Gift giving is an essential strategy in many estate plans. When done properly, gifts reduce lifetime income taxes and reduce or eliminate estate and gift taxes. Through gifts, you help loved ones today, and see the benefits of that help, instead of having them wait to inherit. To optimize gifts, know how to minimize gift […]
Few taxpayers were interested in or needed to know the “wash sale” rules, until recently. When stock prices rose steadily, the wash sale rules didn’t come into play. The rules matter only when investors sell stocks at losses. That’s why the wash sale rules have been more important since 2021. The wash sale rules were […]
Congress expanded a tax trap for many owners of traditional IRA and 401(k) accounts when the SECURE Act 2.0 was enacted in December 2022. The law delayed the starting age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) to age 73, effective January 1, 2023. The starting age will jump to 75 effective January 1, 2033. If you […]
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Retirement Watch is dedicated to providing Retirement Planning and Estate Planning advice to retirees and people over 50 planning for or preparing for retirement. Retirement Watch's content includes articles on:Retirement Planning
Retirement Planning - the process of figuring out how much money you’ll need to save for retirement and then putting a plan in place to get there. Retirement planning includes answering the following questions:
Social Security - Social Security is an important source of retirement income, so its necessary to know how much Social Security you will receive when you begin taking your benefits. The amount of Social Security benefits varies depending on the year you were born, your lifetime earnings, and the age at which you begin receiving Social Security benefits. You can start to receive Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but waiting to receive benefits might be beneficial. To make the best decision for your individual situation, you’ll need to know your full retirement age (FRA), which is the age at which you’ll be eligible to receive your primary insurance amount (PIA). Special rules apply to current, former, and widowed spouses claiming Social Security benefits, and strategies offer married couples; divorced, widowed, or surviving spouses; and single workers the opportunity to maximize benefits throughout retirement. We’ll illustrate how those rules work and provide examples of how the claiming strategies can increase the amount of Social Security benefits for some recipients.Estate Planning
Estate planning - the process of anticipating and arranging, during a person's life, for the management and disposal of that person's estate during the person's life and on their death, while minimizing gift, estate, generation skipping transfer, and income tax. Estate planning includes planning for illness and incapacity as well as a process of reducing uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximizing the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. The ultimate goal of estate planning is determined by the goals of the individual, and may be simple or complex. Guardians are often designated for minor children and beneficiaries in incapacity.Annuities
Annuities are insurance contracts that make regular payments to you either immediately or at some point in the future. You can purchase an annuity to help grow or protect your retirement savings or to provide you with guaranteed income in retirement.Investing in Retirement
You've worked hard to save for retirement, and you're finally retired. With the right strategy, you can help make sure your retirement savings last as long as needed. This includes calculate the amount you'll need for retirement spending each year. Its important to calculate your retirement expenses and your expected retirement income from other sources. The difference between these amounts is what you'll need to cover with your retirement savings.Its vital to determine whether you can safely withdraw this amount from your retirement savings. You'll want to make sure your retirement savings can safely sustain your retirement spending over the rest of your life. For most people, your investing approach in retirement should be the same as it was all along—to determine an appropriate asset mix and then stick with it. That means you need a balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds, and cash investments that is appropriate for your timeline (usually 30 to 40 years), meets your tolerance for risk. This investing approach will generally give you the mix of growth and income that you need in order to meet your retirement spending needs and sustain your investment portfolio over the long run.Medicare, Healthcare, and Long-Term Care
Medicare, Healthcare in retirement, and Long-Term Care including Insurance – Retirement Watch provides articles on medicare and other retirement related healthcare issues, including how to plan for long-term care thru the use of insurance.Housing for Seniors
Housing for Seniors – features include senior communities, nursing homes, reverse mortages, best places to retire, types of retirement homes, and home equity in retirement.IRA's
IRA’s and Required Minimum Distributions - How best to manage your IRA and the Required Minimum Distribution laws.Taxes in Retirement
Taxes in Retirement – how to minimize taxes in retirement, including income taxes, gift taxes and estate taxes.Retirement Spending
Retirement Spending – developing and implementing a sound retirement spending plan is essential to a worry free retirement. Retirement Watch provides information and advice on all aspects of retirement spending.
Our articles are all written, edited, or approved by Bob Carlson. Bob is an attorney and a CPA who is one of America’s leading retirement experts having dedicated his career to this subject. He has served on the Board of Trustees of the Fairfax County Employees Retirement System since 1992 and has written numerous books on Retirement including “The New Rules of Retirement”, and “Personal Finance after 50 for Dummies”.
Bob Carlson gets it. He is an expert because he takes the time to learn his craft. He is a true financial guru because he has the unique ability to effectively communicate his knowledge with his readers through one of the absolute best newsletters in the country. I continuously recommend Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch to my clients.— David P., Gilbert, AZ
I greatly enjoy your Retirement Watch newsletter. Over these many years I have gleaned several helpful estate and investing suggestions with the most recent one being in your July, 2017 edition.
My little estate is nearing the $5.5M valuation, and I read on page 2 your suggestion that such size estates may want to consider stepping up their early gifting so as to possibly avoid any estate tax law changes.
That suggestion struck a chord, and so I have just completed a $227,000 (5% of my estate) early gifting program for 27 family and friends. With my successor trustee’s approval, that represents a potential $100,000 in avoided estate taxes at the 40% rate.
God and the economy willing, I expect to recoup that gifted amount within the next 36 months, and depending upon future estate tax laws, I hope to gift another $500,000 when I reach the $6M threshold.
Thanks for the clear and concise estate and retirement information. Again, my heirs and I have greatly benefited from your vast well of knowledge.— Warren W. , San Jose, California
Bob Carlson taught me the breadth and depth of what I don’t know.
That’s why I recently renewed my subscription.— Malcolm W. B., Grahamsville, New York