Charitable IRA gifts offer a win-win solution

Thanks to the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, charitable Individual Retirement Account gifts are once again allowed in 2013. An IRA owner aged 701/2 or older may give up to $100,000 this year to either a 170(b)(1)(A) public foundation or 501(c)(3) charity. Congress could elect to extend this opportunity in 2014 and subsequent years. […]

Retirement savings: When is enough enough?

You save for retirement with the expectation that at some point you’ll have enough to walk confidently away from work and into the next phase of life. But how do you know if you’ve reached that point? Retirement calculators are useful, but only to a point. The problem is they can’t predict your retirement lifestyle. […]

“Golden handcuffs” retain key executives

Businesses sometimes arrange what are called “golden handcuffs” or “golden handshake” agreements with key managers to reward loyalty and promote retention. A golden handcuffs strategy can make a management position so attractive it would be financially irresponsible to walk away. The classic golden handcuff arrangement is a “top hat” program — a non-qualified deferred compensation […]

Higher mortgage rates raise important questions

Between early May and mid-July, the average interest rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages rose about 1 percent. Rates on 30-year FRMs have basically held steady since hitting a peak of 4.51 percent in the Federal Home Mortgage Corp. July 11 Primary Mortgage Market Survey. In the Aug. 15 survey, rates averaged 4.4 percent, but they […]

Strategies available to increase Social Security income

What’s your “magic number?” Roughly half of retirees claim Social Security benefits as soon as they become eligible at age 62. Some people delay benefits and postpone using their retirement savings as an income source. Others apply out of necessity because their financial situation leaves them little choice.  These factors aside, what if you have […]

Break your bad money habits: 10 things to avoid

Do bad money habits constrain your financial progress? Many people fall into the same financial behavior patterns year after year. If you sometimes succumb to these financial tendencies, a new year offers as good an occasion as any to alter your behavior. Lending money to family and friends. You might know someone who has lent […]

Big spenders or big savers: Who would you emulate?

You stand at your window and look across the street. Nice house. Nice landscaping. Nice sports car. New bikes for the kids. Wow, your neighbors must be really well off. If only you had that kind of money.  The plain home down the street with the older model sedan parked out front pales in comparison. […]

Plan to take advantage of all of the rewards of philanthropy

A gift to charity could be a great financial favor to you, too — some charitable gifting methods offer notable tax advantages. Here’s a brief look at some popular options: Charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) offer a useful estate planning tool. People with such highly appreciated assets as stocks or real estate are often hesitant to […]

Pension buyouts: Carefully consider all the factors

If you get a pension buyout offer from your long-time employer, you might be more than a little anxious. Does that lump sum constitute a good deal for you or the corporation or organization providing retirement income? With General Motors and Ford offering lump sum payments to tens of thousands of former workers, pension buyouts […]

Make time now for a retirement reality check

Decades ago, there was a popular book titled “What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School.” Perhaps someday, another book will appear to detail certain aspects of the retirement experience that go unrecognized — the “fine print,” if you will. Here are some things that can be frequently overlooked: How will you save in […]