Wealth Design Group

November 2018: November is Giving Thanks Month & Time for A Financial Checkup

 

 

November is Giving Thanks Month & Time for A Financial Checkup

For most of us the holiday season is a time to be a little less cautious regarding our spending. We tend to knowingly overspend on gifts and other seasonal expenses, and rationalize it by saying things like, “Well, Christmas only comes once a year.”

Even though I’m your financial advisor, I’m not one to throw cold water on that tradition. The truth is, I get it, and even I have been known to get caught up in the carefree spirit of the season. That said, I believe everyone would feel less guilty about their seasonal spending sprees if they took the time to give their overall finances an annual year-end checkup.

November and December are the perfect time to do this because there are certain key financial deadlines that fall on December 31. Beat them, and you’ll greatly increase the odds of enjoying your holidays knowing you’re on track to meet your long-term financial goals—even if you decide to overspend a bit on gifts for the grandchildren in the short-term. The checkup would consider a few key areas—best done in partnership with your friendly neighborhood financial advisor.

  • Get a Jump on Your Taxes
  • Consider Estate Planning 
  • Examine Your Goals 
  • Assess Your Risk

That said, let’s give thanks – thanks for the ability to vote on November 6th and being able to make my own decision on candidates. I am thankful to honor all Veterans on November 11th. Our country would not be the same without their commitment to service. I am thankful for Thanksgiving Day on November 22nd. It gives us an opportunity to be with our families and to be thankful for all our blessings.

Here are your 10 money tips for November:

  1. Longevity – It is a reality!  Joseph F. Coughlin, in his book The Longevity Economy, states by 2026 adult diapers will outsell baby diapers in the United States.  This startling revelation is currently happening in Japan.  Are you planning on making your money last as long as you do?  You could be here on this earth for some time.
  1. Income protection isn’t just for men.  As more and more women enter the workforce, and as the income gap between men and women continues to shrink it is important not to overlook payroll protection for women.   Pew Research estimates that 43% of young adult women live without a spouse or partner. Disability Income protection – don’t leave home without it!
  1. Are you paying your fair share of taxes?  According to the Kiplinger Tax Letter “the top 1% of individual filers paid 37.32% of all federal income taxes in 2016.”  You must have at least $480,804 in Adjusted Gross Income to qualify for this category.  It is important to note that the bottom 50% of filers paid only 3.04% of the total federal income take. The number is low because it does not account for Social Security payments.
  1. The majority of Americans on Medicare will pay $135.50 per month for Part B in 2019. This is a slight increase over last year. For higher income earning joint-filers in the top tax bracket will pay $433.40 per month for Part B.   Social Security recipients will also receive 2.8% more in their monthly checks in 2019.
  1. Are all the lights working in your home, and will they remain on for a long period of time?  It is important that you have predictable and guaranteed income for your essential lifestyle. This income must not be subject to market risk.
  1. Do you know the five most important questions that need answering when you are in the opportunity curve of the Personal Financial Lifecycle?
  • Are my essential lifestyle expenses lower than my income so I am able to save money on a regular basis and enjoy and prepare for the reality years?  This savings is in addition to the savings made available to me by my employer.
  • Am I taking advantage of all my employer benefits for savings and protection of my income?
  • Am I adequately protected with life insurance in the event I am not around so my family can continue to live without making major changes to their lifestyle?
  • What happens if I become disabled and cannot work?  Do I have adequate protection of my income so my family will not have to make major changes to their lifestyle?
  • Do I review and update my model as my life changes?
  1.  Eight quick bullets about Long Term Care
  • Planning for Long Term Care is essential because Americans are living longer.
  • Long Term Care services are costly and can be draining on retirement finances.
  • You can’t rely on health insurance or Medicaid to handle Long Term Care services.
  • Medicaid isn’t for everyone.
  • Families are not equipped to handle care giving.
  • The best time to start planning is now.
  • The cost of waiting can be high.
  • Some type of insurance coverage for Long Term Care is better than no coverage.
  1. Fact vs. Opinion. Facts can be proven, can be duplicated, and can be observed. Opinions refer to a particular person's (or group's) feeling, thought, judgment, belief, estimate, and/or anything that is not 100 percent true and can't be proven. It is important to distinguish fact from opinion when working on your finances. Make sure your advisor verifies all recommendations. Your money is at stake!
  1. Should you wait until age 70 ½ before you start taking distributions from your IRA or qualified plan?  It depends.  We are nearing the end of the year, and this would be a smart time for a review.  It might make sense if you are in a lower tax bracket than when you took the deduction for the contribution.  You improve the efficiency and rate of return of your money without taking any market risk!  Check with a professional who understands this concept and they should be able to advise you on your current tax bracket, and the amount of money you can withdraw before you move into a higher tax bracket.
  1.  Open Enrollment is here!  
  • Medicare Open Enrollment is October 15 - December 7.  This is the time to review your Medicare plan, explore your options and choose the plan that is right for you.
  • Individual Health Insurance (people under 65): Open enrollment is shorter this year compared to 2017.  It starts on November 1st and ends on December 15th for coverage starting on January 1, 2019. All plans sold on or off the exchange must meet the guidelines of the Affordable Care Act and are considered qualified health plans.

 

Wishing you and your family all the best!

 

Sincerely,

Gary Pevey, CLU ChFC

Wealth Design Group

3445 American River Drive, Suite B Sacramento, CA 95864

(916) 480-0669

Gary@WealthDesignGroup.com

 

 

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The information provided by Wealth Design Group is intended for educational purposes only. This information is not intended as tax, legal, investment, or retirement advice or recommendations. You are always encouraged to seek your own advice from other legal and financial professionals.