Wealth Wednesdays

Wealth Wednesdays

Fresh tips and financial insights for a smarter, happier, and hopefully richer life

Straight from the financial planning front lines, our own Megan Brinsfield, CPA, CFP® joins Good Morning Washington every Wednesday to talk about topics that are top of mind for investors – especially those who are in, or preparing for retirement. From tax strategies to market volatility, and everything in between, Megan is here to help keep us cool, calm, and focused on the future.

Check out her latest segment below…

RMD. QCD. Two acronyms you need to know

What can you do with your required minimum distribution (RMD) if you don’t need (all of) it? You can still withdraw it and pay taxes on the income, convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, or donate it via a qualified charitable donation. Megan explains.

 

Don't need your RMD? Read more...

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Making Sense of Required Minimum Distributions

Required minimum distribution rules are confusing and, unfortunately, the penalty for failing to take the correct distribution is severe. Megan helps you understand your obligations and shows you how to use your RMD to pursue your financial goals.

 

RMDs affect your taxes

RMDs are the minimum amount that retirement account owners must take out each year, even if you don't need the income. But there are other options. Here's what you need to know...

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Looking for a Wealth Advisor? Here are Questions to Ask

Over half of U.S. adults are somewhat or very anxious about their finances. But those who work with a financial planner worry less.1 Megan discusses how you can pick an advisor that’s right for you?

 

Your Financial Advisor Checklist

Hiring a financial advisor to manage your hard-earned money is a big deal – and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ask these 7 questions before you make your decision.

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1Northwestern Mutual 2022 Planning & Progress Study, July 7, 2022

Retiring Early? How to Bridge the Income Gap

Only 13% of today's workers plan to retire before age 60. Others may be forced out of the workforce early. Regardless of how you got there, if you’re a young retiree you may need to bridge the gap between a steady income and access to your retirement savings. Megan provides insights.

 

Leaving the rat race behind before age 60?

Then you’ll probably need to replace your income without dipping into your retirement accounts. Find out how.

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Wealth Planning for the Self-Employed

If you’re one of the 44 million Americans who are self-employed, Megan helps you take note of your long-term financial success.

 

Don't neglect your personal financial plan

We think enjoying both freedom and long-term financial security while being self-employed comes down to these three key areas.

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Have you neglected your financial health?

If you’re like most small business owners, then your business is probably your baby. But in building your small business, have you neglected your personal wealth? Megan discusses some common mistakes and how to avoid them.

 

Small business owners, avoid these mistakes

Small business owners power the U.S. economy. So why do most have only $100,000 or less saved up for retirement?

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Saving for Retirement Shouldn't Require a PhD

Saving for retirement is more confusing than it should be. Many people have questions like: Should you wait till you’re established in your career to start? Or, should you max out your 401(k) or start a Roth IRA? Megan clarifies your questions.

 

Confused on how to save for retirement?

Nearly half of working Americans will miss the mark on their retirement savings. So what are your options?

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How should you pull your retirement income in a down market?

Most retirees have some combination of income to draw upon in retirement. But when the stock market is down significantly, taking income from some sources may hurt your wealth in the long run. Megan unpacks other options.

 

Not all retirement income sources are created equal…

Market downturns hit some retirement income streams harder than others. When your investments are feeling the pain, here are other alternatives to draw from first.

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How Should You Structure Your Retirement Income?

When it comes to funding your retirement, building your income streams is only part of the equation. You also need to figure out the order in which you’ll use them.

 

A Choice Way to Structure Your Retirement Income

You’ve made it to retirement. Now which income stream will you use first? Knowing which income sources to take—and at what time—depends on 5 important factors.

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Top 3 Investing Mistakes in a Volatile Market

What are the three most common mistakes we believe investors make during a market decline? Megan explains what they are and how you can often avoid them.

 

Investing During Volatility

Three portfolio mistakes—anchoring, selling, and waiting—are common in volatile times. But we offer potentially better choices.

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Wealth Planning After Losing a Spouse

Losing a spouse can be devastating. And the last thing you want to think about during this time is your finances. While most can wait, some decisions need to be made within a specific time frame. Megan explains.

 

Here are four steps to help ease the burden after the loss of a loved one

First, don’t rush any decisions. Second, get organized. Third, assess your finances. Fourth, find a team of professionals to help. Find out how to get started.

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Wealth planning for empty nesters

Most parents become empty nesters between the age of 40 and 60. Before this, you likely spent most of your money on your family. Now, it’s time to be selfish—and prioritize your goals, especially preparing for retirement. Megan explains the key considerations.

 

Empty nesting is undoubtedly a major life change

You may be feeling an emotional and physical loss. You’re probably facing some financial changes too. So, as you go through the process of reinventing your life as an empty nester, reevaluate your financial state too. Here are some things to consider.

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Suddenly Single After a Divorce

No one goes into marriage thinking they’re going to get a divorce. Unfortunately, about half do. During this often painful period, you may be wondering what it means for you, your family, and your finances. Megan helps you reorient your thinking.

 

Breaking up is hard to do

But recreating your own wealth plan after a divorce doesn’t have to be. Educate yourself and take these three steps in pursuit of financial independence.

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When Parents Should Put Themselves First

Most people want to give their children the world. But Megan explains why the best financial gift you can give your children is to ensure you are on financial footing.

 

Are you ready to start a family or in the throes of raising one?

Consider these tips to ensure you provide for them and yourself throughout your entire life.

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Want to earn more on your savings than you are actually saving?

It’s the power of compounding. But you need a long time horizon for this to take effect. So start early. It really does pay off!

 

Congratulations, you just landed your first job

What should you do with your new-found money? Save for retirement, of course! The earlier you start, the better. Here are six steps to get you started.

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Celebrity Estate Fallouts Reveal Lessons

Celebrities are known for their talents, successes, and wealth. But some are also infamous for their scandals, missteps, and misfortunates. Unfortunately, a few are remembered for their estate mistakes. Megan explains how you can avoid a similar fate.

 

Cautionary Tales

Want to party like it’s" 1999”? Or live ”Just the Way You Are”? Maybe you want to be a Joker or a "Smooth Criminal." But what you don’t want is to make the same mistakes that Prince, Barry White, Heath Ledger, or Michael Jackson made with their estates.

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Are your beneficiary designations up-to-date?

When singer Barry White sang “Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up,” we don’t think he was crooning about keeping his ex-wife as his beneficiary. But that’s just what happened, and when he died, his loved ones were left with nothing. This week Megan tells you what you need to know about beneficiary designations.

 

Doesn’t My Will Express My Wishes?

When it comes to your assets, your beneficiary designations override your will. So make sure you choose the people you want to inherit your money, and review your plan periodically. What else should you consider?

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Is your estate in order?

Estate planning involves thinking through what happens to your wealth, possessions and children should you die or become incapacitated, making a plan with full knowledge of tax and inheritance laws, then creating legal documents to ensure your wishes come to pass. Megan walks us through the basics.

 

So what documents do you need?

Many people think a will is all they need, but it typically only covers your property if you die. A basic plan usually includes at least these six documents, and sometimes more.

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Are your retirement savings where they should be?

If so, you’re in an elite group. Because many other Americans are facing a retirement crisis. So much so, the government is proposing enhancements to the SECURE Act. Megan discusses the important details.

 

How could SECURE Act 2.0 affect your long-term wealth?

From raising the age for required minimum distributions to more ways to save in a Roth, here are five possible improvements you should be aware of.

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Saving for Your Kids Can Be a Lifelong Lesson in Financial Literacy

How do you get your kids excited to save money? Start early, involve them in the process, and perhaps they’ll learn a thing or two about long-term investing for the future. Megan explains how to start. 

 

What to learn more?

Discover 4 types of accounts for minors – and the possible tax benefits too! Another piece of advice? Use these savings to teach financial literacy to your kids. It may be one of your greatest life lessons.

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Working Remotely and Considering Moving to a New State?

Why live in areas with high housing and other costs (including the cost of your happiness) when you no longer need to be near the office? Instead, some people are considering moving to a different state. Megan discusses what relocating could mean for your finances. 

 

Are You Ready to Pack Your Bags...

...and head towards a state offering a lower cost of living, better climate, or closer (or possibly farther!) proximity to family? Before making the move, consider these four factors.

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Did you receive a tax refund this year?

Any large lump sum of money can dramatically affect your trajectory towards your life goals. For example, you could hypothetically turn the average refund of $3,400 into roughly $13,000 in 20 years by investing it at a 7% annual rate of return. Magic? No, it’s the potential of the power of investing. Press play to learn more.

 

Have an influx of cash coming your way?

For example are you selling your business? Or maybe you recently got a large bonus or are receiving an inheritance. We offer a 5-step guide to help you manage any large or sudden cash windfall.

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5 Tax Tips: For the Last Minute and Year-Round

Tax Day is April 18, 2022. While you technically get an extra few days to file, the deadline will be here before you know it. So if you're like many Americans who waited until the last minute, here are some tips to proceed with speed.

 

Want more tax tips?

Megan discusses other considerations for tax planning before Tax Day and year round. Click on the button below to get all the details.

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