What’s in the Inflation Reduction Act (and what it means for you)

President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law last week. The $450B piece of legislation is the final version of a dramatically scaled back $2T Build Back Better Act, which passed the House last year before dying in the Senate. The bill is packed with new policies that are sure to impact American life […]

The Real Value in Giving Inheritance Before Death

Three generations gathered around a baby

According to one estimate, about $30 trillion will be passed down from older Americans to subsequent generations over the next 30 years.[1] That’s a staggering sum. In contrast to many previous generations, people are now giving inheritance before death more and more frequently. In fact, about $0.71 of every dollar that is given to charity […]

How the Fiduciary, Fee-Only Model Works

The financial advisory world is undergoing a major transformation in how it serves up advice. More and more, advice is being decoupled from a product sale in an unbundling of services. Advisors are gaining additional certifications and better training, and industry enforcement on poor practices and unethical behavior is getting stricter. The industry is maturing […]

Optimizing Saving and Investing During Retirement

Investing undergoes a few changes when you retire. This of course is expected. You no longer add money to your accounts – you drain them. This paradigm shift requires a new approach to managing money, and its one that runs against the last 30 to 40 years of hard-won habits you’ve established. Your portfolio must […]

The Best Way to Pay Off a Mortgage in Retirement

If you’re like most Americans, your home is probably your largest asset and your mortgage is probably your largest monthly expense. Paying it off could increase your disposable income. It’s hard not to wonder what you would do with thousands extra each month in retirement, not to mention how good it would feel to wipe […]

What are I Bonds?

Welcome! In this video we’ll be going over everything you need to know about I Bonds! Enjoy!

How the Social Security Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) Impacts Pension Payments

Social Security was established in 1935 as part of President Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’. The program provided relief from poverty for tens of thousands of seniors and continues today as one of the nation’s most significant social insurance programs. About 96% of all Americans are now covered by Social Security according to figures from the Government […]

Using a Trust as a Beneficiary of an IRA

The IRA is one of the most significant retirement vehicles in America. In fact, the Investment Company Institute (ICI) reports that as of 2021’s third quarter, U.S. investors held more than $13 trillion in IRA accounts. That’s more than all defined benefit (pension) plans in the US combined.[1] However, the IRA is also an elaborate […]

The 401k Age 55 Rule for Early Retirement

401k Age 55 Rule man awaiting early retirement

Retirement accounts like IRAs, Roths, and 401(k)s offer incredible tax benefits. But those benefits come with strings attached. You cannot generally take money out of a retirement account prior to age 59½ without incurring a penalty, though there are exceptions. Congress recognized that not everyone would retire in their 60s when they created this legislation […]

The Roth Conversion Sweet Spot

Retired man read newspaper

There is a period that acts as something of a Goldilocks zone in in determining when to do Roth conversions: the interval between the point that you retire and your first required minimum distribution at age 72. Income is generally lower than it was during your working years, withdrawals from pre-tax retirement accounts aren’t mandatory, […]

When to Withdraw from a Roth IRA

Designing a Roth withdrawal strategy creates happiness

Most posts, blogs, and discussion boards we see feature lengthy comments about adding to a Roth IRA. When do you convert? What tax brackets make sense for contributions? Am I even eligible in the first place? But what do you do when you’ve made the choice to build a Roth IRA and have reached the […]

Making the most of company stock in your 401(k)

401(k) plans are a great way to save money for retirement, but you have to manage it well! You are responsible for selecting investments and you will ultimately bear the brunt of your choices. Its critical you get it right! Many employers will put ‘guiderails’ on the plan by limiting investment choices to a selection […]

How to get the maximum ACA subsidy when retiring before 65

More and more Americans are retiring before reaching age 65 and qualifying for Medicare. This brings up a thorny issue: what can be done for health insurance coverage in those intervening years? A marketplace/Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan, COBRA, or a spouse’s coverage all make for good options. But COBRA comes with a time limit […]

The NIIT-y Gritty of the Net Investment Income Tax

Man working on financial papers

The Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) has been around since 2010, and it applies to investors who have high incomes and healthy investment account balances. It applies regardless of whether you are working or are retired and covers a broad range of assets classes. But since retirees often rely on withdrawals from investments to generate […]

The 9 Best Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor in 2021

Financial Advisor meeting

Not all financial advisors are created equal, but it can be so hard to tell! Expert advice has always been difficult to quantify and rank. What makes one doctor better than another? Or one attorney better than their peers? Similarly, it’s tough to determine which financial advisor is the best one for you. Add in […]

Explained: How to Hit the Upgrade Button on Your 401(k)

Your 401(k) savings will be used to create a good portion of your income in retirement, so getting as much money in there as possible while you’re working makes sense. If you’ve been contributing the maximum every year – good job. But there are other moves you can make that can significantly boost the value […]

60 Day IRA Rollover Rules

Piggy bank with the words 'rollover IRA' written on it

You probably have several retirement accounts. It’s common. But you may start to think about consolidating some of those accounts as you approach retirement. The simplicity in managing fewer accounts is hard to ignore. This means consolidation – and the 60 day rollover rule. There are two ways to consolidate accounts: direct and indirect transfers. […]

Inherited Roth IRA Rules

Inherited Roth IRA Rules

Inherited Roth IRA Rules can be complicated. This is especially true if you inherit an account as a non-spouse beneficiary. Understanding how these accounts work, what the rules are for withdrawing money, and the tax consequences that follow are all critical to maximizing the value of your inheritance. We’ll break down everything you need to […]

When It Pays to Max Out Your HSA

HSA Debit Card

A Health Savings Account (HSA) is a unique tool that provides special tax benefits when used for medical expenses. They are packaged as an add-on to a high deductible health plan and are becoming an increasingly popular employee benefit. We field lots of questions on these accounts – everything from how they work to whether […]

The Executive’s Guide to Financial Planning

Financial Planning for Executives

We see investors of all stripes as financial advisors. Over the decades, we’ve observed that most people invest like the rest of their community. Entrepreneurs, executives, retirees, young families, medical professionals – they all have similar goals. But executives are cut from a different cloth, which makes sense. So many of them are also founders […]

Retirement Is About Income … and Taxes

Retirement and Taxes

You’ve figured out your budget, your retirement nest egg is substantial, and you’re ready to make the transition to living savings instead of income from work. Have you thought through the tax implications of moving from a W2 to a 1099R? It’s very common for tax planning to be overlooked. After all, the common wisdom […]

When is the best time to move cash on the sidelines into investments?

Cash and Investing

There are plenty of reasons to be holding cash on the sidelines. Unallocated bonuses, inheritances, selling homes and businesses, exercising options, and pandemic savings are some of the ones we come across frequently. (Though the last one in that list is a relatively recent addition). These funds can represent a problem. Savings accounts are paying […]

The Intentional Approach to Retirement

Intentional Approach for Retirement

Matt Bacon     June 1, 2021 Retirement preparedness is a tricky subject. The Federal Reserve conducted a brief survey on the subject just before the pandemic. 44% of respondents felt that their retirement was not on track while another 20% said they weren’t sure. That’s startlingly high at 2 out of every 3 Americans. We’ve […]

3 Ideas to Steal for Navigating the Biden 401k Changes

Biden 401k Changes

Matt Bacon        March 4, 2021 President Biden made waves during his run for office with a series of progressive legislative changes. One of those is moving closer to fruition. In a recent Senate hearing, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen announced that she is looking into changes to current retirement plan rules. Yellen didn’t elaborate on what […]

Where should you roll your 401k?

Paint Roller with Dollar Bills and Green Background

Matt Bacon        March 1, 2021 Where should you roll your 401k? This is one of the most asked questions we field. That, and “who is the best”? Like everything it’s a matter of perspective, but regardless of the answer we’re always struck by the knowledge gap on who the players are and what they actually […]

The Definitive Year End Planning Checklist for 2020

December 9th, 2020               Matt Bacon 2020 is finally coming to a close and thank goodness! The year may as well have been a Tarantino flick. We can count a global pandemic, millions of deaths, trillions of dollars in global debt, mental depression, social unrest, and a contested US Presidential […]

12 Tips for Choosing a Financial Advisor

Matt Bacon         Oct 15, 2020   It can be difficult to know if you’re on the right path when choosing a financial advisor. A good one can be well worth their cost, but a bad one could spell out disaster. So how do you sort between the two when finance isn’t your strong suit? In […]

Converting an IRA to a Roth IRA after age 60

Updated June 9, 2022 Most people hit their peak earning years in their 50s and 60s. Consequently, these also tend to be the peak tax years. On the face of it, converting an IRA to a Roth IRA doesn’t look like an obvious choice. The act accelerates deferred income into the current year and stacks […]

Lease vs. Buy a Car in Retirement

By Matt Bacon [lwptoc float=”none” titleFontSize=”120%” colorScheme=”light” backgroundColor=”#ffffff”] As advisors, we field questions from clients on just about every topic you can imagine. Bitcoin, online college, and the price of gold are a few we fielded this week. We had another good one that made us stop and think: Lease vs. buy a car in […]