Category Archives: Financial

The 4 steps you need to take if you inherit a brokerage account

Brokerage accounts allow an individual investor to deposit funds and place investment orders through a licensed brokerage firm. Through a brokerage account, you can buy or sell stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc. Brokerage firms must abide by strict legal guidelines governing access to account information. The result is that sometimes heirs can’t even see account…

Preparing for the disappearing Social Security advantage

The Social Security advantage for married women is shrinking. Much of the focus of Social Security and retirement experts concentrates on describing ways to maximize Social Security benefits. The majority of those options realize benefits for a spouse, usually a woman, who didn’t work much if at all, outside the home and therefore saw little…

Is a reverse mortgage the right tool for you?

If you are over 62, you know you are eligible for a reverse mortgage because you can’t turn around without someone telling you that you are. There’s nothing wrong with reverse mortgages as long as you realize they are a tool. Just as a screwdriver isn’t the tool you need when you need to hammer…

The financial cost of having mom or dad move in

Thinking about moving Mom or Dad in with you? Often the consideration to do so hinges on Mom or Dad’s poor health or your need for a built in baby sitter for your own children. You may have already considered whether you have enough bathrooms or whether or not you can stand to be in…

A reverse mortgage can provide extra income when the death of a spouse leaves you financially strapped

By Tamara Sevigny of Kiel Mortgage Maria was in the midst of a crisis. Her husband passed away suddenly, leaving her with no life insurance. Maria’s income dramatically changed. The passing of her husband left her with just her Survivor’s benefit from Social Security. However, their home was paid in full. Her Pastor suggested she…

Financial advisors warn of possible debt crisis at the Bank of Mom and Dad

A Wall Street Journal article recently reported that withdrawals from 401(k) plans exceeded new contributions in 2013 (the survey is a biennial survey with reports conveyed on odd years) after decades of expansion. That trend is expected to continue as Baby Boomers reach retirement age and begin drawing down their retirement savings. Of concern isn’t…

Is your financial advisor scuttling your investment gains

A 2012 study by Cerulli Associates found that 60 percent of investors either did not know how their advisors got paid or thought that the service they offered was free. In fact, there are at least six ways a financial advisor will charge you fees. They are: As a percentage of your account’s value. One…

Using your Health Savings Account as a retirement vehicle

If you have a high deductible health plan, you can receive tax-preferred treatment of any money you set aside in a Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) to pay for medical costs. HSAs differ from Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). (For more on these three types of health spending accounts please see this…

Nieces, nephews, cousins, parents and others you can claim as dependents on your tax return

Do you wonder about whether you can claim your dog as a dependent? Well you can’t but you might be able to claim your parents or other relatives. If you support your mom or dad, some other relative or even people not related to you by paying some or all of their expenses, you may…

Your retirement plan could move your heirs into a higher tax bracket

Federal estate tax exclusion prevents most Americans from having to worry about estate taxes at the federal level. But estate taxes levied by many states will still affect an estate, largely due to the income tax the estate will owe on inherited retirement accounts when the heirs begin drawing them down. When inheriting assets, most assets will…