Member Advantage Articles

A Primer for Estate Planning

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Things to check and double-check. June 8, 2017 Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies. No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning. Create a will if you don’t have one. Many people never get around to creating a will, not even buying a will-in-a-box…

Retirement in Sight – May 2017

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June 8, 2017 Is Social Security Coming Up Short for Retirees? The non-partisan Senior Citizens League says yes, charging that the wrong metric is being used to determine cost of living adjustments (COLAs) to retiree benefits. The federal government uses the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) to figure various COLAs. Younger, employed people usually have lower medical expenses than older people; they also spend more money on gasoline and transportation than retirees do. Senior advocates argue that the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly (CPI-E)…

Should You Apply for Social Security Now or Later?

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When should you apply for benefits? Consider a few factors first. May 8, 2017 Now or later? When it comes to the question of Social Security income, the choice looms large. Should you apply now to get earlier payments? Or wait for a few years to get larger checks? Consider what you know (and don’t know). You know how much retirement money you have; you may have a clear projection of retirement income from other potential sources. Other factors aren’t as foreseeable. You don’t know exactly how long you will…

401(k) Plans for Healthcare Practice Employees

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This may be one of the best things you can do for your financial health. Provided by UPAL May 8, 2017 If you had a chance to save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time at no great cost to your lifestyle or your monthly budget, would you take it? An easy-to-use retirement savings option that might go a long way to giving your retirement savings a boost? Look at what the standard 401(k) can offer you. Tax-deferred growth. The money you save and invest in a traditional 401(k) grows…

Does Your Practice Have a 401(k) Plan?

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This employee benefit & hiring incentive may help your office compete. May 3, 2017 Great employees are hard to find. This truth applies for all businesses, including healthcare practices and facilities. The challenge just begins at the point of hiring. Finding top-notch workers is one thing; retaining them is another. If your practice offers no 401(k)/Profit Sharing Plan, this amounts to a recruiting disadvantage. Fewer potential employees may want to work for a company that offers no retirement savings plan.  That may also encourage turnover, which could add to your…

Retirement in Sight – April 2017

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April 19, 2017 Why you Might Not Want a Lump-Sum Retirement Payout Do you have the option of receiving your retirement money as a lump sum? You may want to turn that choice down. A new MetLife study, Paycheck or Pot of Gold, warns of the “lottery effect” that can occur when all that money makes its way into a household at once. Surveying more than 1,050 retirement plan participants who had taken lump-sum payouts, MetLife found that 21% had already used up 100% of that money; on average, it…

Have a Plan, Not Just a Stock Portfolio

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Diversification still matters. One day, this bull market will end.   Provided by UPAL April 13, 2017 In the first quarter of 2017, the bull market seemed unstoppable. The Dow Jones Industrial Average soared past 20,000 and closed at all-time highs on 12 consecutive trading days. The Nasdaq Composite gained almost 10% in three months.1 An eight-year-old bull market is rare. This current bull is the second longest since the end of World War II; only the 1990-2000 bull run surpasses it. Since 1945, the average bull market has lasted…

The Pros & Cons of Roth IRA Conversions

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What are the potential benefits? What are the drawbacks? Provided by UPAL April 13, 2017 If you own a traditional IRA, perhaps you have thought about converting it to a Roth IRA. Going Roth makes sense for some traditional IRA owners, but not all. Why go Roth? There is an assumption behind every Roth IRA conversion – a belief that income tax rates will be higher in future years than they are today. If you think that will happen, then you may be compelled to go Roth. After all, once…

Retirement in Sight – March 2017

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Presented by Utica Physicians’ Association, Ltd. March 23, 2017 How Much of Your Retirement Savings Should You Withdraw Each Year? When Fidelity Investments asked more than 1,000 pre-retirees to guess the percentage that retirement planners would recommend, 19% said 7-9% a year. (A typical recommendation might be 4%.) Additionally, another 19% of pre-retirees responding to the investment company’s Retirement IQ survey thought they could safely draw down their retirement funds at a rate of 10-15% a year. At that pace, they could risk outliving their money by their mid-seventies.    …

The Federal Reserve Raises Benchmark Interest Rate

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Monetary policy is normalizing due to economic improvement. Provided by UPAL March 23, 2017 On March 15, the Federal Reserve raised the benchmark interest rate by a quarter-point to a range of 0.75-1.00%. The increase was widely expected, and it represented a vote of confidence in the economy.1 This was the central bank’s second rate hike in three months, and Wall Street took it in stride, with the S&P 500 rising nearly 15 points on the day. One reason for that may have been the Fed’s latest dot-plot forecast, which remained…