Each year, the Affordable Care Act—popularly known as Obamacare—creates a period when health insurance policyholders can buy or change their coverage through state exchanges or the government website.  This year, many locations will feature fewer carriers bidding for your business, but virtually every county in America still has coverage options.   But pay attention: the government has dramatically reduced the open enrollment period this year; in most states it starts November 1 and ends DecemberRead More
You can be forgiven if you’re skeptical that Congress will be able to completely overhaul our tax system after failing to overhaul our health care system, but professional advisors are studying the newly-released nine-page proposal closely nonetheless.  We only have the bare outlines of what the initial plan might look like before it goes through the Congressional sausage grinder: We would see the current seven tax brackets for individuals reduced to three — a 12%,Read More
If you have a parent with health or mobility problems, you may find yourself helping out with living expenses and the cost of care. Recognizing that eldercare can represent a substantial financial burden for families, the federal government allows taxpayers who provide support to a parent or other adult relative to deduct some of these expenses and claim certain tax credits. To take advantage of many of these tax breaks, you must claim your parentRead More
There are many tax incentives to help you build financial security for retirement, but many government and employer-sponsored programs carry certain age restrictions governing when you can withdraw funds or access benefits without penalty. Two Federal agencies, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA), keep an eye on your birthday as you take advantage of valuable tax breaks and retirement benefits. Here are some important age milestones to consider: Age 55.Read More
When was the last time you evaluated your homeowners insurance? Have your needs changed since you initially purchased your homeowners policy? If so, there may be gaps in your insurance coverage. For example, you may have acquired valuable possessions that require extra coverage, or you may have made some home improvements that have increased the value of your home. How might this affect your finances in the event that you need to replace your homeRead More
For many people, crossing the bridge into retirement is a big step. If you’re approaching retirement, it’s time to develop a strategy to facilitate a smooth transition from the more structured world of work to one that’s more flexible. After spending years building your professional career, you’ve accumulated assets along the way. While retirement planning usually focuses on preparing for your financial future, nonfinancial matters may also need to be addressed. When retirees feel dissatisfied,Read More
How well do you connect with other people in informal social occasions?  If you tend to be shy or awkward at cocktail parties or networking events, it can be bad for your career and rob you of connection with others who might become friends or mentors.   Fortunately, there’s a solution.  Researchers have shown that there’s a fairly reliable way to make small talk and connect with others.  Best of all, anyone can master it.Read More
I continue to field many questions from members of STRS Ohio related to their public pension and Social Security benefits. As previously discussed, many members of STRS Ohio assume they are not eligible for both STRS and Social Security benefits, however, that assumption isn’t always accurate. Below are answers to two more questions I frequently receive related to STRS and Social Security. I’m eligible for spousal Social Security benefits. Will the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP)Read More
No matter how long ago a spouse passed or how long you were married, there is a void that is left. No one should claim they understand what it feels like, even if they have lost a spouse of their own, as each relationship is unique. However, in light of this event, there are some financial considerations every widow(er) should address. In particular, members of STRS Ohio should pay special attention to some survivor considerationsRead More
Many of President-Elect Donald Trump’s policy proposals are too vague to analyze, but one area where he has been clear is on reforming our tax system.  Here’s a quick primer on the changes that you can expect to be introduced to Congress in the coming year (For a more detailed summary of changes, I’d encourage you to read NerdWallet’s summary of proposed changes). A shift from seven income tax brackets to three: Current (Married FilingRead More