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Articles on Wealth Management Topics

Retirement Risks Are Mounting in 2021

Several recent surveys indicate that inflation has now overtaken the pandemic as the primary concern among investors and retirees. Allianz's 2020 Retirement Risk Readiness Study concluded that 57% of Americans are worried that inflation will make basic retirement expenses unaffordable. If in fact inflation does re-emerge after decades of benign behavior, it will be particularly damaging for those close to, or in, retirement.

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The SECURE Act Changes the Landscape for Tax-Efficient Retirement Planning

Since March, COVID stories have dominated the headlines, and unprecedented financial market volatility has grabbed the attention of investors. As a result, it's been easy to forget that one of the most far-reaching pieces of legislation to affect the financial planning landscape in more than a decade was passed just before the pandemic struck. The SECURE Act, or Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, contains provisions that impact saving for retirement, estate planning, retirement distribution strategies, tax planning, debt management, and retirement plan administration.

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The CARES Act and Tax-Efficient Charitable Giving in 2020

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act contains one-time provisions that apply to the taking of required minimum distributions (RMD's) in 2020. The CARES Act also makes temporary modifications to some of the tax rules surrounding this year's charitable giving. With just a couple of months left to take advantage of them, let's explore these changes and their implications.

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The Total Cost of ETF Ownership: Investment Considerations Beyond Expense Ratio

There's no doubt that lower fund management expenses and lower transaction fees are beneficial to investors - all other things being equal. But that's the rub. There are several other cost considerations in choosing which ETF to buy, and when to buy it, that can easily outweigh whether you pay or receive 50 cents per $1,000 invested per year, or whether you pay your broker nothing or $7 per trade.

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The CARES Act and Required Minimum Distributions

As mentioned in the most recent issue of "Seasonal Musings" - the quarterly e-newsletter distributed by Five Seasons Financial Planning - the passing of the SECURE Act late last year permanently changed the financial planning landscape, and in particular, many of the rules on required distributions from IRA's and retirement plan accounts. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, passed just a few months later, contains a number of measures related to the taking of RMD's in this calendar year alone.

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How Equity-Indexed Annuities (EIA's) Actually Work: A Case Study

Buyers often seem unaware of the shortcomings of annuities until well after their purchase. Equity-indexed annuities are no exception to this statement. While the downside protection they offer is not at issue here (but is subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurance company involved), the upside potential of these products is often vastly exaggerated (or misunderstood) by salespeople motivated by nothing more than the prospect of sales commissions averaging about 6% of the amount invested.

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