Member Advantage Articles

Guarding Against Identity Theft

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Take steps so criminals won’t take vital information from you. October 17, 2018 America is enduring a data breach epidemic. The latest annual study of the problem from Javelin Strategy & Research, a leading financial analytics research firm, says that 16.7 million people across the nation were impacted by I.D. theft in 2017 – an all-time high.1 The problem is getting worse – much worse. Last year, 30% of U.S. consumers were alerted about data breaches by firms holding their personal information. In 2016, just 12% of consumers were so…

Investing Means Tolerating Some Risk

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That truth must always be recognized. October 17, 2018 When financial markets have a bad day, week, or month, discomforting headlines and data can swiftly communicate a message to retirees and retirement savers alike: equity investments are risky things, and Wall Street is a risky place. All true. If you want to accumulate significant retirement savings or try and grow your wealth through the opportunities in the markets, this is a reality you cannot avoid. Regularly, your investments contend with assorted market risks. They never go away. At times, they…

Retirement in Sight – October 2018

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Monthly News and Information for Current and Future Retirees Presented by UPAL- OCTOBER 2018 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Know how to listen, and you will profit even from those who talk badly.” Plutarch THREE YEARS OR LESS TO RETIREMENT? GET READY If retirement feels less like a possibility and more like an oncoming certainty, then it is time to respond. This is the time to firmly decide whether you want to “age in place” in your current home or relocate. This is when you work on sustaining the friendships you…

When Is Social Security Income Taxable?

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To find out, look closely at two factors.  September 28, 2018  Your Social Security income could be taxed. That may seem unfair or unfathomable. Regardless of how you feel about it, it is a possibility. Seniors have had to contend with this possibility since 1984. Social Security benefits became taxable above a certain yearly income level in that year. A second, higher yearly income threshold (at which a higher tax rate applies) was added in 1993. These income thresholds have never been adjusted upward for inflation.1 As a result, more…

Debunking a Few Popular Retirement Myths

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It seems high time to dispel some of these misconceptions. September 28, 2018  Generalizations about money and retirement linger. Some have been around for decades, and some new clichés have recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few. “When I’m retired, I won’t really have to invest anymore.” Society still sees retirement as an end instead of a beginning – a finish line for a career. In reality, retirement is the start of a new and promising phase of life that could last a few decades. If you don’t keep…

Smart Financial & Insurance Moves for New Parents

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As you start a family, consider these ideas.   September 28, 2018 Being a parent means being responsible to a degree you never have been before. That elevated responsibility also impacts your financial decisions. You are now a provider and a protector, and that reality may make the following financial moves necessary. Think about a budget. As a couple, you may have lived for years without budgeting. As parents, this may change. You will face new recurring costs: clothes, toys, diapers, food. Keeping track of weekly or monthly expenses will be…

Taking a Loan from Your Retirement Plan = Bad Idea

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Why you should refrain from making this move.  September 28, 2018 Thinking about borrowing money from your 401(k), 403(b), or 457 account? Think twice about that because these loans are not only risky, but injurious, to your retirement planning. A loan of this kind damages your retirement savings prospects. A 401(k), 403(b), or 457 should never be viewed like a savings or checking account. When you withdraw from a bank account, you pull out cash. When you take a loan from your workplace retirement plan, you sell shares of your…

5 Retirement Concerns Too Often Overlooked

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Baby boomers entering their “second acts” should think about these matters. Retirement is undeniably a major life and financial transition. Even so, baby boomers can run the risk of growing nonchalant about some of the financial challenges that retirement poses, for not all are immediately obvious. In looking forward to their “second acts,” boomers may overlook a few matters that a thorough retirement strategy needs to address. RMDs. The Internal Revenue Service directs seniors to withdraw money from qualified retirement accounts after age 70½. This class of accounts includes traditional…

Getting Your Personal Finances in Shape for 2019

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Fall is a good time to assess where you stand and where you could be. You need not wait for 2019 to plan improvements to your finances. You can begin now. The last few months of 2018 give you a prime time to examine critical areas of your budget, your credit, and your investments. You could work on your emergency fund (or your rainy day fund). To clarify, an emergency fund is the money you store in reserve for unforeseen financial disruptions; a rainy day fund is money saved for…

Retirement in Sight – September 2018

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Monthly News and Information for Current and Future Retirees Presented by UPAL – SEPTEMBER 2018 QUOTE OF THE MONTH “Love is, above all else, the gift of oneself.” Jean Anouilh YOUR “SECOND ACT” COULD START BEFORE 60 Many baby boomers are vowing to work past age 65, even into their seventies. You may be one of them, and you may realize that ambition. Keep in mind, though, that some people end up retiring prior to age 60 and not by choice. If you sense that could happen to you, think…