The partial lump-sum option plan of payment (PLOP) may be a very valuable option to members of STRS Ohio at retirement. STRS Ohio PLOP enables retirees to receive six (6) to thirty-six (36) months of their single life annuity benefit in a lump sum. This lump sum may be rolled over to a retirement plan such as an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or the member may receive the lump sum directly. Careful consideration should beRead More
Nearly a year ago, thoughts of becoming self-employed were about to become a reality. What  began with brief comments to my wife led to subsequent discussions followed by countless hours, spreadsheets, and sleepless nights mapping out a business plan. As a financial planner, I take great pride in putting together a road map for people to follow to achieve financial independence. But this time, things were different. This time, the road map was for myRead More
Have you ever thought to yourself “I could ask this question to 5 people and get 5 completely different answers!” None of the answers would necessarily be “right” and each could be supported by another person’s viewpoint. Or, maybe none of the answers were really what you wanted to hear in the first place! I sometimes feel this is the case when I’m asked “How much life insurance should I have?” Two things I thinkRead More
A question I frequently receive is “What estate planning documents do I need?” While my recommendation depends on your unique situation, in this post I will outline some basic documents to consider. Before I get to that, let’s first take a look at why estate planning is important, regardless of your stage of life. Many people think of estate planning as a discussion only Baby Boomers and/or the super wealthy need to have. In simpleRead More
You probably agree it’s easy to save to an employer provided retirement plan (e.g. 401k or 403b) account, right? Contributions are typically deducted from your paycheck and sent directly to the plan provider. They never make it to your bank account so you hardly notice they’re made in the first place. That’s the beauty of an automated savings plan! I want to share a practical way my family implements an automated savings plan beyond ourRead More
Nearly two-thirds of Americans currently own a smartphone, according to a study by Pew Research Center. That number is up from 35% in 2011…an astounding increase! Interestingly enough, I acquired my first cell phone in 2011 and, at the time, thought I was “late to the party.” Smartphone usage is clearly on the rise and the purpose of this post is to call your attention to some apps that may save you money and time,Read More
With the holiday season upon us, I can’t help but think about the countless family gatherings that will occur between now and year-end. Time will be spent sharing a meal, reminiscing about childhood memories, watching football, playing games, and catching up on how the year has gone. I wonder though, how many families will take these gatherings as an opportunity to discuss their finances? Why are finances such an uncomfortable topic of conversation for families?Read More
According to a study by Accenture, $30 trillion of financial and non-financial assets is expected to pass from Baby Boomers to Generation X and Generation Y (Millennials) in North America over the next 30 to 40 years. If you’re like me, you have a difficult time trying to understand the magnitude of that number! However, I think we will agree there are significant opportunities and challenges associated with this level of assets being passed fromRead More
On the surface, it seems too good to be true. You have a married couple, where (let’s say) the husband has earned higher yearly income than his wife. That means he has contributed more to Social Security over his working life. The husband files for Social Security benefits at full retirement age (currently age 66) and then immediately files to suspend those benefits. As a result of this simple maneuver, the wife is now entitled to immediately receive Social SecurityRead More
A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post outlining the changes we could expect for Social Security and Medicare in 2016. Since that time, Congress passed a government budget deal that includes a provision to lessen the impact of rising Medicare Part B premiums on current Medicare recipients. As a reminder, Medicare Part B covers most health care services outside of hospitals, and thus represents one of the biggest expense items in the government-run health system. The program isRead More