Retirement

3 Steps To Get Your Financial Documents In Good Order for Your Loved Ones

Wondering what paperwork you need have at the ready for your spouse or children so that when you pass you don’t leave behind a collection of mysteries for them to solve? Here’s what you’ll need:

 STEP #1
Create a Financial File

Function is More Important Than Form

Many heirs spend days, weeks, or months searching for a decedent’s financial and legal documents. They may even discover a savings bond, a certificate of deposit, or a life insurance policy years after their loved one passes. So, your first step is to create a financial file. Maybe it is an actual accordion or manila folder; maybe it is a file on a computer desktop; or maybe it is secured within an online vault. Clients of Weiss Financial Group can use their Secure Client Portal. The form matters less than the function. The function this file will serve is to provide your heirs with the documentation and direction they need to help them settle your estate.

STEP #2
Put The Right Stuff in The File

Your Heirs Will Need to Supplement the File

Now that you’ve chosen your filing system, it’s time to start putting the right stuff in it. Here’s what should go it in it…

Your Financial File Contents:

  • Your Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Proxy
  • Trust Instruments
  • Insurance Policies
  • List of Financial Accounts
  • Usernames & Passwords
  • Contact info for your financial professionals

Your heirs will want to supplement your “final file” with contributions of their own. Perhaps the most important supplement will be your death certificate. A funeral home may tell your heirs that they will need only a few copies. In reality, they may need several – or more – if your business or financial situation is particularly involved.

STEP #3
Tell Your Heirs About the File

It Will Do No Good if Nobody Knows About It!

Be sure to tell your heirs about your “final file.” They need to know that you have created it and they need to know where it is. It will do no good if you are the only one who knows those things when you die.


Sources:

  1. This material was prepared, in part, by MarketingPro, Inc.
  2. marketwatch.com/story/13-steps-to-organizing-your-accounts-and-assets-2016-03-03 
  3. reuters.com/article/us-retirement-death-folder-idUSKBN0FK1RW20140715

How Much Can You Contribute to Your Retirement Plan in 2017?

A new year brings new opportunities to try and max out your retirement savings. Here’s a rundown of the 2017 contribution limits:

IRAs

For 2017 they remain the same as 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year, $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs. What if you own multiple IRAs? The total combined contributions cannot exceed the maximum allowed

401(k)s, 403(b)s, & 457s

Each of these workplace retirement plans have 2017 contribution limits of $18,000, $24,000 if you will be 50 or older this year. Now, If you are a participant in a 457 plan and within three years of what your employer deems “normal” retirement age, you can contribute up to $36,000 annually to your plan during the last three years preceding that “normal” retirement date.

2017.Contribution.Limits

High Earners

High earners may find their ability to make a full Roth IRA contribution restricted. This applies to a single filer or head of household whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) falls within the $118,000-133,000 range, and to married couples with a MAGI of $186,000-196,000. If your MAGI exceeds the high ends of those phase-out ranges, you may not make a 2017 Roth IRA contribution. (For tax year 2016, the respective phase-out ranges are $117,000-132,000 for single and $184,000-194,000 for married)

SIMPLE IRAs & SEP-IRAs

In 2017, the contribution limit for a SIMPLE IRA is $12,500; those who will be 50 or older this year may contribute up to $15,500. Federal law requires business owners to match these annual contributions to at least some degree; self-employed individuals can make both employee and employer contributions to a SIMPLE IRA. Both Business owners and the self-employed can contribute to SEP-IRAs. The annual contribution limit on a SEP-IRA is very high – in 2017, it is either $54,000 or 25% of your income, whichever is lower.


Sources

  1. This material was prepared, in part, by MarketingPro, Inc.
  2. fool.com/retirement/2017/01/17/roth-vs-traditional-ira-which-is-better.aspx
  3. money.usnews.com/money/retirement/iras/articles/2016-12-19/how-saving-in-an-ira-can-reduce-your-2016-tax-bill
  4. forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2016/10/27/irs-announces-2017-retirement-plans-contributions-limits-for-401ks-and-more/ 
  5. fool.com/retirement/2016/12/19/457-plan-contribution-limits-in-2017.aspx 
  6. money.cnn.com/2017/01/13/retirement/ira-myths/

7 Important Ages To Be Ready For In Retirement

Getting ready to retire or have you just started your retirement? Here are 7 important ages you should to be ready for:

 

AGE  55

Can Make Withdrawals Without 10% Penalty if Retired

At age 55 you can withdraw from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan without the 10% penalty if you retire or get fired. Also, if your employer offers a pension you may be eligible for full retirement benefits, if you meet the plan requirements.

AGE  59 1/2

Can Make Withdrawals Without 10% Penalty

This is an important age to remember. Once you turn 59 ½ you can withdraw money from IRA’s and deferred annuities without paying the 10% penalty for early withdrawal.

AGE 62

Can Start Reduced Social Security Benefits

This is another big year. At age 62 you can start receiving Social Security benefits. However, keep in mind your benefits will be reduced since you will not have reached full retirement age. The other thing is that at age 62 you may be eligible for full pension benefits if applicable to your situation.

AGE 65

Qualify for Medicare Benefits

This is when you qualify for medicare benefits. Also, with most pension plans you become eligible for your full benefits.

AGES 66 & 67

Eligible for Full Social Security Benefits

Ok, I have two ages here. But, they are pretty much for the same thing so I lumped them together. At age 66 you become eligible for full social security benefits, if you were born between 1943-1954. Everyone born after 1954 follows this table:

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AGE 70

Your Social Security Benefits Max Out

Once you hit 70 you should start collecting your social security benefits if you haven’t already done so because your benefits will be maxed out. Waiting to collect benefits until age 70 can actually be a great strategy if you are trying to max out social security benefits or are concerned about longevity.

AGE 70 1/2

Must Start Your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD’s)

Finally, age 70 ½ . When you turn 70 ½ you will be required to start withdrawing specified amounts from your 401(k)’s and IRAs. This is called your Required Minimum Distribution or RMD for short. You must begin these withdrawals once your turn 70 ½ but you actually have until April 1st of the year following the year you actually turn age 70 1/2 . I know, confusing right? Let me give you an example. Let’s say you turn 70 ½ in January 2016, you will need to take your RMD by April 1st, of 2017. Now, you can take it in 2016 but you don’t have to. Going forward, every year after your first RMD you will be required to take the distribution buy December 31st.


Source:

  1. Planning Retirement Income

 

 

What We Learned at Schwab IMPACT 2016 That Impacts YOUR Financial Life

Every year we trek to the Schwab IMPACT conference to learn the latest developments in financial planning and investment management so we can better serve you.

Day 1&2: The Election PLUS Tips For Your Kids 18+

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The Market & The 2016 Presidential Election

Greg Valliere, Schwab’s Chief Political Strategist had this to say:

  • If Trump wins the markets may not respond favorably
  • On the flipside, if Hillary wins there may not be much in the way of volatility
  • Valliere anticipates Hillary winning by a 5-7 point lead spread
  • However, if Hillary wins by a wider margin we could see strong volatility along with potential changes to the house (not good historically for the markets)

Tips for Your Kids Heading To College

  • Consider having them sign Power of Attorney form (POA) before going off to school since you may not have access to their accounts.
  • Fill out the HIPAA release form at the college your child is attending. If something were to happen to your child the college could then release the information to you.

Day 3: Malcolm Gladwell PLUS Balancing Retirement & College Saving

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Insights from Malcolm Gladwell

This year was packed with thought provoking commentaries from the likes of Malcolm Gladwell and political insight from Greg Valliere, Ian Bremmer, Alan Simpson and Robert Reich, plus MUCH more.
For those of you that don’t know, Malcolm Gladwell is the author of the Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers.
He coined the phrase “Tipping Point” which is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.

The Internet of Things

In his session he predicted that the internet of things is going to be as big as the industrial revolution. That’s a bold statement, but one to take notice of. We are beginning to see products like Amazon Dash, which is a Wi-Fi connected device that reorders your favorite product with the press of a button.The growth of internet connected “things” is expect to accelerated.

Playing Basketball vs. Playing Soccer

Gladwell also discussed how our country and economy has traditionally focused on making the best people even better. He illustrated that we operate like a basketball team. For a basketball team to be great, you really only need a few amazing players. It doesn’t matter how weak the rest of the team is so long as you have a few great players. And, if you work on making your best players even better, the team as a whole usually improves.
Soccer on the other hand requires that ALL players work together. Studies have shown that soccer scores can increase dramatically when time and energy is invested in coaching the weakest players on the team not the strongest players like in basketball.

Malcolm’s Advice: Improve The Weak Links

In the new world order, Gladwell suggests we invest in what he calls the weak links. He went on to explain that the best way to improve our economy is to invest in the weakest links.

College Planning vs. Retirement Planning

The balance between saving for college AND saving for retirement is difficult for most families. A study by JP Morgan reveals some useful guidance:

  • Only 0.3% of college student receive enough grants and scholarships to cover ALL costs
  • You need to to start saving now and seriously consider a 529 savings plan
  • The most important thing is to be saving for retirement
  • Saving for retirement should come BEFORE saving for college
  • The JP Morgan study says that saving 15% of what you make is the optimal number

Saving 15% is a great rule of thumb, however your situation could be different. What you need will depend on things like how much you have already saved, if are you planning on moving during retirement, if you will you work, or if you will receive an inheritance. So, there are lots of factors to consider which is where we can assist. At Weiss Financial Group we help figure out how much you NEED to save, how much you CAN save, and WHERE to invest the money.

For the Latest LIVE Videos Don’t Forget to Like Our Facebook Page 

I am live Wednesdays at noon answering your questions and providing smart tips.

Check it out here: http://bit.ly/WFGFacebook

3 Important Personal Finance Tasks for September [VIDEO]

Here are three things you should be doing this month to keep your financial life on track:

#1 Review Your Credit Report

For the second time this year, download a copy of your credit report from http://www.Annualcreditreport.com. Just remember that each of the bureaus will only give you one free copy a year, so if you received a copy from Equifax in May, pull your report from either TransUnion or Experian now.

#2 Gauge Your Tolerance For Risk

Once a year you want to check your tolerance for risk. “Risk Tolerance is an important component in investing. An individual should have a realistic understanding of his or her ability and willingness to stomach large swings in the value of his or her investments. Investors who take on too much risk may panic and sell at the wrong time” – Investopedia. Market conditions, your age or life events could affect your risk tolerance this this so it’s good to gauge where you are at to determine if changes to your portfolio are necessary. Use my free tool to gauge your current comfort for risk: http://bit.ly/YourRiskNumber

#3 Review Your Asset Allocation

You should have set up the assets allocation in your portfolio at the beginning of the year. Now, you want to check in to see if any of the allocations have drifted and if you need to make any adjustments. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself I advise you to talk to your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and he or she will be able to help you making smart decisions.

Sources:
1.http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/your-january-2016-financial-to-dos/
2.http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/12/02/your-end-of-year-financial-checklist
3.http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/01/04/your-financial-to-dos-for-every-month-in-2013/#14fe6d3d41d4

3 Smart Financial Moves For August [VIDEO]

#1 Check Your Credit Score

It’s that time again: Review your credit score at http://www.CreditKarma.com, paying special attention to any fraudulent charges, so you can report it to your credit card company.

#2 Review Your Insurance

Review your auto and homeowners insurance coverage and to shop around. Make an appointment with your agent, or go online and see what other insurers charge for similar coverage.

#3 Review Your Benefits

Review your current benefits situation. Each fall, employees have a brief window of time when they can make changes to their insurance policies or set up and adjust contributions to health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Check out any new options that are available and decide whether you should make any switches

Sources:
1. http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/your-january-2016-financial-to-dos/
2. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/12/02/your-end-of-year-financial-checklist
3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/01/04/your-financial-to-dos-for-every-month-in-2013/#14fe6d3d41d4

July: 3 Simple Tasks to Improve Your Financial Life [VIDEO]

TASK #1: Run a Retirement Plan Projection

Run a retirement plan projection so that you know where you are and what you need to do to get closer to YOUR goals. You should do this once a year to see if you are heading in the right direction. Use our free Retirement Check-Up Wizard here to get a general idea of where you stand with your retirement plans. If you want a more thorough calculation you should work with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. They’ll have access to more sophisticated software and will look at your entire financial life. If you are working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ you will want to revisit their projections at your annual review to account for changes in your financial life.

TASK #2: Increase Your 401(k) Plan Contributions

For most people, setting a goal to max out your 401(k) or 403(b) plan contributions should be key. If you’re saving in a 401(k) or 403(b) and aren’t already on track to max it out, increase your contributions by 1%. Re-evaluate in 6 months and increase your contributions by another 1% until you ultimately max it out.

TASK #3: Review Your Investment Strategy

Has anything changed over the last 6 months that would cause you to have to make changes? Births? deaths? New goals? If so, review your plan or speak to your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ to help you make smart choices

For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!

Sources:

  1. http://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/your-january-2016-financial-to-dos/
  2. http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/12/02/your-end-of-year-financial-checklist
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/01/04/your-financial-to-dos-for-every-month-in-2013/#14fe6d3d41d4

 

7 Tips to a Financially Secure Retirement

If you haven’t retired already, at some point you’ll probably want to. Financial security in retirement doesn’t just happen. It takes planning, commitment and money. You’ll need enough money to potentially live on for at least 20 years, probably more. With the average life expectancy in the U.S. at nearly 80 and growing (1), you’ll want to be sure you can maintain the lifestyle you envision throughout your retirement years.

To help you focus on what you should be doing to succeed, here are 7 planning tips:

1. Make Saving a Habit

If you are already saving every month, awesome! Keep going! If you’re not, start now. The sooner you start the more time your money has to grow.

2. Know Your Retirement Expenses

This is much easier to do the closer you get to retirement. A twenty or thirty year old may have no idea what those numbers will eventually be. If that is you, concentrate more on the other tips. For those of you with retirement in your sightline, figure you will need AT LEAST 70% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably. Knowing what you need is the key to getting what you need. The key to a secure retirement is to have a clearly defined goal.

3. Participate in your 401(k) or 403(b)

If your employer offers a 401(k) plan or 403(b) plan sign up and aim to contribute to the maximum. Over time, compound interest and tax deferrals can make a huge difference in the amount you accumulate for retirement.

4. Invest Wisely

Diversify your savings to reduce risk (i.e. don’t put it all on black!). In a nutshell, risk simply means how much money could you potentially lose with your investments. To check your current tolerance for risk use our free tool. It will give you something called your Risk Number™ which is a great starting place to see how much risk you can emotionally handle. You can then compare that to the Risk Number™ of your current portfolio and see if they match up or if you potentially need to make changes. Keep in mind, your investment mix may need to change over time due to age, goals, and circumstances, so it’s always a good idea to monitor your risk tolerance and portfolio allocation. Remember, financial knowledge and financial security go hand in hand.

5. Check Your Social Security Benefits

Social Security benefits provide supplemental income to you and your spouse during retirement. If you are counting on social security to bail you out, think again. Social Security provides enough for you to live around the poverty line. Check the Social Security website to see how much the government will pay you every month.

6. Ask Questions

The more you know, the better your chances of enjoying financial security in your retirement years. Talk with your accountant or financial advisor. Better yet, book a meeting with me right now! Ask questions and get good advice. Build a plan, and stick with it.

7. Make Planning for Your Retirement a Priority

Use our retirement check-up tool to find out if you are on the right track. It’s never too early or too late to start saving for your future. However, the longer you wait or leave things to chance, the less likely you will live a financially secure retirement.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” -Alan Lakein

If you know anyone that could benefit from this advice, feel free to share this video with them. Good luck on your journey toward a financially secure retirement.

For more financial planning tips, download my free report: “8 Steps to Organize and Optimize Your Financial Life”. Thanks for reading!

3 Important Tips To A Healthy Retirement

Your Health & Your Wealth

This is a guest post by John Praino, Co-Owner of Training for Warriors Mahopac

You’re retiring!

You’ve made the announcement.

You’re family, friends and co-workers have thrown more parties and functions than the Yankees did for Derek Jeter.

But are you ready?

Just as you proudly grew your financial nest egg, hopefully you’ve also invested in your health.

How do expect to insure a secure retirement without your health?

How do you expect to enjoy all of your hard work if you’re going to the doctor the majority of those golden years.

So, investing in your health is just as important for your bottom line as investing in your 401(k)

A major life change like transitioning into retirement can be stressful, even if retirement is a happy and welcome change from working.

So what’s the secret?

Start now!  You’ve already planned for your fiscal future, why should your physical future be any different.

Here are 3 tips you can use to stay healthy as you move into retirement and beyond.

1. Get Moving and Stay Moving:

Regular physical activity also improves functional abilities we need for daily living.

These benefits are both physical and mental.  Physical activity improves mood and can create more energy.

Regular physical activity can reduce your chances of diseases such as cancer and Heart disease. It will improve balance, agility and strength.

Older adults can even increase muscle and bone strength through using their major muscle groups at least twice per week.

Age means nothing! staying active will allow you to feel healthier and enjoy life more than ever!

In the years before you retire, I would suggest developing a routine of regular physical activity that will carry on into retirement.

When you retire, your daily routines will certainly change.  This change can be a challenge; one of the best ways to adapt to retired life is to follow fun and fresh routines that include physical activity.

Here are some tips:

  • Do what you love to do. This could mean activities you have done for years, such as walking, swimming or tennis – or something new and different like Training For Warriors or yoga.
  • Lift weights.
  • Find a partner or a group of friends who enjoy similar activities. This can help motivate you!
  • Take advantage of available times while others are working and schedule your activities to avoid busy times on the golf course or ski trails, or at the swimming pool and gym.
  • Be active with your family, take your kids or grandchildren walking, hiking camping, fishing, cycling or even kayaking. Get involved with their lives and what they’re doing.
  • Aim for at least 3-5 days of physical activity each week, remember it doesn’t have to be super intense everyday.  Mix your and match your activities, keep it fresh!

 

2. Healthy Eating:

Are you looking to spend all of you money fixing problems caused by a poor diet?

I ask because your diet greatly influences your long-term health. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy yourself and never have some of your favorite (but less healthy) foods. However, you should pay attention to what you eat.

Sugar and Ultra-Processed foods are making us fat and shortening our lives.  Live happier and healthier by eliminating all processed foods such as grains, sugar and industrial oils.

Fruits and vegetables can help your health, as can nuts, fish, and other heart-healthy foods. Also, consider “brain foods” like salmon and blueberries. These can improve your mood and help your brain avoid deterioration.

I have profiled healthy food options off of the TFW Warrior 20 nutrition checklist and broken down the foods into Proteins, Carbohydrates & Fats.

Avoid spending your money on future medical bills and start incorporating these foods into your diet.

Proteins:

1. Lean Meats

Including meat in a well-balanced diet is a way to get a sufficient amount of high-quality protein. You don’t need to give up meat just because you’re trying to lose weight. The key is to stick with lean meats because they contain less total fat, as well as lower amounts of saturated fats.

Examples: Organic Chicken & Turkey, Grass-Fed Beef, Lamb & Bison,  Look for phrases like “grass fed” (beef, bison) “free range” (chicken, turkey), “organic” (all meats)

2. Wild Caught Fatty Fish

Fatty fish is high in protein and provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If it’s not wild caught don’t eat it!

Examples: Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchiovies

3. Eggs

Eggs are a nutritional powerhouse. The white packs a lot of high-quality protein and the yolks healthy fats & cholesterol as well as micronutrients like vitamin A, calcium, and phosphorous.

If you can afford it, look for local varieties of pasture raised eggs. Try the farmer’s market or gourmet grocery stores. If not, at least stick with organic, cage free, free range eggs. At  the very least they weren’t packed into cages and pumped with drugs. These eggs tend to be pricey however your health is worth money.

Carbohydrates:

This just in….Carbs are not the ENEMY! If you are a person that likes to exercise (and you all should be that person) then a low-carb diet for a long period of time may hurt more than it helps. Reducing your intake of healthy carbs can lead to a slow metabolism, lower levels of muscle/strength-building hormones & higher levels of stress hormones. As a result your weight loss will probably slow down or stop.

1. Sweet Potatoes & Yams

Tubers like sweet potatoes are loaded with carbohydrate energy.  They are loaded with Vitamin A, which is important in the synthesis of protein.

2. Quinoa

Known as the “mother of all grains” by the Incas.  Quinoa is higher in protein than most grains and can be a great replacement for rice.  It is also gluten-free making it an option for those of us with gluten intolerance.

3. Legumes

Beans such as Lentils and Kidney contain complex carbohydrates as well as fiber & protein.  Beans are loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as magnesium, iron zinc & potassium.

* Beans are difficult to digest so if you are a person that likes to eat beans I would suggest soaking them prior to consuming.

 

Healthy Fats:

Our bodies need healthy fats. They help slow down the digestion process so our bodies have more time to absorb nutrients, and help provide a sustainable level of energy.

1. Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the few foods that can be classified as a “superfood.”

It  has a unique combination of fatty acids that have a positive effect on fat loss and better brain function. Other health benefits include skin care, stress relief, cholesterol level maintenance, boosted immune system, proper digestion and regulated metabolism.

2. Nuts

Many nuts are rich in mono-unsaturated & omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help with inflammation and brain function.

Examples: Almonds (almond butter), Cashews (cashew butter) Walnuts, Pecans, Macadamias, Pistachios.  Avoid processed nuts as they lose a lot of nutrients instead opt for raw nuts.  The same goes for nut butters, avoid nut butters that are high in hidden sugars and hydrogenated oils.  Look for the most minimally processed options possible.

3. Seeds

Seeds, like nuts are a good source of fat.  Seeds are rich in fiber and can help you feel fuller longer

Examples: Chia, Flax, Hemp and Pumpkin.

 

Warrior 20 Graphic small

Start building your healthy diet and DOWNLOAD our Warrior 20 checklist FREE.

Start incorporating this important checklist in your diet: http://bit.ly/1nkwu7s

3. Attack Your Bucket List:

How often do you say you wish you had more time to do amazing things like drive cross country or sky dive.

Well you will when you retire!

Retirement opens up doors and once in a lifetime opportunities for bucket list activities to become a reality. You can do anything and become anything that you want. If you’ve always wondered what would have happened if your life had taken a different turn, this is your  opportunity to make that turn and see what happens.

Start fresh!

Today people that adopt a healthy lifestyle can live well into their 80’s and 90’s. So get out and hike the Appalachian Trail , go back to school, learn to play an instrument or open a business like Colonel Sanders who started Kentucky Fried Chicken at age 65!

With a healthy body, strong mind and solid planning you can look forward to a happy, active and fulfilling retirement.