Let’s take a quick trip through some key parts of the tax code to learn ways to increase your after-tax returns from mutual funds. Of course, what we’re going to discuss in this visit applies to mutual funds held in taxable accounts, not to funds held in qualified retirement plans.
Some of the most serious threats to financial independence are often overlooked. Yet a few simple actions can avoid large losses from these risks. In addition, you can reduce substantially your out-of-pocket expenses when you pay attention to these neglected issues.
The turmoil in long-term care insurance continues. In recent years, a number of insurers raised premiums substantially on existing policies or exited the market. A year ago, it appeared things would stabilize after the shakeout, but a new round of premium hikes and policy changes is taking place.
Identity theft isn’t making the headlines it did a few years ago. Yet it’s still a problem. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that annually about 9 million Americans have their identities stolen, and this costs consumers about $5 billion.
The cost of medical care continues to rise and to be the wild card in retirement plans. Reports and studies update the estimates of the cost of retirement medical care each year. They show the cost to be high and also very unpredictable for individual retirees and couples.
Most people still believe that estate planning is all about tax planning. Since the tax law now exempts most estates, they think they don’t really need an estate plan. But they do, and many people need an estate plan more than ever.
“Great Fortunes Lost” was the title of an article in Fortune magazine some years ago that described how various individuals, usually heirs, lost or squandered very large fortunes. Some lost their health or wasted their lives because of the effects wealth had on them. Don’t let that happen to your loved ones.
When someone is in a coma or similar medical distress and family members and doctors disagree about what to do, the story often makes headlines. The lesson from the media always is: Be sure you have a living will. The answer isn’t that simple. Often in these situations, there is a living will. It isn’t enough.
Traditional estate plans don’t work well for many families these days. A traditional plan is for couples who are in their first and only marriage and have only kids from that marriage. Different plans, tools and strategies might be needed for people with other life stories.