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Sep
20
Keeping Your Business in the Family
Keeping Your Business in the Family What are some of the issues concerning keeping the business in the family? You may want to keep your business in the family, as opposed to selling it to an outside party or another business. If this is your plan, you should be aware of some of the issues that can contribute to the success or the failure of the business as it is transferred to the successor generation. Some of the issues revolve around personality and control, while others have to do with your potential need for future income and the demands it can place on the business. Insight, planning, and open discussion can contribute to the successful transfer and continuation of the family business. Emotional issues--Family succession...
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Sep
20
Healthcare in Retirement
Healthcare in Retirement What are health care benefits available in retirement? Health care in retirement is available from many sources. Government programs (such as Medicaid and Medicare) offer numerous health care benefits. However, you may need to purchase supplemental health insurance or Medigap, as well. Most Americans are eligible to begin receiving Medicare benefits at age 65, but qualifying for Medicaid may require some planning on your part. In addition to these resources, you may also be entitled to military health care benefits if you are a veteran, retired service member, or the spouse or widow of a veteran or retired service member. Continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes also offer health care services for...
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Jul
17
Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies
Medicaid Planning Goals and Strategies Why is Medicaid planning important? Aging is inevitable, and a gradual (or not so gradual) inability to function independently is a great concern for many people. While the prospect of entering a nursing home is a daunting one, equally frightening is the expense of nursing home care. Although purchasing long-term care insurance might be the most logical move, not everyone can afford the cost of its premiums. Many people feel that their only option is to spend down their life savings in order to private-pay nursing home care. Once this money has been exhausted, they'll apply for Medicaid. But this isn't the way it has to be. To qualify for Medicaid, both your income and the value of your assets must...
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Jun
05
Women: Moving Forward Financially after the Loss of a Spouse
Women: Moving Forward Financially after the Loss of a Spouse The loss of a spouse can be a devastating, life-changing event. Due to longer life expectancies, women are more likely to face this situation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 Current Population Survey, approximately 34% of women age 65 and older are widows compared to approximately 12% of men. Becoming a widow at any age can be one of the most difficult challenges a woman must face. Not only is there the emotional loss of a spouse, but also the task of handling everything--including all the finances--without the help of a spouse. Even if you've always handled your family's finances, the number of financial and legal matters that have to be settled in the weeks and...
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May
31
Report on Young Adulthood
Report on Young Adulthood In an April 2017 report, the U.S. Census Bureau examines changes in young adulthood over the last 40 years. The study looks at how the economic and demographic characteristics of young adults (ages 18 to 34) have changed from 1975 to 2016. The report defines adulthood as a period in life associated with common experiences and the achievement of particular milestones, such as living independently of parents, working full-time, getting married, and having children. This puts some recent changes in perspective: In 1975, 45% of young adults (ages 25 to 34) had completed four specific milestones — lived independently of their parents, had ever married, lived with a child, and were in the labor force — compared with...
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May
18
Digital Deception: Current Trends in Cybercrime
Digital Deception: Current Trends in Cybercrime In December 2016, Yahoo announced that data associated with more than 1 billion user accounts had been stolen in 2013. The company believes this was a separate incident from a previously announced theft of data from 500,000 user accounts in 2014.1 Although the sheer number of compromised accounts is staggering, the Yahoo breaches are just two out of many major data breaches discovered in 2016, ranging from dating sites and Internet companies to the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice.2  Private companies and government agencies that hold personal information are responsible for protecting that data, but even the most vigilant organization can be vulnerable. Moreover, once a breach has...
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Apr
10
Special Considerations for Second/Vacation Homes
Special Considerations for Second/Vacation Homes Introduction    A rustic cabin. a seaside cottage. buying a second/vacation home can be an alluring prospect. Before you decide to purchase one, though, you should consider a number of issues. These include the costs associated with owning a second/vacation home, the attributes of the home, its rental potential, and the income tax treatment. Should you buy a vacation home? Before you buy a vacation home, first determine whether or not you can afford it. Even if you can rent it out or deduct part of the costs of ownership from your taxes, a vacation home is primarily a luxury, not an investment. You should buy one to add value to your life instead of to your net worth. Buying a...
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Mar
14
Wealth Due to Inheritance, Part Two
Wealth Due to Inheritance, Part Two Tax consequences of an inheritance Income tax considerations   In general, you won't directly owe income tax on assets you inherit. However, a large inheritance may mean that your income tax liability will eventually increase. Any income that is generated by those assets may be subject to income tax, and if the inherited assets produce a substantial amount of income, your tax bracket may increase. Once you increase your wealth, you should look at ways to minimize your overall tax liability, such as shifting income, giving money to individuals or charity, utilizing other income tax reduction strategies, and investing for growth rather than income. You may also need to re-evaluate your income tax...
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Mar
14
Wealth Due to Inheritance, Part One
Wealth Due to Inheritance If you're the beneficiary of a large inheritance, you may find yourself suddenly wealthy. Even if you expected the inheritance, you may be surprised by the size of the bequest or the diverse assets you've inherited. You'll need to evaluate your new financial position, learn to manage your sizable assets, and consider the tax consequences of your inheritance, among other issues. Issues that arise in connection with an inheritance  If you've recently received a bequest, consider the possibility that the will may be contested if your inheritance was large in comparison with that received by other beneficiaries. Or, you may decide to contest the will if you feel slighted. If you're the spouse of the decedent, you...
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Feb
21
Financial Basics for Millennials
Financial Basics for Millennials With age comes responsibility, so if you're a young adult in your 20s or 30s, chances are you've been introduced to the realities of adulthood. While you're excited by all the opportunities life has to offer, you're also aware of your emerging financial responsibility. In the financial realm, the millennial generation (young adults born between 1981 and 1997) faces a unique set of challenges, including a competitive job market and significant student loan debt that can make it difficult to obtain financial stability. Poor money management can lead to debt, stress, and dependency on others. Fortunately, good money management skills can make it easier for you to accomplish your personal goals. Become...
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Feb
06
Digital Deception: Current Trends in Cybercrime
Digital Deception: Current Trends in Cybercrime In December 2016, Yahoo announced that data associated with more than 1 billion user accounts had been stolen in 2013. The company believes this was a separate incident from a previously announced theft of data from 500,000 user accounts in 2014.1 Although the sheer number of compromised accounts is staggering, the Yahoo breaches are just two out of many major data breaches discovered in 2016, ranging from dating sites and Internet companies to the IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice.2 Private companies and government agencies that hold personal information are responsible for protecting that data, but even the most vigilant organization can be vulnerable. Moreover, once a breach has...
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Jan
09
Active Vs. Passive Management
Active Vs. Passive Management One of the longest-standing debates in investing is over the relative merits of active portfolio management versus passive management. With an actively managed portfolio, a manager tries to beat the performance of a given benchmark index by using his or her judgment in selecting individual securities and deciding when to buy and sell them. A passively managed portfolio attempts to match that benchmark performance, and in the process, minimize expenses that can reduce an investor's net return. Each camp has strong advocates who argue that the advantages of its approach outweigh those for the opposite side. Active investing: attempting to add value Proponents of active management believe that by...
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Dec
27
Women and Retirement Planning
Women and Retirement Planning Women face special challenges when planning for retirement. Because their careers are often interrupted to care for children or elderly parents, women may spend less time in the workforce and earn less money than men in the same age group. As a result, their retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits are often lower. In addition to earning less, women generally live longer than men, and they may face having to stretch limited retirement savings and benefits over many years. To meet these financial challenges, you'll need to make retirement planning a priority. Begin saving now To help improve your chances of achieving a financially comfortable retirement, start with a...
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Dec
12
Bonds, Interest Rates, and the Impact of Inflation
Bonds, Interest Rates, and the Impact of Inflation There are two fundamental ways that you can profit from owning bonds: from the interest that bonds pay, or from any increase in the bond's price. Many people who invest in bonds because they want a steady stream of income are surprised to learn that bond prices can fluctuate, just as they do with any security traded in the secondary market. If you sell a bond before its maturity date, you may get more than its face value; you could also receive less if you must sell when bond prices are down. The closer the bond is to its maturity date, the closer to its face value the price is likely to be. Though the ups and downs of the bond market are not usually as dramatic as the movements of the...
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Nov
28
2016 Year-End Tax Planning Basics
2016 Year-End Tax Planning Basics The window of opportunity for many tax-saving moves closes on December 31, so it's important to evaluate your tax situation now, while there's still time to affect your bottom line for the 2016 tax year. Timing is everything Consider any opportunities you have to defer income to 2017. For example, you may be able to defer a year-end bonus, or delay the collection of business debts, rents, and payments for services. Doing so may allow you to postpone paying tax on the income until next year. If there's a chance that you'll be in a lower income tax bracket next year, deferring income could mean paying less tax on the income as well. Similarly, consider ways to accelerate deductions into 2016. If...
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Nov
07
Beneficiary Designations for Traditional IRAs and Retirement Plans, Part 2
Beneficiary Designations for Traditional IRAs and Retirement Plans (Part 2) Other considerations when choosing beneficiaries Income and estate taxes are very important considerations when choosing IRA and plan beneficiaries, but they are not the only factors that should enter into your decision. Never forget that, ultimately, you are deciding who will receive your IRA or retirement plan benefits after you die. Think carefully about who you want to provide for, and about how this decision fits into your overall estate plan. Consider the value of your IRA or retirement plan in relation to the value of all of your other assets. Designating the beneficiary of a $20,000 IRA that makes up five percent of your total assets is very different...
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Nov
07
Beneficiary Designations for Traditional IRAs and Retirement Plans
Beneficiary Designations for Traditional IRAs and Retirement Plans (Part 1) What is it? If you have a traditional IRA or participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k) plan, you are generally required to complete a beneficiary designation form with the IRA custodian or plan administrator. As you may know, the beneficiary or beneficiaries you name (you can generally name more than one) will receive the remaining funds in your IRA or plan account after you die. What you may not realize is that your choice of beneficiary may have implications in other important areas, including: • The size of the annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) that you must take from the IRA or plan during your lifetime • The...
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Oct
19
Five Things to Know About Inherited IRAs
Five Things to Know About Inherited IRAs When an IRA owner dies, the IRA proceeds are payable to the named beneficiary--or to the owner's estate if no beneficiary is named. If you've been designated as the beneficiary of a traditional or Roth IRA, it's important that you understand the special rules that apply to "inherited IRAs." It's not really "your" IRA As an initial matter, while you do have certain rights, you are generally not the "owner" of an inherited IRA. The practical result of this fact is that you can't mix inherited IRA funds with your own IRA funds, and you can't make 60-day rollovers to and from the inherited IRA. You also need to calculate the taxable portion of any payment from the inherited IRA separately...
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Oct
03
IRS Announces New Waiver Procedure for Taxpayers Who Inadvertently Miss the 60-day Rollover Deadline
IRS Announces New Waiver Procedure for Taxpayers Who Inadvertently Miss the 60-day Rollover Deadline Background--direct and indirect (60-day) rollovers If you're eligible to receive a taxable distribution from an employer-sponsored retirement plan (like a 401(k)) you can avoid current taxation by directly rolling the distribution over to another employer plan or IRA (with a direct rollover you never actually receive the funds). You can also avoid current taxation by actually receiving the distribution from the plan, and then rolling it over to another employer plan or IRA within 60 days following receipt (a "60-day" or "indirect" rollover). But if you choose to receive the funds instead of making a direct rollover the plan must withhold...
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Sep
19
Early Retirement Packages
Early Retirement Packages In today's corporate environment, cost cutting, restructuring, and downsizing are the norm, and many employers are offering their employees early retirement packages. But how do you know if the seemingly attractive offer you've received is a good one? By evaluating it carefully to make sure that the offer fits your needs. What's the severance package? Most early retirement offers include a severance package that is based on your annual salary and years of service at the company. For example, your employer might offer you one or two weeks' salary (or even a month's salary) for each year of service. Make sure that the severance package will be enough for you to make the transition to the next phase of your...
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Aug
08
2016 Trustees Reports Project Social Security COLA, Medicare Premiums, and Long-Term Outlook
2016 Trustees Reports Project Social Security COLA, Medicare Premiums, and Long-Term Outlook According to this year's Trustees reports, Social Security and Medicare accounted for 41% of federal program expenditures in fiscal year 2015. Every year, the Trustees of the Social Security and Medicare trust funds release reports to Congress on the current financial condition and projected financial outlook of these programs. The 2016 reports, released on June 22, 2016, project a small Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) and Medicare premium increases for 2017, and discuss ongoing financial challenges. What are the Social Security and Medicare trust funds? Social Security: The Social Security program consists of two...
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Jul
21
Social Security and Planning for Earned Income in Retirement
Social Security and Planning for Earned Income in Retirement If you're like a lot of people, retirement won't be the world of gardening, golfing, traveling, and tennis you once envisioned. Rather, retirement will mean relaxing and working. Maybe you've retired from your "regular" job and started a business, or perhaps you want to work part-time just to stay busy. However, if you work after you start receiving Social Security retirement benefits, your earnings may affect the amount of your benefit check. How your earnings affect your benefit Your earnings in retirement may increase your retirement benefit Your monthly Social Security retirement benefit is based on your lifetime earnings. When you become entitled to...
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May
16
Retirement Benefits for Same-Sex Married Couples
Retirement Benefits for Same-Sex Married Couples Beneficiary rights If you participate in a 401(k) or similar plan at work, federal law provides that your spouse is automatically the beneficiary of your account in the event of your death. You can name someone else as beneficiary, but only if your spouse agrees in writing (witnessed by a plan representative or notary public). Special rules apply if your plan pays benefits in the form of an annuity. IRAs aren't subject to this federal law, although your state may impose its own, similar requirements. For example, if you live in a community property state, your spouse may have legal rights to your IRA regardless of whether he or she is named as the primary beneficiary. Even...
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Apr
25
Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples
Estate Planning for Same-Sex Couples In United States v. Windsor (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which required that federal statutes, regulations, and rulings be interpreted as defining marriage as a "legal union between one man and one woman" and a spouse as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Then, in Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), the U.S. Supreme Court struck down every ban on same-sex marriage in the United States, including Section 2 of DOMA which provided that states have the right to deny recognition of same-sex marriages licensed in other states. As a result, same-sex marriages must now be recognized by every state and the federal...
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Apr
12
Saving for Retirement
Saving for Retirement Although most of us recognize the importance of sound retirement planning, few of us embrace the nitty-gritty work involved. With thousands of investment possibilities, complex rules governing retirement plans, and so on, most people don’t even know where to begin. Here are some suggestions to help you get started. Determine your retirement income needs Some experts suggest that you need anywhere from 60% to 90% of your current income to enable you to maintain your current standard of living in retirement. But this is only a general guideline. To determine your specific needs, you may want to estimate your annual retirement expenses. Use your current expenses as a starting point, but note that your expenses may...
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Mar
30
Holding Equities for the Long Term: Time Versus Timing
Holding Equities for the Long Term: Time Versus Timing Legendary investor Warren Buffett is famous for his long-term perspective. He has said that he likes to make investments he would be comfortable holding even if the market shut down for 10 years. Investing with an eye to the long term is particularly important with stocks. Historically, equities have typically outperformed bonds, cash, and inflation, though past performance is no guarantee of future results and those returns also have involved higher volatility. It can be challenging to have Buffett-like patience during periods such as 2000-2002, when the stock market fell for 3 years in a row, or 2008, which was the worst year for the Standard & Poor’s 500* since the Depression...
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Mar
21
Six Potential 401(k) Rollover Pitfalls
Six Potential 401(k) Rollover Pitfalls You’re about to receive a distribution from your 401(k) plan, and you’re considering a rollover to a traditional IRA. While these transactions are normally straightforward and trouble free, there are some pitfalls you’ll want to avoid. 1. Consider the pros and cons of a rollover. The first mistake some people make is failing to consider the pros and cons of a rollover to an IRA in the first place. You can leave your money in the 401(k) plan if your balance is over $5,000. And if you’re changing jobs, you may also be able to roll your distribution over to your new employer’s 401(k) plan. • Though IRAs typically offer significantly more investment opportunities and withdrawal flexibility, your...
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Jan
12
Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015
The Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 In one of its final actions for calendar year 2015, Congress passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, a massive spending bill that will keep the federal government funded for fiscal year 2016. Signed into law on December 18, 2015, the legislation includes the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015 (Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act), which addresses a host of popular but temporary tax provisions--commonly referred to as "tax extenders"--that had expired at the end of 2014, making many of them permanent. Some of the major provisions addressed are listed below. Individuals American Opportunity Tax Credit    The American Opportunity Tax...
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Nov
10
Five Questions about Long-Term Care
Five Questions about Long-Term Care 1. What is long-term care? Long-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. There are three levels of long-term care: •Skilled care: Generally round-the-clock care that's given by professional health care providers such as nurses, therapists, or aides under a doctor's supervision. •Intermediate care: Also provided by professional health care providers but on a less frequent basis than skilled care. •Custodial care: Personal care that's often given by family caregivers, nurses' aides, or home health workers who provide assistance with what are called "activities of daily living" such as bathing, eating, and dressing....
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Oct
20
A Retirement Income Roadmap for Women
A Retirement Income Roadmap for Women More women are working and taking charge of their own retirement planning than ever before. What does retirement mean to you? Do you dream of traveling? Pursuing a hobby? Volunteering your time, or starting a new career or business? Simply enjoying more time with your grandchildren? Whatever your goal, you'll need a retirement income plan that's designed to support the retirement life It's important for you to be involved in the retirement income planning process even if you're married. While you may plan to be married forever, many women end up single at some point in their lives due to divorce or death of a spouse. All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there...
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Sep
14
Taxes, Retirement, and Timing Social Security
Taxes, Retirement, and Timing Social Security The advantages of tax deferral are often emphasized when it comes to saving for retirement. So it might seem like a good idea to hold off on taking taxable distributions from retirement plans for as long as possible. (Note: Required minimum distributions from non-Roth IRAs and qualified retirement plans must generally start at age 70½.) But sometimes it may make more sense to take taxable distributions from retirement plans in the early years of retirement while deferring the start of Social Security retirement benefits. Some basics   Up to 50% of your Social Security benefits are taxable if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) plus one-half of your Social Security benefits falls...
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Sep
01
Eleven Ways to Help Yourself Stay Sane in a Crazy Market
Let's Start This With Some Wise Words to Ponder From Three Successful Investors "Investors should remember that excitement and expenses are their enemies. And if they insist on trying to time their participation in equities, they should try to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."   ~ Warren Buffett "Most of the time common stocks are subject to irrational and excessive price fluctuations in both directions as the consequence of the ingrained tendency of most people to speculate or gamble ... to give way to hope, fear and greed."  ~  Benjamin Graham "In this business if you're good, you're right six times out of ten. You're never going to be right nine times out of ten."  ~ Peter Lynch...
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Aug
12
Healthcare in Retirement
Healthcare in Retirement What health care benefits are available in retirement? Health care in retirement is available from many sources. Government programs (such as Medicaid and Medicare) offer numerous health care benefits. However, you may need to purchase supplemental health insurance or Medigap, as well. Most Americans are eligible to begin receiving Medicare benefits at age 65, but qualifying for Medicaid may require some planning on your part. In addition to these resources, you may also be entitled to military health care benefits if you are a veteran, retired servicemember, or the spouse or widow of a veteran or retired servicemember. Continuing care retirement communities and nursing homes also offer health care services for...
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Jul
21
Pay Down Debt or Save for Retirement?
Pay Down Debt or Save for Retirement? You can use a variety of strategies to pay off debt, many of which can cut not only the amount of time it will take to pay off the debt but also the total interest paid. But like many people, you may be torn between paying off debt and the need to save for retirement. Both are important; both can help give you a more secure future. If you're not sure you can afford to tackle both at the same time, which should you choose There's no one answer that's right for everyone, but here are some of the factors you should consider when making your decision. Rate of investment return versus interest rate on debt Probably the most common way to decide whether to pay off debt or to make investments is to...
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Jun
29
Terminal Illness
Terminal Illness What is it?    When you find out that you are terminally ill, you may want to start planning immediately for your current needs and for the future needs of your survivors. In particular, you'll want to provide enough money, insurance, and assets to ensure that you will be comfortable during your final months and that you will leave your survivors with adequate income. By communicating your wishes to your family now and by executing certain legal documents (e.g., health-care proxy, living will, durable power of attorney), you can make decisions now about your medical care and plan for the possibility that you may become incapacitated. You'll also want to make sure that your estate will be passed on to our survivors...
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Jun
09
New Law Brings Some Changes to Medicare
New Law Brings Some Changes to Medicare The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) became law on April 16, 2015. In addition to extending funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), this act modifies certain Medicare provisions. If you are currently covered by Medicare or will be in the near future, you may be interested in learning more about these changes, including the ones summarized below. Health-care quality and cost control initiatives · The physician payment cut that has been debated for several years has been permanently repealed, and the law includes annual payment increases for physicians for some Medicare services. This may help ensure that patients will have continued access to...
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May
12
Keeping Your Business in the Family
Keeping Your Business in the Family What are some of the issues concerning keeping the business in the family? You may want to keep your business in the family, as opposed to selling it to an outside party or another business. If this is your plan, you should be aware of some of the issues that can contribute to the success or the failure of the business as it is transferred to the successor generation. Some of the issues revolve around personality and control, while others have to do with your potential need for future income and the demands it can place on the business. Insight, planning, and open discussion can contribute to the successful transfer and continuation of the family business. Emotional issues--Family succession...
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May
04
Golden Handcuffs
Golden Handcuffs What are golden handcuffs?    The term "golden handcuffs" does not refer to one specific method of retaining key employees. Rather, it refers to a combination of any of a number of different rewards and penalties given to key employees to encourage them to remain with a particular firm. Essentially, an employer interested in golden handcuffs would provide a very generous compensation package--with strings attached--to his or her key employees. There are two ways to convince valuable executives to remain with a company. One is to reward them if they stay. The other is to penalize them if they leave. Many employers combine both approaches by mixing generous economic incentives (like bonuses and stock grants) with vesting...
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Apr
13
Don't Let Your Retirement Savings Goal Get You Down
Don't Let Your Retirement Savings Goal Get You Down As a retirement savings plan participant, you know that setting an accumulation goal is an important part of your overall strategy. In fact, each year in its annual Retirement Confidence Survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) reiterates that goal setting is a key factor influencing overall retirement confidence. But for many, a retirement savings goal that could reach as high as $1 million or more may seem like a daunting, even impossible mountain to climb. What if you're contributing as much as you can to your retirement savings plan, and investing as aggressively as possible within your risk comfort zone, but still feel that you'll never reach the summit? As with...
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Mar
31
ABLE Accounts: A New Savings Tool for Individuals with Disabilities
ABLE Accounts: A New Savings Tool for Individuals with Disabilities If you or a family member has a disability that began before the age of 26, you may be able to benefit from a new type of savings account called an ABLE account. This savings option was made available through the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 that was signed into law in December as part of the tax extenders bill. The ABLE Act authorized the establishment of private tax-advantaged savings accounts that can help you save for long-term expenses without sacrificing eligibility for public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The following information is an overview of ABLE accounts. These accounts will be governed...
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Mar
09
Women: Living in the Sandwich Generation
Women: Living in the Sandwich Generation At a time when your career is reaching a peak and you are looking ahead to your own retirement, you may find yourself in the position of having to help your children with college expenses or the financial challenges of young adulthood while at the same time looking after the needs of your aging parents. Squeezed in the middle, you're in the "sandwich generation"--a group loosely defined as people in their 40s to 60s who are "sandwiched" between caring for children and aging parents. The fact is, women are the ones who most often step into the caregiving role.* As more women have children later in life and more parents live longer lives, the ranks of the sandwich generation are likely to grow in...
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Feb
24
Where to Get Advice and Support to Care for Your Aging Parents
What is it? Caring for your aging parents is something you hope you can handle when the time comes, but something you probably hope you never have to do. Caring for your aging parents means helping them plan for the future, and this can be overwhelming, both physically and emotionally. When the time comes for you to take care of your parents, you may be certain of only two things: Your parents need you, and you need help. Start planning Talk to your parents about the future Start caring for your aging parents by talking with them about their needs and wishes if they are able. In some cases, however, they may not be willing to talk to you about their future, either because they are afraid to face it or because they resent your...
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Feb
04
Four Things Women Need to Know about Social Security
Four Things Women Need to Know About Social Security Ever since a legal secretary named Ida May Fuller received the first retirement benefit check in 1940, women have been counting on Social Security to provide much-needed retirement income. Social Security provides other important benefits too, including disability and survivor's benefits, that can help women of all ages and their family members. 1. How does Social Security protect you and your family?   When you work and pay Social Security taxes, you're paying for three types of benefits: retirement, disability, and survivor's benefits. Retirement benefits are the cornerstone of the Social Security program. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), because women are...
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Jan
14
New Legislation Extends Popular Tax Provisions
Legislation Extends Tax Provisions
New Legislation Extends Popular Tax Provisions In one of its final actions, the 113th Congress passed the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014. This legislation extends for one year a host of popular tax provisions (commonly referred to as "tax extenders") that had expired at the end of 2013. All of the following provisions were among those retroactively extended, and are now effective through the end of 2014. Deduction for qualified higher-education expenses You may be entitled to a deduction if you paid qualified higher-education expenses during the year--this includes tuition and fees (for yourself, your spouse, or a dependent) for enrollment in a degree or certificate program at an accredited post-secondary educational...
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Nov
25
Top Year-End Investment Tips
Top Year-End Investment Tips Just what you need, right? One more time-consuming task to be taken care of between now and the end of the year. But taking a little time out from the holiday chores to make some strategic saving and investing decisions before December 31 can affect not only your long-term ability to meet your financial goals but also the amount of taxes you'll owe next April. Look at the forest, not just the trees The first step in your year-end investment planning process should be a review of your overall portfolio. That review can tell you whether you need to rebalance. If one type of investment has done well--for example, large-cap stocks--it might now represent a greater percentage of your portfolio than you...
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Nov
06
Caring for Your Aging Parents
Caring for Your Aging Parents Caring for your aging parents is something you hope you can handle when the time comes, but it's the last thing you want to think about. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps that you can take to make your life (and theirs) a little easier. Some people live their entire lives with little or no assistance from family and friends, but today Americans are living longer than ever before. It's always better to be prepared. Mom? Dad? We need to talk The first step you need to take is talking to your parents. Find out what their needs and wishes are. In some cases, however, they may be unwilling or unable to talk about their future. This can happen for a number of reasons,...
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