August 28, 2023 Weekly Update

We do love it when someone refers a family member or friend to us.  Sometimes the question is, “How can we introduce them to you?”   Well, there are multiple ways but a very easy way is to simply forward them a link to this webpage.

Here are this week’s items:

Portfolio Update:  Murs and I have recorded our portfolio update for August 28, 2023

This Week’s Podcast – 5 Financial Planning Topics That Need to Be Discussed Annually

Listen in to learn about things to consider when doing tax strategy and planning before the end of the year to enable changes. You will also learn the importance of having a Medicare and healthcare planning, year-end investment review, estate planning update, and reviewing your RMDs.


This Week’s Blog – 5 Financial Planning Topics That Need to Be Discussed Annually

Annual financial planning topics evolve as you age. We believe that once you secure your retirement, or when you’re close to it, you should consider the following: 

5 Annual Financial Planning Topics 

We recommend…..

5 Financial Planning Topics That Need to Be Discussed Annually 

Annual financial planning topics evolve as you age. We believe that once you secure your retirement, or when you’re close to it, you should consider the following: 

5 Annual Financial Planning Topics 

1. Tax Planning 

Why would you be doing your tax planning in September, October, or November? Several of the following strategies need to be employed before December 31, so if you wait until your tax return is being prepared around March or April of the next year, it will be too late.  

We recommend: 

  • Conducting a review of your earned income 
  • Confirming distribution amounts from your IRA or 401(k) 
  • Identifying any interest and capital gains you may have received in taxable accounts 

In the years you have lower income than what you expect in the future, we recommend thinking about Roth conversions. Although you will likely pay more taxes in the year you convert to Roth, the ultimate goal with all tax planning strategies is to minimize lifetime taxation. 

On the flipside, if you are expecting an influx of income in the future, you can plan ahead to minimize your tax liability by considering the following strategies: 

  • Tax loss harvesting, which is selling securities at a loss to offset capital gains from securities sold at a profit in the same year.  
  • Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCD) or other charitable giving and donor-advised funds 
  • Verifying that you’re withholding a satisfactory amount of taxes on earned income and any retirement account distributions 

Everyone must pay their dues, but if you take strategic steps today, you can lower your tax burden to ensure that you’re not paying a dime more than you owe. 

2. Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) 

IRA contributions are typically tax deductible, meaning the contributor does not pay tax on those amounts. Instead, taxes are owed on distributions. Once the IRA account owner reaches a certain age, the IRS imposes required minimum distributions (RMDs) to ensure the taxes are eventually paid rather than allowing the owner to indefinitely defer their tax liability.  

Your RMD start age depends on the year you were born. The age for these distributions was 70-and-a-half, and then the law changed to 72, and then 73. Some individuals will need to begin RMDs at 75. The IRS can assess a very hefty penalty if you miss your RMD. If you are charitably inclined, a QCD from your IRA will satisfy your RMD. We have a great article on this topic: How Do Required Minimum Distributions and QCDs Work?  

3. Medicare and Healthcare Planning 

Open enrollment happens in the last quarter of the year, somewhere at the beginning of October. You can move plans at this time without any underwriting. Everyone should look at: 

  • What their plan includes 
  • Options to change plans 
  • Coverage you may need added 

Everyone is different, and most people end up not changing their plans. However, it is still a good idea to review your plan around the last quarter, because if changes need to be made, open enrollment is the opportune time to do so. 

Note: We can put you in contact with some of our partners who specialize in Medicare and healthcare planning. You may even be able to switch to an identical plan at another provider and pay lower premiums, which is always a great way to secure your retirement. 

4. Year-end Investment Review 

If you’ve been looking at your investments throughout the year, you know that your portfolio has gone up and down quite a bit. However, you might overlook a few things and really need to perform a year-end investment review. What is a year-end investment review? 

It’s an annual best practice to consider: 

  • Portfolio risk 
  • Tax loss harvesting 
  • Adjusting your allocations 

You may want to rebalance your portfolio, depending on how one stock performs compared to others. Perhaps one stock is responsible for 60% of your gains. Unfortunately, this is a major risk that needs rebalancing because you risk the stock falling and your portfolio struggling as a result. 

Additionally, you may be at the point in your retirement planning where you’re close to leaving your job and have enough money to live the life you want, but you have too much risk. Bonds, annuities, or other financial vehicles may need to make up more of your retirement strategy at this time. 

Different age groups have differing risk tolerances. 

Your risk tolerance at 50 will be much different than when you’re 60, and so on. Changes can be made based on how the markets performed, how the economy is doing and your feelings going into the coming year. 

5. Estate Planning Update 

Clients often drag their feet when it comes to estate planning because it’s a topic no one wants to think about. However, if you make it a routine, you will be sure that these documents are 100% in order and accurate. 

You want to be sure that: 

  • Every document is up to date 
  • Beneficiaries (and their information) are up to date 

Often, people come into our office, and they haven’t updated their plan in 10 years. Time goes by so fast, and if any major changes aren’t put down on paper, you may leave money or assets to someone who is no longer in your life. 

Beneficiaries may be incorrect or no longer with us, and these documents are final once executed. A simple review is worth your peace of mind that all the hard work and energy that you put into retirement planning will help the individuals that you love when you pass on. 

An annual update is a check and balance that your estate plan is in order. 

If you check all these items off in September or October, you can go into the coming year knowing that you have your retirement plan in order. 

Want to discuss any of these topics more? Schedule a call with us and we’ll do our best to help you.

How to Manage Your Money and Your Risk Exposure

If you’re trying to learn how to manage your money and your risk exposure, you may be asking: how can I invest when the world’s economies are so uncertain? COVID-19 has caused a lot of investors to rethink their investment strategies because economies have slowed in the wake of the pandemic.

This is the topic that we’re going to be discussing today to help you better manage your money and risk exposure to weather potentially volatile markets.

Understanding the Need for Risk Management

Risk management is a major part of a lot of people’s lives. Think of it this way: you have insurance, right? You likely have insurance on your home and automobile. If a fire breaks out, you know that the insurance will cover the expenses to rebuild and get right back on with your life.

But do you have insurance on your 401(k)?

Since 1926, there have been 16 bear markets that occurred roughly every six years. During these periods, the market took a dip for over a year and a half, typically 22 months, and the market fell 20%, 30% or even higher during this time. On average, markets lose 39% of their value during a bear market.

For many people, this is a fire that is obliterating their 401(k) and retirement. Risk management is the insurance on your retirement to lower the risk of cutting your investment portfolio in half when a bear market occurs.

Importance of “No More Pies” Methodology

What “No More Pies” really means is that there’s no more standard pie chart that is given to you by a financial advisor and never updated.

A chart may be viable and worthwhile today, but markets change far too often to just follow without adjustments. Young investors may believe that they can ride the wave and not have to worry about market fluctuations.

But as you age, you should be lowering your risk tolerance.

No one wants to lose 50% of their investments. The investments may come back, but there’s never a guarantee. Even when they do come back, you’re looking at 7 to 10 years before recovering from a 50% loss. A person that is 65 waiting 10 years to recover their losses is going to lose a lot of valuable time in the process.

It’s also harder to recover from the loss when you’re drawing from the portfolio to live.

Managing Money During a Crisis: Why Not Being Passive Benefits You

Money management should always be on the top of your priority list because a passive portfolio is often set for failure. In the last year alone, we’ve seen markets highly influenced by both politics and the economy.

Passive investing is easy. You put your money into a bunch of financial vehicles, sit back and hold. The buy and hold strategy may work with some stocks and be a part of your portfolio. Yet, the passive investor isn’t adjusting to the market change or signals that show that this commodity is going to fall or that a cryptocurrency is going to tank in the next few weeks.

During a crisis, you want to:

·  Slowly start adjusting investments as problems start arising

·  Monitor and watch the markets for indicators of something brewing

·  Continue monitoring and adjusting your risk to navigate market volatility

A lot of people get overly concerned, pull all of their money out of the markets and lose out on the opportunity for strong market gains because they fear losses due to political or economic concerns.

It’s important to look at all of the variables, make daily assessments and adjust as risk increases or decreases.

If you go with gut decisions or you’re too cautious, you may miss out on market opportunities out of fear that you’ll make a misstep during a crisis. One of the worst choices that you can make is not doing anything and hoping for the best.

When you stay on top of the markets and adjust based on the indicators that are coming out daily, you’ll be adding that insurance to your retirement accounts that wasn’t available before.

If you want more information about preparing your finances for the future or retirement, check out our complimentary Master Class, ‘3 Steps to Secure Your Retirement’. 

In this class, we teach you the steps you need to take to secure your dream retirement. Get the complimentary Master Class here.