Is Your Inheritance Taxable?

Many clients ask about the taxability of inherited assets.  Generally, funds or assets you inherit are not taxable; if estate taxes (sometimes referred to as death taxes) are due they are paid by the estate prior to distribution to beneficiaries.  A few states (not Michigan) have an inheritance tax. The rules regarding how to treat … Continued

Planning for your digital afterlife

Not too long ago, I attended the funeral of a good friend who was taken way too early from our lives.   Her family was having difficulty figuring out how to access a Shutterfly account that she had been using to store photos of her children.  It took them a few weeks, but they were finally … Continued

It’s probably a good time to look at your mortgage

According to Freddie Mac, the average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is currently 3.41%, while the average rate on a 15-year fixed mortgage is 2.74%.  Both of these numbers are close to all-time lows, after the ‘Brexit’ vote caused a flight to U.S. Treasury bonds in the face of global uncertainty.  When investors flock … Continued

How much does it cost you to live?

How much does it cost you to live?  This is one of the first and most important questions that I ask a potential client when we start to build out a financial plan together.  Surprisingly, many people don’t really know their all-in cost of living. For most people, their top priority when it comes to … Continued

Keep Your House Out Of Probate

For many of our clients, a well thought out estate plan is a key component of their overall financial plan.  A typical estate plan consists of a will, durable powers of attorney, healthcare powers of attorney, and sometimes one or more trusts. For clients who are focused on protecting their assets after they are gone, … Continued

Medicare: Simplifying the As, Bs, Cs, and Ds!

At age 65, if you are a U.S. citizen, you qualify for Medicare.  Given the continual rising costs of healthcare this is a welcomed benefit.  However, it does not arrive in the mail neatly wrapped in a bow – it can be very confusing.  Recently the financial television show CNBC included a segment on its … Continued

The Retirement Dilemma

There have been numerous studies related to long term retirement trends.  These examinations of American’s retirement prospects universally conclude that most of us are not adequately providing for our retirement years. Some of the more important findings suggest that some of us are not saving enough and many of us have little or no savings.  … Continued

Childhood Comes With An Expiration Date

Today marks the beginning of our summer blog series, Financial Planning Fridays.  Each Friday during the summer, we will share a blog or news article on various financial planning topics. We believe in the power of financial knowledge and education.  Therefore, we hope to engage our readers with topics that may be important to their … Continued

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse mortgages are one of the retirement planning resources that have gained interest in recent years, particularly as a result of well formulated advertising campaigns that, obviously, highlight the potential benefits while glossing over, or completely ignoring, some of the potential problems. Wikipedia defines reverse mortgages as a special type of home loan for older … Continued

Saving: Good or Bad?

  Over the years, we have all probably been encouraged to save, first by parents and then by assorted financial advisors.  Clearly, saving is important and most of us should have cash reserves to cover several months of expenses and be putting something aside for retirement.  To that extent, saving is good. The big picture … Continued

Changes to Social Security Claiming Strategies Forthcoming

The good news out of Washington last week is that Congress was able to pass budget legislation and avoid a government shutdown.  The bad news is that some retirees will no longer have access to two popular Social Security claiming strategies, including file-and-suspend and restricted application. For couples who are at or past their full-retirement … Continued