Are you a risk-taker or do you play it safe? Do you jump out of airplanes for fun or is getting an extra serving of sprinkles on your soft serve your idea of risk? Each of us can look at our behaviors and determine whether the life we lead is high-flying risky or plain-vanilla safe. But can we do the same for our investments? Can you look at the stocks or funds you own and get a good idea of how risky your portfolio is? The answer is probably no.
Financial planning is a huge part of what we do here at Creekmur Wealth Advisors, so it's no surprise that tax planning is one area we spend a lot of time working in. When I talk about tax planning I am not talking about filling out and submitting your tax return every April 15th. Filing your taxes is necessary, but it's reactive or backward-looking. Tax planning, on the other hand, is a forward-looking, comprehensive approach to reducing lifetime taxes and increasing overall after-tax wealth.
Even the most seasoned investors are prone to their influence.
Investors are routinely warned about allowing their emotions to influence their decisions. However, they are less routinely cautioned about their preconceptions and biases that may color their financial choices.
In a battle between the facts & biases, our biases may win. If we acknowledge this tendency, we may be able to avoid some unexamined choices when it comes to personal finance. It may actually "pay" to recognize blind spots and biases with investing. Here are some common examples of bias creeping into our financial lives.
“Do I have enough?” This is a question we hear all the time during our meetings with clients and prospective clients. While this question is often asked about retirement, we have heard it posed about countless other objectives clients are dreaming of and working towards:
How many pieces do you have in place?
When you read about money matters, you will sometimes see the phrase, “getting your financial house in order.” What exactly does that mean?
When your financial “house is in order,” it means it is built on a solid foundation. It means that you have six fundamental “pillars” in place that are either crucial for sustaining your financial well-being or creating wealth.
Some life and financial factors that can sometimes be overlooked.
We all have our “blue sky” visions of the way retirement should be, yet our futures may unfold in ways we do not predict. So, as you think about your “second act,” you may want to consider some life and financial factors that can suddenly arise.
You may end up retiring earlier than you expect. If you leave the workforce at “full” retirement age (FRA), which is 67 for those born in 1960 and later, you may be eligible to claim “full” Social Security benefits. Working until 67 may be worthwhile because it will reduce your monthly Social Security benefits if you claim them between age 62 and your FRA.1
Here are some things you might consider before saying goodbye to 2020.
What has changed for you in 2020? For many, this year has been as complicated as learning a new dance. Did you start a new job or leave a job behind? That’s one step. Did you retire? There’s another step. Did you start a family? That’s practically a pirouette. If notable changes occurred in your personal or professional life, then you may want to review your finances before this year ends and 2021 begins. Proving that you have all of the right moves in 2020 might put you in a better position to tango with 2021.
Even if your 2020 has been relatively uneventful, the end of the year is still a good time to get cracking and see where you can manage your overall personal finances.
Focus on your overall approach during times of short-term volatility.
As an investor, it can be tempting to get caught up in daily news headlines. Consider how news about the election and COVID-19 vaccines have moved the markets over the past several weeks. But having a financial strategy can help you ignore short-term volatility and focus on your long-term vision.
As you know, investing is a process based on your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. Interestingly enough, it’s also a process that may help you prepare for life’s financial challenges.
We're quickly approaching the end of another year - for many it can't come soon enough! But, before you start on your holiday to-do list, you might want to check out this "Financial To-Do List." Experience tells us that those who run through these items annually are well set up to reach financial goals in the new year!
Topics: Financial Planning
What you should know about the most recent cost-of-living adjustment.
On October 13, 2020, the Social Security Administration (SSA) officially announced that Social Security recipients will receive a 1.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2021. This adjustment will begin with benefits payable to more than 64 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2021. Additionally, increased payments to more than 8 million Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2020.1