Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Open Enrollment Season

Tuesday, November 13th, 2018

FMI Open Enrollment November

This is a quarterly reminder to take advantage of Open Enrollment at your company, which usually happens in November. This is a good time to make sure you are maximizing your retirement account contributions, adjusting tax withholdings for the upcoming years, and checking your overall benefits such as life insurance, health savings accounts (HSAs) or flexible spending accounts (FSAs).

Bond Funds May Help Diversify Your Portfolio

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

Most investment experts talk about the benefits of diversification — essentially, mixing some stocks, bonds and cash in your portfolio. Having too many eggs in one basket, so the reasoning goes, means that you could wind up with broken eggs if the basket falls.

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Helping Employees Stay on the Right Side of Their Duties as Fiduciaries

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

FMI Helping Employees Stay on the Right Side of Their Duties as fiduciaries

Fiduciary training can help protect individual fiduciaries, the plan as a whole — and, of course, the participants.

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November Checklist

Friday, October 26th, 2018

  • Prepare to issue a payroll stuffer or other announcement to employees to publicize the plan’s advantages and benefits, and any plan changes becoming effective in January.
  • Conduct a campaign to encourage participants to review and, if necessary, update their mailing addresses to ensure their receipt of Form 1099-R to be mailed in January for reportable plan transactions in 2018.
  • Check current editions of enrollment materials, fund prospectuses and other plan information that is available to employees to ensure that they are up to date.

Should you contribute to your company’s Roth 401(k)?

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

The basic difference between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) is when you pay the taxes. In a traditional 401(k), you make contributions with pre-tax dollars, so you get a tax break up front that lowers your current income tax bill. With a Roth 401(k), it’s the reverse: you make contributions with after-tax dollars, but withdrawals of contributions and earnings are 100% tax-free at age 59½, so long as you’ve held the account for five years. Although everyone’s situation will be different, many advisors suggest splitting your contributions between your traditional 401(k) and Roth 401(k) to enjoy their dual tax benefits.

Looking For Free Financial Advice?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Looking for free financial advice? Money Smart Week, launched by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2002 for people of all income levels, is one of the most comprehensive financial literacy programs in the country. And it’s free! Get informed about saving for college, buying a house and using credit wisely.

Source: moneysmartweek.org.

Looking At ‘Generational Money Habits’

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Generational money habits – How did my grandparents manage their money?

One thing that has changed significantly over the past century is people’s attitude towards money and how they manage it. Do we learn these habits from our parents, or do we recognise their bad habits and implement change to ensure we don’t do the same thing?

When I was growing up, the phrase my parents constantly used was “We can’t afford it”; even today, when I hear those words it sets me off.

My poor husband has to deal with the onslaught of comments that come from me when he has to deliver the message that we need to “tone down our spending”. In all honesty, the overspending most of the time is down to me, but the fact that I have not been able to break the “can’t afford it” cycle infuriates me!

Many articles have been written about baby boomers spending everything before they die, or millennials being overwhelmed with student loan debt, but rarely do you read articles that describe exactly how different generations manage their money.

My 99-year-old grandfather is part of “the Greatest Generation”, people who were born between 1910 and 1924. It’s crazy to think my grandfather was actually born in 1919! However, what is almost incomprehensible is that in 1929, at the start of the Great Depression, my grandfather’s parents were both killed by a horse-drawn milk truck when he was only 10 years old. My grandfather was then raised by his older sisters and a spinster aunt, and even during the Great Depression his aunt, who was illiterate, made sure my grandfather went to school so he would not be.

I imagine the events of 1929 and later greatly influenced the person he became and certainly guided his choices and decisions on how he managed what he earned. Fast-track his life to 1969: he retired at age 50 and is still living a financially comfortable retirement 49 years on. Whatever he did, he certainly did it well!

One thing my grandfather was most proud of was the fact he never borrowed money, not even for his home. In fact, he has never borrowed from anyone or owed anyone anything. I can’t even imagine being able to buy a home without a mortgage – home ownership and a mortgage go hand in hand these days.

My grandfather told me that he saved 20 per cent of each pay cheque from day one because he wanted to make sure he could take care of himself and never have to rely on anyone financially.

Nowadays, the benefits of a company pension plan that requires both the employer’s and the employee’s contribution are pathing the way for our long-term retirement goals. Our grandparents, and even some of our parents, never profited from employee benefits, and although these are mandatory, they have been put in place to secure our financial future.

At the end of the day, if you look at money management through the generations, there are still binding principles that hold true: set aside money for your future and borrow as little as you can. The reality is, it doesn’t matter how much money you make if you can’t figure out how to manage it.

Taken from a column in bernews.com. Carla Seely is the Vice President of Pension and Investments at FM Group. If you would like any further details, please contact her at cseely@fmgroup.bm or call +1 441 297 8686.

New Tax Law Changes Treatment of Mortgage Interest

Tuesday, October 9th, 2018

For 2018, taxpayers may only deduct interest on $750,000 for qualified residence loans taken out after Dec. 15, 2017. This new limit applies to the combined amount of mortgage and home-equity debt. In addition, the new limit applies only to loans used to buy, build or improve the taxpayer’s main home and second home, according to the IRS. Taxpayers no longer can deduct a home-equity line of credit for any purpose.

Source: irs.gov.

Managing the Emotions of Volatile Markets — a Survey

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

The financial markets in 2018 experienced lots of ups and downs we haven’t seen in a long time. How do you stay focused on your goals when the markets get volatile? Take this short quiz to uncover your feelings about investing.

  1. When do you plan to stop working?
    1. 40 years or more
    2. 20 years
    3. 10 years or less
  1. When the stock market drops 10% or more, how do you feel?
    1. I pay no attention.
    2. I become a little concerned, but generally stick to my investment game plan.
    3. I freak out.
  1. How often do you check your retirement account balance?
    1. Once a year
    2. Occasionally
    3. Every day
  1. Which of the following statements captures your feelings about losing money in the short run?
    1. Markets go up and down every day. Over longer timeframes, their historic tendency has been to rise.
    2. I check to see if my asset allocation is significantly out of balance, but generally don’t do anything about it. Markets eventually recover.
    3. I feel sick, and want to sell everything.
  1. What’s the most important factor when thinking about risk and reward in your retirement plan?
    1. It’s time in the market, and not timing the market, that counts.
    2. I accept risk as a normal part of investing. Without some level of acceptable risk, I cannot expect to get a reasonable return.
    3. The risk of losing money in the markets is intolerable to me.

Score your answers:

Give yourself 20 points for each answer “a”; 15 points for every “b” and 5 points for each answer “c”. Total your score.

80 to 100 points (Green light): You are comfortable with maintaining your long-term investment strategy through volatile markets.

40 to 79 points (Yellow light): The risk of loss is somewhat concerning to you, whether that’s because you are getting closer to retirement age or feel anxious when markets go down. Think about resetting your asset allocation to be more conservative.

20 to 39 points (Red light): The risk of losing money is weighing heavily on you. Spend some time to understand how stocks, bonds and cash investments have performed historically, and consider working with a financial advisor who is sensitive to your feelings and who may be able to suggest investment products that seek to limit losses.

The scores are based on generally accepted investment principles and are not intended as investment advice or recommendations. There is no guarantee that a particular investment strategy or asset  allocation will meet your objective. Additional factors should be considered as part of a comprehensive review of your individual financial situation.

Employees Prefer a Retirement Paycheck

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018

The shift away from traditional pension plans means today’s employees are largely responsible for their own retirement security. Yet many seem to long for the “good old days,” at least in the sense of knowing they will receive a monthly income throughout retirement.

What role should companies play in the retirement security of their employees, especially as it relates to steady retirement income? And how can employees best meet the need for a retirement income they can count on? Those were among the questions explored recently with about 1,000 U.S. employees.

While 54% of the survey’s respondents said they retain primary responsibility for their own retirement security, 27% said companies are primarily responsible, and 19% believe it’s the government that has primary responsibility. Asked if they would prefer a set retirement paycheck for life from their employer over a lump sum of money to invest themselves, 58% preferred the steady paycheck. Interestingly, that sentiment came not only from Baby Boomers, but also from Millennials.

Employees want to partner with employers

Employees continue to want to partner with their employers in the planning and execution of their retirement savings, the survey found. In fact, they said they want companies to be more involved in providing for their retirement security in the next five to 10 years; 61% of respondents agreed with that sentiment, compared to just 9% who said the employer should be less involved.

When asked whether they would prefer to set aside part of their salary into a company-sponsored retirement plan or into the Social Security program, about three-quarters said they prefer to channel their money to the company plan. In fact, 56% said they would prefer to save on their own rather than paying into Social Security, if those were the only two choices. Forty-four percent preferred Social Security to saving on their own.

This information, which was gleaned from MetLife’s Role of the Company Survey2, released in April 2018, aligns with research that found a crisis in financial confidence among single female retirees; close to half of those surveyed are not confident their savings will last through age 90.3

Annuities and advisors increase confidence

The concept of a paycheck for life could be realized, even without traditional pension plans, through the purchase of annuities. Among single retirees, 71% of women with an annuity felt confident that they could live the retirement lifestyle they want, compared to 56% of those without an annuity. The figure was 68% for single male retirees, whether or not they owned an annuity.

2 https://www.metlife.com/about-us/newsroom/2018/april/for-retirement-employees-prefer-steady-paycheck-over-managing-th/

http://www.limra.com/Posts/PR/News_Releases/LIMRA_Secure_Retirement_Institute_Single_Retirees_Feel_More_Vulnerable_to_Longevity_Risk.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The same research shows that working with a financial advisor can have a significant impact on retiree confidence. Three out of four single men and women retirees who work with an advisor were confident in living the lifestyle they want, while 66% of single men and 54% of single women who do not work with an advisor feel that way.