Transitioning into Retirement
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Wed, 07/19/2023 - 15:49
As people retire healthier and better educated than ever before, the traditional picture of retirement is changing. Many retirees aren’t ready to settle for an unstructured life full of Sundays. Instead, they’re busy pursuing their passions, going back to school, joining the Peace Corps, starting new businesses, traveling to exotic places, reconnecting with far-flung friends and family, tackling athletic challenges, and sharing their talents and skills with others.
But a full, rewarding retirement life doesn’t happen overnight or without some thought. As you plan for retirement financially, it’s also important to visualize your next stage of life. The following questions and exercises will help you get started.
529 Account Taxation 101
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Mon, 04/17/2023 - 12:55
A 529 plan is a tax-advantaged account designed to help families save for a beneficiary’s educational expenses. The rules for such plans—formally known as qualified tuition programs—are defined in Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code. The basic premise is that assets in a 529 plan grow tax free, and withdrawals are tax free as long as they are used for qualified education expenses. 529 plans are a more tax-advantaged way to save for education expenses compared with other savings vehicles...
Is My Money Safe in the Bank?
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Wed, 03/15/2023 - 13:11
With the recent failures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, many people have been asking questions about our banking system and the protections provided should a bank fail. Here are some of the questions I’ve been answering for clients:
Is my money safe in the bank?
This is something that we should always be asking ourselves and thinking about, but it’s human nature not to…until a crisis presents itself.
Enrolling in Medicare
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Tue, 07/19/2022 - 20:02
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.
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Wed, 04/20/2022 - 18:04
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
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Fri, 10/01/2021 - 13:49
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
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Wed, 04/14/2021 - 13:13
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
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Tue, 02/09/2021 - 21:11
Make preparing for your tax appointment easier, with these 3 tax prep tips:
- 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
- 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.
- 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
Posted by Lauren Hawekotte on Wed, 01/06/2021 - 20:13
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
Posted by Lauren Robbins on Thu, 11/12/2020 - 13:36
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.