Blog

Retirement Confidence Rises For Workers and Retirees

The 29th annual Retirement Confidence Survey, conducted in 2019 by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, indicates that 67% of US workers are feeling confident in their ability to live comfortably throughout their retirement years.

This represents an increase over the 2018 results, which showed 64% expressed the same level of confidence.  In fact, worker confidence now matches levels reported in 2007 – before the 2008 financial crisis.

Social Security Trustees Offer Recommendations to Congress

The Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees recently issued their annual report on the financial health of those institutions, and they offered a number of recommendations for lawmakers to consider.

Since Social Security and Medicare accounted for 45 percent of Federal budget expenditures in 2018, financial analysts and planners always look forward to reviewing the Trustees’ findings.

Health Savings Accounts Can Hold Real Value

A health savings account (HSA) is a savings/investment vehicle established to set aside funds, tax-free, to pay for health care expenses.  I’ve written about them in the past, but I want to re-emphasize what an attractive option these can be for handling health care costs in retirement.

For example, one of my recent blogs discussed the cost of premiums for Medicare and how they can be quite expensive for some – as high as $460.50 a month.   An HSA would allow one to pay these premiums with tax-free money.

Many Factors Go into Decision As to When to Claim Social Security Benefits

On the surface, deciding when to claim Social Security benefits might seem a straightforward matter – reach a certain age and file for Social Security.  However, it turns out to be quite a bit more complicated than that, and at Thorley Wealth Management we spend a good deal of time helping clients make the right decisions.

Not Everyone Pays the Same Premium for Medicare Part B

I suspect some readers will find the headline surprising, if not shocking, because, in fact, until 2007 everyone did pay equal premiums for Medicare Part B.

However, the rules have changed and ever since 2007, one’s income is a factor in determining one’s Medicare premiums.  And I must emphasize that the difference in premiums can be quite substantial. 

Growth vs. Value Investing: Is One Better Than the Other?

Discussions – not to say debates – have long been held as to whether it is better to invest in value stocks or growth stocks. 

I have a firm opinion on this question, but let’s start with two brief definitions. Value stocks are those deemed to be trading below what they are really worth and potentially can provide superior returns once they trade at their true value.  Growth stocks are those that have the potential to outperform the market over time because of their future potential. 

‘Bunching’ Concept for Giving Can Result in Tax Savings

As the last in a series on creative means of making charitable contributions, this blog looks at “bunching,” Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs), and Charitable Checking Accounts.

Given recent tax laws regarding itemized deductions, it well may be that one’s charitable giving in single year would have little positive effect on one’s taxes.  However, if one were to consider “bunching,” or bundling a number of years’ worth of charitable contributions in one year, the tax savings in that year might be significant.

More Creative Options for Charitable Giving

My last blog, which described a charitable remainder trust, was the first in a series aimed at exploring ways to financially support charitable organizations while deriving some type of tax or other benefit in the process. 

Before outlining a few more options, I want to reiterate that these strategies are designed for those who have “charitable intent” – those who desire to contribute to a charity.  For those with no such interest, they would hold little appeal.

With that in mind, let’s explore a few more options:

Charitable Giving Can Be ‘Win-Win’ For Donor and Recipient

I am both fortunate and proud to have many clients who seek to help others by financially supporting the good work of various charitable organizations.

When it comes to charitable giving, people generally think of a straight cash contribution, most often in the form of a check payable to the specific organization of one’s choice.  Such contributions are tax deductible.  Recent tax laws, however, have emphasized higher standard deductions and placed more limits on itemized deductions, in many cases reducing the charitable giving tax incentive.

Lessons from Australia: International Investing

In my last blog, I shared some thoughts gathered on a recent trip to Australia with the Financial Planning Association of the United States.

 

One of the reasons it's important for me, as an advisor, to have these kinds of experiences is that half of the world's stock market exists outside of the US.

 

We learned that financial advisors in Australia are used to recommending investments outside their country in order to achieve diversified portfolios.  In part, this is because Australia -- a much smaller country than the US -- has fewer options for domestic investing.   As a result, more than half of an Australian’s equity portfolio frequently will be made up of investments in foreign companies.