They mistake creating a retirement income strategy with the whole of preparing for retirement, and gloss over longevity risk, risks to their estate, and potential health care expenses. The more you know, the more your retirement readiness improves.

A goal to retire debt free – or close to debt free?  Even if your retirement savings are substantial, you may want to consider reviewing your overall debt situation.1

Retire with purpose. There’s a difference between retiring and quitting. Some people can’t wait to quit their job at 62 or 65.  If only they could escape and just relax and do nothing for a few years – wouldn’t that be a nice reward? Relaxation can lead to inertia, however – and inertia can lead to restlessness, even depression. You want to retire to a dream, not away from a problem.

The bottom line? Retirees who know what they want to do – and go out and do it – are positively contributing to their mental health and possibly their physical health as well. If they do something that is not only vital to them, but important to others, their community can benefit as well.

Retire healthy. Smoking, drinking, overeating, a dearth of physical activity – all these can take a toll on your capacity to live life fully and enjoy retirement. It is never too late to change habits that may lead to poor health. 

Retire where you feel at home. It could be where you live now; it could be a nearby place where the scenery and people are uplifting. If you find yourself lonely in retirement, then look for ways to connect with people who share your experiences, interests, and passions; those who encourage you and welcome you. This social interaction is one of the great, intangible retirement benefits.

……….

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.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations

  1. CNBC.com, December 2, 2020

2022 Annual Financial To-do List

By Uncategorized

What financial, business, or life priorities do you need to address for the coming year? Now is an excellent time to think about the investing, saving, or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives, from building your retirement fund to managing your taxes. You have plenty of choices. Here are a few ideas to consider:

Can you contribute more to your retirement plans this year? In 2022, the contribution limit for a Roth or traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is expected to remain at $6,000 ($7,000 for those making “catch-up” contributions). Your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) may affect how much you can put into a Roth IRA. With a traditional IRA, you can contribute if you (or your spouse if filing jointly) have taxable compensation, but income limits are one factor in determining whether the contribution is tax-deductible.1

Keep in mind, this article is for informational purposes only and not a replacement for real-life advice. Also, tax rules are constantly changing, and there is no guarantee that the tax landscape will remain the same in years ahead.

Once you reach age 72, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a traditional Individual Retirement Account in most circumstances. Withdrawals from Traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty.

To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth 401(k) distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½. Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal can also be taken under certain other circumstances, such as the owner’s death. Employer match is pretax and not distributed tax-free during retirement.

Make a charitable gift. You can claim the deduction on your tax return, provided you follow the Internal Review Service guidelines and itemize your deductions with Schedule A. The paper trail can be important here. If you give cash, you should consider documenting it. Some contributions can be demonstrated by a bank record, payroll deduction record, credit card statement, or written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the IRS does not equate a pledge with a donation. If you pledge $2,000 to a charity this year but only end up gifting $500, you can only deduct $500.2

Make certain to consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional before modifying your record-keeping approach or your strategy for making charitable gifts.

See if you can take a home office deduction for your small business. If you are a small-business owner, you may want to investigate this. You may be able to write off expenses linked to the portion of your home used to conduct your business. Using your home office as a business expense involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the tax rules as they relate to home-based businesses.3

Open an HSA. A Health Savings Account (HSA) works a bit like your workplace retirement account. There are also some HSA rules and limitations to consider. You are limited to a $3,650 contribution for 2022 if you are single; $7,300 if you have a spouse or family. Those limits jump by a $1,000 “catch-up” limit for each person in the household over age 55.4

If you spend your HSA funds for non-medical expenses before age 65, you may be required to pay ordinary income tax as well as a 20% penalty. After age 65, you may be required to pay ordinary income taxes on HSA funds used for nonmedical expenses. HSA contributions are exempt from federal income tax; however, they are not exempt from state taxes in certain states.

Pay attention to asset location. Tax-efficient asset location is one factor that can be considered when creating an investment strategy.

Review your withholding status. Should it be adjusted due to any of the following factors?

  • You tend to pay the federal or state government at the end of each year.
  • You tend to get a federal tax refund each year.
  • You recently married or divorced.
  • You have a new job, and your earnings have been adjusted.

Consider consulting your tax, human resources, or accounting professional before modifying your withholding status.

Did you get married in 2021? If so, it may be an excellent time to review the beneficiaries of your retirement accounts and other assets. The same goes for your insurance coverage. If you are preparing to have a new last name in 2022, you may want to get a new Social Security card. Additionally, retirement accounts may need to be revised or adjusted?

Are you coming home from active duty? If so, go ahead and check on the status of your credit and any tax and legal proceedings that might have been preempted by your orders.

Consider the tax impact of any upcoming transactions. Are you preparing to sell any real estate this year? Are you starting a business? Might any commissions or bonuses come your way in 2022? Do you anticipate selling an investment that is held outside of a tax-deferred account?

If you are retired and in your seventies, remember your RMDs. In other words, Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts. In most circumstances, once you reach age 72, you must begin taking RMDs from most types of these accounts.5       

Vow to focus on your overall health and practice sound financial habits in 2022. And don’t be afraid to ask for help from professionals who understand your individual situation.

……….

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.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations

  1. thefinancebuff.com, August 11, 2021
  2. irs.gov, January 22, 2021
  3. nerdwallet.com, July 31, 2020
  4. irs.gov, September 8, 2021
  5. irs.gov, May 3, 2021

 

The Underutilized Benefits of a Health Savings Account

By Uncategorized

Healthcare can be one of the priciest yet essential parts of life’s journey. And yet, many struggle to utilize the financial tools that may help. Take Health Saving Accounts (HSAs), for example.

In 2019, 55% of those with HSAs that did not record a distribution also did not receive either employee or employer contributions. This suggests that the lack of distributions are due to account holders becoming disengaged from their accounts, rather than not having access to this cost-saving financial tool.1

And yet, for those looking to help manage the financial impact of healthcare, a Health Savings Account (HSA) may be just the ticket.

HSA Tax Benefits. A large draw for many are the tax benefits inherent to HSAs:

  • Contributions through an employer are always pretax
  • You can invest the funds after your account balance reaches a certain level
  • Distributions for qualified health expenses aren’t taxable

Additionally, unlike a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which is funded with pretax dollars but must be used by a specific deadline, HSA contributions can remain in your account to be used for future medical bills at any time. In short, this means there is no “use it or lose it” penalty.2

Keep in mind that if you spend your HSA funds for non-qualified expenses before age 65, you may be required to pay ordinary income tax as well as a 20% penalty. After age 65, you may be required to pay ordinary income taxes on HSA funds used for non-qualified expenses. HSA contributions are exempt from federal income tax; however, they are not exempt from state taxes in certain states.

HSA Contribution Limits for 2022. HSA contribution limits are adjusted annually for inflation. For 2022, the self-only contribution limit is $3,650 or $7,300 for families. This is a $50 increase for individuals and a $100 increase for families from 2021. The contribution limit refers to contributions from both employers and employees (or family members).

These adjustments are rounded to the nearest $50 to account for inflation rates, which are determined using the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers.3

How to use your HSA. The IRS or your HSA provider are great sources when getting started. For example, the IRS recently issued a reminder that at-home covid tests, face masks, and sanitizing wipes can all be purchased, or qualify for reimbursement, through an HSA. In addition, the IRS offers an interactive assessment tool that can take the guesswork out of what qualifies as an HSA-friendly expense.4

……………

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.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations

1. EBRI.org, January 21, 2021
2. Marketwatch.com, March 17, 2021
3. IRS.gov, May 2021
4. IRS.gov, September 10, 2021

Direct Indexing: An old portfolio method that’s getting new attention

By Uncategorized

“Indexing” is a familiar phrase in investment jargon, and a familiar concept. Money managers structure certain investment vehicles to contain all of the stocks within a particular Wall Street index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index. This equity exposure may fit the investment strategy for some investors depending on their risk tolerance, time horizon and goals.

“Direct indexing” is a variation on this idea. The goals are the same: to match the performance of an index. The methodology differs, however. Instead of buying one investment designed to mirror the composition of an index, the investor buys shares of each stock within the index.

Why would an investor go to such lengths? To start, the pursuit of tax efficiency. Direct indexing can also lead to a more customized portfolio, giving an investor more ability to add and subtract companies that do or do not align with that investor’s values or market objectives.1

This article is for informational purposes only. It’s not a replacement for real-life advice, so make sure to consult your tax or accounting professionals before modifying your tax strategy if you are considering direct indexing. 

Technological advances have put direct indexing within reach of more investors today. Years ago, it was largely the domain of hands-on types with considerable assets in their portfolios. Now, there are firms that can help with this approach.

Direct indexing can encourage more trades. A hands-on investor closely scrutinizing performance may want to consider a direct indexing strategy, especially when the equities market turns turbulent. But that can lead to more fees, which may offset the potential benefits of the approach.2

This article is strictly an explanation of the basics of direct indexing, and not an endorsement or recommendation of the strategy. If direct indexing interests you, feel free to explore the approach by consulting a professional before attempting it.

Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. The S&P 500 Composite Index is an unmanaged index that is considered representative of the overall U.S. stock market. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. This information is designed to provide general information on the subjects covered. It is not, however, intended to provide specific legal or tax advice and cannot be used to avoid tax penalties or to promote, market, or recommend any tax plan or arrangement.

……..

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.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations

1. Forbes, April 15, 2021
2. Bloomberg, January 9, 2020