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Are You Staying Financially Healthy This Holiday Season?

Are You Staying Financially Healthy This Holiday Season

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
November 29, 2018 Category: Financial Health, Holiday Planning, Financial Planning

  As wonderful as they can be, the holidays are usually pretty stressful. Between juggling your usual responsibilities, attending holiday parties, spending time with family and friends, and braving the crowds to shop or go out, there is never enough time or money. Here are a few tips we think are worth sharing to help ease your stress and get the most out of your time and money this holiday season. 1.       Make a budget: Our recommendation for most families is that they don’t spend more than 1% of their annual household income on the holidays. So, if you have a combined income of $200,000, you would have $2,000 to spend. 2.       Make a list: By making a gift list and thinking about how much to spend on each person, you’ll have a better idea of what your budget should be. Although it’s easy to overlook the small costs, those are the ones that can add up quickly. Remember that this budget should also include things like cards, postage, décor, wrapping paper and bows, food, parties, and even travel.  3.       Create a spending cap for each person: This goes along with #2 - there are so many groups to buy for – family, friends, coworkers, even the mailman. We recommend creating a cap for each person – a total budget tends to quickly get out of hand when you don’t add it up until your shopping is

Savvy Social Security Planning

Savvy Social Security Planning

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
September 06, 2018 Category: Social Security, Financial Planning, Lineweaver

Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income What you need to know before you apply for Social Security benefits. When should someone start collecting Social Security benefits? The answer is that there is no one "best age" for everyone and, ultimately, it is your choice. You should make an informed decision about when to apply for benefits based on your individual and family circumstances. We don’t know what the future holds, but Social Security is likely to continue as a source of some retirement income for baby boomers. From a planning perspective, any assumptions made about the impact of Social Security on retirement should be conservative. An individual’s full retirement age (FRA) is the age when he or she qualifies to receive the entire or "full" Social Security retirement benefit based on his or her earnings history. This age varies based on when he or she was born  Everyone who is qualified to receive Social Security retirement benefits can begin taking them as early as age 62 or delay up to age 70. Your monthly benefit amount can differ substantially based on the age when you start receiving benefits. If you decide to start benefits before your full retirement age, your benefit will be smaller but you will receive it for a longer period of time. At age 62, your monthly benefit is 25% lower than the benefit at full retirement age. (FRA)  If you decide to wait until your full ret

Living for Today and for Tomorrow

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
August 01, 2016 Category: Retirement Planning, Financial Planning

Life is about finding the right balance, whether it be with diet, exercise, or your finances.  Do we sacrifice today for a richer future, or do we live it up today and worry about the future when it gets here? Most of us are trying to manage multiple goals at the same time; that is true in our financial lives also. Enjoy life today; pay off debt; save for future goals….retirement, children and their education; build emergency funds; or build funds for a future large purchase. Do Americans have financial balance in their lives? The results of a recent survey from Bankrate indicate the answer is no. Fewer than one in four Americans have enough money in their savings account to cover at least six months of expenses--enough to help cushion the blow of a job loss, medical emergency or some other unexpected event--according to the survey of 1,000 adults. Meanwhile, 50% of those surveyed have less than a three-month cushion and 27% had no savings at all! Only 48% of respondents to a Federal Reserve study said that they would completely cover a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 without selling something or borrowing money. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night in that situation. Even households earning at least $100,000 are finding themselves pinched, with 1 in 4 saying they sometimes live from pay period to pay period. Hopefully these statistics are a wake-up call. I hope that in the future, we see Americans develop a healthy relationship with money. B

Portfolio Stress Test

Portfolio Stress Test

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
June 06, 2016 Category: Financial Planning, Retirement Planning, Diversification

Review Your Investments Before the Next Panic. Better to Act than React. This time last year who would have thought that the price of oil would drop to today’s levels? Or that slowing growth in China would send shivers through the market? Barely seven years after the financial crisis, it already feels like a distant memory—and rosier than it was. Test your own recollection of the bear market: Do you remember correctly that between October 2007 and March 2009, the U.S. stock market dropped in price by 57%? Most investors build retirement portfolios with one goal in mind—to maximize returns. Does that take into account reality? Probably not. On the other hand, you need to understand the cost of being overly cautious also. Risk and returns frequently go hand-in-hand. If losses cannot be tolerated, then long-term return will be decreased along with risk levels, which will mean that retirement goals must be reassessed. If you think stocks can’t fall by at least 50% again, you are wrong. If you think that you (or anybody else) can know exactly when that will happen, you must have a very reliable crystal ball!  And if you think you won’t overreact when it does, you had better test that belief now—before it is too late to find out you were kidding yourself. The Federal Reserve annually examines large financial institutions to see how they would weather various significant financial stresses. The test simulates a crisis that includes a de

Asset Allocation Review

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
May 16, 2016 Category: Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

The underlying principle of asset allocation is to diversify your investment portfolio among several different asset classes in an effort to reduce the risk and volatility of your overall portfolio and potentially improve your overall returns. Even if you’ve already constructed a plan, changes to your investment profile such as time horizon or risk tolerance may require adjustments to your asset allocation plan. The plan you established last year may not be appropriate this year as a result of economic fluctuations or changes in your personal or financial circumstances. Your allocation to international investments might not make as much sense this year with slowing foreign growth and heightened terrorist concerns. To start the review run through a quick exercise of determining your exact current asset allocation, on a percentage basis; add up your exposure to stocks, bonds, cash or otherwise. Then simply ask yourself: What type of market am I allocated for? Obviously, a bull market portfolio would have a high allocation to stocks or alternatives, whereas a bear market portfolio would have outsize allocations to high-quality bonds and cash. In a rising interest rate environment be careful assuming the bonds are risk adverse- the opposite could hold true. Heading into the 7th year of market growth an important consideration is having adequate cash reserves, and possibly a downsized risk appetite. We all know the market will decline- after 7 years that likelihood incre

Avoid Costly Financial Mistakes

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
April 21, 2016 Category: Retirement Planning, Financial Planning

Learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t follow the same path With the combined decades of experience in financial planning of the advisors at The Lineweaver Financial Group, we have witnessed mistakes made by people planning for and living out their retirement years. Some of the mistakes are costly emotionally and others have been costly financially. Today we share some of the mistakes that are common, so you can use this information to evaluate your own situation and ongoing plans. We are not going to look at the rare unlikely mistakes, but rather focus on those we see commonly. Ignore significant financial drops- Most of our clients have one thing in common. They have enough money to live out a comfortable retirement as long as they don't lose it. Over the years we've taken great pride in helping our clients hold on to what they have. Forgetting About Income Taxes- Just because we retire does not mean income taxes go away. During retirement income tax planning can be even more critical to preserve the nest egg. Especially with the onset of required retirement plan distributions, it is important to continually evaluate whether to take the minimum or to accelerate withdrawals. Retiring Early Without Adequate Planning- An early retirement can present exponentially greater challenges to one's savings. Not to say it should not be done, but it is particularly critical that a game plan be developed well ahead of time to help assure there will be enou

Women and Money

Women and Money

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
March 24, 2016 Category: Education Programs, Women And Money, Financial Planning

Let’s begin by looking at the role women play in today’s financial landscape. Men are better at managing money, make more prudent financial decisions, and are responsible for most of the financial decisions made today. Wrong, wrong, and wrong again. We might not like to admit it, but the statistics point to women being better with money, and making or being involved in most of the financial decisions today. We hear all the time it is a new world, in this arena throw the old rules out the window. Women have done a better job changing their finances in the face of the recession we are still trying to recover from. Polls by Ameritrade and Citigroup show that 85% of women plan to save more, vs. 62% of their male counter parts, and 72% vs. 65% plan to pay down debt. Women spend more than men, or so the story goes. Bureau of Labor Dept studies find women do spend more on apparel, but men are spending more than women on eating out, electronic equipment and cars. Men do like their toys! In the recession, 72% of women had reduced their spending, but only 62% of men had cut back. Women in general tend to be more conservative investors. A study from University of California Davis showed men trade stocks 50% more than women and this activity diminishes rather than enhances their returns. The financial landscape is becoming more confusing, and most of us need to make more financial decision than in the past. To make these decisions with a high degree of confidence and with

Diversification

Diversification

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
March 03, 2016 Category: Diversification, Financial Planning

Diversification - What it is and why it’s important in today world. The goal of diversification is not to boost performance—it won’t ensure gains or guarantee against losses. But once you choose to target a level of risk based on your goals, time horizon, and tolerance for volatility, diversification may provide the potential to improve returns for that level of risk. To build a diversified portfolio, you should look for assets—stocks, bonds, cash, or others—whose returns haven’t historically moved in the same direction, and, ideally, assets whose returns typically move in opposite directions. This way, even if a portion of your portfolio is declining, the rest of your portfolio, hopefully, is growing. Thus, you can potentially offset some of the impact of poor performance on your overall portfolio. Another important aspect of building a well-diversified portfolio is that you try to stay diversified within each type of investment. Within your individual stock holdings, beware of overconcentration in a single stock. For example, you may not want one stock to make up more than 5% of your stock portfolio.  It’s also smart to diversify across stock holdings by market capitalization (small, mid, and large caps), sectors, and geography. Again, not all caps, sectors, and regions have prospered at the same time, or to the same degree, so you may be able to reduce portfolio risk by spreading your assets across different parts of the

Congress Makes Charitable Contributions from IRA’s Tax Free. Forever!

Congress Makes Charitable Contributions from IRA’s Tax Free. Forever!

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
February 04, 2016 Category: Retirement Planning, Financial Planning, Charitable Contributions, Tax

Are you at least 70 ½, and want to build regular charitable contributions into your legacy plan using excess funds in your IRA? In the past, you had to worry that the government might decide that donation was considered taxable income, which meant you would either had to either contribute more to cover the shortfall or give simply give less. The good news is you never have to worry about that again because the Federal Government has made a permanent change to IRA gifting.  Starting 2016, charitable donations of up to $100,000 per year made from your IRA funds are no longer subject to any tax because the donation is excluded from your taxable income.  That means, for those of you so inclined to give-back, you can integrate a regular annual donation into your retirement plan. And, since the law refers to Individual Retirement Accounts, your spouse can do likewise with his or her IRA funds. A little good news for your kids…. There’s also a provision in the new law that you might want to mention to your children who are putting aside money in their IRA or in a 529 plan for their kids. The cost for computers, software, and even internet access can now be withdrawn from accumulated savings tax and penalty free — even if the school your grandchildren attend do not require a computer as a condition of

Year End Tax Tips

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
November 02, 2015 Category: Tax, Education Programs, Retirement Planning, Financial Planning

There are some basic tried and true tax planning tips that can be applied each and every year. While these may not be new and exciting, they are highly effective and proven to minimize your tax bill. Here is a brief highlight of the tax planning maneuvers you should still be considering for 2015: Defer Income: Income is taxed in the year it is received. If possible defer year-end bonuses from employers to 2016 if you feel that income will place you in a higher tax bracket in 2015. If you are self-employed you may consider delaying billings until late December so that the payments are not received until 2016. Also consider accelerating income into 2015 if you feel you will be in a lower tax bracket in the current tax year. Bunching Itemized Deductions: Consider paying real estate taxes due in early 2016 in 2015, pay medical bills ahead, or make charitable deductions earlier to enable you to get past the itemized deduction threshold in 2015. Charitable Deductions: You may wish to consider donating appreciated property (stocks or property) in lieu of cash. This may render you the double tax benefit of deducting the contributed asset at Fair Market Value and avoiding paying the capital gains tax on the built up appreciation. HSA: If eligible, consider setting up and contributing to a Health Savings Account. You may make a tax deductible contribution to a Self-Only HSA of $3,350 or a family HSA of $6,650 (plus an additional $1,000 if age 55+). You must have a minimum annual

What is a Financial Plan?

Posted By Lineweaver Financial Group
October 01, 2015 Category: Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

The average American faces an uncertain economy and more options for saving and investing than ever before. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed or confused, unless you find a way to understand the big picture. Yet few have a plan in place. Only 31% of financial decision makers in families say they have created a comprehensive financial plan either on their own or with professional help, according to the 2012 Household Financial Planning Survey conducted by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards. What’s the most expensive thing you’ll ever buy in your lifetime? The answer probably isn’t a big-ticket item like a new TV, car or home. When you put money into a retirement nest egg, you’re “buying” your retirement. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46% of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and 29% of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement. Vacation planning takes precedence over retirement planning for a large segment of the population, according to an Edward Jones study. The survey asked 1,006 people which item they spent the most time on: vacation planning, planning for retirement, planning for higher education, or planning a big purchase such as a house or car. The largest group (28 percent) said they spent most of their planning time on vacations. The study revealed more than half said they had spent five hours or more doing research the last time they

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