SilverBlog

Wisdom from our industry experts and our SilverLink magazine.

 
 

Blog Category: Private Client Services

With all the noise in Washington, many people ignore the chatter and only pay attention once something becomes law. When it comes to estate taxes, however, it’s time to listen up. Today’s higher estate and gift tax exemption ($11.58 million per individual for 2020) will become a thing of the past. Under current law, the exemption will automatically sunset on January 1, 2026, shrinking the amount to $5 million (adjusted for inflation). Worse yet, depending on the 2020 election, Congress may even vote to reduce the exemption further and sooner.

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Medicare funding is largely misunderstood. Many people don’t know  here the financing comes from or how it’s changed over the years. Most are just happy to count on government-provided health insurance once they reach age 65.

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SilverStone Group, the largest Nebraska-based insurance broker, recently announced that it was acquired by Hub International Limited (Hub), the fifth largest insurance broker worldwide. The transaction combines both entities’ shared expertise in employee benefits, risk management, retirement planning and wealth management, paving the way for greater localized service with a stronger global reach.

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Buying insurance for teen drivers can be pricey. Rates for this demographic have been consistently high and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. Teens carry a bit more risk due to their lack of driving experience, so it makes sense that their rates would be higher than someone in their mid-20s. Texting and talking on the phone while driving are also big concerns for this group. Phones are almost always within reach, creating major distractions for drivers who are still learning how to safely operate a vehicle.

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On a nationally syndicated radio program, a caller asked a financial expert the following question: “My wife and I recently retired. We are trying to decide if there’s any reason for us to keep our term life insurance after retirement. What is your recommendation?" The answer was, “No. Drop the policies. There is never a need for life insurance once you retire."

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Charitable contributions are a vital part of our social fabric. While they are intended to help recipients, they can also benefit donors when the right charitable giving strategies are used. It may seem convenient to simply write a personal check to a charity, but that should be a last resort for most taxpayers. When you write a check, you’re sending off money that was likely taxed before making its way into your bank account – money that’s worth 100 cents on the dollar.

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As a Retirement Plan Advisor, I conduct a lot of employee education meetings. I’m asked many questions, but two keep coming up: “What is a Roth 401(k)?” and “Should I use it for my retirement savings?”

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When determining a home’s value, homeowners tend to think about “market value” or what it might sell for. This number can fluctuate considerably and is primarily dependent on what buyers believe a home is worth. When insurance carriers determine a home’s value, they look at the numbers from a much different angle. Replacement cost coverage is based on the total cost of reconstruction. This number is usually steadier than a home’s market value, with a typical annual increase of 4% to 5%.

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Life insurance can enjoy favorable treatment under federal tax law. When structured properly, beneficiaries can receive death proceeds 100% tax-free, even passing free of probate and federal estate taxes. Furthermore, cash values can grow tax-free within the policy, and tax-free loans can be taken against the cash values. But favorable life insurance taxation isn’t guaranteed. When policies are structured improperly there can be significant consequences.

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There has been a lot written about when to collect Social Security benefits. Despite this, most retirees remain confused – and rightly so! This area of financial planning is very complicated with general rules and a host of exceptions to those rules. Moreover, searching for advice at your local Social Security office may result in conflicting recommendations on the best strategy.

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