Planning for Life

Risking Old Age in America

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 17, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

Almost 30 years ago, my father wrote a book titled Risking Old Age In America, which described the plight of seniors in the United States who faced severe income gaps, limited assistance for care at home and deplorable nursing homes. A lot has changed since then, but many of the same challenges persist or have gotten worse.IMG_2097.jpg

With the advent of the assisted living industry, there's an alternative to nursing homes. Home care services have expanded as has government assistance to pay for home care. Nursing homes have improved, and seniors enter them later in life when they need more care, meaning fewer are institutionalized for year after year.

Read More

Topics: Retirement Planning

Making Charitable Contributions from Your IRA

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on June 14, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

I've often heard that taxpayers should make their charitable contributions from their IRAs rather than from their other savings, but didn't understand why until recently. It seemed to me that any tax incurred by withdrawing funds from the IRA would be offset by the charitable deduction available for making the gift. So the result would be the same whether the taxpayer withdrew the funds from the IRA and subsequently made a charitable gift of the same amount or made the donation directly from the IRA.

Read More

Topics: Retirement Benefits, Retirement Planning

Special Needs Trusts and Retirement Benefits: A Complicated Subject

Posted by Anthony Bushu on May 5, 2017

By Karen Mariscal 

older parent and child.jpgMuch of your savings may be in your 401(k)’s and IRAs.  It is important to designate the proper beneficiaries for these accounts, so that your beneficiaries do not have to pay taxes on the funds prematurely. Unfortunately when a beneficiary has special needs, it gets complicated.

If the beneficiary receives the IRAs and 401(k)’s directly, the required minimum distributions (RMDs) could prevent your child from receiving the government benefits he needs. But if you designate a special needs trust as the beneficiary of a retirement account, there could be adverse income tax consequences. 

Fortunately, with proper drafting, such tax results usually can be prevented. People have written entire books on this subject -- this is our attempt to summarize the basic issues.           

Read More

Topics: Special Needs Trust, Retirement Planning, Retirement Benefits, Required Minimum Distributions

Is Your Financial Advisor a Fiduciary?

Posted by Anthony Bushu on January 18, 2017

By Harry S. Margolis

When you consult with your financial advisor or planner, does she put your interests first, or is she simply under an obligation to sell products that are "appropriate"? If you don't know, ask.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, financial planning, Retirement Planning

Are You Saving to Leave an Inheritance? Why?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on August 29, 2016

By Harry S. Margolis

Do you hope to leave your children an inheritance? If so, what sacrifices are you willing to make to assure that you do so. Are you working longer or scrimping on spending for yourself? If so, why? Haven't you raised your children and perhaps paid expensive college tuitions? Shouldn't they be able to stand on their own two feet?

Read More

Topics: Retirement Planning, MassHealth planning, long-term care planning

A  Long Bright Future: What Will You Do with Your Extra 30 Years?

Posted by Karen Mariscal on May 31, 2016

By Karen B. Mariscal

According to Stanford Professor Laura L. Carstensen Carstensen, the 20th century bequeathed us a fabulous gift:  an average of 30 more years of life!  Life expectancy at birth is now 78, whereas in the early 1900s it was only about 50.

Read More

Topics: Retirement Planning

Does an Annuity Make Sense for Retirement Planning?

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 1, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

There are two kinds of annuities: variable and immediate. Both can be useful for retirement planning purposes and both can be misused. Variable annuities have gotten a bad reputation in recent years because they are often sold to people, especially seniors, for whom they are inappropriate. Immediate annuities, on the other hand, may be undersold.

Read More

Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, financial planning

How to Protect an Inherited IRA

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 27, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

If you leave a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA) to your spouse, he will be able to roll it in with her own IRA and it will be subject to the same rules regarding minimum required distributions (MRDs) as apply to his own retirement plans. He'll have to begin taking them in the year after he turns 70 1/2. In addition, he will receive the same creditor protection that his other retirement accounts receive, which is that they are protected from creditors in bankruptcy proceedings.

Read More

Topics: asset protection, Retirement Planning

5 Steps to Avoid Outliving Your Money

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 13, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The first issue of a new UBS publication, Your Wealth & Life, focuses on "Navigating longevity," or how to make sure your savings and investments last as long as you do. This is especially important as our odds of living long -- and long after retirement -- increase. Half of today's 65-year-olds will live to 85 or older; women have almost a one in three chance of living to age 90; and for a couple there's a 50% chance that one of the spouses will live to age 90 or beyond.

Read More

Topics: social security, Retirement Planning

The Effect of the Market on Retirement Solvency

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 9, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis

While the ups and downs of the market can have a favorable or deleterious effect on savings and investments while we're saving for retirement, they have a much larger effect on solvency during retirement. This was illustrated by financial planners Amy Lampert and Richard Belofsky of The Bulfinch Group speaking at our firm's monthly First Monday Lunch for Professionals.

Read More

Topics: Retirement Planning

Subscribe to New Blog Posts

Recent Posts

Most Popular Posts

Posts by Topic

see all