Holiday shopping can put a major strain on anyone’s budget, but some simple planning can help you control its impact on your family’s financial health. Rather than allowing the frenzy of Black Friday and pre-Christmas bargains to carry you into a bacchanalia of careless spending, plan ahead to avoid the financial hangover that inevitably follows.
Saving for retirement is particularly challenging for those living on a modest income. You may feel as though there isn’t any money left after covering your basic expenses each month. Even if you do manage to put away a few dollars, investing in an IRA often involves an initial deposit of at least $1,000. Low- to moderate-income earners do have some tools available to help them get started, however. If you have found it difficult to begin saving for retirement, these tools and incentives can help.
If you have access to a 401(k) plan, contributing at least the amount for which your employer will provide matching funds is one of the best ways to save for retirement. That has been true for some time. However, the IRS has just given you even more incentive to pack money into your 401(k).
How to claim your Social Security benefits can be a critical and complex decision. Making this choice without understanding the factors that can influence the amount you will ultimately be able to collect in Social Security benefits can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement. Before you make a choice about claiming benefits, it is wise to speak with a retirement planning professional to be sure you are making the most advantageous choice.
Boelman Shaw Capital Partners offers a specialized blend of expertise in multiple aspects of financial planning. We provide our Des Moines area clients with well-rounded advice to create an optimized financial plan that provides for the needs of individuals and their families. We advise families just starting their financial journey with their first steps toward securing their child’s college tuition and individuals nearing retirement who worry that they have not saved enough. Wherever you are on your financial path, we can help.
American households are comprising fewer and fewer “traditional” families – those headed by two married, opposite-sex partners who may or may not have joint children. While married couples represented 78% of U.S. households in 1950, by 2010, that number had dropped to just 48%. We have seen a rise in many different family configurations, including unmarried couples, same-sex couples (either married or unmarried), blended families, multigenerational families, single-parent families, and those housing adult children. If you live in one of these nontraditional households, family financial planning can present a special challenge. This article will focus on the particular needs of same-sex and unmarried partners.
Our last post focused on the family financial planning needs of same-sex and unmarried partners. In this week’s article, we will take a look at special considerations for multigenerational and blended families.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 70% of people will need long-term care at some point in their lives. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported this year that 40% of those turning 65 will have need two or more years of long-term care, and 43% of those receiving long-term care are under 65. Despite these facts, the vast majority of Americans have not planned for this very likely expense. Many are under the misconception that their health insurance or Medicare will cover it. In fact, Medicare only covers a narrow range of costs. While it will pay for medically necessary skilled care, the choice of setting is limited, and it will not pay for assistance with daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, and personal care. Medicare provides no funding for assisted living facilities. Private health insurance generally does not cover long-term care costs. Providing for long-term care has become a critically important, but still widely overlooked, aspect of financial planning.
Social responsibility is a rising phenomenon in the financial planning and investment world. Its roots can be traced to 18th century religious movements, such as the Quakers, who would in no way participate in the slave trade, and the Methodists, whose founder chided followers to avoid doing harm by avoiding industries such as tanning and chemical production. In the 1920s, socially responsible investing (SRI) tended to be more about avoiding “sin” stocks, such as tobacco and alcohol. Today, however, SRI is becoming a common way for people with a wide range of values to express them in the marketplace.
One of the most effective ways to secure your financial future is to get rid of your current debt. Student loans are growing source of debt among Americans, second only to mortgage debt. According to Forbes, the average U.S. college graduate now enters the workforce with $26,000 in debt, and 10% accumulate over $40,000 in student loans. This level of debt can be a tremendous burden and force borrowers to delay life important life events such as home ownership, starting a business, or starting a family. Prolonged payments can also make it exceedingly difficult to save and invest for future needs. Fortunately, programs are available to help many borrowers lighten their debt load. If you are carrying student loan debt, dealing with it in the most cost-effective way possible should be a key part of your financial plan. It’s important to know if you qualify for reduced payments and/or forgiveness of all or part of your student loans. Failing to take advantage of programs like these might mean paying several thousand dollars more than you must toward your student loan debt. That is money that you could otherwise be using for retirement savings, buying a home, or funding your child’s education.