2017 Social Security Benefits Update

2017 Social Security Benefits Update

– Better than nothing, but just barely… Regardless of whom our next President is, for 2017, Social Security recipients will be getting a .3% increase in their monthly checks.  (That is less than one-third of one percent, not three percent.) Individuals receiving SSI benefits will receive $735/month up from $733 in 2016.  The amount of earnings an individual can make before reaching substantial gainful activity is being increased from $1,130/month to $1,170/month.  The earnings levels are slightly higher for the blind. While benefits will be rising by the smallest of margins, the amount of income subject to Social Security taxation is rising from $118,500 in 2016 to $127,200 in 2017 ...

How Can I Minimize the Taxes  on My IRA Account?

How Can I Minimize the Taxes on My IRA Account?

 IRAs and qualified retirement plans like 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and 457(b)s are among the most tax-inefficient assets to leave your heirs.  Distributions from IRAs and qualified retirement accounts are taxed as ordinary income and can be taxed up to the highest marginal income tax rates.  For wealthy taxpayers, their IRA balances may be subject to the estate tax at 40%.  At their death, if the beneficiaries they have named are subject to the highest (39.6%) income tax bracket, the amount received by the next generation from the inherited IRA account may be only thirty-six cents on the dollar.  Fortunately, there is a strategy available that will help ta ...

End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act, passed in 2000, allowed seniors to continue working while receiving Social Security benefits.  This Act permitted Social Security benefits planning strategies that helped couples maximize their retirement income benefits.  These strategies were tied to the concept of a primary wage earner delaying the start of their benefits while a lower earning spouse or disabled child would begin receiving the spousal benefit or disabled adult child (DAC) benefit.  The advantage of delaying the start of benefits is that a higher monthly benefit is paid the later benefits are started. ...

What retirement spending rate is safe?

What retirement spending rate is safe?

When it comes to retirement spending, everyone wants a simple rule for how much of their savings they can safely spend every year.  For some, the goal is simply to not run out of money before they run out of breaths.  For others, the goal is to not spend below some amount they wish to leave as an inheritance.  Regardless of the goal, people approaching retirement seek the simple answer to what is the safe spending rate. ...

Calming Fears About Rising Interest Rates

Calming Fears About Rising Interest Rates

Ideally, wealth creation would proceed on a path of steady growth.  However, investment risks exist which require patience, conviction, and discipline in order for financial goals to be achieved.  While stock market volatility is expected, bond investing is traditionally considered to be less risky.  Ironically, a major investment challenge we currently are facing is the impact on bond investments in portfolios from rising interest rates in the months and years to come.  As interest rates rise, the prices of high quality corporate bonds, U.S. government bonds, and municipal bonds fall. ...

The Longer Investment Horizon

The Longer Investment Horizon

Changes in longevity require changes in our expectations about retirement savings. In the early 1900s, the average life expectancy of a newborn American was about 50 years. In 1933, the year that Social Security was introduced as part of F.D.R.’s New Deal, the life expectancy of a newborn had risen to about 62 years. Today, the average life expectancy is up to 77. That is a 50% increase in life expectancy in roughly one century’s time. With the rapid advancements in health care and technology, we should expect similar increases over the course of the 21st century. ...

15 Thoughts for 2015

15 Thoughts for 2015

As most people know, Oak Wealth Advisors does not invest based on predictions.  Instead, we focus on disciplined investing which leads to greater stability and wealth creation.  We also try to keep our clients well informed and want them to be confident that we are aware of important data that may impact their investments.  The list below provides fifteen nuggets of information that may influence the investment markets in 2015.  At a minimum, they will provide you with a full elevator ride worth of financial trivia to share with your friends and colleagues. The S&P 500 large company stock index has risen over 200% since its recent low on March 9, 2009 at the bottom of the rec ...

Oak Wealth Advisors and Accountability

Oak Wealth Advisors and Accountability

Accountability is important. It is for this reason we have been disappointed by the media’s failure to hold their “experts” accountable for the recommendations and predictions that they issue. In the past, we have written about the underwhelming investment recommendations published by Barrons from their annual roundtable of experts. We have also highlighted the inability of Morningstar to publish rankings that accurately predict the future success of specific mutual funds. While we have emphasized the folly of following the predictions of others, until now, we have not critically reviewed our recommendations to clients that we have published. As fiduciaries, Oak Wealth Advisors has a ...

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