Connecting You and Your Wealth


Managing Healthcare Costs In Retirement (April 21, 2017)

Healthcare CostsThe cost of healthcare is a common concern for most Americans. For retirees, it’s often their number one financial priority. A combination of quickly rising health insurance costs and the potential for increased medical needs as you age can make planning for healthcare in retirement complex, unpredictable, and therefore, worrisome.

However, there are actions you can take to mitigate your risks, minimize your healthcare costs, and help you enjoy a happy and healthy retirement.  Read More

The Pros And Cons Of Target-Date Funds (March 31, 2017)

Couple and advisor DragonImagesTarget-date funds have made investing easier over the past few decades, offering investors a one-stop investment solution. Also known as life-cycle or age-based funds, they comprise of a mix of holdings that alter over time, based upon a specific target date.

Such funds have allowed many individuals to gain confidence investing beyond cash and CDs. This is a positive step forward, and there are certainly merits to using target-date funds in a number of situations. However, there are also indicators that a savvy investor should be cognizant of in advance.  Read More

Is Maxing Your 401(k) Enough? (March 6, 2017)

Reaching the topIf you’re like most Americans, a 401(k) or similar retirement plan represents the bulk of your long-term savings. Every year, the IRS places limits on the annual contributions you can complete to these and other qualified retirement plans. Too often, people mistakenly think that if they’re contributing these maximum annual amounts, they’re saving as much as they need. While these limits might be acceptable for some individuals, they may not be adequate for everyone. The reality is that the amount you need to save for retirement hinges upon the following five key factors.  Read More

Housing Choices In Retirement (February 17, 2017)

Preparing dinnerFor many of us, our home is our largest asset. It also represents one of the biggest decisions to be made in retirement. Choosing whether to stay in your home or to move is a common consideration, as you enter retirement or at a later date. There are a multitude of things to contemplate, including location, family and friends, memories, climate, home maintenance, finances, and your health, just to name a few.

If you, a family member or a friend are deliberating on this topic, we offer some insights into the most important aspects of this decision, to help you evaluate your housing options, now and longer-term.  Read More

Milestone Birthdays – Age 62: Early Social Security (January 4, 2017)

MM 2017 Age 62 Birthday - iStock monkeybusinessimagesIs 62 your lucky number? If you’re eligible, that’s the earliest age you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits.

If you decide to start collecting benefits before your full retirement age, you’ll be in good company. According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), around half of all Americans elect to receive their Social Security benefits early. (Source: US Census Bureau)

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Milestone Birthdays – Age 66: Full Social Security (January 2, 2017)

MM 2017 Age 66 Birthday iStock monkeybusinessimagesCongratulations! You are (or soon will be) age 66, Social Security’s full retirement age for people born before 1960.

This is an important milestone for two reasons:

If you didn’t previously elect to receive early retirement benefits, you’re now eligible to receive 100% of your Social Security benefit, plus you’re no longer subject to the excess earnings limit, so if  you plan to continue working, your benefits will not be reduced. Read More

Milestone Birthdays – Age 70: RMDs & Maximum Social Security (January 1, 2017)

MM 2017 Age 70 iStock monkeybusinessimagesCongratulations!

You are (or soon will be) age 70. Maximum Social Security benefits begin at Age 70, and Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) begin at Age 70 1/2.

SageVest offers a series of educational publications, designed to inform you about your retirement options, Social Security benefits, and Medicare elections as you transition out of the workforce. Please contact us for more information, or to discuss your broader retirement planning. Read More

7 Mortgage Tips For Retirement (December 13, 2016)

Fun coupleEntering retirement debt-free is psychologically and financially liberating. Yet for many individuals, enjoying lower expenses during retirement can turn out to be nothing more than a myth, in large part due to your mortgage.

Your mortgage payment is typically your largest monthly obligation. Today, people seldom stay in the same house long enough to pay off a 30-year mortgage. Even if they do, many people restart the payment clock by refinancing or by taking out a home equity loan. Here are seven tips to consider if you’re contemplating your mortgage as you enter retirement. Read More

Maximize Your Self-Employed Retirement Savings (November 29, 2016)

Businessman - iStock/Minerva StudioIf you’re self-employed, you could be facing deadlines for important decisions about establishing a retirement account before year-end.

One of the most valuable self-employed savings vehicles, whether you’re a sole proprietor or more formally established, is a solo 401(K), also known as an individual 401(K). This powerful retirement savings account allows flexibility and significant tax deferral opportunity, far greater than traditional 401(K) accounts. If this account is right for you, you can defer contributions until your tax filing, but the deadline to establish an account for the current tax year is December 31st.   Read More

Time For Your Medicare Check-Up (October 11, 2016)

Doctor and woman patientThe Medicare Annual Enrollment Period starts on October 15 and runs through December 7. That makes now the perfect time for retirees to review and, if warranted, change your policy coverage.

Taking the time to examine your Medicare options each year is a wise move for both your health and your wealth. Evaluating your coverage can highlight policy and premium changes that may otherwise prove costly in relation to your current health needs. We offer some recommendations to help you minimize your healthcare costs during retirement.  Read More

Retirement Funds And Divorce (August 29, 2016)

Divorce settlementWhen a couple divorces, the fall-out can affect your finances too. Retirement funds in particular can prove complex in how they’re divided during the divorce settlement and restructured for the future. Professional financial advice can help preserve your share if you’re the retirement fund owner, or ensure equitable distribution if you’re the other party.  Michael Fuhr recently highlighted the importance of retirement fund tax rates during divorce negotiations in US News & World Report’s Investment article: ‘12 Steps To Protect Your Money In Divorce‘. Read More

Reverse Mortgages In Retirement (June 28, 2016)

Reverse mortgages (iStock)Home equity is one of the largest assets for many Americans. This may be especially true if you’re a retiree living in the DC Metropolitan area; the family home that you bought years ago is likely to be worth many times what you originally paid for it.

Besides selling your home and downsizing, a reverse mortgage may be an option to access the equity in your home. Financial professionals are increasingly recognizing the potential role that reverse mortgages can play in retirement planning. We offer a brief summary of the program, its withdrawal methods, and how it compares to the more traditional Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).  Read More

Pension Options – Payout Or Payments (April 22, 2016)

Pension payoutRetirement is an exciting time, full of choices to make and plans for the future.  If you’re entitled to a pension, you’re fortunate.  You also have more financial decisions to navigate.  It’s time to decide if you should take your pension as a monthly payment, as a lump sum rollover, to elect survivor benefits, and more. These are irrevocable decisions, so it’s important to make the right one for you and your loved ones.  While everyone’s retirement circumstances and objectives are unique, there are some common considerations that can help you to evaluate what’s the best option for you.  Read More

Your Best Interests: The Fiduciary Rule (April 14, 2016)

The SageVest TeamAt SageVest, we believe that integrity is a fundamental requirement for wealth management. We have always proudly served as your fiduciary, in the purest form of the definition, which requires us to act in your best interests at all times.

A recent Department of Labor ruling will soon impose a modified fiduciary standard on all advisors who provide retirement account advice. While these new regulations are a step in the right direction toward protecting investors, they are sadly less stringent than the standards to which we proudly adhere.  We caution readers and investors to understand the difference. Read More

Time Runs Out For Popular Social Security Strategies (November 6, 2015)

Couple on Park BenchDramatic changes were recently announced to Social Security benefit provisions.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, signed into law on November 2nd, effectively eliminated the Restricted Application and the File-and-Suspend strategies. Those already utilizing these options will be grandfathered in; some will have a short six-month window in which to act; and, others need to be aware of how future benefits will be more limited. The media has focused on how the termination of these unintended, but popular, strategies will impact married couples. The truth is that the changes will impact single individuals as well. If your retirement plan included anticipated Social Security benefits, please take the time to  Read More

A Quick And Easy Look At How Much You Need For Retirement (September 15, 2015)

Couple on bench with dog - Pixabay 843489Without doubt, the most common question we’re asked is “How much do I need to retire?” While there’s no universal answer, there is a universal objective to be financially comfortable. Retirement dreams are different for everyone, and change as life constantly evolves. That said, the amount you need today can offer you an insight into what you’ll need to replicate tomorrow. If you or your loved ones haven’t already explored retirement planning, we offer a quick and easy chart as an initial gauge of your preparedness.  Read More

An Open, Honest Discussion About Fees (April 2, 2015)

MeetingWe recently came across an article in the New York Times that predominantly discussed mutual fund fees and alleged investment advisory conflicts. The public commentary in this and other similar pieces is well intentioned, with an objective of helping investors plan for retirement. However, we are concerned that some discussions lack clarification and that, worse, they could scare Americans away from saving for their futures.

It seems timely to offer a few words on the advantages of working with a Registered Investment Advisor and fiduciary like SageVest, as well as important information to give you peace of mind about our services and how we structure the investments in client portfolios.  Read More

There’s Still Time To Make A 2014 IRA Contribution (March 13, 2015)

WatchGenerally speaking, the IRS allows you to make your IRA contribution for a particular tax year up until April 15 of the following year.

This rule applies to both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, giving you some flexibility in terms of the timing of your annual IRA contribution.

Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are each subject to different contribution rules.

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Life Is Short – But Not That Short (March 5, 2015)

Happy Senior Couple --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThe Great Recall Debacle of 2014 wasn’t the only thing impacting General Motor Company’s fourth quarter earnings.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported that a revision of mortality assumptions – how long we’ll live – caused the company’s pension plan to be underfunded by more than $2 billion.

While this news might not impact you directly, longer life expectancies will. What does this mean for you?

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Year End Tax Planning 2014 (November 7, 2014)

Holiday drinks - iStock_000029854956Year-end is fast approaching, a time when tax planning should become a key consideration. Proactive tax planning could allow you to identify tax saving opportunities. Most opportunities must be implemented before year-end. One of our many wealth management objectives is to help you maximize such opportunities, and to implement decisions with ease.  Please take a moment to review the following planning techniques. We are happy to discuss opportunities with you and your tax advisor. We recommend action before December 10th. Read More

Protecting Your IRA Assets: A Recent Supreme Court Ruling (August 20, 2014)

US Supreme CourtSince enactment of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) have been protected under federal law if you declare bankruptcy.

Over the years, federal court decisions have been divided over whether or not inherited IRAs are protected under the Act.

To resolve this conflict, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear the case of Clark v. Rameker. Read More

The SageVest LifeList (March 14, 2014)

FilingWhether you’re buying a home, starting your own business, or retiring, life’s major events can be a challenge.

So can finding the documents you need.

The SageVest LifeList is designed to help you organize the important paperwork and information associated with key aspects of your life. It serves as a reference list of where each document or piece of information can be found.

Read More

IRA Contributions For Tax Year 2013 (February 14, 2014)

Coin Dropping Into Piggy Bank --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThere’s still time to make a regular IRA contribution for 2013!

You have until your tax return due date (not including extensions) to contribute up to $5,500 for 2013 ($6,500 if you were age 50 by December 31, 2013). For most taxpayers, the contribution deadline for 2013 is April 15, 2014.You can contribute to a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or both, as long as your total contributions don’t exceed the annual limit.  You may also be able to contribute to an IRA for your spouse for 2013, even if your spouse didn’t have any 2013 income.

Contributions are subject to income threshold limits, which are outlined below. Read More

Latest College Costs And Social Security & Medicare Figures (December 15, 2013)

Hand With DollarsEvery October, the College Board releases its Trends in College Pricing report, highlighting college cost increases for the current academic year, and trends in the world of higher education. While costs can vary significantly depending on the region and individual college, the College Board publishes average cost figures, based on its survey of nearly 4,000 colleges across the country.

In addition, Social Security and Medicare figures are announced for calendar year 2014. Read More

Year End Tax Planning 2013 (November 5, 2013)

AccountantA number of tax changes took effect in 2013, many of which could increase your potential tax liability. Proactive tax planning could allow you to identify tax saving opportunities. Most opportunities must be enacted before year-end. One of our many wealth management objectives is to help you maximize such opportunities, and to implement decisions with ease. Please take a moment to review the following summary of key tax changes, and potential actions that might apply to you. We are happy to discuss any of the following with you and your tax advisor. We recommend action before December 10th. Read More

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Begins October 1 (September 15, 2013)

Doctor and patientCongress created Medicare in 1965. In 2010, Medicare provided health care to more than 48 million Americans. On average, Medicare coverage covers about half of health care costs for enrollees. The Medicare open enrollment period is the time during which people with Medicare can make new choices and pick plans that work best for them. Each year Medicare plans typically change what they cost and cover. In addition, your health-care needs may have changed over the past year. The open enrollment period is your opportunity to switch Medicare health and prescription drug plans to better suit your needs. Read More

Long-Term Care Insurance (March 27, 2013)

Doctor Examining an Elderly PatientLong-term care refers to the ongoing services and support needed by people who have chronic health conditions or disabilities. Understandably, many people put off planning for long-term care. But although it’s hard to face the fact that health problems may someday result in a loss of independence, if you begin planning now, you’ll have more options open to you in the future.

Here we consider the answers to five frequently-asked questions about long-term care insurance. Read More

The Roth 401(k) (August 28, 2012)

Lady on beachSome employers offer 401(k) plan participants the opportunity to make Roth 401(k) contributions.

A Roth 401(k) is simply a traditional 401(k) plan that accepts Roth 401(k) contributions.

If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer who offers this option, Roth contributions could play an important role in maximizing your retirement income.  Read More

Social Security and Medicare – Looking Ahead (July 26, 2012)

Keeping FitThe outlook for Social Security and Medicare are of growing importance for our economy.

The first baby boomers became eligible for Social Security in 2008 (at age 62) and for Medicare just last year. Costs of these programs currently represent approximately 8.7% of GDP and 56% of IRS tax receipts. By 2033, those figures are projected to climb to 12.5% of GDP and 81% of current tax receipts.

The following Barron’s reprint discusses a number of considerations, including how longterm impacts could affect your future benefits.

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The Transition Into Retirement (February 24, 2012)

Couple On MountainAre you ready to retire? The question is actually more complicated than it first appears, because it demands consideration on two levels. First, there’s the emotional component: Are you ready to enter a new phase of life? Do you have a plan for what you would like to accomplish or do in retirement? Have you thought through both the good and bad aspects of transitioning into retirement? Second, there’s the financial component: Can you afford to retire? Will your finances support the retirement lifestyle that you want? Do you have a retirement income plan in place? Read More