Your Money & Future
Tuesday, September 19, 2023
The Department of Education recently launched the most generous federal student loan income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to date — the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. The SAVE Plan comes after the U.S. Supreme Court blocked federal student loan cancellation in June and before payments are set to restart in October after more than three years of payment pauses. The SAVE Plan will be implemented in phases, but eligible borrowers can sign up online now with a "beta version" of the application.
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Three important developments occurred recently in the world of federal student loans: the U.S. Supreme Court blocked an executive order offering loan cancellation to certain borrowers; Congress set an expiration date for the payment moratorium that has been in effect since March 2020; and new student loan interest rates have been set for the 2023–2024 school year.
Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Starting in 2023, a personal or general business tax credit of up to $7,500 is available for the purchase of new clean vehicles meeting certain requirements (including electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles). A credit of $3,750 is available if a critical minerals requirement is met, and a credit of $3,750 is available if a battery components requirement is met. (For vehicles placed in service from January 1, 2023, through April 17, 2023, the credit allowed generally varied from $3,750 to $7,500 depending on the battery capacity of the vehicle, rather than on these two requirements.) Fuel cell vehicles that have final assembly within North America can qualify for the credit without regard to these two requirements.
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
The SECURE 2.0 Act, passed as part of an omnibus spending bill in December 2022, added new exceptions to the 10% federal income tax penalty for early withdrawals from tax-advantaged retirement accounts. The Act also expanded an existing exception that applies specifically to employer plans. These exceptions are often called 72(t) exceptions, because they are listed in Section 72(t) of the Internal Revenue Code.
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
The SECURE 2.0 legislation included in the $1.7 trillion appropriations bill passed late last year builds on changes established by the original Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE 1.0) enacted in 2019. SECURE 2.0 includes significant changes to the rules that apply to required minimum distributions from IRAs and employer retirement plans.
Tuesday, February 7, 2023
Expecting a Form 1099? Be aware the IRS allows investment sponsors to request extensions to compile information, so 1099s may not even arrive until mid-March or later. You may want to wait until closer to the April 17th deadline to file. For fastest access, we recommend signing up for online access to the individual company's website, if offered. For tips to make filing easier click here.
Thursday, September 29, 2022
October is the kickoff month for financial aid. That's when incoming and returning college students can start filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the next academic year. The FAFSA is a prerequisite for federal student loans, grants, and work-study, and may be required by colleges before they distribute their own institutional aid to students.
Tuesday, August 23, 2022
With approximately 94% of American workers covered by Social Security and 65 million people currently receiving benefits, keeping Social Security healthy is a major concern. Social Security isn't in danger of going broke — it's financed primarily through payroll taxes — but its financial health is declining, and benefits may eventually be reduced unless Congress acts.
Each year, the Trustees of the Social Security Trust Funds release a detailed report to Congress that assesses the financial health and outlook of this program. The most recent report, released on June 2, 2022, shows that the effects of the pandemic were not as significant as projected in last year's report — a bit of good news this year.
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
One silver lining in the current bear market is that this could be a good time to convert assets from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. Converted assets are subject to federal income tax in the year of conversion, which might be a substantial tax bill. However, if assets in your traditional IRA have lost value, you will pay taxes on a lower asset base when you convert. If all conditions are met, the Roth account will incur no further income tax liability for you or your designated beneficiaries, no matter how much growth the account experiences.
Tuesday, May 17, 2022
In March 2022, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), the most common measure of inflation, rose at an annual rate of 8.5%, the highest level since December 1981. It's not surprising that a Gallup poll at the end of March found that one out of six Americans considers inflation to be the most important problem facing the United States.
When inflation began rising in the spring of 2021, many economists, including policymakers at the Federal Reserve, believed the increase would be transitory and subside over a period of months. One year later, inflation has proven to be more stubborn than expected. It may be helpful to look at some of the forces behind rising prices, the Fed's plan to combat them, and early signs that inflation may be easing.
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
In February 2022, the IRS issued proposed regulations (generally applicable starting in 2022) that interpret the revised required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. Unless these proposals are amended, some beneficiaries could be subject to annual required distributions as well as a full distribution at the end of a 10-year period. Account owners and their beneficiaries may want to familiarize themselves with these new interpretations and how they might be affected by them.
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
On March 16, 2022, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark federal funds rate by 0.25% to a target range of 0.25% to 0.50%. This is the beginning of a series of increases that the FOMC expects to carry out over the next two years to combat high inflation.
Along with announcing the current increase, the FOMC released economic projections that suggest the equivalent of six additional 0.25% increases in 2022, followed by three or four more increases in 2023. Keep in mind that these are only projections, based on current conditions, and may not come to pass. However, they provide a helpful picture of the potential direction of U.S. interest rates.
Tuesday, March 22, 2022
According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), tax scams tend to increase during tax season and/or times of crisis. Now that tax season is in full swing, the IRS is reminding taxpayers to use caution and avoid becoming the victim of a fraudulent tax scheme. Here are some of the most common tax scams to watch out for.
Tuesday, March 1, 2022
Even though tax filing season is well under way, there's still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2021. You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $6,000 for 2021 ($7,000 if you were age 50 or older on or before December 31, 2021). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2021 is Monday, April 18, 2022.
You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don't exceed the annual limit (or, if less, 100% of your earned income). You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2021, even if your spouse didn't have any 2021 income.
Tuesday, February 22, 2022
It's hard to talk about college without mentioning financial aid. In many cases, financial aid may be the deciding factor in whether your child attends the college of his or her choice. That's why it's important to develop a basic understanding of financial aid before your child applies to college. Without such knowledge, you may have trouble understanding the process of aid determination, filling out the proper aid applications, and comparing the financial aid awards that your child may receive. There are different types, different sources, and different formulas for evaluating your child's eligibility. Here are some of the basics to help you get started.
Tuesday, February 15, 2022
Expecting a Form 1099? Be aware the IRS allows investment sponsors to request extensions to compile information, so 1099s may not even arrive until mid-March or later. You may want to wait until closer to the April 15th deadline to file. For fastest access, we recommend signing up for online access to the individual company's website, if offered. For tips to make filing easier click here.
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
On December 15, 2021, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) of the Federal Reserve System made a significant shift in monetary policy in response to rising inflation. The Committee accelerated the reduction of its bond-buying program in order to tighten the money supply and projected three increases in the benchmark federal funds rate in 2022, followed by three more increases in 2023. Both steps were more aggressive than previous FOMC actions or projections.1
To understand how these steps might affect the U.S. economy, investors, and consumers, it may be helpful to take a closer look at the FOMC's tools and strategy.
Tuesday, October 26, 2021
It's National Estate Planning Awareness Month! Estate planning is an essential element of every financial plan and goes much further than a will. It is the process of developing and implementing a master plan that directs the distribution of your property after your death according to your goals and objectives. Click here or the button below to learn more about which key estate planning documents you need.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
October is the kickoff season for financial aid. Each year there are billions of dollars in federal financial aid available from the U.S. Department of Education in the form of grants, loans and work-study funds. Current college or prospective students that fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between October 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 can be selected as recipients of aid. And since much of the aid is first-come, first-served, the closer to the October 1, 2021 launch date students apply the greater the chance they have of getting some extra cash for college. Click here or the button below for some tips for filing your FAFSA!
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month! Life insurance plays a critical role by potentially providing protection from the worst-case scenario. At its most basic, life insurance is intended to offset the financial impact your death may have on the lives of your dependents. Monetary consequences such as funeral charges, medical bills, taxes, debts, and professional fees for attorneys or accountants are just a start. Or the impact may be more significant: what if you’re a stay-at-home parent whose children depend solely on a spouse’s income for all of their day-to-day needs? Click here or the button below to find out what you need to know about life insurance.
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Managing debt is an integral part of financial literacy. It can be used to help reach your goals, or it can be a hindrance, depending on how you use it. While in general, the less debt you have, the better. Knowing what types of debt to take on and how to keep it in control can be part of your full financial picture.
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
You work hard for your money, and the wealth you accumulate needs protection. Protecting yourself is a key principal that we briefly discussed in our introductory email of the Financial Literacy Series.
A major illness, automobile accident, or fire may leave you with unexpected expenses. Insurance can help cover some or all of these costs and reduce your risk. It’s important to be familiar with these common types of insurance.
Thursday, July 8, 2021
In general, workers seem to begin preparing for retirement almost as soon as they get their first job. However, according to the 2021 Retirement Confidence Survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), retirement preparations do vary a bit by age group.
Tuesday, June 29, 2021
A key component of financial literacy is understanding the basics of investing. Investing doesn’t have to be complicated! You’re trading access to your money now to use later on while giving it time to potentially grow. There is a universe of investment vehicles that can be used in investing strategy.
Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Knowing what you earn and having a solid budget are two necessary steps in managing your money. If you have both of these in place, you’ll want to set up plans to save for expenses you need to cover in the short term, long term, and in the event of an emergency. Having an actionable savings plan allows you to maximize your money and reach your investment goals.
Tuesday, June 1, 2021
Setting up a budget is relatively simple; sticking to your budget can be much harder! Ask yourself why you want or need a budget in the first place – that way, you have a goal in mind! Think about aligning your budget to a shorter-term goal like buying a home or affording a vacation. That way, the finish line isn’t so far off! Achievement is just around the corner, click here for some steps to get you going!
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Understanding your total compensation is a pillar of your financial literacy, but there’s so much that can go into it! For many employers, a comprehensive employee benefits package is one way to attract and retain their employees. However, not all packages are created equal – some employers will cover more of the costs than others. It’s vital to understand the structure of these benefits and their impact on your take-home pay so you can make educated financial decisions. Here are common elements of a compensation package.
Tuesday, April 27, 2021
April is Financial Literacy Awareness Month! "Can You Pass the Test?" introduces our Financial Literacy Series. It's an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of financial literacy.
Financial literacy is the understanding of financial topics relating to personal finance, protection, borrowing, and investing. Here are the five key principles of financial literacy determined by the Federal Financial Literacy and Education Commission. Having a thorough knowledge of these concepts provides to base to make sound financial decisions that lead to a secure financial future.
Tuesday, April 19, 2021
Women often face special challenges when planning for retirement. For example, if they are the primary caregivers in their families, their careers may be interrupted to care for children or elderly parents, which means they may spend less time in the workforce and earn less money than men in the same age group. And even if they remain in the workforce, women still tend to earn less than men, on average.1 As a result, their retirement plan balances, Social Security benefits, and pension benefits are often lower.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021
When it comes to planning for your retirement income, it's easy to overlook some of the common factors that can affect how much you'll have available to spend. If you don't consider how your retirement income can be impacted by investment risk, inflation risk, catastrophic illness or long-term care, and taxes, you may not be able to enjoy the retirement you envision.