Newsletters

It’s Time to Choose!

It’s Time to Choose! It’s Open Enrollment time of year!  Whether you are retired and making decisions about your Medicare coverage or are employed and faced with your annual employer benefits selection period, it is time to review and choose your coverages for the upcoming year. Medicare Coverage Medicare open enrollment Medicare Health and Drug Plan enrollment October 15 – December 7th Get ready for Medicare’s Open Enrollment with these 5 tips: 1 Check your mail.  You may get important notices from Medicare or Social Security. If you’re in a Medicare plan, you’ll get an Annual Notice of Changes (ANOC). Note any 2022 changes to your health coverage or any Extra Help you may get to pay for prescription drugs. You may also get health plan marketing materials, like brochures, from insurance companies that offer Medicare health and prescription drug plans. Remember — plans aren’t allowed to call or come to your home without an invitation from you. Review your 2022 “Medicare & You” handbook. It has information about Medicare coverage, as well as Medicare plans in your area. If you get your handbook by mail and want to get your Read on! →


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Medal Winning Savings!

You have probably heard the advice that you should maximize contributions to your employer’s retirement savings plan. Because it lowers your current income taxation by deferring pre-tax dollars to the plan and grows tax-deferred until distributed, you are encouraged to save to your employer plan (401k, 403b, etc.). Employers may also match a percentage of what you contribute. This can be a powerful way to save, but it should not be the ONLY way you save for retirement. The following medal-winning strategies might add flexibility, potential retirement tax savings and a more secure future to your retirement savings mix. Bronze Medal Winner The bronze medal winner for savings might seem too simple to have an impact but can add versatility and flexibility when trying to increase tax efficiency in retirement. Many people step into retirement with inadequate non-IRA savings.  This forces them to distribute fully taxable income from their employer plan/IRA each time they need cash and increases their tax liability. For those individuals with a mix of IRA and non-IRA savings, more control can be gained over taxation in Read on! →

One positive outcome from Covid & 2020

While there are many aspects of 2020 which we might prefer be forgotten, there were a few positive outcomes from the year which need to be highlighted.  As a majority of individuals in the U.S. were sheltering-in-place during Covid-19 an interesting thing happened. Because we were unable to travel, dine out and generally entertain ourselves by spending lots of money, the U.S. personal savings rate jumped to a record 15% of gross income. As can be seen from the chart below, not since the early 80’s has the U.S. seen a savings rate even in excess of 10% and it has been as low as 3%, which occurred just prior to the Great Recession. Even though the jump in personal savings was not spread evenly throughout the population, it does represent a very positive change, one that shouldn’t be abandoned when the world returns to it’s new “normal”. It is interesting to note that in order to successfully fund retirement, it is recommended that a consistent annual savings rate of 10-15% is required. With this chart going back to 1960, Read on! →

The “Gambler”

  You’ve got to know when to hold’em Know when to fold’em Know when to walk away Know when to run… The Gambler (released 1978), lyrics by Don Schlitz, vocals by Kenny Rogers   Growing up in rural western Kentucky, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that country music stations littered the AM/FM radio dials.  The Gambler received significant air time not only on country stations but also pop stations as the country sound began a “crossover” from its honky-tonk roots to arguably, the more mainstream pop or Top 40 genre.  While our method of following disciplined allocation strategies doesn’t correspond with the chorus, the lyrics do seem to reference the subtleties of reading a situation and taking steps (in a portfolio) that might work to one’s advantage.   The Winning Streak To date, 2017 has been a positive year for equity and bond markets alike.  It is always gratifying to see client portfolios increase in measured increments without the anxiety that often accompanies a sharp peak or a deep, extended valley.  What may be less obvious is the un-harried Read on! →

Fireworks to Celebrate the mid-point of 2017!

  As I write this commentary at the mid-point of 2017, the markets have made steady progress in the first 6 months despite what has been an unpredictable and often concerning geopolitical environment around the world.  I often tell clients and interested parties that unexpected events can have an impact on markets but they are generally short-lived.  At the end of the day, the markets go back to being influenced by companies and their profits.  That seems to be the case so far in 2017 as we get ready to celebrate with July 4th fireworks, even though every week is filled with news about our partisan politics or the latest terrorist incident.   In the U.S., the Federal Reserve (Fed) made good on raising interest rates.  Unemployment is low, workers are producing goods and services and financial markets have responded in-kind.  While somewhat different economic factors are in play, most overseas’ economies and financial markets are outperforming the U.S.  Even bonds, an asset class most felt would lag as the Fed raised rates, have done well on a relative basis.  Read on! →