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Resources

Three Things to Consider Before Your Next Trip

The health and economic crisis created by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on how we all will travel going forward. And though it may be difficult to think about planning a trip during these uncertain times, here are some things to consider if you do decide to travel. 1. Check your travel provider’s cancellation policy. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, many airlines and hotels have relaxed their cancellation policies by waiving traditional cancellation…

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Could You Be Responsible for Your Parents’ Nursing Home Bills?

In 26 states (and Puerto Rico), laws generally hold children responsible for certain debts of their parents. These laws are referred to as filial responsibility laws (or filial support or filial piety laws). The details of filial responsibility laws vary by state. Most require that a parent must be deemed unable to pay for the costs of basic care and support before a child may be held responsible. And most states consider he child’s ability to pay before holding…

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The Changing College Landscape

The 2020-2021 academic year is right around the corner, and the coronavirus pandemic has upended the college world, like everything else. Not only has COVID-19 impacted short-term college operations and student summer plans, but the virus could end up being the catalyst that changes the model of higher education in the long term. Here are some things to know about the changing college landscape. College funds. Market volatility has been at record high levels this year, and college nest…

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Almost Nine Out of Ten Women Qualify for Social Security on Their Own

Because of a long-term rise in the employment rate for women of all ages, the percentage of women ages 62 to 64 who are fully insured for Social Security retirement benefits based on their own work records has increased significantly since 1980. To qualify for Social Security benefits, people must work in jobs where they pay Social Security taxes and earn Social Security credits (one per quarter, up to four per year). Most people need 40 credits (the equivalent…

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What Constitutes Proper Documentation of Retirement Plan Committee Meetings?

With most retirement plans, the fiduciary responsibility of selecting and monitoring the plan’s menu of investments is designated to a retirement plan investment committee. This committee usually includes financial officers and human resources officers of the employer. The committee meets periodically (anywhere from annually to quarterly) to consider agenda items including investment due diligence, fees and services of plan providers, status of plan goals, etc. From a fiduciary perspective it is just as important to properly document these meetings…

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Why You Need to Communicate with Employees

Businesses understand how vital it is for employees to understand retirement options and are increasingly including employee education in fiduciary risk management, whether it’s in the form of one-on-one counseling or educational seminars. Take a look at these reasons why you should communicate with and educate your employees. Gossip Can Be Dangerous If retirement opportunities are not properly explained, employees will likely ask each other instead. Someone could accidentally relay incorrect information and create the misconception that your savings…

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Are Your Participants Experiencing a Fee Imbalance?

Subsequent to the 2012 implementation of ERISA fee reporting regulations (ERISA 408(b)(2) & 404(a)(5)), the Department of Labor (DOL) began to consider the appropriateness of the allocation of plan fees among participants. This is a subject that generally had not been on the radar screen of many plan fiduciaries, but once identified, tends to generate considerable traction due to its obvious validity. Ironically, a plan sponsors’ diligent attention to obtaining the lowest accessible share class for new funds in…

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Debit or Credit? Pick a Card

Americans use debit cards more often than credit cards, but they tend to use credit cards for higher-dollar transactions. The average value of a debit-card transaction in 2018 was just $36, while credit-card transactions averaged $89.1 This usage reflects fundamental differences between the two types of cards. A debit card acts like a plastic check and draws directly from your checking account, whereas a credit-card transaction is a loan that remains interest-free only if you pay your monthly bill…

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Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely

Dramatic market turbulence has been common in 2020, and you can’t help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of these major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation. Both the Down and the S&P 500 track the stocks of large domestic companies. But with about 500 stocks compared to the Dow’s 30, the S&P 500 comprises…

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Tapping Retirement Savings During a Financial Crisis

As the number of COVID-19 cases began to skyrocket in March 2020, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The legislation may make it easier for Americans to access money in their retirement plans, temporarily waiving the 10% early-withdrawal penalty and increasing the amount they could borrow. Understanding these new guidelines and the other rules for loans and early withdrawals may help you determine if they are appropriate options during a financial crisis. (Remember that…

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