Our Next Free Online Retirement Planning Class – Retirement Planning for Women

Our Next Free Online Retirement Planning Class – Retirement Planning for Women

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Published: May 25, 2018

Our next online retirement planning class, Retirement Planning for Women will be Thursday, June 7th, 2018. Why is this topic so important? On average, women live longer and have lower lifetime earnings than men! This is not entirely due to the “gender pay gap.” Many women spend more years in care-taking roles for children, grandchildren, parents, in-laws, etc., which means less time in the workforce. Less lifetime income translates into lower Social Security benefits, less pension income, and less retirement savings. As women are likely to live longer and thus be the ones in control of household funds later in life, it is

What Does a Financial Planner Do?

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Published: May 4, 2018

I am a financial planner. I own and run a financial planning firm. Our primary job is to make a projection and a plan that shows you the decisions that you can make that will help you achieve long-term financial success. Should you pay extra on the mortgage or put it in your 401(k) plan? What type of insurance do you need? Should you refinance? Buy that stock or use a mutual fund instead?

3 Engineer-Like Ways to Test Your Retirement Income Plan

3 Engineer-Like Ways to Test Your Retirement Income Plan

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Published: March 30, 2018

I’ve always found engineering fascinating, particularly when it comes to building something that will last. After all, when you build a skyscraper, you can’t have it fall. The same thing is true for building a retirement income plan – it needs to last. Early in my career, I realized I wanted to find a more engineering-like way to deliver financial planning advice. I wanted answers based on data, not on speculation. Yet, when I started in the financial planning business in 1995, providing answers based on data was not the norm. At that time if someone wanted to know if they

At What Age Should I Start Making 401(k) Withdrawals?

At What Age Should I Start Making 401(k) Withdrawals?

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Published: March 20, 2018

The 401(k)suffers from a branding problem. If the name were more descriptive or catchy, people would pay closer attention to these savings tools. They are hugely beneficial–often including free money (yes, free) –and are currently the bedrock for most retirement savers. However, despite the benefits, two-thirds of workers do not take advantage of their company’s employer-sponsored 401(k)plans. Before we review the optimal ages for 401(k) withdrawals, and when you are required to make them, let’s look at the history behind 401(k)s. The basics 401(k) plans are employer-sponsored, retirement saving vehicles. They provide some tax advantages: they reduce your taxable income in the years

How Much Should I Withhold for Taxes in Retirement?

How Much Should I Withhold for Taxes in Retirement?

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Published: March 11, 2018

Many upcoming retirees aren’t quite sure how taxes in retirement are calculated. It’s not all that different than the way they are calculated while you are working. Much like when you are working, you need to have an estimate of the amount of taxes you are required to pay so you know what amount to have withheld from pensions, Social Security, or other types of income. In this article we’ll look at a series of sample calculations so you can see how to calculate your tax withholding in retirement. We look at scenarios using both 2017 and the new 2018 tax

Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

Best Retirement Investments for a Steady Stream of Income

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Published: March 5, 2018

As you near your 60’s, your prime earning and saving years will transition into a period of time where you get to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” a.k.a retirement. We call this segueing from accumulation to decumulation, the period when you will be drawing from your accumulated nest egg. You need to find the best retirement investments so that you can generate regular income, without having to go back to work. Here’s an overview of the most popular income-producing retirement investments. 1) Immediate Annuities Immediate annuities provide guaranteed income immediately (hence the name). They are a form of insurance rather than

Inheritance Tax Checklist: Know Before You Sell

Inheritance Tax Checklist: Know Before You Sell

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Published: February 27, 2018

When a client asks about inheritance taxes “it depends” are usually the first two words out of my mouth. Many people don’t realize that inherited assets—property, stocks, investment accounts, etc.—may be subject to taxes and that there are specific tax rules for each type of asset or account. So before you sell Uncle Oscar’s rare wine collection, make sure you know the rules! We are not talking here about estate taxes. Estate tax is assessed on the total value of everything you own; real estate, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, businesses, farms, land, and it even includes the death benefit values of

Sensible Money Named One of Best Phoenix Financial Advisors

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Published: February 27, 2018

For the second year in a row, Sensible Money is named as one of the best financial advisors in Phoenix/Scottsdale. What an honor! AdvisoryHQ ranked us in the top ten financial services companies in the Phoenix area. This reward is special, as we were not aware we were being evaluated, and we were not required to pay a fee or buy an ad in a publication. (Many “top advisor lists” solicit expensive ads from the firms they select.) AdvisoryHQ explains their policy is

How NOT to Leave Thousands in Social Security Survivor Benefits on the Table

How NOT to Leave Thousands in Social Security Survivor Benefits on the Table

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Published: January 26, 2018

Social Security widow and widower benefit rules are complex. The amount of the Social Security survivor benefits you are entitled to rests on a host of variables including your age, the age of the deceased, and how old your spouse was when they started their benefits. If you think you can count on the Social Security office to explain your options, be careful. I’m not accusing the Social Security Administration of intentional malfeasance, but the rules are confusing, many of the staff don’t understand them, and they are not allowed to give you advice – they are only allowed to explain

IRA Rollovers, IRA Transfers and 15 Other IRA Basics

IRA Rollovers, IRA Transfers and 15 Other IRA Basics

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Published: January 5, 2018

Some financial terms have become so ingrained in the vernacular that people are embarrassed to ask about them. It’s as if everyone else is speaking a language you feel you should know, but don’t really. Such is the case with IRAs. When clients come to us to discuss their finances, they often reveal they aren’t clear on some of the IRA basics. Below I address some basic terms and concepts about IRAs. What is an IRA? An IRA is an Individual Retirement Account. When you contribute to an IRA, you are putting money aside for your future so you will have