In the college savings game, all strategies aren’t created equal. The best savings vehicles offer special tax advantages if the funds are used to pay for college.
It’s generally a good idea to review your employer-sponsored retirement savings plan at least once each year, and when major life changes occur. If you haven’t given your plan a thorough review within the past 12 months, now may be a good time to do so.
Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to retire, your employer-sponsored retirement plan can play a key role in your financial strategies.
By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means to you specifically depends on who you are.
529 savings plans are tax-advantaged education savings vehicles and one of the most popular ways to save for college today. They can also be used to save for K-12 tuition. Much as 401(k) plans changed the world of retirement savings a few decades ago, 529 savings plans have changed the world of education savings.
You may have heard about the horrors of probate, but in truth, probate has gotten an undeservedly bad reputation, especially in recent years. If you bypass probate, your estate will go to your beneficiaries without any court proceeding, and you may save a certain amount of time and expenses. However, there is usually little reason for most people to avoid probate today. States continue to revise their probate laws, making them more consumer friendly, particularly for small estates. For most modestly sized estates, the probate process now costs little. In fact, there are some good reasons to distribute your property by will. Decisions are binding and have legal finality once your will is probated. Creditors who fail to file claims against your estate within a specific amount of time, usually six months after receiving notice, are out of luck.
If you own a home, you may be wealthier than you think. The equity in your home could be one of your largest assets, especially if your mortgage has been paid down over the years or paid off. This home equity can be a valuable source of extra income during your retirement years.
When you determine how much income you’ll need in retirement, you may base your projection on the type of lifestyle you plan to have and when you want to retire. However, as you grow closer to retirement, you may discover that your income won’t be enough to meet your needs. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll need to adopt a plan to bridge this projected income gap.