Celebrate National Social Security Month

Did you know you can estimate your future Social Security benefits or find out if you qualify for benefits online? The Social Security Administration online services have expanded to offer several ways to help you navigate the complex system. They also offer a suite of business services to help companies report employee wages and verify names and Social Security numbers for W-2 forms.

Understanding your benefits and how to access your personal Social Security information can be an important step to a successful retirement.

Image credit: Social Security Administration

Don’t Forget About Washington State’s Estate Tax

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Though the federal estate tax exemption has increased dramatically, Washington state’s estate tax exclusion is significantly lower. Washington state taxes estates valued at more than $2.193 million—don’t take your eye off the ball! Even if a Washington married couple’s joint estate value is under the combined individual limit of $4.386 million, they could … Continued

Accentuating Portfolios Beyond Target Date Funds

For younger, less experienced investors, a Target Date Fund can be an easy way to get started in investing. For more accomplished investors, we generally don’t recommend Target Date funds for the following three main reasons. 1. Target Date Funds do not consider your other investment assets or income sources, potentially taking on significantly more … Continued

The Data Doesn’t Lie – The Reason We Diversify

In 1976, The Vanguard Group, led by its founder John Bogle, created the first retail index fund. Although slow to capture the attention of investors, this fund, initially labeled the S&P 500 Index Investment Trust, has grown to become the largest mutual fund in the industry today. With a focus on simplicity, in 1992 Vanguard … Continued

Microsoft’s After-Tax Savings Benefit … just got better!

Last year I wrote an article on one of the best benefits for Microsoft Employees – that benefit just got even better! I’ve highlighted three benefits that I believe all Microsoft employees should take advantage of.   401(k) Increase: While previously, a Microsoft employee could contribute $18,000 to their 401(k) in 2017, they can now contribute … Continued

Health Savings Account; Better Than a Roth IRA

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Thanks to an upfront tax deduction and tax-free growth, HSA accounts are better than Roth IRAs. Maximizing your annual HSA contribution and delaying reimbursement of your medical expenses in future years, allows your assets to grow tax-free. Keep your medical expense receipts. These can be used many years later for tax-free reimbursements. As … Continued

Taxes – the Silent Killer in Portfolios

KEY TAKEAWAYS: Taxes can be a significant, often overlooked, drain on your portfolio’s performance. Low-cost asset class funds and index funds are more tax efficient by nature, than actively managed mutual funds. That’s why we use them. Mutual funds that employ a tax-efficient investment strategy can reduce your tax exposure significantly.   As many have … Continued

Disability Insurance for Tech Professionals

KEY TAKEAWAYS Your disability coverage from your employer likely covers only your base salary – not your stock awards or bonuses. Is 60 percent of your base enough to cover your living expenses and savings for retirement? What happens when you change jobs and your new company doesn’t offer disability coverage? Did you know you … Continued

What Can a RIA Do For You?

Independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are professional independent advisory firms that provide personalized financial advice to their clients, many of whom have complex financial needs. Because these advisors are independent, they are not tied to any particular family of funds or investment products. As fiduciaries, they are held to the highest standard of care—and are … Continued

Helping Family Members as They Age

  KEY TAKEAWAYS One in ten Americans over 60 has been a victim of elder abuse – more often than not by a child or spouse. Consider designating a “Trusted Contact” – someone we can contact on your behalf if we suspect something is not right in life. Having a Trusted Contact in place is an early, … Continued