Does It Still Make Sense To Give To Charity?

August 15th, 2018

2017 may be the last year that tens of millions of Americans got a tax break for donating to their favorite charities. That’s because the new higher standard deduction of $24,000 per couple ($12,000 single) that President Trump signed into law last December means that only a tiny percentage of taxpayers likely will take itemized deductions, such as those for charitable donations. Still, many donors will continue to give, because the main goal of charitable giving is doing some good.

Financial Education for Employees

August 14th, 2018

General financial education, in addition to education specific to 401(k) plans, can encourage employees to save more for retirement. Topics like budgeting, debt management and reduction, and finding ways to save on household purchases may allow employees to feel more confidence in contributing more of their income to the plan. In turn, that can lead to improved retirement readiness.

It’s wise to consider employee interests when selecting topics, because there is some disconnect between what employers think is important for employees to know, and what employees really want to know. For example, 81% of employees want more education about how to obtain life insurance, but only 68% of employers thought they would. Forty-seven percent of employees want to know about saving for children’s education, compared to 24% of plan sponsors. And refinancing or paying off student debt is on the minds of 46% of employees, but just 18% of employers said it was important.

You might consider an employee survey to identify the financial topics that are truly on the minds of your employees. That way, you may get greater participation in the sessions — as well as in the 401(k) plan. Read more in the Alight 2018 Hot Topics in Retirement and Financial Wellbeing report, here: https://tinyurl.com/Alight2018HotTopics.

New Tax Law Preserves Medical Deduction

August 10th, 2018

For the next 18 months, Americans with high medical bills will be able to continue to write off expenses exceeding 7.5% of their income. To claim the deduction, filers must itemize. However, now that the standard deduction has been increased to $12,000 for individuals, $24,000 for joint filers, it may make sense to simply claim the standard deduction, according to the AARP.

Taking Advantage of the New Tax Law

August 6th, 2018

The dust hasn’t yet settled, but a few things about the new tax law seem clear. Employees will likely begin to notice a difference in their paychecks as early as February, and some projections put the average worker’s additional spendable income at about $2,000 per year.

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What To Do In August

August 2nd, 2018

• Begin preparing for the distribution of the plan’s Summary Annual Report to participants and beneficiaries by September 30, unless a Form 5500 extension of time
to file applies (calendar-year plans).
• Submit employee census and payroll data to the plan’s recordkeeper for mid-year compliance testing (calendar- year plans).
• Confirm that participants who terminated employment between January 1 and June 30 elected a distribution option for their plan account balance and returned their election form. Contact those whose forms were not received.

Consult your plan’s financial, legal or tax advisor regarding these and other items that may apply to your plan.

Are You Considering Auto-Enrollment for Your Company’s 401(k) plan?

July 23rd, 2018

The upside of using auto-enrollment (and auto-escalation) features in a 401(k) plan are considerable. Participants in plans that use auto-enrollment seldom opt out, even when they are enrolled at 6% to 10% of pay. This has resulted in many new participants saving for their futures. Recently, though, a study was done that suggests people who are automatically enrolled in their plan may take on more debt than they would have otherwise.

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Summertime and Financial Organization

July 21st, 2018

Summertime is a great time to get organized.

From a tax or portfolio management perspective, the dog days of summer don’t have much going on. But it’s still a great time to organize your financial records and get ready for the second half of the year.

How easy is it for you to put your hands on bank statements, tax receipts, IRAs or estate planning documents? Office supply stores have sturdy file boxes for keeping all your records in one place. Set up file folders to contain all your most important financial papers and records.

Test Your Money Smarts

July 17th, 2018

Think you have a good handle on the basics of investing? Take this 10-question quiz to see how you rate on basic investment skills.

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Halfway Through The Year

July 12th, 2018

As featured Bernews.com.

In our home, July marks our ‘check-in’ chats: discussions on any travel plans for the remainder of the year, whether we should upgrade any furniture or get a newer car, and so on. But our biggest and sometimes most ‘heated’ chat is regarding the semi-annual review of our finances and update of our ‘net worth statement’.

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What To Do in July

July 3rd, 2018

 

  • Conduct a review of second quarter payroll and plan deposit dates to ensure compliance with the Department of Labor’s rules regarding timely deposit of participant contributions and loan repayments.
  • Verify that employees who became eligible for the plan between April 1 and June 30 received and returned an enrollment form. Follow up for forms that were not returned.
  • Ensure that the plan’s Form 5500 is submitted by July 31, unless an extension of time to file applies (calendar-year plans).

Consult your plan’s financial, legal or tax advisor regarding these and other items that may apply to your plan.