Four financial ‘experts’ you shouldn’t ask

By Liz Weston
Posted on April 08, 2021

None of us knows everything we need to know about money, so we may turn to experts for help. But some money professionals who offer advice are not qualified to do so — nor are they required to put our interests ahead of theirs. Be cautious when accepting advice from the following sources: A dealership about how long your auto loan should be A dealership wants to sell you a... READ MORE

Protect against risk of outliving nest egg

By Ken Nuss
Posted on March 23, 2021

Few of us would go without auto, home, life or health insurance. But the kind of insurance that protects against the risk of running out of money in old age is still greatly underutilized. It’s called a deferred income annuity or a longevity annuity. I believe most people planning for retirement should strongly consider an income annuity, and a Brookings Institution report confirms... READ MORE

How to pay no tax on your capital gains

By Mike Piershale
Posted on March 17, 2021

One opportunity that investors should never pass up is the ability to convert a taxable long-term capital gain into tax-free basis — without paying taxes to do so. This is known as harvesting long-term capital gains. It’s a process of intentionally selling an investment with a taxable long-term capital gain, in a year when — due to low income — that gain will not be taxed. Then,... READ MORE

When is a Roth conversion good for you?

By Mark Kenney
Posted on March 12, 2021

One day a forward-thinking couple arrived in my office with a plan. They wanted to bequeath the bulk of the money in an IRA to their two children, and they also wanted the children to receive that money free of tax. Nice idea, so together we set about crafting a strategy that would help make it happen. Here’s how: Bit by bit, we are converting money from their traditional IRA into a ... READ MORE

Living together? Sign a legal agreement

By Robert Kohl
Posted on March 11, 2021

If you are one of the growing number of Americans who are in a relationship and living with someone, a cohabitation agreement might not be top of mind — but it should be. You might ask, “Why should anyone go to the expense of paying an attorney to draft a cohabitation agreement when they are just living together?” The answer is simple: Even if you aren’t wealthy, you likely... READ MORE

2020 return tax changes and extensions

By Elliot Raphaelson
Posted on March 02, 2021

The Internal Revenue is now accepting individual tax returns for 2020. Here are some key numbers and changes to be aware of: —The new standard deduction for singles is $12,400; for married joint filers it is $24,800. For heads of household, it’s $18,650. —The contribution limits for IRAs, traditional or Roth, have not changed. The limit is $6,000, with an additional $1,000 for... READ MORE

Consumer rights when planning funerals

By Joshua Slocum
Posted on February 23, 2021

Few of us know our rights when making funeral arrangements. According to an online survey of 2,009 Americans commissioned in November by the Funeral Consumers Alliance (FCA) and Consumer Federation of America (CFA), only one-quarter of respondents know that funeral homes must provide a quote on the phone and an itemized price list in person. To better inform consumers about their funeral ... READ MORE

Put financial survivor’s guilt to good use

By Liz Weston
Posted on February 22, 2021

Financial therapist Lindsay Bryan-Podvin of Ann Arbor, Michigan, specializes in helping people deal with their anxieties about money. But since the pandemic started, Bryan-Podvin has been hearing more about guilt than fear. Several people who still have jobs and financial security feel guilty about having been spared while others suffered, said Bryan-Podvin, author of The Financial... READ MORE

Thinking of divorce? Take this step first

By Tonya Graser Smith
Posted on February 19, 2021

Thinking about divorce? You wouldn’t be alone in 2021 — the pandemic has caused divorces to spike — or any year, as many couples opt to start a new year fresh by splitting up. But maybe you’re not ready for your marriage to become another COVID-19 victim. There is an intermediate step you could take before you invest time, money and energy in getting divorced. Instead, you... READ MORE

Dividing your estate around black sheep

By Kara Duckworth
Posted on February 18, 2021

Every family faces a unique set of circumstances when it comes to wealth, financial planning and thinking about the future. But no matter the situation — whether you have many children or none, whether you’re married or divorced — it is essential to consider your specific beneficiaries’ circumstances when it comes to estate planning. Perhaps you are worried about substance... READ MORE