It has the potential to impact:
• Individual tax rates
• Changes for the middle class
• Increasing the standard deduction and the child tax credit
• Potential changes in the mortgage interest deduction
• The medical expense deduction
• Estate tax changes
• And more…
The Highlights of the Trump Tax Plan:
• $90,000 income pays 12% tax
• $259,999 income and below would pay a 25% tax
• Standard Deduction doubles to $12,700 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples
• Newly purchased mortgage interest deduction cap at $500,000
• $10,000 limit on property tax
• Retains the low income housing credit
• Repeals the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax)
Here is a great article in The New York Times that highlights the proposed Trump Tax Plan changes.
This impacts real estate in a big way. First, the obvious, mortgage interest deduction reduction from $1 million to only $500,000 and the House bill restores an itemized property tax deduction for property taxes up to $10,000.
But additionally, the not so obvious, doubling the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000 would make the mortgage deduction useless for most homeowners.
A married couple would need a home-loan balance of about $608,000 before it would make sense to itemize and use the mortgage-interest deduction.
Any questions how the TRUMP TAX PLAN could affect you please do not hesitate to contact us.
Many of these boomers are “house rich” and “cash poor,” and in response to their circumstances, they may decide to utilize a reverse mortgage. That move could make funding their retirement much easier and greatly increase the quality and longevity of their retirement.
Once saddled with an image problem, they are now seen as useful instruments for producing additional retirement income. Just like any mortgage, they are not without risk. Today a Reverse Mortgage is looked at as a smart choice; an opportunity, a financial planning opportunity to utilize a large retirement asset, just like a IRA or 401-k throughout their retirement.
The average American household has about 75% of their net worth in real estate and very little saved through traditional retirement means; such as a company pension, 401-k or a Traditional IRA. These retiree’s have been led to believe, effectively lied to, that having a mortgage free home increases the longevity of their retirement. Sadly, this is not the case in most instances.
This old age thinking erupted from the experiences of their parents the “The Greatest Generation.”
These parents of the Baby Boomers had company pensions and Social Security. Growing up through the Great Depression, The Greatest Generation rapidly paid their mortgage because the bank could call the loan until it was re paid by the borrower. During this time there was no such thing as a 30 year fixed mortgage. Maintaining this same the same “Depression” thinking today can hinder a retirement and actually make it a risky proposition.
The Journal of Accountancy had a great article on What role should your house have in retirement planning? You can read it here.
Most Reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which imposes some rules and have stricter financial requirements. One, the couple or individual applying for the loan must be age 62 or older. Two, the home involved must have a certain level of equity. Three, the borrower(s) must have the means to pay property taxes and insurance. Four, the borrower(s) must pay a fee to attend a counseling session on reverse mortgages. In addition, you cannot have a reverse mortgage and be delinquent on any federal debt.
The limit varies per county, and three other factors can influence the loan amount – interest rates, the appraised value of the residence, and the age of the borrower(s). A retiree household can access the money in one of three ways – as a lump sum, as a monthly income stream, or as a line of credit, letting the money grow. Borrowers usually cannot acquire more than 60% of the home value within the first year.
Interest accrues during the life of a reverse mortgage, so the loan grows larger over time. A reverse mortgage is a non-recourse loan, though, meaning that the borrower is never personally liable for repayment. A reverse mortgage only needs to be repaid once the borrower dies, sells the home, or moves out of the home.
If one spouse dies or moves out of the home the remaining spouse can stay as long as it’s their primary residence. Even if they were not originally listed on the loan. Additionally, with Reverse mortgages, the taxes and insurance need to be paid.
Today retirees are living much longer and medical costs are only going up. Fidelity estimates the average retired couple will spend $275,000 during retirement for medical costs. You can read the article here. Where would this money come?
During 10 years of retirement and 4% inflation your social security check just got 40% less. Think the government won’t tax Social Security? Think again. Rising Medicare premiums is the ultimate back door tax of Social Security and they are going up fast!
Reverse Mortgages can help guard against inflation and be a safety net against rising healthcare costs.
Annuva Financial is a comprehensive Retirement Income Planning firm. If you believe your financial future is worth a quick conversation with one of our professional advisers, call us at 800-282-1530. There’s no obligation.
Will the current bull market run for another year? How about another two or three years? Some investors will confidently say “yes” to both questions. Optimism abounds on Wall Street: the major indices climb more than they retreat, and they have attained new peaks. On average, the S&P 500 has gained nearly 15% a year for the past eight years.
It may not be. Your portfolio could be over weighed in stocks and stock mutual funds – that is, a higher percentage of your invested assets may be held in equities than what your investment strategy outlines. As your stock market exposure grows greater and greater, the less diversified your portfolio becomes, and the more stock market risk you assume.
You know diversification is important, especially when one investment sector that has done well for you suddenly turns sideways or plummets. When a bull market becomes as celebratory as this one, that lesson risks being lost.
They seldom arrive abruptly, but some telltale signs may hint that one is ahead. Notable declines or disappointments in corporate profits and quickly rising interest rates are but two potential indicators. If the pace of raising rates speeds up at the Federal Reserve, borrowing costs will climb not only for households, but also for big businesses. A pervasive bullishness – irrational exuberance, by some definitions – that helps to send the CBOE VIX down to unusual lows and can be seen as another indicator of a bear market or stock correction.
It is impossible to say, but we do know that the longest bear market on record lasted 929 days (calendar days, not trading days). That was the 2000-02 bear. A typical bear market lasts 9-14 months.
Equities do have bad years, and bears do come out of hibernation from time to time. Patience and adequate diversification may make a downturn more tolerable for you. You certainly do not want the value of your portfolio to fall drastically in the years preceding your retirement. If this happens, you will have a narrow window of time to try and recoup that loss. Remember, the market does not always advance. It may be time to lock in these gains or re balance your portfolio.
So while 15% gains sound great, way over 200% gains without a significant correction; the average annual return since the 2000 bear market has been only 4.11% (without dividends). Adjust for inflation and the return goes down to 1.90%. Minus out taxes, management fees, brokers fees and expenses and it seems like those that have been in the market since 2000 are still losing money.
The coming correction is right around the corner. Be Proactive, Not Reactive. Our clients didn’t lose a dime in 2000 or 2008. How low can it go? That’s anyone’s guess but this guy thinks it will be the Worst Stock Market Crash Ever… and that would be pretty bad.
Financial literacy. Learning about investing, retirement topics and the markets is step one. An appreciation and understanding of the potential of equity investment, a recognition that a six-figure or seven-figure sum may be needed to retire – a retirement savings effort proceeds from these understandings.
When you have knowledge, you have more confidence and your money decisions feel empowering. A 2014 TIAA-CREF survey found that 81% of women who had obtained knowledge from a financial professional reported feeling informed about retirement planning and retirement saving, and 63% of women who had received financial advice felt confident about their retirement saving progress.1
Debt reduction. Less debt leaves more money to save. One recent survey suggests that women amass less debt than men: in reviewing credit trends for 2013, Experian found women were 4.3% less indebted than men overall and that female borrowers missed fewer mortgage payments and took out smaller home loans. As for handling a student loan burden while saving for retirement, most federal college loans are eligible for at least one of the new income-based repayment plans which cap monthly payment levels based on family size and income.2,3
Estimating high. Here are seven words you will rarely (if ever) hear from a financial professional: “You are saving too much for retirement.” Most people save too little, and here is a case where erring on the side of caution is no error at all. Building your retirement nest egg through multiple vehicles (an IRA, a workplace retirement plan, an equity portfolio, savings accounts) can contribute to the generation of a larger-than-necessary retirement fund.
Saving 10% or more of your income as soon as you can. Starting early allows you to take advantage of the considerable power of compounding. Putting away 10% or 15% of your annual income into retirement accounts is not excessive; it is quite reasonable, even necessary.
As a hypothetical example, 35-year-old Christina has already saved $30,000 for retirement with the idea of retiring at 65. She currently earns $70,000 annually. A retirement income of $100,000 seems like a nice idea for 2045 and the 20 years stretching beyond that date.
Assuming a 6% return before and after retirement, Christina would need to save 17.61% of her income, or $12,329 a year, to reach her goal under such parameters.4
At age 45 she has built $152,000 in retirement savings and earns $120,000 a year. To get that $100,000 retirement income for a 20-year retirement, she still has to save 14.9% of her income ($17,928) at a hypothetical 6% consistent return to realize that objective. The lesson: save, save early, and save more.4
Asking for raises or creating new income streams. It can be hard to ask for a raise, but it is harder to live on a substandard salary or risk positioning yourself for a retirement savings shortfall. Your employer will not likely give you one out of thin air, so initiate the conversation and assert your value. Also, look for opportunities to make more money outside of the 8-to-5 or 7-to-4: speaking engagements, home organizing, direct sales, consulting and other methods.
Owning your financial life. That is to say, keep control over it. If a relationship is wonderful and intense, great, but avoid being seduced into a passive financial role in the long-term. That was the default role for women decades ago when they married, but even today, when one person makes most of the financial decisions in a relationship, the other person risks moving forward in life with inadequate financial knowledge. That problem plagues widows.
Actively managing your finances also means straightforwardly addressing spending issues, debt and any other financial problems or dilemmas that must be resolved as you pursue your retirement savings goal.
Thinking positive. Saving for retirement begins by pairing the right outlook and the right actions. Stay positive; stay consistent; run the numbers and make sure you are saving enough. To find out just how much is enough, consult a financial professional who can help you assess your saving potential.
For more information on this topic please contact Ben Borden Richmond, Va Financial Advisor, (804) 282-8820
1 – tiaa-cref.org/public/about/press/about_us/releases/articles/pressrelease534.html [10/29/14]
2 – experian.com/blogs/news/2013/05/22/women-vs-men/ [5/22/13]
3 – studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven [4/9/15]
4 – msn.com/en-us/money/tools/retirementplanner [4/9/15]
Here’s a closer look at the filing requirements affecting dependents (meaning someone else pays more than half of their support, including college tuition, room, and board) such as teens and college students, as well as their parents.
Generally, a tax return must be filed if an individual has earned income above $6,200 (in 2014), unearned income from interest or dividends above $1,000, or a combination of earned and unearned income totaling more than $1,000 with at least $350 unearned. The filing threshold for net self-employment income is $400.
Unearned interest and dividend income (up to a maximum of $10,000) received by a dependent may be reported on a parent’s tax return. Otherwise, a separate return must be filed by the dependent or by a parent on the child’s behalf.
Many young workers who earn less than the filing threshold will want to file if they had income tax withheld from pay and are eligible for a refund.
Source: Internal Revenue Service, 2013
The future is always uncertain, and as the saying goes, “Life happens.” It would be wise to prepare for the unexpected and react logically rather than emotionally when faced with retirement challenges. Here are some obstacles you might need to overcome.
Surviving market downturns. More than half of those surveyed said their assets had been reduced by market losses during the Great Recession.2 Yet another survey suggested that about 50% of workers who were 32 to 51 when the recession started actually showed gains in their retirement accounts during the 2007 to 2009 period.3 This group may have had lower balances when the recession began, and it’s likely that they continued saving throughout the downturn, which might have helped them benefit when the market started to improve. Remember that all investments are subject to market fluctuation and the potential for loss.
Saving too little or too late. To accumulate sufficient assets to retire at age 65, one rule of thumb suggests saving 15% of income starting at age 25. Someone starting at age 35 might need to save about 30% each year, and the savings percentage would increase to about 64% annually for someone starting to save at age 45!4 If these percentages seem unrealistic, consider that any savings increase is better than none. In addition to maximizing your retirement contributions, you may also need to adjust your lifestyle and control your spending. Once you reach age 50, you are eligible to make additional “catch-up” contributions.
Experiencing a traumatic event. A job loss, unexpected medical expense, death of a loved one, or divorce might make it difficult to save for retirement. Having an emergency savings account that could help cover at least three to six months of living expenses would put you in a stronger position. If possible, avoid tapping your retirement savings, especially tax-deferred IRAs and 401(k)s, because withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income and may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty if taken prior to age 59½. When your life returns to normal, try to save as much as possible at the highest contribution rate you can afford.
Balancing college and retirement. When these two priorities compete, many people — 15%, according to one survey — stop saving for retirement to pay for their children’s educational costs.5 A wide variety of college funding options are available, but there is no “scholarship” for retirement. The key is to balance your children’s needs with your own retirement goals and find an appropriate strategy.
The road to retirement is long, winding, and seldom smooth. But with patience and a steady commitment, you could reach your destination regardless of how many obstacles you encounter along the way.
For more information on this topic please contact Ben Borden Richmond, Va Financial Advisor, (804) 282-8820.
1–2) DailyFinance.com, May 14, 2013 3) The Pew Charitable Trusts, 2013 4) Forbes.com, September 24, 2012 5) usnews.com, March 4, 2013
Changing one’s risk tolerance based on current economic conditions, however, may be less rational. Assuming more risk when the market is up and less risk when the market is down might encourage you to buy when prices are high and sell when prices are low.
Because no one can predict the market’s ups and downs, a wiser approach might be to adopt an investment strategy appropriate for your personal situation and to maintain it regardless of market volatility. Doing so could help you become a more rational investor.
The field of behavioral finance seeks to understand how and why investors react to different events and outcomes. It’s been widely accepted for some time that investors tend to react more negatively to losses than they react positively to gains. Recent research suggests that people have a subjective reference point for considering whether an investment is a success or a failure, and they may have different reference points for different investments. Investors also use mental accounts to organize investments for specific goals.2
Understanding your own reference points and mental accounts may help you determine an appropriate asset allocation based on your risk tolerance. Although asset allocation is a method to help manage investment risk, it does not guarantee against investment loss.
Neuroscientists are discovering that many emotions and behaviors are “hard-wired” in the brain. In an experiment where investing was rewarded more highly than not investing, people with damage to areas of the brain related to emotions and risk — including the amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and insula regions — were not constrained by investment losses and achieved higher returns than those with healthy brains. In other studies, however, people with damage to these areas have gone “bankrupt” due to poor judgment and taking on too much risk.3
Another experiment, which looked at how people use past rewards to predict future payoffs, found that most subjects were unduly influenced by the two most recent results, perceiving a pattern where there was none. However, people with damage to a region of the brain called the frontopolar cortex made decisions primarily on cumulative reward history rather than on the most recent outcomes.4
The brain may also have a “motivation center” that drives efforts to achieve a goal based on the perceived value of success. In a series of tests, an increase in the dollar value of a potential reward created increased activity in a region of the brain called the ventral striatum, which led to increased efforts to achieve the reward.5
These findings suggest that investors may have to control natural responses that could lead to their becoming too risk averse, reacting too quickly, or pursuing potential gains without appropriate caution. If you become overly emotional when it comes to your investments, it may help to take a step back and consider the situation rationally based on your overall financial strategy.
1) University of Missouri, 2012
2) AdvisorOne.com, February 23, 2012
3) Forbes.com, October 16, 2012
4) The Wall Street Journal, July 21, 2012
5) ScienceDaily.com, February 22, 2012
The three economists made far-reaching discoveries related to the workings of financial markets, asset prices, and behavioral finance. Here’s a closer look at how their research contributed to the formation and refinement of fundamental concepts in portfolio management and long-term investing practices.
Eugene Fama introduced the efficient markets hypothesis in the 1960s. It is based on the premise that asset prices adjust quickly and are an accurate reflection of all relevant information. His research found that movements in stock prices are unpredictable, following a “random walk” that makes it extremely difficult for investors to choose outperforming individual stocks on a consistent basis or to predict the right time to buy or sell financial assets (market timing).2
The realization that trying to “beat the market” is often fruitless eventually led to the introduction of index funds designed to track the holdings of broader market indexes such as the S&P 500. At the end of 2012, 373 index funds managed more than $1.3 trillion in total net assets. About one-third of U.S. households with mutual funds owned shares in at least one index fund.3
In later research, Fama determined that market capitalization and valuation can affect the risk and return potential of equity investments.4
The return and principal value of stocks and mutual funds fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Investments seeking to achieve higher returns also involve greater risk.
In 1981, Robert Shiller published a ground-breaking study that seemed to contradict Fama’s theory that markets are always efficient. If they were, stock prices would generally mirror the growth in earnings and dividends.
Shiller’s research showed that stock (and bond) prices fluctuate more often than changes in companies’ intrinsic valuations (such as dividend yield) would suggest.5 He concluded that asset prices sometimes move erratically in the short term simply because investor behavior can be influenced by emotions such as greed and fear.
Shiller believed that human psychology could cause “bubbles” to form in asset markets. Investor enthusiasm (“irrational exuberance”) and a herd mentality can create excessive demand for “hot” investments, driving up prices until they become very expensive relative to long-term values.
In fact, Shiller became well known in the 1990s for warning that rapidly rising stock prices during the Internet boom could lead to a bubble that would eventually burst, causing values to collapse. He had similar warnings in the last decade about the run-up in housing prices, and he helped develop one of the most closely watched indexes of home values.6
Lars Peter Hansen developed a statistical method that is widely used to test theories of asset pricing, including those advanced by Fama and Shiller. The Generalized Method of Moments is an econometric tool that helps estimate the relationships between important variables that are hidden inside large amounts of financial and economic data.
Hansen’s work improved on older methods for “formulating, analyzing, and testing dynamic economic models in environments with uncertainty.” His techniques have been adopted by social scientists in many other fields.7
The work of all three economists supports the notion that asset prices can be difficult to predict in the short run, but markets tend to weigh their prospects more accurately over longer periods of time.
This reinforces the importance of committing to a long-term investing strategy that fits your financial goals and risk tolerance, which may help you avoid costly, emotion-driven mistakes.Mutual funds are sold by prospectus. Please consider the investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses carefully before investing. The prospectus, which contains this and other information about the investment company, can be obtained from your financial professional. Be sure to read the prospectus carefully before deciding whether to invest.
1) The Wall Street Journal, October 14, 2013 2, 4–5) InvestmentNews, October 14, 2013 3) USA Today, October 15, 2013 6) CNNMoney, October 14, 2013 7) The University of Chicago, 2013
According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, 76% of uninsured Americans don’t understand the Affordable Care Act or how it will affect them.1
Nearly 48 million uninsured Americans may need to start preparing and budgeting for upcoming changes because all citizens and legal residents are required to have health coverage beginning in 2014 or pay a tax penalty.2 Open enrollment in the government’s new Health Insurance Marketplace is expected to begin on October 1, 2013, and run through March 2014.3 The marketplace should make it easier to compare coverage options based on cost, benefits, quality, and other features.
The health insurance mandate was intended to add healthy individuals to the insurance pool and counterbalance a provision that prohibits insurers from excluding people with pre-existing conditions. If you already have affordable health benefits through an employer — or qualify for coverage through a government program such as Medicare or Medicaid — you should not be affected by the upcoming marketplace changes.4
The penalty for not having health insurance will be phased in over three years, beginning at a flat $95 per adult or 1% of income (whichever is greater) in 2014. The penalty rises to the greater of $325 or 2% of income in 2015 and the greater of $695 or 2.5% of income in 2016, after which it will be indexed for inflation. Taxpayers will also incur the penalty for each dependent who does not have coverage, although minors (under age 18) trigger only 50% of the penalty.
The government’s Health Insurance Marketplace forms a larger risk pool and could make coverage from private insurers more affordable for many individuals who are not covered by group plans. Consumers can shop for suitable plans online and apply for subsidies toward the cost of premiums. The federal government will operate or help run exchanges for 36 states, and 14 states have launched their own.5
Available plans include four tiers of coverage ranging from minimal (least expensive) to robust. Plans are standardized based on the percentage of expected health-care costs insurers will cover: bronze (which pays 60% of the actuarial value of expenses), silver (70%), gold (80%), and platinum (90%).
Families with incomes between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level may be eligible for a subsidy. Households making up to nearly $47,000 for a single person or $94,000 for a family of four could receive a premium reduction or tax credit on a sliding scale, but only for a silver plan purchased through a health insurance exchange.6–7
Starting in 2014, health plans (inside or outside the exchanges) must cover 10 “essential benefits” including doctor visits, preventive care, hospitalization, mental health, and prescriptions. Insurers can no longer deny coverage or charge higher premiums because of a person’s health history.
Health plan premiums will vary based on four characteristics: age, family size, geographic area, and tobacco use, within certain limits. Older consumers (ages 50–64) may be charged no more than three times the average premium paid by a 21-year-old (currently this older group pays an average of five times more). Smokers could be charged up to 50% more than nonsmokers.8
Self-employed workers, early retirees (under age 65), pre-retirees who want to change jobs or start businesses, and people who have suffered serious or chronic health conditions are among the groups most likely to see better coverage and/or savings in premium costs. Women, who were often charged more than men in the past, may also benefit.9
In addition, residents of states that have required insurers to offer relatively comprehensive plans in the past (such as California and New York) may see lower premiums when insurance is bought from a state-based exchange. In lightly regulated states (such as Ohio, Florida, and South Carolina), coverage must be adjusted to meet federal requirements, which means residents could face higher premiums than they did before.10
For more information or to apply for coverage, visit HealthCare.gov. Individual health plans are also offered in the traditional market, with or without the help of a broker. An approved broker might also be able to help you buy a policy from an exchange.
1) The Wall Street Journal, September 16, 2013 2, 6) U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 3–4) Associated Press, September 12, 2012 5, 7) The Wall Street Journal, August 30, 2013 8) The Wall Street Journal, September 8, 2013 9) MSNMoney, September 11, 2013 10) CNNMoney, August 6, 2013
Annuva Financial is an advisor based in Virginia providing retirement income advice to baby boomers.