When Should You Apply for Social Security?

When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks? The first thing you want to do is consider what you do and don’t know. You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors aren’t as foreseeable. You don’t know exactly how long you will live, so you can’t predict your lifetime Social Security payout. You may even end up returning to work again. In terms of your eligibility to receive full benefits, the answer may be found on the Social Security website. If you haven’t already created a profile, you should do that.

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Financial Planning for the Middle Class

It’s no secret that financial advisors prefer to work with wealthy people. Speaking from experience, managing a $2,000,000 account only takes a little more time and energy than managing a $500,000 account, yet the $2,000,000 account generates nearly 4x more revenue for the advisor. An advisor who fills their practice with smaller accounts will deal with more headaches while receiving lower compensation. I’m pointing this out to illustrate why advisors don’t spend as much time going after the middle class. That doesn’t mean middle class people don’t need good financial advice! They very much do.

Fortunately, many advisors (at least in the independent channel) are willing to work with people that aren’t multi millionaires. In many ways they need more help because planning their eventual retirements, how they might pay for kid’s education costs, etc, is much more of a careful balancing act. So don’t be shy about getting some good financial advice. We all know navigating everything from investments to taxes to estate planning and life insurance requires a huge amount of knowledge which many people don’t have.

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The IRS Recently Announced New Rollover Limitation

What was once allowed is now prohibited – In 2008, an affluent New York City couple made a series of withdrawals and transfers among contributory IRAs, rollover IRAs and non-IRA investment accounts, all with the long-established 60-day deadline for tax-free IRA rollovers in mind. As esteemed tax attorney Alvan Bobrow and his wife withdrew and rolled over a series of five-figure sums within a six-month period, they assumed their actions were permissible under the Internal Revenue Code. In January 2014, a U.S. Tax Court judge ruled otherwise.*

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Is Sustainable Investing Catching On?

Well, according to an article in the most recent issue of Financial Advisor Magazine, it isn’t. The article indicates that sustainable investing (when one considers environmental, social and corporate governance criteria to generate long-term financial returns and positive societal impact) isn’t something which clients prioritize. It’s more something the advisor will ask about and sometimes learn that it’s on a client’s spectrum of importance but not a front burner issue. I’ve got to say, in my office we have many clients who have indicated at the very first meeting how important sustainable and socially responsible investing issues are to them. More below:

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How Financial Planning Has Changed for Same-Sex Couples

When the Supreme Court affirmed the legality of same-sex marriage in June, its ruling profoundly altered the financial planning landscape for gay and lesbian couples – resulting in some “night and day” differences. Yet in looking at the financial “before and after,” same-sex spouses and their advisors must also consider the “when and where” – because the Supreme Court ruling only applies to the 13 states that allow same-sex marriage (and the District of Columbia). Gay and lesbian spouses are still waiting to see if financial benefits will be granted in all 50 states.* Here is how the landscape has changed for married gay and lesbian couples in states recognizing same-sex marriage.

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How Financial Advisors Can Help Retain Female Clients

No advisor wants to hear the words: “You’re fired!” — but you are more likely to hear them when a female client becomes a widow. According to the guide Women Are Not a ‘Niche’ Market, 70% of women fire their current male financial advisor after the husband dies, and 90% of those women hire a female advisor. Considering that women control $18.4 trillion in consumer spending and 30% of global wealth, this is a segment which advisors can’t afford to lose. But it’s not all bad news. According to the Journal of Financial Planning, “Women believe advice from a financial advisor is the most important factor when making investment decisions.” There are steps you can take to retain these women and be the financial advisor they seek, and you can start that process now.

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