What Robin’s Reading: May 2016

Robin Weingast Reading RecsWelcome to another installment of What Robin’s Reading — our regular feature that gives you an inside look at what the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is focusing on to stay up-to-date with benefits and retirement planning news.

This month, we continue to monitor the impact of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, but with graduation season upon us, we’re also reading up on the investment and benefit trends among the new crop of job seekers. A recent video by Tony Robbins caught our eye — it contains his opinion on a “must invest” for young professionals. Click here to hear what he has to say.

We also read “Millennials & Financial Literacy—The Struggle with Personal Finance,” a fascinating report on the personal finances of millennials. Based on research conducted by The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University, the report uncovered eight key trends. When it comes to personal finance, millennials:

1. Have inadequate financial knowledge
When tested on financial concepts, only 24% demonstrated basic financial knowledge.

2. Aren’t happy with their current financial situation
When ranking satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, 34% were very unsatisfied.

3. Worry about student loans
When asked about their ability to repay their student loan debt, more than 54% of Millennials expressed concern.

4. Have debt across economic and educational lines
Among college-educated Millennials, a staggering 81% have at least one longterm debt.

5. Are financially fragile
Nearly 30% of Millennials are overdrawing on their checking accounts.

6. Are heavy users of Alternative Financial Services (AFS)
In the past five years, 42% of Millennials used an AFS product, such as payday loans, pawnshops, auto title loans, tax refund advances, and rent-to-own products.

7. Sacrifice retirement accounts
More than 20% of Millennials with retirement accounts took loans or hardship withdrawals in the past year.

8. Don’t seek professional financial help
Even with inadequate knowledge, only 27% of Millennials are seeking professional financial advice on saving and investment.

But the picture isn’t totally bleak for millennials. Another piece from CNBC outlines distinct advantages that the generation has when saving for retirement.

Whether you know a young professional who would benefit from advisement, or you want to make sure your own personal finances are in order, the Robin S. Weingast team is here for you. Contact us today for an appointment. Our team of experts is ready to make sure you and your loved ones are on track to meet your financial goals.

Resource of the Month: Long-Term Care Tax Issues

In keeping with our focus on long-term care, this month we’re offering a resource that breaks down all of the tax considerations associated with long-term care. While federal law is generally favorable when it comes to long-term care expenses, there are several key factors that you have to take into account when planning for the future. This month’s resources goes through the considerations associated with costs, savings limits, and tax considerations for employees as well as those who are self-employed.

Click here to download this month’s resource and contact the Robin S. Weingast & Associates Team if you’re ready to take control of your future and address your long-term care planning needs.

Need to Know: Test Your Long-Term Care Knowledge

Robin_Weingast_Long-term-careThink you know what you need to about long-term care? We found two short quizzes that will put your knowledge to the test. From rising costs and an increasing number of people that will require long-term care, to the leading reasons why people purchase long-term care insurance, the answers to these questions may surprise you.

Click here to take the first quiz and see how you stack up.

Ace that one? Click here to take the second quiz.

Did these quizzes raise some questions about long-term care and what you need to do to prepare for your future? The Robin S. Weingast & Associates Team is ready to address all of your concerns about long-term care, long-term care insurance, and planning for your future. Contact us today and give yourself peace of mind.

What Robin’s Reading: March 2015

Robin Weingast Reading RecsWelcome to the next installment of “What Robin’s Reading,” our bimonthly feature that highlights what the Robin Weingast team is reading to stay current and up-to-date on the issues that will most impact our clients and their benefit planning. This month we’re reading “Determining the Future of Long-Term Care.”

Why are we reading this?

The industry estimate is that over 70% of people will need long-term care at some point in their future. It’s an unavoidable and expensive need, with costs soaring over the past five years (link to RSW post on costs). Last year, long-term care was in the spotlight and we know that it will be a pivotal issue in the years ahead. There will also undoubtedly be legislative focus on long-term care expense taxation issues that may change long-term care planning strategies.

The article recognizes that strong long-term care “requires a well functioning interdisciplinary care team, innovative delivery systems, and carefully coordinated care. This cannot be done alone, but will sometimes require a strong strategic partner.”

The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team prides itself on being your go-to strategic partner. We make it our business to have the expertise needed to address our clients’ most pressing and important concerns and we also offer innovative, tax-favorable solutions to long-term care planning. Contact us and let us put our knowledge to work for you.

Resource of the Month: IRA Rollover as a Qualified Plan Conduit

Weingast_IRAIn the spirit of new year’s resolutions, the start of the year often means that employees are putting plans in place to start new jobs. That’s why our January Resource of the Month is about Conduit IRA’s – which are special IRAs where funds are held until they are either transferred to a new plan or dispersed to the employee.

The resource provides an in-depth look at how these plans work, explains what your options are as either the plan provider or the employee, and goes over other considerations based on the latest legislation – including some new parameters that went into effect on January 1, 2015.

This is a can’t-miss resource – download it here today!

Need To Know: 2015 Pension Plan Limits

It’s a new year and that means something important for your retirement plan – new contribution limits. In 2015, the IRS has raised pension plan limits to reflect cost-of-living increases. There are new limits for 401(k)-related plans as well as others. We’ve summarized the new limits (and given you a six-year overview of plan limits) in this helpful chart:Robin_Weingast_Plan_Limits

Based on these new limits, it’s more important than ever for you and your employees to review your retirement plans. The Robin Weingast & Associates team is here to help you understand the new limits and make sure you maximize their potential and opportunities. Contact us today to make sure your benefits are working for you.

What Robin’s Reading: January 2015

Robin Weingast Reading RecsHappy new Year from Robin Weingast & Associates! As regular readers of our blog know, the Robin Weingast & Associates team is committed to providing our clients with the knowledge and insights they need to successfully achieve their business goals. What you may not know is that we also like to make sure we’re prepared with insights and knowledge that will help us provide the best service to every one of our clients.

That’s why we’re happy to introduce a new feature on our blog: “What Robin’s Reading.” Every other month, we’ll give you an inside look at what the Robin Weingast & Associates team is reading and explain why it’s so interesting to us.

This month, we’re reading “17 Charitable Tips for the Wealthiest Clients,” a piece that outlines ways that we can help our wealthiest clients participate in philanthropy that matters to them. The article outlines some key points to consider as we work with clients to achieve their giving goals.

Why are we reading this? At the heart of these 17 tips is the message that the right strategy comes down to making sure you have a relationship with your client and that the solution you offer is customized to their needs. This is at the heart of the Robin S. Weingast & Associates approach to business.

Got something you think Robin should read? Contact us and make a recommendation!

Countdown to New Year’s Eve

Robin Weingast Retirement SolutionsOn New Year’s Eve, most of us will be counting down until the stroke of midnight, when we can wish our friends and family a happy and healthy 2015. But December 31 is an important deadline in the world of retirement planning. As detailed in this article,  New Year’s Eve is the deadline for most 2014 required minimum distributions to be made. The RMD for 2014 is based on the taxpayer’s life expectancy on Dec. 31, 2014, and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2013.

There are some exceptions, particularly if you are still working or if you reached age 70 1/2 in 2014, but you should take note and be sure not to miss this important deadline!

If you have any questions about how to be compliant with this deadline or to explore if you are eligible for an exception, please contact the Robin Weingast and Associates team today.



Need to Know: Five Things You May Not Know About Your 401 (k)

Robin Weingast can help with 401 (k) planningAt Robin S. Weingast & Associates, we believe a large part of our work is keeping our clients well informed about the insights and trends that will help them achieve their business goals. We also believe that we have a responsibility to pass along tips and to help shatter myths that may be preventing our clients from succeeding. Our team of experts is constantly reading and staying up-to-date on what’s happening with the IRS, employee benefits, and more.

This month we’re talking 401 (k) plans, which are a well-known – but often not fully understood – retirement plan option that many employers offer. If you need a refresher on exactly what a 401 (k) is, we recommend this basic overview.

Now that you know the basics, here are five things you may not know about your 401 (k):

1) If you leave your job, you can roll your 401 (k) over to an individual plan with no tax penalty.
Many people think that any 401 (k) distribution will incur a penalty, but that simply isn’t the case. If you change employers, any plan will allow you to roll over to an established IRA. If you have multiple plans, it’s best to consolidate them.

2) Your 401 (k) is creditor-protected by law
The great thing about this is that your 401 (k) funds are protected – no matter what. That’s why we advise our clients never to use their 401 (k) funds to pay off a debt or avoid bankruptcy. Your funds will be protected, and you should only use them for retirement.

3) Age 55 is important
Most people assume that age 59 1/2 is the point at which they can begin receiving distributions from their 401 (k) without the standard 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, there are certain instances when you can receive distributions beginning at age 55, particularly if you leave your employer after 55 but before 59 1/2. Make sure you discuss these provisions with your plan provider.

4) Using an automated portfolio is a smart strategy
As much as we might want to pick-and-choose our own investments, most plans offer incredibly valuable automated resources. In some instances you simply select a year that aligns most closely with your anticipated retirement date and your plan will allocate your assets across many platforms and the plan will adapt over time as you near your retirement date. In other cases, you may need to articulate how aggressive or conservative you wish to be with your investments, and the plan will compile an appropriately aligned portfolio of investments. Whatever is available, an automated plan makes sense and makes life much easier.

5) Consider Stable Value Funds
If you are close to your retirement (or even if you’re not), consider allocating some of your 401 (k) assets to a Stable Value Fund, which is a special class of fund that most plans offer. The value won’t vary with the market nor will it be impacted by adjustments to interest rates the way bond funds do. As you get closer to retirement, it may make sense to move a few years’ worth of anticipated funds into a Stable Value Fund, so that you can at least have the peace of mind knowing that your first few years of retirement income will not be impacted by market variables.

Need additional assistance managing your 401 (k)? The Robin Weingast & Associates Team is always available. Contact us today. We’re happy to help and happy to answer any questions!

Source: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-smarter-mutual-fund-investor/2014/05/19/7-things-i-wish-people-knew-about-401k-plans

The Top 3 Retirement Myths: What you need to Know about the “R-Word”

Robin Weingast: Top 3 Retirement MythsDid you know that the National Institute on Retirement Security estimates that “Americans are at least $6.8 trillion short of what we need to fund comfortable retirements “? This is particularly true for Baby boomers. Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers retire with a media of $120,000 saved—hardly enough to last for what will be a more than 30-year retirement.

The biggest obstacle to being prepared for retirement isn’t actually money; it’s misinformation. Here are the top 3 myths that prevent people from being properly prepared for retirement.

Myth 1: Retirement means the end of investing

Retirement does not mean that you have to stop investing. Your retirement can last up to 30 years, meaning that you have that many more years to enjoy the fruits of investing. Conversely, a long retirement means your money will be subject to inflation, making the need to keep investing even more essential.

Myth 2: Taxes decrease when you retire

While you may be earning less in retirement (and thus be in a lower tax bracket), you may also lose certain deductions and exemptions that you receive because of your employment. In addition, state and local taxes will rise. These factors mean that you may actually pay a larger percentage of your income in taxes.

Myth 3: I won’t need as much day-to-day living money when I retire

While there certainly will be opportunities for you to decrease your daily cost of living, retirement may mean increased opportunities to travel or the chance to take on a new costly hobby. If you underestimate your financial needs, your retirement planning will be incorrect.

These are just a few of the many myths about retirement that many people believe are true. Others include that you should make your savings priority paying for your child’s education or that Social Security and/or Medicare will be enough for your retirement years.

Why not plan for this important part of your life using facts? At Robin Weingast & Associates, we can help you plan based on retirement reality, not retirement myths. Contact us today to find out how to make your retirement plan work for you.