After every national election cycle, the world of financial planning changes in some way. It may be big changes coming down the pike, or changes in the details. Advisors work to field through the changes to make sure clients are getting the best advice they can offer. This election cycle is no different and looks to have big changes coming your way. The first area targeted for change is the Healthcare Law. With reference to Health Savings Accounts being proposed as a significant component, it may help to refresh our memories on what these are and how they’re used.  

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were introduced in 2004 and were coupled with High Deductible Health Plans (HDHPs).  It’s always important to verify that the insurance plan is HSA-eligible. The HSA is a separate account that an employee, employer or private policy holder contributes money to during the year. The premise of these accounts was to help curb the growing cost of health insurance and to put the insured patient more in control of their healthcare. The pre-tax contributions are much like a traditional 401(k) or IRA. The account can then be tapped to pay for qualified medical expenses. If money is used to pay for non-qualified medical expenses, it will be taxed and will include a 10% penalty.

The Successful Transition Series looks at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. This week, we examine entrepreneurship and some of the financial goals made by entrepreneurs that helped make them successful.

The 21st Century looks to be the century of entrepreneurship. In 2014, Babson University found that between 2000 and 2007, the number of new business start-ups increased by 17% each year. Their survey also noted that 2014 saw the most entrepreneurial activity in 16 years.

Jumping in to the risk of self-employment is a daunting process. Good financial planning has been shown to be one of the effective tools of a successful transition to being your own boss. However, there are still important considerations for your personal financial health. Below are 3 things to remember

Life transitions can be complicated, which is why we decided to write a series on how they affect finances and financial planning. This series will look at three major life transitions: retirement, entrepreneurship and career change. Each one is a process, with specific strategies that have been used to make the transitions a success.

Retiring is a major life event. There is no one path to follow in order to ensure a perfect retirement. However, planning and focus have been shown to make a difference when preparing for and entering such a challenging transition.

A new marriage is an exciting event. If the marriage includes blending a family, this can be even more exciting – the more the merrier in some cases, right?

It’s not news that women face unique challenges throughout life, financially and otherwise. What is news, however, is the data underlining the problems. More than half of single women and 41 percent of married women say they feel either a moderate or a lot of anxiety about their personal financial security. This is certainly not a positive. What’s going on?

Let’s face it – as we age, maintaining our health comes more into focus. And even if we stay healthy in our golden years, insurance premiums will continue to rise. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead for rising healthcare costs as you prepare to look at the full picture of your retirement budget and what you need to save now.

Social Security is not a program intended to replace your full retirement income, but in many cases, it can give you and your spouse a foothold on economic security as you grow older. In May of 2016, Social Security changed many of the rules for collecting your benefits. However, there are still ways to maximize your financial security from the time you retire through the end of your life.

In order to make a living wage today in the U.S., employees are required to have at least a four-year degree. At the same time, the cost of tuition has been on a continuous rise. So for generations X and beyond, student loan debt makes up a large chunk of their total debt. Four short years at college could potentially take decades to pay off if you’re just making minimum payments.

There is hope, however. There are options to pay off debt quickly, get lower interest rates or in some cases, have the debt forgiven. Here are some of your options to chip away at student loan debt so that you can have a little more breathing room in your budget.

Last week, we discussed various types of popular retirement accounts. This week, we tackle more as a way for you to compare and contrast what’s out there and how each plan could potentially make your golden years comfortable and enjoyable. Here are three more popular types of retirement accounts for you to consider. 

401(k), 403(b), TSP

These examples of employer-offered retirement savings accounts are the accounts most people are already familiar with. These are called “defined contribution plans,” and they are primarily funded by you.  Most employers allow you to withhold some of your paycheck and stash it away in one of these accounts, and many employers offer to match some of the savings. These accounts provide for investment options that you choose, with the idea of growing the account beyond what has been put into it. If you leave your job, you can roll over your account contributions into a new 401(k) or 403(b), or you can roll them over into an IRA. In some cases, the employer match must be “vested” over time and may be lost if the time period is not met. What’s the difference between these types of accounts? 401(k)s are usually offered by for-profit companies, while most nonprofit companies use a 403(b), including schools, hospitals, and some governments. Some employers are also offering a Roth 401(k) option, which provides for deferral of after-tax salary and grows tax-free. The TSP (Thrift Savings Plan) is offered by the federal government to its employees, including the military. 2016 contributions allowed are $18,000 ($24,000 over age 50).

Most people will agree that retirement funds aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the days of working at one company for 30 years, getting the gold watch and retiring on a cushy pension. Now it’s primarily up to you, the employee, to save for your later years, which can prove challenging. Fortunately, there are many different ways to save money for retirement. Here are 3 popular options.

We scrimp and save (ideally) every day of our working lives to lead up to a pivotal event: retirement. But once you reach retirement, your first thought might not be “Hurray!” It might be, “Now what?”

There are so many positives to retirement, many of which are financial, but many of which are not. If you’re nearing retirement or if you are just trying to set some goals, here are some benefits to retirement that warrant your consideration.

Getting a large amount of money dropped in your lap sounds like a good problem to have. Whether you’ve inherited a large sum of money, received a big insurance settlement, won the lottery or sold a home or business, a large amount of unexpected cash can create issues if you don’t check yourself right away. Here is what happens to many people when they receive a financial windfall and what you can do if you find yourself in this situation.

Savannah was having a difficult time. Her 85-year-old mother was injured so badly that she was unconscious and had to be transported to the hospital in an ambulance. Once there, Savannah approached the doctor to find out what options were available for her mother and how she could make sure her mother’s wishes were honored regarding potential, necessary life support. Guess what? The doctor could not tell her much because Savannah didn’t have legal authority to be informed or make decisions on her mother’s behalf.

We know each generation is unique, and that doesn’t change when it comes to money management. Technology changes, the economy changes and attitudes change. It makes sense, then, that Generation X (ages 35-50) and Millennials (ages 18-34) sometimes think differently about finances. Here are some trends we’ve seen with these two younger generations.

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