Category Archives: Uncategorized

Suddenly Single: Planning to Go It Alone

Untitled-logo trustMost of us cannot imagine the sudden loss of our spouse. Yet, difficult as it may seem to accept, U.S. Census data indicates that the overwhelming majority of married women will be on their own for a significant number of their later years. Should this happen to you, you might be thrust into economic self-survival at a time when you may feel particularly vulnerable and least able to cope. Nevertheless, serious decisions would have to be made, often having a lasting impact on your future financial well- being.

Planning for the Unimaginable

There is an unpredictable aspect of “sudden loss” in that we never quite know how we will react to certain events until they actually occur. While no one can ever be totally prepared to deal with personal trauma compounded by legal and financial matters, there are steps you can take to help you navigate through this difficult period.

The key is to find a way to help provide structure in your life at a time when structure may be disintegrating.

It Happened. . .What Do I Do?

When the initial shockwaves hit, there are matters that will require immediate attention: notification of family and friends; funeral arrangements; and contacting an attorney to review the will and handle the legal aspects of your spouse’s estate. Let your closest friends and most trusted advisors help you with some of these details and short-term decision-making, but proceed with caution regarding major financial decisions such as whether to sell your home, borrow or lend money, invest, make major purchases, and make work/career changes.

During this period, you will most likely face competing demands on your financial resources. If your spouse was the primary income earner, it may take some time to assess your financial situation. During the first few months, pay bills that need to be paid, but spend cautiously, paying attention to cash flow and liquidity.

Rebuilding After the Shockwaves

Certain timetables (e.g., timely filing of tax returns) can’t be overlooked, but much of the financial recovery process should be orchestrated to match your emotional recovery. Some of the important aspects that will have to be addressed eventually will include assessing the needs of dependent children; making housing decisions; determining your income needs; making decisions about insurance settlements; evaluating your insurance needs; and managing money on your own.

Many of these decisions may flow naturally from an appraisal of your needs (and/or desires) to participate in the workforce. Will you want to work? Will economic necessity dictate that you must work? If you are currently employed, will you stay in the same position? If you have not worked for some years, how well will your skills fit the job market? Will you need to acquire more education or enhance your technical skills?

While professional advice will be helpful, don’t allow yourself to be pressured in areas in which you need more time. Your goal should be to develop a sense of command and control concerning your financial future. Align yourself with advisors who will have the patience to work with you at your pace, advisors who will help you gain the knowledge and confidence necessary to go it alone.

Obviously, the earlier you begin to educate yourself concerning financial matters, the better prepared you will be to withstand the impact of facing sudden loss. The quality of your life may depend on your financial skills and your willingness to take responsibility for managing your own financial affairs.

If you have questions about the financial implications of divorce, email our Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Marcia.Henderson@syb.com, for help!

Resource information provided by Financial Media Exchange.

PFPLONE0-X

SYB-Logo_

fmex

Advertisements

Remarriage: Altering Your Financial Plan to Meet Your Needs

Untitled-logo trustIn previous generations, husband’s traditionally handled the family finances. While this arrangement may have worked well during the husband’s lifetime, the consequences of the wife’s lack of involvement in the family’s finances often became clear after her spouse died. Today, more women are actively directing the outcome of their personal finances, and for good reason.

Women need to plan for a time when they may be on their own. Through divorce, widowhood, or personal choice, the odds are high that a woman will be independent at some point in her lifetime. Financial planning is essential for women throughout life, but it becomes especially important in the event of remarriage, as financial arrangements may need to be made for ex-spouses and children.

If you are in a second marriage or about to remarry, you may want to consider the following important points about managing your personal finances:

Bank Accounts. Should married couples combine their bank accounts or keep them separate? Or, perhaps combine certain accounts and keep others separate? There is no right or wrong choice—this is a personal decision. An open and honest discussion may reveal whether or not you and your spouse are financially compatible regarding spending habits, saving, investing, debt, etc. If there is a marked difference in the way you both handle money, then separating your finances may be a better plan.

Prior Debt. Will each spouse be responsible for the other’s prior debt, and if so, to what extent? Keeping the indebted spouse’s prior debt separate may help ensure that the other spouse’s property remains out of reach from creditors.

Property Acquired before Remarriage. Owning previously acquired property in your own name can prevent the risk of losing personal property to your spouse’s potential creditors. Also, doing so may have estate tax benefits. Keeping your property in your own name can help to minimize estate taxes while providing an inheritance for children from a previous marriage.

Home Ownership. Many married couples choose to title property jointly as tenants by entirety. When one spouse dies, the home passes to the surviving spouse tax-free. However, there may be estate tax consequences when the surviving spouse dies. Be sure to consult with a qualified tax professional beforehand.

Retirement. Saving for retirement is one of the major financial goals for married couples. Women, in particular, have unique concerns when planning for retirement. First, women typically live longer than men, so their retirement income needs to last longer. In addition, women often spend more time out of the workforce than men as a result of caregiving responsibilities, and therefore are less likely to have pensions and full Social Security benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Labor in 2013, when women work, they typically earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. Consequently, the gap between gender incomes makes it especially important for women to prepare for retirement.

Insurance. Disability income insurance can help replace a portion of your income in the event you are unable to work due to sustaining an injury or illness. This type of insurance provides funds that can be used for bills and expenses. Similarly, life insurance provides a death benefit that can be used by your family. Proceeds can help ensure that children from a prior or current marriage can attend college, the mortgage can be paid, and the surviving spouse has some replacement income.

Estate Planning. It is important for blended families to plan for the final disposition of assets. Trusts can be a valuable tool to minimize estate taxes and to help ensure that your assets are distributed to heirs according to your wishes. For example, at your death, your assets can pass to a trust, from which your surviving spouse will receive income without direct access to the assets. At the death of the surviving spouse, the assets can then pass to children from your current or previous marriage. This provides ongoing income for your surviving spouse and an inheritance for your children, as well. In addition, if the surviving spouse later remarries, the trust can be designed to preclude your assets from their marital or community property.

Every woman who remarries needs to balance her financial past with her financial future. By addressing the management of your personal finances as soon as possible, you can avoid disputes and build financial independence for your extended and blended families.

If you have questions about the financial implications of divorce, email our Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Marcia.Henderson@syb.com, for help!

PFWREMRG-XSYB-Logo_

fmex

The Business Side of the 4th of July

Untitled-logo trustFireworks & Hot Dogs

As most middle-school age kids know, in the summer of 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies considered a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. And on July 2nd of the same year, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence. Then on July 4, 1776, the delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, arguably the nation’s most historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

From 1776 until the present day, July 4th – also known as Independence Day – has been celebrated as the birth of our country’s independence, with typical festivities ranging from casual family barbecues to local town parades to concerts and fireworks sponsored by large US cities and televised worldwide.

As I was munching on a hotdog and listening to my neighbors launch fireworks into the night sky, it got me thinking about the business of fireworks and hotdogs. We have all seen the big fireworks stores scattered throughout the county and open year round, but I am always amazed at how many fireworks tents pop up in local towns starting about June 1st.

So, it got me thinking. Just how big is this industry? How many fireworks shows are put on across the country? And how expensive is it to do? And I’m curious, what about all those hot dogs?

Well, I was stunned to discover just how much we spend on blowing things up in the sky. Here’s what I found according to the American Pyrotechnics Association:

  • The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China and today, China produces almost 90% of the world’s fireworks
  • There are an estimated 14,000 July 4th fireworks celebrations across our country
  • Many small town shows cost between $2,000 and $10,000 for a short show
  • The larger cities – which often incorporate music, sophisticated computer coordination and much bigger shells – cost about $3-$10,000 a minute. And the average show lasts approximately 17 minutes.
  • Last year, we spent over $1 billion on fireworks – with approximately $750 million spent by consumers and the balance coming from what are known as displays – towns, cities, corporations putting on public fireworks displays.
  • That $1 billion bought almost 300 million pounds of fireworks last year, which is basically a pound of fireworks for every person in the US.
  • Those 300 million pounds of fireworks are the equivalent of 200,000 lightning bolts!
  • Walt Disney World buys the largest number of fireworks in the US per year due to their nightly fireworks shows over the Magic Kingdom.
  • The largest show in the country – the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks – is held with New York City as its backdrop and its organizers launch an average of 1,600 shells per minute, which is more than three times the average of an entire local community show. It is viewed by more than 3 million spectators and has a TV audience of more than 8 million. They will launch more than 50,000 shells from six barges over the Hudson River in a span of 25 minutes.
  • The July Fourth Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular – one of my personal favorites – will attract over half a million spectators and another 8 million people tune in to watch on TV.
  • The National Park Service in Washington, DC, puts on an annual Fourth of July fireworks show at the National Mall. The show boasts the most large shells of any show in the country and lights up the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial at an estimated cost of $4 million.

Hot Dogs

Overall, we will spend almost $7 billion on Fourth of July food. And, if you didn’t know, the month of July also happens to be National Hot Dog Month. Curious how many hot dogs we eat?

Well, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council – that’s a real organization – says that in the US, we eat 20 billion hot dogs each year and over 150 million are eaten on July 4th.

You realize that there are approximately 320 million people in the US, right? That means, on average you and I each eat more than 62 hot dogs a year…

Tying it All Together

So how does this relate to financial planning? Well I’m not sure it really does. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy your 4th of July and have learned a little bit about the business of fireworks and hotdogs. Happy 4th.

SYB-Logo_

fmex

Financial Considerations for Single Women

Untitled-logo trustIf you’re divorced or separated, money management will become an important part of your life. While it may be true that money can’t buy or ensure happiness, your ability to manage your finances can play a large role in your financial future, and to a large extent, your ability to live life on your terms.

A huge amount of time is not necessarily required to get your finances moving in the right direction. It is often simply a matter of attending to the “basics.” The following steps may help you stay on track:

1. Pay Yourself First. Transfer a set amount from your earnings to your savings each month. Even a small amount in the beginning helps.

2. Reduce Consumer Debt. Avoid high credit card finance charges by paying off the balances each month, or if you must carry a balance, use only cards offering low finance rates beyond the introductory period.

3. Maintain Good Credit. You can obtain one free annual credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Good credit is required for obtaining loans and low interest rates. Monitoring your credit can also help you guard against identity theft.

4. Diversify Your Savings. Develop a plan for your short- and long-term needs. Consider your liquidity needs, risk tolerance, and time horizon for retirement. Be sure to consult a qualified financial professional to determine an appropriate strategy for your financial future.

5. Take Advantage of Tax Benefits. If you qualify, contribute to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan, or another similar retirement plan. These plans offer tax benefits that may help enhance your retirement savings.

6. Update Your Estate Plan. Have your will and any trusts reviewed by a legal professional. Prepare advance directives, such as a durable power of attorney, living will, and health care proxy. This is important for everyone at any time, regardless of age.

7. Review Your Insurance Needs. Periodically review your risk management program. Your life, health, and disability income insurance needs will likely change as you progress through various life stages.

8. Plan for Future Care. Consider your possible long-term care needs. Have you ever thought about your future care needs, should you one day require help with activities of daily living, such as meal preparation, personal care, dressing, and housekeeping? Long-term care insurance increases your care options, should the need arise by helping to cover care at home, an assisted living facility or in a nursing home.

9. Build a College Fund. College tuition, at a public or private institution, continues to rise. So, relying on your children to receive scholarships or financial aid may not be the most practical strategy. Look into opening a 529 college savings plan or other college planning account. As soon as possible, begin saving for your child’s education. Eighteen years can pass quickly.

10. Set Long-Term Financial Goals. Establish one-, three-, five- and10-year goals. Evaluate your progress yearly and make adjustments, as appropriate, to achieve long-term success.

Whether you’re divorced or separated, straightening out your finances can become a top priority. Make a commitment now to start this planning process. Attention to the basics may help you meet your financial goals and improve your emotional and financial well-being.

Visit https://www.syb.com/wealth-management-and-trust/how-we-serve-our-clients/ to see how Stock Yards Bank and Trust can help you.

PFSW-0515-19-X

Resource information provided by Financial Media Exchange

SYB-Logo_

fmex

Divorce and Retirement Plan Proceeds

Untitled-logo trustDivorce can be “taxing” enough, but need not be made more difficult by the mismanagement of the division of assets in a retirement plan. As more Americans participate in 401(k) plans and other defined contribution retirement plans, dividing vested retirement plan assets in divorce situations can be complicated. In addition, defined benefit plans can involve numerous concerns, such as the participant’s death before retirement, and the form of the benefit payments at retirement.

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) is a legal document that enables a retirement plan to transfer money or other plan assets to the non-employee former spouse. A QDRO must meet very specific requirements of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Note that without a QDRO, a transfer of retirement plan assets cannot occur.

Entitlement to your former spouse’s retirement plan benefits depends on the type of plan. For a defined contribution plan, whereby each plan participant has his or her own individual account, a former spouse may be entitled to 50% of the vested and non-vested benefits that were credited or accrued during your marriage. Depending on the type of defined benefit plan, you can receive a portion of the retirement benefit based on the amount of time of your marriage during plan participation and the total amount of time the employee former spouse participates in the plan through retirement.

Since many issues need to be thoroughly discussed regarding divorce and retirement plan benefits, be sure to consult your tax and legal professionals for guidance about your unique circumstances.

RPTQDR1-X

SYB-Logo_

fmex.jpg

 

 

Next Gen Family Wealth and the Softer Side of Planning

Untitled-logo trustNeil ByrneWhat do you want to pass on to future generations?  As the old saying about money goes, “You can’t take it with you.”  Money is important though, undoubtedly.  Of course, so are family, friends, and our social, cultural and intellectual pursuits.  Recent research from Purdue University has even found that money can increase people’s emotional well-being, as well as their overall satisfaction with life – to a point.  According to the researchers, money alone can actually lower a person’s well-being if it is not handled properly.  The research goes on to conclude that “[m]oney is only a part of what really makes us happy. . . .”

So, what else makes us happy?  Well, that depends on what makes you and your family unique.  What’s your family’s story?  Do your children and grandchildren know it?

Traditional financial advisors are good at tackling the technical challenges, such as the legal and financial planning that families must address.  A modern estate plan, however, is not all there is to consider when creating a legacy.  After all, most family interactions are not technical discussions about taxes or investment returns – they are far more interesting than that!

When is the last time you discussed the importance of community involvement, professional development, or shared family goals and expectations?  What non-monetary goals are important for your loved ones to achieve in their lives?  What values should their lives reflect?  Philanthropy?  Entrepreneurship?  The arts?

We frequently have clients who express their concerns about how loved ones would manage an inheritance, and those concerns are well-founded.  Often, however, clients have not told the story of how she or he earned those resources.  The story behind the assets is interesting, and extremely important to the choices that are made by succeeding generations.  If assets become part of the “family legacy” instead of just money in an account, there is a higher likelihood that they will be used wisely.  The story also becomes part of who the family members are, not just what is in their bank accounts.

Telling the family story does not mean telling younger generations every last detail about your finances.  Instead, it means dedicating time and attention to preparing family members for a future inheritance in a meaningful way, and doing that more than once.  It also means sharing with younger generations the intellectual, social, human and spiritual responsibilities they will take on as future family leaders – and as beneficiaries.

Mark Twain has been quoted as saying, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”  A singular focus on technical details without discussion about the larger family legacy can be detrimental to a family and a family’s wealth.

We are inviting you to consider some of the less obvious, but incredibly important discussions and plans you may need to have with your family.  Please contact your advisor to talk more about your family’s legacy, or me at neil.byrne@syb.com or (502) 625-2459.


See:  https://www.futurity.org/money-can-buy-happiness-1685132/ “Money can buy happiness.  Here’s how much it takes,” February 21, 2018.

SYB-Logo_

7 Tips for Choosing a Financial Caregiver

SYB-Logo_Since1904

According to the National Council on Aging, almost 90 percent of the financial abuse committed against older Americans is done by someone they know. More than ever, it is imperative for seniors to select a trustworthy person to properly manage their finances and personal affairs.

Fraudsters often prey on seniors experiencing cognitive decline, limited mobility and other disabilities that require them to rely more heavily on others for help. Appointing someone you trust to handle your financial matters aids tremendously in the fight against these crimes.

In recognition of May as Older Americans Month, we want to share seven tips to help choose the right financial caregiver and prevent financial abuse:

  • When delegating financial decisions, make sure it’s someone you trust. If you are unable to facilitate financial transactions, carefully choose a trustworthy person to act as your agent in all financial matters.
  • Know who is in your home. Conduct a thorough background check on all individuals you hire for personal care or home care services. Check references and credentials before you let them into your personal space.
  • Never sign something you don’t understand. Consult with a financial advisor or attorney before signing any document that appears suspicious or unclear.
  • Understand the terms of assigning a Power of Attorney. Granting someone POA gives them the authority to act and make decisions on your behalf, including managing and having access to your bank and other financial accounts. Make sure you fully understand the terms and conditions of consenting a legal agent before you do so.
  • Always trust your instincts. Exploiters and abusers are very skilled. They can be very charming and forceful in their efforts to exploit you. Don’t be fooled – if something doesn’t feel right, it may not be.
  • Safeguard your personal information. Shred old bills, junk mail, bank statements and other personal documents you no longer need. Leaving unwanted personal documents around the house could lead to the misuse of your information. If you come across keepsake documents opt to store them in a locked cabinet or safe deposit box at your nearest bank.
  • Keep personal items out of plain sight. Lock up checkbooks, credit cards and other monetary instruments to prevent unauthorized use.Resource information provided by the American Bankers Association.

SYB-Logo_