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Three Things You Need to Know About the Equifax Settlement

What happened?’

In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. The company has agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories.

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Biotech Breakthroughs Are Wreaking Havoc on Retirement Plans – Are You Prepared?

Biotech Breakthroughs Are Wreaking Havoc on Retirement Plans – Are You Prepared?

Biotech is experiencing a period of breakthrough advancements.  Immunotherapies, gene-editing, stem cell therapies, and targeted cancer treatments are among many technologies providing amazing new avenues to cure previously debilitating and fatal diseases.  The ability to share advancements through the internet has fueled the progress.  People are living longer thanks to these therapies.

Biotech’s advancements are wreaking havoc on peoples’ retirement plans and the effect has been greatly underestimated.  People approaching retirement have watched their parents and grandparents retire from work at 65 and then live a few years before passing.  But average life expectancy has increase from 68 years in 1950 to 79 years in 2013.  It is more and more common to know someone who is 100+ years old.  Strokes, if treated quickly, are no longer the death sentence they once were. 

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In Case of Emergency (ICE) Plan

In Case of Emergency (ICE) Plan

Oh no!  How do we pay the bills?  Where are the passwords?  Who do we need to contact?  What are the policy numbers?

A sudden illness causes loved ones to scramble.  It can be as simple as how do I know if the mortgage is being paid to where is the policy information for a long term care need.

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Are You Spending What You Think You Are?

Are You Spending What You Think You Are?

We think we know how much we spend but does what we think actually match the reality of what we are spending?  Sometimes you need to stop and do a reality check.  Keeping close track of your actual spending habits for a period of time not only verifies your spending habits but also makes you acutely aware of just how much we spend each month. 

Just how often do I stop for takeout during the week?  How much does that walk around the mall with friends actually cost me?  Do I actually know how much all my utility bills add up to each month or do I seem to forget about the cell phone bill or the extra Netflix when calculating these monthly charges in my head? 

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29 MUST HAVE Items on Your Go-Bag List

29 MUST HAVE Items on Your Go-Bag List

A go-bag is a bag packed with essential items and kept ready for use in the event of an emergency. (Hopefully, you will never need to use it, but if you do, it can be a lifesaver.)

There is plenty of information on the internet about Go-Bags.  If you don’t have a Go-Bag, perhaps this will inspire you to assemble one.

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Get Rid of That Nagging Feeling

Get Rid of That Nagging Feeling

Lake-Cook Road, Flat Tire, Rush Hour, Go-Bag—guess what was missing.

At some point in the last six months, I lost my go-bag with my emergency car supplies. I keep one in the back of my car. There were several times when I was hauling things for our perpetual remodel, and my guess is that I left it sitting somewhere–just not in my car–which kind of defeats the purpose of a go-bag.

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How a Holiday Budget Can Save You From the January Credit Card Bill Blues

How a Holiday Budget Can Save You From the January Credit Card Bill Blues

The holidays will be here sooner than you think.  Just look at the local stores already selling holiday decorations.  Personally, I just love the gift giving holidays, but my budget would say some years I have loved it a little too much.  And when January credit card bills roll in you definitely know you loved the gift giving too much.  But if you start now, you can make the holiday heartburn disappear.

Make a list of all the people you would like to honor with a gift this holiday.  Think of the decorations you might want to add, and the wrapping paper and tape it will take for all those presents.  Are you going to splurge on a large holiday meal with prime rib for everyone?

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Do You Need a Divorce Coach?

Do You Need a Divorce Coach?

Over the last few years, I have been hearing more and more about women (and men) working with a divorce coach to help them during and after their divorce.  They are often seeking out the help of a good coach because they want an experienced guide who can help ease the emotional pain of their divorce while focused on the things that matter most.

To find out more about what a divorce coach does and how a coaching program may be a help to you, I turned to well-known divorce coach Elisabeth Klein.  Elisabeth has written multiple books, speaks to thousands of women each year, and provides coaching to women who are either in a difficulty marriage or who are going through a divorce.

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3 Lazy Ways to Achieve Financial Fitness After Your Divorce

3 Lazy Ways to Achieve Financial Fitness After Your Divorce

Getting through the emotional, mental and financial challenges of a divorce is rarely easy.  While you may feel a sense of relief when that ordeal is concluded, you still have a variety of challenges to face – redefining yourself as a single woman, a changed social and perhaps economic picture, and processing the end of your marriage. 

All of that can be pretty exhausting, which is why you might be looking for some simple, even lazy ways, to make sure your financial fitness is on track post-divorce.

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Your Social Security Divorce Options Have Just Changed

Your Social Security Divorce Options Have Just Changed

If you are divorced, the recent changes to the Social Security law may mean that you will not be able to collect as much from Social Security as you had thought.  That is because the Budget Act of 2015 eliminated the option for anyone born after 1953 to file what is called a restricted application.

A restricted application allowed you to begin collecting a Social Security retirement benefit from your ex-husband at your full retirement age and then switch to receiving benefits based on your work history at age 70.  This made sense for many divorced women because for every month you delay starting your Social Security benefits, the amount of your monthly benefits increases.  A restricted application would allow you to get paid based on your ex-husband’s Social Security benefits while waiting for your benefits to grow larger.

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Five Surprising Facts About Divorce and Social Security

Five Surprising Facts About Divorce and Social Security

Not too long ago, a friend of ours gave us a bottle of pure maple syrup from Vermont.  It was delicious.

It got me thinking about the process of how maple syrup was made.  I wasn’t sure how they got syrup from a tree, so I did a little bit of online research.  Apparently, they put what they call a spile into a tree and the tree sap comes out through the spile and into a container below.

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5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Income Taxes

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Income Taxes

5 Easy Ways to Lower Your Income Taxes

 

When you filed your tax return, did you think to yourself, “I’m paying too much,” or “What can I do to lower my taxes?

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Is Your Giving Going Where You Think It Is?

Is Your Giving Going Where You Think It Is?

Is Your Giving Going Where You Think It Is?

One of the greatest feelings comes from being able to give to others.  You want to make sure that as many dollars of your donation as possible actually reach the people in need that you are trying to help.  A few minutes of research can make sure your donation makes a strong impact.

QUESTIONS TO ASK ABOUT A CHARITY

Is the charity making the most of the money you donate? - While most charities have the greatest of intentions, not all charities are as careful with their operating expenses as one might like.   A rule of thumb is to look for at least 75% of funds to be directed to programs.  A high percentage of giving can be seen at a charity like Donors Choose, a charity that allows individuals to fund specific project requests from teachers in U.S. public schools, which directs 94.7% of all donations directly to the projects.

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Irmaa Who?

Irmaa Who?

Our team of advisors just spent several hours discussing IRMAA and honing strategies to deal with this pest.

No, I didn’t misspell it, and I’m not referring to Erma Bombeck or a great great aunt of mine. This is the Income Related Medicare Adjustment Amount. Simply put, the more income on your tax return in retirement, the more you will pay for your Medicare Part B and Part D prescription drug premiums.

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The Devil Is In The Details

The Devil Is In The Details

Several years ago I received a call from an acquaintance. They had a financial plan done by one of those salespeople dressed like a financial planner. This friend had sold them an annuity several years prior, and he said, “I can even do a financial plan for you at no charge.” They took him up on the offer and the plan showed they could retire in a couple of years. But they felt uncertain and the planner simply said, “trust me it will all work out,” without reviewing any of the assumptions in the plan. They just weren’t certain they would have the abundance they were hoping for.

They were very uncomfortable. It seemed too good to be true. They had this gnawing feeling that something wasn’t right. They were not certain they could retire without running out of money down the road. They wrestled with that thought for a few months and then gave me a call. They knew I was a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner and since they were struggling with this “everything will be ok financial plan” they decided to ask me for a second opinion.

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Retirement Planning

Retirement Planning

Is it really possible to retire abundantly? It can seem overwhelming to find the answer. Where do you begin to figure this out? The questions start swirling…

  • Have I chosen the right investments?
  • Am I saving enough?
  • Am I using the best retirement plan?
  • Am I missing some important tax deductions?
  • How do I balance what I need today with an uncertain future?

And if you are younger additional questions pop up like:

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Securities offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance and investment advisory services offered through Phase 3 Advisory Services Ltd., a registered investment advisor not affiliated with Royal Alliance.

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