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Resources

Accumulating Funds for Short-Term Goals

Stock market volatility in 2020 has clearly reinforced at least one important investing principle: Short-term goals typically require a conservative investment approach. If your portfolio loses 20% of its value due to a temporary event, it would require at 25% gain just to regain that loss. This could take months or even years to achieve. So how should you strive to accumulate funds for a short-term goal, such as a wedding or a down payment on a home? First,…

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Printing Money: The Fed’s Bond-Buying Program

The Federal Reserve’s unprecedented efforts to support the U.S. economy during the COVID-19 pandemic include a commitment by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to purchase Treasury securities and agency mortgage-backed securities “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy.”1 The Fed buys and sells Treasury securities as part of its regular operations and added mortgage-backed securities to its portfolio during the Great Recession, but the essentially unlimited commitment underscores the severity…

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Women Outpace Men in Degrees Earned

During the 2019-2020 Academic year, U.S. colleges and universities conferred an estimated 989,000 Associate’s degrees, 1,975,000 Bachelor’s degrees, 820,000 Master’s degrees, and 184,000 Doctoral degrees. Women attain more degrees than men at every level. Educational Degrees Earned, By Gender Women Men Associate’s 61% 39% Bachelor’s 57% 43% Master’s 60% 40% Doctoral 54% 46% Source: U.S. Department of Education, 2019 (projected data) IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES Wellspring Financial Partners, LLC does not provide tax or legal advice. The information presented here is…

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Allowable Plan Expenses: Can the Plan Pay?

The payment of expenses by an ERISA plan (401(k), defined benefit plan, money purchase plan, etc.) out of plan assets is subject to ERISA’s fiduciary rules. The “exclusive benefit rule” requires a plan’s assets be used exclusively for providing benefits. ERISA also imposes upon fiduciaries the duty to defray reasonable expenses of plan administration. General principles of allowable expenses include the following: The expenses must be necessary for the administration of the plan. The plan’s document and trust agreement…

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It’s That Time Again! Back-to-School for Fiduciaries

Morgan Davis, Plan Advisor Can you hear the bells ringing? It’s that time of year to review your to-do list of 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? Are you documenting each plan management decision and its support? Are you certain that your plan is being administered in accordance with your plan document provisions? What fiduciary liability…

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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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