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Hey Joel! – Answers from a recovering former practicing ERISA attorney

Welcome to Hey Joel! This forum answers plan sponsor questions from all over the country by our in-house former practicing ERISA attorney. Hey Joel, One of my current employees recently received a notice from Social Security saying that they might be entitled to a retirement benefit. Is it my responsibility to track this money down? ~ Investigating in Illinois   Dear Investigating, Employers are required to file Form 8955-SSA with the IRS each year to report former participants with…

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The SECURE Act

Legislation to help Americans save more for retirement It’s no secret that Americans are not saving enough for retirement. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently reported that 48 percent of households aged 55 and over have no retirement savings. To address this issue, a new retirement-related bill is making its way through Congress, The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. Its purpose is to help Americans save more for retirement by creating new rules to…

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Summer Homework for Fiduciaries

Morgan Davis, Plan Advisor As you bask in the glory of summer over the next couple of months, don’t forget the three F’s that define this cherished season — fun, Fourth of July, and fiduciary! While you’re enjoying the fruits of summer, don’t forget your fiduciary responsibilities! Ask yourself the following questions to make sure you are on top of your responsibilities and liabilities. Are you practicing procedural prudence when making plan management decisions? Do you clearly understand the…

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Do I need to pay estimated tax?

Taxpayers are required to pay most of their tax obligation during the year by having tax withheld from their paychecks or pension payments, or by making estimated tax payments. Estimated tax is the primary method used to pay tax on income that isn’t subject to withholding. This typically includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, and gain from the sale of assets. Estimated tax is used to pay both income tax and self-employment tax, as well as other taxes reported…

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Have you checked your tax withholding lately?

If you were unpleasantly surprised by the amount of tax you owed or the amount of your tax refund when you filed your 2018 tax return, it may be time to check your withholding. It may also be time if there are changes in your life or financial situation that affect your tax liability. For example, have you recently married, divorced, had a child, purchased a new home, changed jobs, or had a change in the amount of your…

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Why Not Do It Now? New Research on Procrastination

Do you have a tendency to push off important tasks? Do you do things at the last minute, or maybe not do them at all? If so, you’re not alone. About one in five adults is a chronic procrastinator.1 Procrastination can be frustrating in the short term for even the simplest tasks. But it can have far-reaching effects on important activities and decisions such as completing work projects, obtaining medical treatment, and saving for retirement. Recent research offers insights…

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Should You Invest Internationally?

Investing in foreign stocks provides access to a world of opportunities outside the United States, which may help boost returns and manage risk in your portfolio. However, it’s important to understand the unique risk/return characteristics of foreign investments before sending a portion of your money overseas. Reasons to go abroad Here are some of the potential benefits of international investing. Additional diversification. Other countries may be at a different stage in the business cycle than the U.S. economy. They…

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Is It Time to Declare Your Financial Independence?

No matter how much money you have or which life stage you’re in, becoming financially independent starts with a dream. Your dream might be to finally pay off the mountain of debt you’ve accumulated, or to stop relying on someone else for financial support. Or perhaps your dream is to retire early so you can spend more time with your family, travel the world, or open your own business. Financial independence, however you define it, is freedom from the…

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