The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, which became effective for tax years starting in 2018, significantly impacted many taxpayers. The change impacting the most taxpayers was the enhanced standard deduction and loss of many itemized deductions. Tax forms were also presented differently making it difficult for taxpayers who reviewed their returns in detail to compare year-to-year. While there were many changes, there are still some important tax savings strategies that may help you pay less in taxes. Which ones apply to your situation? Ask yourself the following questions…
Atlanta Financial Blog
Meeting the Number One Retirement Priority
Many of us have tightly-held beliefs about what should and should not be during retirement. A common one is “I should not have any debt when I retire.” This may be a lesson handed down by parents that is carried through the years or it may be a concern of a conservative investor who wants to make sure that their retirement is as worry-free as possible.
We recently met with a couple that had this as a primary goal. The husband was 69 years-old and already retired with some health problems. The wife was still working at age 66. She loved her work and had worked for the same medical practice for many years. She was determined that she was not going to retire until their mortgage was paid off. It was a primary goal for her and they were so close.
During our discussions, we reviewed with them that since the wife was now at full retirement age for social security and the husband was already taking his benefit, she could file a “restricted application” for a spousal benefit. This would allow her own social security benefit to continue to grow to age 70 but give them additional income until then. We discussed that this is a strategy that had recently been closed-down to clients under the age of 62. However, it was still available to them. With this additional income, they would be able to pay off their mortgage even faster than they had anticipated and realize their retirement goal sooner than either had thought possible. We also discussed that when the wife applied for this benefit, she should ask for benefits going back to her 66th birthday (full retirement age) to get the entire amount she was due.
At our next meeting, the wife had applied for benefits, had received both the lump sum back payment and the first regular monthly payment and had applied all of it to their mortgage. They were both thrilled that she would be able to retire earlier than they anticipated and they would be able to enjoy more time together enjoying their children and grandchildren, all the time knowing that they were debt-free and unencumbered by high fixed costs.
Retirement goal #1 accomplished!
Divorce can be one of the most painful transitions an individual or family can experience. And once the litigation is done, family members often continue to suffer. Adults often experience a decline in their physical and emotional well being, with a heightened rate of stress-induced illnesses, depression and a loss of identity and social connections¹. Children often suffer in less obvious ways, with educational and adjustment problems in early childhood, and emotional problems related to the divorce increasing in young adulthood². Many couples fight hard for their marriage and family, but simply aren’t able to overcome their differences. What are the top causes they report for ending their marriage? Most of us know…
We’ve all experienced this in one way or another: the paycheck lands, we think that we have recommitted our mind to being thrifty and frugal, but then something (or someone, reflection in the mirror included) happens to derail the process. We know it is necessary. We understand the benefits. But it isn’t fun! YOLO, right?! Sure, denying ourselves today the zeal of instant gratification is NOT enjoyable, but it IS responsible.
Whether you are just beginning the “adulting” journey and are trying to get a handle on what having personal, financial accountability means, or you’re a cashflow veteran and you’re pushing forward with a much needed over-haul of your money management repertoire, these 5 tips are essential to remember when taking command of our favorite 6 letter curse word… the BUDGET…
Recently, I ran across an article about the best (and worst) states for retirement. It caught my attention because the “best” state turned out to be …. Nebraska! Many would be surprised at this. After all, who would retire in such a cold place in the middle of the country? Actually, I was not at all surprised. I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska and spent the first twelve years of my life there. I still visit relatives in the Cornhusker state and enjoy the wonderful people, slower pace and beautiful scenery the state has to offer.