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Tag Archives: Financial Planning

New IRS Rule Helps Protect Your Tax Refund from Scammers

Identity theft is one of the major plagues of modern society costing its victims billions of dollars and untold man-hours to recover from it. In 2020, 1.4 million Americans were successfully attacked, which translates into a victim every 3 seconds.  That’s more than double the number from the year before. Sophisticated scammers are breaching the walls of major corporations and individuals alike, and the information they steal gets traded on the dark web like pieces on a monopoly board. Armed...

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The Post-Pandemic Retirement Survival Guide. Part 1.

Print FriendlyConsider the post-pandemic retirement survival guide an awakening—a way to look at your retirement plan with a fresh perspective. At the least, I hope it serves as a reminder of how fragile a retirement planning strategy can be, and the ability to remain flexible in thought is so important. Perhaps you’re one of the fortunate people not concerned about the viability of your retirement strategy. After all, markets predict that ‘normal’ is a quarter away (whatever normal happens...

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10 Social Security Mistakes That Can Devastate Retirement Income

Social Security, even with all its problems, is unquestionably an important component of retirement income for millions of American retirees. For about half of seniors, Social Security is 50% of their income, and 1 in 4 seniors say it makes up at least 90% of their income. There are more parts to Social Security than most people realize. Only in the last 10 years, Social Security planning has become widely discussed. And even with all the information available, retirees are making common...

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6 Tax Breaks Retirees Often Don’t Think About

Let’s update some two-thousand-year-old tax advice—Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, but don’t give him more than that. Today, tax deductions and credits help determine how much Caesar gets. As an old guy told me a long time ago, “If it’s in the IRS code, it’s there to be used.” Unfortunately, there are tax breaks available to retirees that get overlooked. Here are some of the most common.   Higher standard deduction For years, the IRS has provided a higher standard deduction for...

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4 Social Security Planning Steps BEFORE You’re Ready to Retire

Social Security is an important part of almost every retirement plan, whether you’ve saved enough or not. That’s why it’s important to know as much about your Social Security situation as possible. And you don’t want to wait until you’re about to retire to gather the facts and take appropriate steps. Social Security planning needs to start 5 years before your target retirement date.   Check your estimated benefit amount The easiest way to check Social Security’s estimate of how much...

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Don’t Forget the Health Care Power of Attorney

The mention of estate planning usually evokes thoughts of a will or trust. But there are other documents that should always be part of any estate planning package, such as a living will, a durable power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney. Planning for the distribution of your assets after you’re gone is certainly important. But what happens if you become incapacitated and can’t care for yourself or make decisions about your health and the treatments you need? That’s why a Health...

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Outliers: Four Ways They Can Change Our Lives (Part 2)

Outliers can change our lives. The pesky outposts of statistical warriors are situated at the far reaches of normality.  When they breach boundaries, lives change, sometimes forever. In Part 2, I examine the investment and portfolio outliers that can make the difference between retiring or working indefinitely (not that work during retirement is such a bad thing. I’m talking about working INSTEAD of moving on to the next iteration of YOU). We want to be told stories, and there’s nothing wrong...

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States with the Biggest and Smallest Retirement Tax Bite

Remember that sage financial warning, “It’s not how much you make. It’s how much you keep.” Truer words were never spoken when it comes to retirement income. And taxes, federal and state, are one of the biggest determinants in just how much retirees have to live on. Here are some taxes you’re likely to see in retirement, who’s doing the taxing, and how friendly—or unfriendly—they are to you.   Social Security For many, Social Security is a major portion of retirement income. The myth is...

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