When to Start Social Security for Singles, Marrieds, and Survivors

When to Start Social Security for Singles, Marrieds, and Survivors

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Published: July 10, 2019

What would you guess your Social Security benefits are worth; a few hundred thousand, maybe? Would it surprise you to know the average single person living twenty-five years could receive $500,000 or more in total Social Security benefits? Many married couples will receive over a million dollars. According to the Social Security office, in 2018 the average monthly Social Security retirement benefit was $1,413. That’s $16,956 a year. If you were a high-wage earner, the maximum monthly benefit for someone who had reached Full Retirement Age (determined by your date of birth) was $2,788 –  or $33,456 per year. And, you can get

How Much Should I Withhold for Taxes in Retirement?

How Much Should I Withhold for Taxes in Retirement?

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Published: June 23, 2019

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 working. What is different is the way you withhold and pay those taxes. 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 the 2019 tax

Required Minimum Distributions – Here’s How They Work

Required Minimum Distributions – Here’s How They Work

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Published: June 21, 2019

You’ve been putting money away in your IRA for much of your life. And through some mixture of discipline, good fortune and wits you find that you don’t have to use your IRA savings the moment they become available to you at age 59½. Good for you. Now, upon reaching age 70½ (or perhaps age 72 if the 2019 Secure Act passes) you must completely change your mindset because the U.S. Government requires you to start withdrawing money at that point. It’s called Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs). At first, it may feel like a tax on getting old, but it’s not. RMDs

Sensible Money Ranked One of Best Phoenix Financial Advisors

Sensible Money Ranked One of Best Phoenix Financial Advisors

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Published: June 14, 2019

In 2019, for the third year in a row, Sensible Money was ranked by an independent rating firm, AdvisoryHQ, as one of the top ten financial advisory firms in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area. This reward does not require us to pay a fee or buy an ad in a publication. (Many “top financial advisor lists” solicit expensive ads from the firms they select.) AdvisoryHQ explains their policy as follows, “Firms do not pay for their ranking or our award

Retirement Planner or Financial Planner – Which Do I Need?

Retirement Planner or Financial Planner – Which Do I Need?

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Published: June 1, 2019

There is a difference between a retirement planner and a financial planner in the same way there is a difference between a cardiologist and a family practice doctor. They both start off with the same basic training, but one has gone on to become a specialist. Financial planners are trained to help you accumulate and invest your money. Retirement planners have additional training to help you figure out how to use this money to generate reliable paychecks in retirement. Just like your heart, you need your retirement money to last the rest of your life; if there was ever a time to

How to ‘De-risk’ Your Retirement Portfolio So it Doesn’t Take a Big Plunge

How to ‘De-risk’ Your Retirement Portfolio So it Doesn’t Take a Big Plunge

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Published: March 7, 2019

We had some scary market moves at the end of 2018. But so far, in 2019, things are recovering quickly. Rather than wait for the next big bear market, why not start a de-risking strategy now? In this article, we correlate reducing portfolio risk with de-icing a car. Anybody who has lived in a cold climate knows what de-icing a car is like. If you’ve ever deiced a car you’ll get a chuckle out of this story and see how you can apply it to de-risking your retirement money. I was in my 20’s, living in Colorado (Grand Junction on the western

Taxes in Retirement. Tax Rules That Await You in Your “Golden” Years.

Taxes in Retirement. Tax Rules That Await You in Your “Golden” Years.

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Published: February 11, 2019

Retirees face new tax issues when they stop working (or start working part-time). And it affects you whether or not you change tax brackets. Once retired, many of us will have less income than we had during our peak working years. And that implies lower taxes, but most also will have multiple sources of income. And that complicates tax payments for those who are used to a single source of income. There will be Social Security income, required minimum distribution income from tax-advantaged retirement accounts and perhaps other income from investments, property, freelance or part-time work, etc. So, instead of getting a

Retire At 55? Maybe. If You’re Up for a Challenge

Retire At 55? Maybe. If You’re Up for a Challenge

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Published: February 1, 2019

It’s you’re 25 years old and contemplating retirement 30 years hence, an age 55 retirement is a possibility – if you start planning now. Put away at least $350 per month and plan on increasing that amount of savings each year. If you’re approaching age 40 (or older) and you’d like to retire by 55, it may be a bit more challenging, although in many cases it is still possible – if you’re willing to commit to the changes needed to make it happen. Of course, there is a third option that doesn’t get considered as often as it should. Find work

An Introduction to Medicare Part B Premiums

An Introduction to Medicare Part B Premiums

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Published: January 28, 2019

Everyone knows (or should know) they can sign up for Medicare at age 65. In fact, given the uncertainties regarding health insurance over the past year or so, many are chomping at the bit to get there faster. What many don’t know, though, is that there are several parts to Medicare. Part A is the more commonly known feature of Medicare. That’s the part most people are thinking about when they refer to Medicare. But there are also parts B, C and D. Here are some common questions about Medicare Part B. What is the difference between Medicare Part A and Medicare

The Scoop on Fee-only Financial Advisors

The Scoop on Fee-only Financial Advisors

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Published: August 24, 2018

Do you know how your financial advisor is compensated? A lot of people don’t. And maybe you don’t care. But you should. It can impact your wealth and the quality of advice you receive. I heard about this first hand from a friend recently. She shared with me that her MBA-degreed 60 year-old-brother, Michael, admitted he didn’t know how his financial advisor Meg, affiliated with one of the country’s top brokerage firms, made her money. Michael, with $3,000,000 in investments, is a pretty savvy fellow. How could he not know how Meg earns her keep? Is she a fee-only advisor that