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Enrolling in Medicare

The process for enrolling in Medicare is surprisingly easy. But before enrolling, you will need to make a choice about how you want your Medicare delivered. Unlike an employer’s health plan, you may have dozens of options from which to choose.

If you already receive social security or Railroad Retirement Board benefits, you will be enrolled automatically in Medicare Parts A and B at age 65. If not, you will need to sign up by your enrollment deadline—typically, three months after the month you turn age 65.

Defining Risk

As humans, we are notoriously bad at assessing risk. A prime example being the fact that most of us get in our cars everyday and accept the inherent risks of driving at 65 miles an hour in a nearly two-ton vehicle surrounded by other strangers doing the same thing…some of them coming at us! However, many of us may hesitate before boarding an airplane for fear of the risks of flying.

Though the statistics vary depending upon the source you are citing, (we won’t get into my thoughts on the popular concept that there are “lies, damn lies, and statics”!) the facts are that your odds of dying in a plane crash are far less than an automobile accident.

Introduction to Capital Gains Tax

For many investors, capital gains tax is among the more confusing financial topics. Yet a basic understanding of capital gains is key to building a financial plan that reflects your goals and needs. It’s important to be aware of the tax consequences of selling your assets, as doing so may significantly affect your tax return—and your financial picture as a whole.

To Keep or Not to Keep: A Guide to Common Records-Retention Questions

Living in an increasingly paperless world has its benefits, but when it comes to records retention, does it make a difference? Sure, digital recordkeeping on the cloud means more storage space, easy access, and less vulnerability to inadvertent destruction. But the questions of what to keep and for how long feel just as confusing as ever.

Keep or Toss

Whether your files are physical or electronic, the same principles and time frames for record retention apply. Below, we review some rules of thumb to consider for a few common financial documents. Keep in mind, though, this list is not 

Tax Time Preparation Tips

Make preparing for your tax appointment easier, with these 3 tax prep tips:

  1. Keep a folder where you put all of your tax documents throughout the year: donation receipts, property tax bills, etc. This makes tax time easy by having everything you need all in one place.ELL.COM
  2. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards for business vs. personal use. This saves a TON of time when your tax preparer asks for your business expenses.
  3. Ask if you’re eligible to contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth IRA. You have until April 15th to make your contributions for last year. If you already made a contribution, you should have received tax form 5498 to provide to your tax preparer.

FAQs: What You Need to Know About the Second Round of Stimulus Checks

On December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, into law. In addition to funding the U.S. government through September 2021, the Act provides additional relief for Americans who have been struggling since the first COVID-19 stimulus package was passed in March. The new law provides $900 billion in assistance to individuals and businesses, as well as funding for testing, tracing, and vaccine distribution. One of its most notable aspects is a second round of stimulus checks that will be sent to many Americans. Below are the answers to frequently asked questions about these checks.

Year-End Financial Planning Checklist

10 Suggestions to Help You Stay on Track
 
Although 2020 has been a year of unexpected changes, one routine has remained consistent: the fourth quarter means it’s time to begin organizing your finances for the new year. To help you get started, here’s a checklist of key topics to think about, including new tax and retirement considerations related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With Election Season Heating Up, How Much Volatility Should We Prepare For?

September was a difficult month for investors, as markets dropped. As we head into October, with a contentious election less than five weeks away, it’s easy to see why investors are even more worried about what might be next. How big a drop might we see in financial markets, especially if the results are disputed? Will it be like 2000? Could it be worse?

Charitable Giving Incentives Under the CARES Act

With many individuals and families facing catastrophic hardships because of the COVID-19 pandemic, charitable giving to those most adversely affected has become increasingly important. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, enacted in March, includes tax provisions designed to incentivize individuals and companies to make charitable contributions in 2020. These charitable giving incentives do not require that donations be made to charities assisting in the pandemic.

Does the Presidential Election Spell Risk for the Markets?

As the U.S. presidential election draws closer, there are growing questions (from both sides) on whether the outcome will negatively affect the markets. Of course, this is not unusual. As you may remember from the last election cycle, many predicted doom if Trump were to win. In the election before that, we saw similar worries concerning Obama. In both cases, despite the fears, the markets ended up doing quite well. Given this, what risks—if any—does the upcoming election pose for the markets? Let’s take a closer look.