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Social Security Taxes Will Rise Higher than Benefits in 2021: Are You Prepared?

social security taxes
Learn How These Changes Will Impact Your Financial Security

Each year, the Social Security Administration announces important numbers that impact both workers and retirees. In October, new wage base and benefit information for 2021 was released and it means a significantly larger tax bill for nearly 12 million high-earning workers. Why? Let’s dig into the numbers for both taxes and benefits below.

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Financial Tips for the ‘Sandwich Generation’

financial tips for multigenerational families
Financial Tips for Those Who Juggle Caring for Aging Parents While Raising Kids.

Are you in the position of feeling you need to juggle your own financial needs with both your children and your aging parents (or another relative)? If so, you are a part of the “sandwich generation”. You are not alone; twelve percent of all parents fall into this category.

It can be a taxing and stressful situation to be in, not just financially but also emotionally. Your kids may need help with college and large expenses like a car or home, and your parents may be depending on you for extra security as they move further into retirement, and possible medical issues arise. With these added economic expectations, how are you to save for your financial health and retirement?

These tips are different strategies designed to help you, the sandwich generation, navigate the difficulties of caring for your children and aging parents. The most important thing is to have a plan, and if you do not have one, this will get you started on the right foot.

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Business Loans: What You Need to Know to Get the Right One

business loans
How to make sure you’re getting the best loan for your business.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking for a business loan to start or grow your business, you have your work cut out for you. While personal loans may be readily available and easily obtained, the same is not always true with business loans. There is a lot more that lenders have to take into consideration when assessing whether they think they’ll be repaid or not. They’re going to look to see if you or your business has a solid credit history, whether the bank can manage the risk, if you as a business owner are qualified and responsible to be running your business, and, ultimately, whether or not the loan makes good business sense.

Before you get started applying for a business loan, here are some things you should know.

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Stay at Home Spouse: Considerations for a One Income Household

stay at home spouse
There are Many Benefits to One Spouse Staying Home, but Don’t Neglect These Crucial Points

In the United States today, about 20 percent of households include one stay-at-home spouse. There are certainly many benefits to a one-income household on the childcare and housekeeping fronts, but there are important financial considerations for stay-at-home spouses that don’t often get the attention they deserve.

Here are four things to keep in mind if you have a stay-at-home spouse in your household, or you’d like to in the future.

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FSA vs HSA: How to Make the Most out of Your Employee Benefits

healthcare costs
A comparison of the two biggest tax-advantaged savings accounts offered by employers

If there was a pop quiz and you were asked to explain the difference between a flexible spending account (FSA) and a health savings account (HSA), would you pass the quiz?

Chances are, you’d probably struggle with the answer. Though they share similar names and some other key similarities, such as both being tax-advantaged options available through work benefits, there are some major differences between the two accounts.

Like any decision, it’s best to make your choice from an informed position. To do so, here are the main takeaways you should know when it comes to the differences between an HSA and an FSA account.

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The Cost of College: 5 – 10 – 15 Years from Now

college hats thrown in air
As Educational Costs Continue to Rise, Parents and Students Must Be Prepared

Saving for college can seem like an uphill battle, especially given that costs have risen an average of 5 percent annually for the last decade. Accumulated College Board data for the 2019-2020 academic year showed an average cost of $21,950 as an in-state student at a state school, and a whopping $49,870 for a private school. Doing the math easily reveals that four years at any school will cost a pretty penny, especially if your children aren’t close to college age just yet.

Assuming cost trends continue, parents and prospective students will face steep tuition bills in the future.

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How to Maximize Your Stock Options

The Key Considerations You’ll Need to Best Leverage this Employee Benefit

Stock options have become a popular way for employers to compensate employees and incentivize high-quality work. Not only are they convenient and cost-effective for the employer, but they provide employees with added value for a job well done. When employees feel valued and do good work, the company’s stock value rises, and everyone wins.

Since stock options aren’t as cut and dry as a normal paycheck, though, many employees don’t fully understand how to make the most of them. Below we’ll discuss how stock options work, when to exercise them, and how to maximize this type of compensation.

The Basics of Employee Stock Options

When an employer offers stock options as part of your benefits package, it means you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a certain amount of company stock for a set price called the “grant price”, and typically within a set time frame. Most often, employers want to incentivize you to stay with the company long-term, so you may have to wait until your stock options vest – that is, until they reach the point in time when they become available to you to exercise. This means new employees usually can’t take advantage of them right away. Once they vest, you’ll have a specific time period in which to use your stock options before they expire.

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Planning Assumptions That Should Be Avoided

Even the Most Disciplined of Planners Can Fall Victim to Faulty Planning Practices

Even if you consider yourself an accomplished and disciplined planner – and, perhaps, even more so if you fall into this category – it’s uncomfortable to face unexpected financial hurdles. Since no one can perfectly plan for the unexpected, however, it happens from time to time. It could be that your career takes a turn you didn’t foresee, or maybe your child’s college education ends up far costlier than you expected. All of a sudden, you find yourself facing a future where your savings goals may be in jeopardy.

Although no planning is foolproof, avoiding some common – and faulty – planning assumptions can help ensure your long-term goals won’t be in danger.

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Which Assets Belong in Your Living Trust – and Which Don’t?

Guidance on How to Fund Your Trust

If you’re considering setting up a living trust, know that there is more to it than simply meeting with a lawyer and signing the appropriate paperwork. Your trust won’t have any power until you fund it. To do so, you’ll need to strategize about which assets you’ll put in the trust, and then complete the necessary transfers.

For most people, there are assets that make sense to transfer to your trust, but others that you’re likely better off leaving outside the trust. Below we’ll dig into the details of both. First, though, let’s discuss the basics of a living trust.

Why Choose a Living Trust?

If you’re looking to manage your assets during your lifetime and find a way to easily pass them to your beneficiaries when you die without going through the hassles of the court system, a living trust is for you. This legal structure allows your estate to bypass probate, which is advantageous for several reasons.

Not only is probate complex, time-consuming and expensive, it also means your estate information will become public record. A trust, on the other hand, allows you to keep your finances private. Furthermore, this legal instrument gives you more control over which of your heirs get certain assets, and even when they are able to access them. For example, you could choose to pass some of your assets to your children when they turn 18, with a percentage held back until they reach age 40.

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Small Business Checklist: How to Assess Your Financial Wellness

A Five-Step Plan for Busy Business Owners

Running your business day to day takes all of your energy and focus. Your waking hours are consumed with managing and sustaining it, and you likely spend many a sleepless night on the details no one else thinks about. This is the life of a committed small business owner.

When you’re grinding day after day to keep your business well-positioned, however, it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Specifically, it becomes difficult for many small business owners to find the time to monitor the overall health of their business in a meaningful way. The five-step guide below is designed to help you focus on five key elements of your business’ financial health.

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