Since the onset of COVID-19 in February, we’ve seen record volatility in the financial markets. But, it’s time in the markets, rather than timing the markets that will ultimately help set you up for success over the long-term. Here are a few strategies to help you keep your cool, remain invested, and weather the storm.
First, consider using income-focused strategies to help weather today’s uncertainty. When investing in individual stocks, it’s important to use caution for growth purposes or when you are nearing retirement. Normally, it’s best to employ a combination of different tools, including bonds or fixed income, based on your financial goals and time horizon.
Secondly, remember that planning now could save you and your family hundreds of thousands of dollars later. One of the major changes of the past year is the elimination of the “stretch” IRA. This rule changes the way your heirs are able to receive inherited funds. Before the change, you were able to spread the inherited money over the course of your heir’s lifetime, but under the new rule, you now have to withdraw those funds in 10 years. This greatly raises the amount of taxes that a beneficiary will have to pay on those funds. A way to avoid this is by using the gifting strategies, Roth conversions, or by creating a bloodline trust.
Third, consider a bloodline trust to keep it all in the family. A bloodline trust is a way to help ensure that money stays within your family. This means if something should happen to your child/beneficiary, such as divorce, the money will be passed to the grandchild. It’s also a way to protect your estate from probate, and even from creditors. While this can be a great strategy, it does come with potential downsides, which include higher tax rates and the fact that it will likely require ongoing maintenance fees.
Finally, consider using current tax-advantaged strategies to help protect and preserve your estate. Using gift exclusions, unified credits, and even Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs) are all proactive ways to get money out of the estate and help avoid overpaying in taxes. If you are usually required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) it’s important to remember that they have been suspended for 2020. Another piece that can help you not overpay in taxes is to coordinate your tax strategies with your current financial situation.