Retiring to Charlotte?

Cheryl Sherrard was quoted in a recent Financial Advisor magazine article entitled, “Retiring in Charlotte is all about location, location, location“.  The article mentions that Charlotte is ranked near the top of the 50 best metro areas for retirement, according to MagnifyMoney and Bankrate, but the specific area within Charlotte will determine whether you face sticker shock or a pleasant surprise.  

Buckets of Savings!

When saving for retirement, most people save to their employer retirement plans, knowing they are reducing current taxable income, typically receiving an employer match on their contributions, and deferring taxation until retirement.  However, if this is the only place where retirement savings takes place, you can be in for a surprise when reaching retirement.  If all your usable savings resides in a tax-deferred bucket, every dollar you take out to meet expenses will be subject to income taxation at ordinary income rates, thereby forcing you to take additional money out to pay the taxes.  It can also be a shock to find that your retirement income tax bracket isn’t much different than your income tax bracket when you were working.  Additionally, higher taxable income levels in retirement will also impact the amount of your Social Security benefit which is subject to taxation and can also result in higher Medicare premiums. So what should you do differently to give yourself more flexibility and lower overall taxation in retirement?  There is great benefit in having multiple buckets of savings in retirement, each Read on! →

Moving from “tax” prep to “life” prep

At this time of year, everyone becomes a master at document gathering.  There is a shoe box or a filing system or a folder on your laptop to hold all the tax-related documents which are needed to complete your income tax returns.  It requires a diligent attitude to ensure nothing has been neglected or omitted which is important to the outcome of the bottom line.  Once the taxes have been submitted for the year, there is always a sigh of relief in getting to completion. Before you pack everything up and put it away for another year, take a step beyond tax prep and begin your life prep.  What does life prep really mean?  Like tax preparation, the devil is in the details and it is critical to your financial success that you take the time to examine and shore up the other areas of your financial life. You can start with that recently completed tax return.  Did you save to your employer plan and thereby reduce your current income?  If eligible, did you contribute to a Roth or regular Read on! →

A Hidden Gem in the Asheville Mountains

Many have had the pleasure of visiting Asheville and the surrounding area.  You may have visited during fall foliage season or in the spring when Biltmore’s gardens were in full bloom.  However, there is a lesser known event which occurs in the Asheville area twice a year and may be perfect to explore as you contemplate an important time of your life, retirement.   The concept of lifelong learning is not a new one.  Many take advantage of learning opportunities throughout their lives, completing degree programs at all ages.  However, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) located in the mountains of Asheville, takes that learning to new heights.  The topography of this small corner of the UNC Asheville campus helps and the offerings at the institute offer an amazing variety to please every sense.  One of their most unique offerings is a weekend adventure called, Paths to Creative Retirement.   The Institute hosts a 2 ½ day workshop focused on the many facets of retirement.  While your Financial Advisor typically helps you plan for the financial aspects of retirement, this workshop Read on! →

“Fall” into your Employer Benefits Package

  Although it may not yet feel like fall outside, we are approaching the last quarter of 2016 and the time when employer benefits open enrollment occurs for the coming year.  Before that benefits package hits your mail/email, here are a few things to consider in advance and discuss with your advisor.   Are you covered by a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP)? An HDHP is defined as having a deductible of at least $1,300 for Singles or $2,600 for families.  If your health plan qualifies, you are eligible to contribute pre-tax money to a Health Savings Account (HSA), up to $3,400 for Singles in 2017, or $6,750 for families per year.  By contributing pre-tax money, you reduce your current taxable income, but more importantly, when the money is withdrawn from the HSA for qualified medical expenses, it comes out tax-free.   There is currently no other investment vehicle in which pre-tax money goes in and tax-free money comes out. The ideal situation is to maximize contributions to the HSA each year you are eligible (by having a high deductible health Read on! →