Along with the protection offered through insurance and the goal setting provided by investment choices, money management strategies can help manage savings on a daily basis.
From mortgage payments to tax savings, a strategy for managing money effectively involves a consideration of individual contexts.
- Tax Planning
- Succession Planning
- 401 (k) retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts
- 529 qualified tuition plans
- Mutual funds
- Certificates of Deposit
- U.S. Treasuries Securities
- Group retirement and savings plans
Depending on an individual’s stage of life, chances are that person has a distinct approach to saving. New graduates or young couples have different needs than retirees or mid-career families. But no matter the situation, a financial planner can help develop financial habits that will lay a strong foundation for savings.
Younger individuals and couples have a number of benefits in terms of financial management. A long investment horizon, combined with few responsibilities, can make for an excellent financial base. A strong financial plan builds on these advantages, while at the same time considers the impacts of a debt load that might include student loans, car payments or perhaps a mortgage.
Couples planning for a first child enter into a new level of commitment—both personally and financially. Learn how to save for a child through specialized insurance and investment products, such as a 529 Qualified Tuition Plan.
Mid-career professionals typically have higher incomes than younger investors—but they also carry more responsibilities. From mortgage payments to a child’s education, consider a financial plan that balances needs with obligations.
Retirees have worked hard at their careers, and now is the time for relaxation and celebration. Chances are children have moved from home, the mortgage is mostly paid off and a few investments are coming to fruition. However, income levels may have dropped after retirement. Find out how to manage finances in a way that allows full enjoyment of the fruits of a career of hard work.
In short, no matter an individual’s life stage, it is important to balance savings and investing with other commitments.
No one likes taxes. But the advice of a financial planner can help with the selection of products and services that help ease the burden.
Charitable contributions, life insurance policies and investment products purchased through products like 401(k) Retirement plans or 592 Qualified Tuition Planscan all be useful tools in an effective tax strategy. It is important to design a tax plan that fits one’s personal needs.
Choose from a variety of products and services, such as:
- Income-splitting for spouses or common-law couples.
- Charitable donations, which benefits important not-for-profit work and allows donors to maximize tax credits.
- Life insurance products that build tax-advantaged capital for retirement.
- Investment products that provide for tax benefits, such as those purchased through 401(k) Retirement Plans or 529 Qualified Tuition Plans.
Contact us today to learn more about tax-planning products and services that are specifically tailored for your needs.
Preparing for succession after death is a difficult issue to discuss, but it is also an important part of any comprehensive financial plan.
A financial planner can help individuals and their loved ones approach succession planning in a constructive manner that ensures they avoid problems and are well cared for in the event of death. The process involves two main considerations: life insurance and preparing a will.
Life insurance can ease the financial burden and provide resources for loved ones in the event of death. A lump-sum payment can be used for mortgage costs or to supplement lost income, helping successors during a difficult period. Financial resources and stability can make it easier to cope with the loss of a loved one.
A written will provides a means to guide loved ones through the succession process. By naming executors and providing instructions on the distribution of an estate, surviving loved ones avoid having to guess the wishes of the deceased. Rather than state law determining how assets are to be divided—a situation that can result in lengthy court proceedings—a clear, carefully considered written will provides clear instructions to successors. Save loved ones the stress of dealing with financial issues by planning for succession as soon as possible.
Contact us today to discuss succession planning in more detail.
401 (k) Retirement Plans and Individual Retirement Plans
Everyone looks forward to retirement, but not everyone looks forward to planning for it. A strong financial plan is aimed to take the hassle out of this process and secure a balance of investment products that may yield the retirement lifestyle everyone dreams of.
While most working Americans will receive Social Security benefits, in most cases, they will not be sufficient to provide a comfortable retirement income. Depending on personal circumstances, either a 401(k) retirement plan or an Individual Retirement Plan can help in accumulating a more sizeable retirement account.
401(k) Retirement Plans
Employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans offer several benefits, including potential employer contributions. Enjoy tax savings by setting aside a portion of pre-tax salary in a tax-deferred investment account, which can also generate compound interest. Depending on the type of plan selected, 401(k) plans can also offer yields from a variety of investment options.
Working together with a financial planner, decide the amount and frequency of 401(k) contributions while taking into consideration contribution limits and employer requirements. Some advantages include:
- Employer contributions in most cases
- Contributions taken from pre-tax salary allow for a reduced tax rate (Traditional 401K)
- Contributions taken from post-tax salary allow for tax free growth if taken in retirement (Roth 401K)
- Tax deferral of compounding income and growth
- The opportunity to select from a variety of investment products
Individual Retirement Plans
Another option for retirement planning is to contribute to an Individual Retirement Plan (IRA). IRAs allow a variety of investment options, including variable annuities, stocks, and government securities. There are several types of IRAs, including the Traditional IRA, Non-Deductible IRA, or Roth IRA.
A traditional IRA is funded through after-tax dollars, and can be contributed to even if a client holds another retirement plan, such as a 401(k). A traditional IRA has several tax advantages: all income tax is deferred until money is withdrawn, and the growth of contributions and earnings is generally tax-deferred. The non-deductible IRA is similar to the traditional IRA except that contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and there is no income tax deduction allowed. In contrast to those two options, contributions to a Roth IRA include income tax payments, but when money is withdrawn, it is distributed tax-free as long as it is considered qualified.
The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account may be tax free, as long as they are considered qualified. Limitations and restrictions may apply. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment may change.
Other Retirement Planning Options
Depending on the nature of your employment, you may be eligible for other kinds of retirement planning options. For example, 457 plans are designed for independent contractors or employees of a state or local government or a tax-exempt organization. These plans allow participants to exclude certain specified types of salary from their gross income. Other options may include Deferred Compensation Plans and 403(b) plans, which are designed for employees of non-profit corporations.
Contact us today to discuss alternative retirement planning options.
529 Qualified Tuition Plans
A college education is expensive – and prices for tuition and living expenses are only getting higher. Families with children might consider planning how to finance an education as early as possible, so as to take advantage of tax and investment opportunities and contribute to pre-paid tuition rates.
Many states and educational institutions offer a 529 Qualified Tuition Plan (529) to help finance a college education. The specifics vary between states and institutions: some guarantee a minimum rate of return, while others offer tax incentives. Even if your state does not offer a 529 plan, many allow non-residents to contribute to their plans, and private plans are available.
There are two main types of 529 plan: a pre-paid tuition plan, and a college savings plan. Pre-paid tuition plans involve purchasing units or credits at participating educational institutions that can applied to tuition and, in some cases, living expenses. Most are sponsored by state governments and have residency requirements. College savings plans establish an account for a student that can be used to pay eligible college expenses, and allow contributors to choose among several investment options.
It is important to carefully consider how to invest in a 529 plan, since it can impact a student’s eligibility to participate in need-based financial aid programs. A financial planner can help balance assets held in college savings plans against financial aid requirements.
Some of the advantages of 529 Plans include:
- Depending on the state, the ability to deduct 529 contributions from state income tax returns
- Federal and state tax deferral of compounding income and growth, if contributions are used for eligible college expenses
- Matching grants in many states
- Some pre-paid 529 qualified tuition plans sponsored by a state government are guaranteed
- College savings plans allow the option to invest in a variety of investment products
- When money is withdrawn from a 529 plan, the student typically pays little tax, due to a low income tax rate
Working together, we can examine college investment options to build a customized portfolio that takes into consideration your financial goals, tolerance to risk and timeline. Contact us today to find out more.
Prior to investing in a 529 Plan investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.
Brokered Certificates of Deposit
Many investors are careful when choosing where to invest their hard-earned money, particularly given the recent economic downturn.
For this reason, Brokered Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are a common low-risk investment, since they can feature federal deposit insurance. A CD is a deposit account that generally offers a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account. Investors put a fixed sum of money into a CD for a fixed period of time, and when the CD is redeemed, gain the accrued interest, plus the principal amount invested.
If a CD is redeemed before it matures, the issuing institutional may enforce an “early withdrawal” penalty or forfeit a portion of the interest.
Contact us today to learn about how Brokered Certificates of Deposit can benefit your investment portfolio.
Brokered CDs sold prior to maturity in the secondary market may result in loss of principal due to fluctuations in the interest rate or lack of liquidity. Brokered CDs are registered with the Depository Trust Corp. (“DTC”). Brokered CDs with step-down and/or call provisions may be less favorable than traditional CDs without these features.
U.S. Treasuries Securities
In today’s uncertain investment environment, U.S. Treasuries Securities offer a safe, secure, government-guaranteed option for investors worried about the impact of the recent economic downturn on their savings.
The federal government issues U.S. Treasury securities to raise funds and help pay off its debt. The U.S. government guarantees that interest and principal payments will be paid on time, making securities a source of dependable cash flow.
There are several different kinds of Treasuries Securities, which range from short- to long-term investments. Securities are sold at Treasury auctions, and include treasury bills, notes, bonds, TIPS, and U.S. Savings Bonds.
- Treasury Bills mature in a year or less, and are sold at below par (face) value. When matured, owners can sell them and receive their par value.
- Treasury Notes and Bonds pay a fixed rate of interest on a semi-annual basis until they mature. Treasury notes mature between two to 10 years, while longer-term bonds mature in 30 years.
- Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) pay interest on a semi-annual basis, and their principal value is adjusted twice a year to reflect inflation rates.
Contact us today to learn about how U.S. Treasuries Securities can benefit your investment portfolio.
Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.
Group retirement and savings plans
Business owners can use group retirement and savings plans to help attract and retain quality employees.
Both business owners and their dedicated employees are working towards a safe, secure future. Either provided independently or paired with group benefits, a group savings plan is a convenient, flexible and affordable way for employers to help employees reach pursue long-term financial goals.
Employees gain instant tax savings for their retirement plan contributions, since they are made using pre-tax payroll deductions. They also receive the financial confidence that comes from knowing every month they are building towards retirement.
A financial planner can help business owners and their valued employees choose group retirement and savings products. Choose from products like:
- 401(k) Plans
- Simplified Employee Pension Plans
- Qualified Retirement Plans
- Other retirement savings plans designed specifically for employee groups
Contact us today to learn about how group retirement and savings plans can benefit your business.