Your Beneficiary Audit

by Susan Scheide

New-Will-Everything-to-My-Wife Absolutely

The New Will- Everything to My Wife Absolutely

As we approach the end of 2017, many of us will look back on the past year with a mixture of emotions and thoughts. Some of you might be contemplating making resolutions for the New Year like getting your financial affairs in order. We’d like to suggest that one of those resolutions be to contact your Compass Capital Trusted Financial AdvisorSM for a beneficiary audit of your investment accounts including your IRAs, 401(k), 403(b), annuities, and even your non-retirement accounts that you can register as “transfer on death” or “payable on death” (TOD and POD).

Whether or not you have a will or trust, it’s important that your beneficiaries be reviewed to avoid any unforeseen consequences resulting from changes in your life such as divorce, marriage, the birth or adoption of children, etc. It’s also important to make sure your beneficiary designations align with any designations made in your will.

I’ve written about it before—my own father neglected to update the beneficiaries of his life insurance policies when he created a new trust. When he passed away we had to probate the proceeds of those policies, and we paid a great deal of money to his corporate trustee to handle that for us. The irony of it all is that he was the head of the trust department for a major bank, and if anyone knew better, it was him.

There are numerous cases of divorced investors who have left their former spouses listed as beneficiaries contrary to their actual intentions.

We can confirm who you’ve designated on your accounts managed by us quite easily, and it is easy to change beneficiaries should you need to. Accounts not managed by Compass can be reviewed as well, but may require some help from you. Don’t overlook this important review wait until another year has passed. Contact your Compass advisor today 781-535-6083!

Modeling

start-modelling-01We offer financial planning as part of our process of working with clients. The planning often centers on financially modeling what your retirement could or should look like.

Our typical planning assignment might be for a client to ask us to show what their retirement looks like at a given age with a set of assumptions about assets, goals, investment return and inflation and taxes. The modeling we do is interactive using tools in our MoneyGuide Pro software we’re able to securely share a link to our work to our client so they can play “what if” and move sliders back and forth to change assumptions  about  investment return and inflation and taxes to see the impact on their retirement as we’ve modeled it.

I’ve typically preferred the phase “model” over “plan” as model to me sounds more interactive and flexible where as a plan sounds so fixed (even though it’s not).

If you, anyone in your family or friends needs our help modeling anything financial – we do that!

  • Retirement
  • Education funding
  • Large expenses or investments
  • Real estate analysis and more.

Call us at 781-535-6083.

 

My Financial Guy

“MyFather explaining stocks and bonds to son 1972 Financial Guy”- It’s the phrase we tend to hear most often in spite of however more accurately we might position ourselves as you Trusted Financial Advisor, Certified Financial Planner, financial advisor, investment advisor, etc.

People like to have one and sometimes feel that they need one just to be able to say that they have one. In any case we work best when we’re utilized not just nominated.

If your family members or friends need a Trusted Financial Advisor- we do that!

Let us be “the financial guy” (or girl) Give a call at 781-535-6083.

5 Things to Do In Your 50s and 60s to Boost Retirement Savings

Retirement Savings

When you’re young, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking there’s no rush to save for retirement. But before you know it, you may find yourself in your 50s or 60s, and nowhere near your retirement savings goal.

If you’re behind in your
retirement savings, one
great way to catch up is
to contribute more to
tax-advantaged plans.

Even those who started saving early on may have concerns about saving enough for their retirement years. In fact, only 20 percent of people ages 45 to 54 said they are confident they saved enough for retirement last year, according to a one NerdWallet survey.

If you’re in your 50s or 60s and feel behind on your savings, there are things you can do to boost your nest egg. The first step is to use an online calculator, such as FINRA’s Retirement Calculator, to figure how much you should be saving, based on factors like your current age, income and retirement age goal.

If you discover you may come up short, here are five tips to help you catch up:

1. Contribute more to tax-advantaged retirement plans

One great way to catch up is to contribute more to tax-advantaged plans, including individual retirement accounts (IRA) and workplace plans like a 401(k). If you’re 50 or older, you are eligible to contribute beyond the maximum annual contribution limit.

The IRS rules for annual “catch-up” contributions allow you to contribute an extra $1,000 to IRAs, for a total of $6,500 in 2017, and an extra $6,000 to 401(k)s, for a total of $24,000 in 2017.

Contributing that extra cash is easier said than done, but it’s important to remember that if you contribute $6,000 to a tax-advantaged account like a traditional 401(k), your annual income will be reduced by less than $6,000 due to the tax savings (just how much depends on your tax bracket and financial situation). You can use FINRA’s “401(k) Save the Max” calculator to see if you’re on track to save as much as you’re allowed.

2. Explore ways to cut spending 

Another way to boost your retirement savings is to cut down on what you’re spending now. Start by taking a hard look at your current budget. Budgeting is a function of what’s going in and what’s going out. If you’re able to cut out some spending (what’s going out), then you can, with discipline, put that money into a retirement savings account instead.

Fortunately, some expenses can decrease during retirement, such as commuting costs associated with driving to the office. If these changes aren’t substantial enough to affect your retirement savings, you may have to consider other significant cuts during retirement.

For example, you might consider moving to a less expensive home, getting rid of a car or moving to an area that is more walkable.

3. Consider working longer or more

There are some obvious advantages to working longer, such as having more time—and additional income—to save for your retirement. Another benefit is that the longer you put off receiving Social Security benefits after your full retirement age, the bigger payment you’ll receive once you do retire. That increase is two-thirds of one percent for each month that you delay receiving the benefits, or 8 percent annually, until you reach age 70.

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Know About Social Security in 2017

If you choose not to remain in your standard job longer, you can consider taking on additional “jobs” through the gig economy (e.g., driving for a rideshare company or other freelance work) now or during your retirement to help push back the date when you start receiving Social Security benefits.

4. Get serious with “extra” money

If you receive a raise, inheritance, bonus or tax refund, resist the urge to splurge. Instead, allocate that extra cash to your retirement, preferably into an account with tax advantages. Don’t miss out on any opportunity to put your money to work for you, to help build a secure financial future.

5.  Evaluate Investment Fees

Investing is never free. There are a number of fees that may apply to different types of accounts, and those investment fees can have a surprisingly large impact on your returns. It’s a good idea to conduct periodic check-ups on your financial accounts to ensure your money isn’t slowly being eaten away by high fees.

FINRA’s Fund Analyzer can help you get a handle on fees by allowing you to compare over 18,000 mutual funds and exchange-traded products. While you may not have much power to control fees in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you certainly do when it comes to investments you make on your own.

Consider a hypothetical 50-year old that starts with $250,000 in a retirement account, and adds $20,000 to the account annually. If the account earns a 7 percent average annual return and pays 1 percent in fees, over the next 15 years, about $128,000 of that portfolio’s value will go to fees. Meanwhile, if that hypothetical 50-year old had the same retirement account, but paid 0.5 percent in fees, over 15 years only about $66,000 would go to fees—leaving her with an extra $62,000 in retirement savings.

To learn more about saving and investing, and keeping your finances in order, visit the Investors section of FINRA.org.

Suddenly Single? Transitioning to Single?

Widowed osingler divorcing? We can work with you to educate you on ALL aspects of your finances: planning, bill paying, budgeting, insurances and investing . We work with you and train you to handle the parts you’d like to master and help you decide what to delegate so you can be comfortably independent. A study of 140 advisors by Key Bank found that 82% reported “hardly any of their married female clients have a contingency plan in place to navigate the emotional and financial impacts of finding themselves on their own.” One of the biggest challenges is to have process to identify and conquer financial decisions that must be made immediately vs. those that can be postponed.

We do that! If you or a family member or friend are either transitioning to or has suddenly become single: call us at 781-535-6083.